There is an immediacy to the internet; at least that’s true in social media. Things happen, sometimes for completely mysterious reasons, then they are over. Last week was an interesting time for me in cyberspace.
Last Tuesday this blog got 938 hits. For some sites that’s a small number, but not this one. I only started blogging a couple of months ago, I’ve been quite tentative and irregular, I don’t have a topic and have been forcing a number of friends to receive posts so I can convince myself that at least it’s getting out to the wider world. I thought I was doing Ok if I got 30 hits. But I seemed to have stumbled on two topics that shifted that.
First I wrote about obsession. I posted it to Reddit, as I usually do, and put in the subredit (topic) Psychology. It’s had over 500 hits. I wrote it 8 days ago and it’s still getting a few hits today. The next day I wrote a rant about the epic insensitivity of Natural News. I posted it to the skeptic subreddit. It’s been read 1060 times. Almost all of the hits for those two posts happened over about three days. I found myself constantly checking the statistics. I don’t think it meant anything about me or about anything much, but the numbers were quite unexpected and oddly exiting.
I’ve been away for a few days and have been very busy so haven’t posted for a few days. The activity has died down a lot. Interestingly there is still more activity than there was before this all happened, but not a lot. I know that by not writing, or by writing boring posts, it will continue to slide. It’s been an interesting ride but I suspect it’s over. I wonder what it meant.
As I’ve chronicled here I’ve also stuck my toe in the social media waters as an activist. The anti-anti-vaccine campaign I started attracted a rush of interest. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of anti-vaccine activists discovered the site and I was overrun with comments, some remarkably rude and unpleasant. They were followed by lots of pro-vaccine activists who joined the cause. The numbers grew rapidly to around 120 pledges and then stayed there. They’ve now grown to 122. It’s possible that things died out because I stopped accepting comments on the cause. I started a Facebook page of the same name with the intention of creating a place where people could comment and managing them wouldn’t be as labour intensive. Initially there was a lot of activity and both pro and con people joined the conversation. But little by little the anti-vaccine crowd left – probably because they couldn’t win an argument and the administrator (me) wasn’t banning people who disagreed with them. Actually only one person got banned for being more unpleasant than I was willing to tolerate.
Between all of those events it’s been an interesting ride. I’ve discovered that I like attention, even when that attention is pretty anonymous and very fleeting.
I know that I may not have another week like last week. But if I did, I wouldn’t really mind.