|English: American students pledging to the flag in a former form of the salute, specifically the Bellamy salute . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
That's basically what I did with my post from last Monday What Is the Iron Man Connection?. My experiment was poor in that it lacked any clear hypothesis and my unscientific approach probably does not reveal any clear conclusions about what happened. However, I can make some observations and maybe some you can suggest what conclusions might be drawn from this bit of randomness that appeared on Tossing It Out.
If you'd prefer not to get into my research or hear anything about my "Iron Man Connection" post, please scroll down to the last section titled "Now Some Final Words". I hope you help with the request that is made in those paragraphs. But if you're ready to hear more about the blogging experiment then continue on to the next section.
The Set Up
The list of names that I presented came about as a result of free association as I was doing a Google search. Initially my list started as a result of a discussion that I had engaged in at a group Bible study on the evening of Monday October 28th. During the course of our discussion I had brought up the subject of The Pledge of Allegiance. As we talked about The Pledge I became curious about its origins.
When I got home that evening I checked on Google to find the history of The Pledge of Allegiance and was surprised at my findings. I thought that what I discovered might make for an interesting controversy blog post. I opened up a post composition page and begin entering names as I came to them in my research and other names that I free associated with the others along the way.
A proposed post about The Pledge of Allegiance began to turn into a bigger conspiracy in the line of thinking I was heading down and at that point I realized the subject matter was far too big to cover in a single blog post nor did I want to directly tackle the subject on my blog. But I now had a list of names. In my mischievous way of thinking, I decided to add an intro and a closing around those names and see if any readers would make any connections as I had.
I realized that most visitors would stop, look, and then exit without a comment. In fact the numbers who did comment surprised me. Furthermore, the depth of some of the comments and the direction they took surprised me to an even greater extent.
I posted a list with little to set it up and no real explanation for the most part of what the names on the list represented. The list of names was presented in a relatively objective manner.
The comments started coming in very slowly in a fairly unopinionated way with no one taking a shot of what anything meant. Then Pat Tillet came along with his recognition of the names and a challenge concerning what the post represented. My post for that day actually begins to take form with Pat's comment.
After that point the comments begin to fill up with lengthy comments from others with Larry from Back in the USSR turning the direction of the conversation to ObamaCare. He had some excellent points to make as did Wendy Tyler Ryan. Their exchange became the crux of the post-within-the-comment-section with some fine additions by several others.
My post originally had nothing mentioned about ObamaCare other then a few names of some people connected with it. In my mind I was thinking of something bigger of which President Obama was only a small part. Left to those who visited and left comments, the blog post became focused on a side topic rather than the bigger topic which would have required deeper research or a clear knowledge of the topic and a willingness to even delve into that topic in my comment section. Who's got the time for that?
That particular post was my most viewed over the past week even though there were two blog events in which Tossing It Out was entered. Still, views were lower on the Monday post than for blog posts prior to my excursion into wondering about viral blogging, respect, and other mind-wandering sorts of things. Maybe I've derailed some of my readership as a result of my recent content or perhaps the decline goes back to my social media cutbacks. There's no real "scientific" conclusion that I've come to from my off-the-wall blogging experiment, but I can offer my observations:
- Though my title was a question, there apparently was not enough interest in the answer to draw more viewers.
- The Iron Man reference didn't have much impact, perhaps because of the Battle of the Bands hints and diminished interest in the Battle of the Bands event (no plan for me to stop yet--be here this coming Friday for the next one)
- When inadequate information is provided or the post is poorly written readers will sometimes read into a post to come to conclusions that may be much different that the blogger intended.
- Comments can be much more interesting than the post when the previous point comes into play.
- Tweeting and promoting links on Facebook can make a difference--not all that much for me in this case--but this type of promotion can work.
- Blog visitors rarely have time or interest in doing research or reading a blog post that is too detailed or deep in subject matter (I guess I already knew that).
- The ones who do have time to read are more likely to not only leave a substantial comment, but also follow the comment thread and engage in discussion with others.
- An enigmatic post such as the "Iron Man Connection" post can more readily draw comments from new visitors or those who usually don't leave comments and not as many comments from regular visitors.
An unscientific research experiment renders little in conclusiveness, but allows for speculation. I've offered my observations, perhaps some of you have some of your own.
One thing is probably a good bet in today's post: I wouldn't expect too much engagement from readers. Some of you may be scratching your heads if you've gotten this far down the page. If you have then I thank you for sticking with this and congratulate you on your reading persistence. I can't promise that I won't do a post like this or last Monday's again, but I'll try to avoid it for a couple months. I'll try.
Let's face it--a post of this nature is self-indulgent even if it is intended for gathering information that could be potentially useful to me as well as other bloggers. I am exploring the possibilities that blogging has to offer.
My blog experimentation and questioning may also be a step toward something I have brewing on the back burners of my brain. This something may be of interest to many of you, but I'm going to let it simmer a bit before I present the idea publicly. My idea starts with the most recent post on my dream blog A Faraway View in which my guest Yolanda Renée discusses precognitive dreams or dreams or visions that predict the future. I encourage you to go over to pay Yolanda a visit at this post.
After Yolanda's post appeared, she and I had an ongoing email exchange about her post. Our discussion gave me an idea that I hope to share soon. In the meantime visit Yolanda's precog dream post. If you visit the precognitive dream post be sure to leave a comment. And then if you would be so kind, share the link wherever you think others might see it best. Be a part of our experiment!
And now I'll close my self-indulgent mind circus and fly away until my next post appears on Wednesday. Then on Friday there will be another Battle of the Bands post in which I'll pit two versions of the same song for you to decide which is your favorite. What song have I chosen for this round? Clues are in this post.
Are you annoyed by self-indulgent blog posts? Aren't most blog posts self-indulgent to some degree or another? Does the average blog post have much impact for marketing purposes? One choice only: Do you prefer blog posts that disseminate information or are strictly entertaining? Any idea what song I've chosen for my Battle of the Bands post on Friday?