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Basking in the Long Tail

If I’ve learned one thing about blogging in the better part of year since I started posting regularly, it’s this: the pieces that I expect to get traction, get little. Conversely, the pieces that I regard as throw aways, get picked up and discussed. I’ve completely given up trying to predict what will generate interest, because I’m pretty consistently wrong.

But what’s also interesting is that unlike, say, an email to a group of friends that goes unanswered, some posts can find a new life in the Long Tail. So it was with some surprise that I looked at our logs last week and noted that my “How to Get Into Blogs, 101,” which generated moderate interest in September when I wrote it, had been viewed 1300 times in the past week or two. This attention, according to Statcounter, is due in large part to Michael Hyatt, who is President and COO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing outfit. Now I’m neither religious nor acquainted with Michael, but that is in many respects the beauty of blogs [1].

Months after the original posting, the entry proves to have some life left in it and indeed is introduced as a resource to a entirely new audience, none of whom I knew or could reasonably expect to have spoken to previously. The Long Tail might not apply evenly to content – I have numerous pieces that are likely to continue to languish in digital silence – but there’s no denying the reality that is an infinite shelf life (for both good and ill).

One of the difficulties of the Long Tail, however, is that even the best content has its issues: it ages, it becomes outdated, or its written in the wrong language. That’s why I think it’s crucial that those wishing to ride the Tail let go of their content, and offer it up under permissive terms. Like as not, you’re going to need help managing and maintaining content; that requires terms that allow, and encourage, the community to help. Thus when kind souls like Cleber Mori offer to translate the post into Portugese, you don’t hesitate, you simply say “Yes. Please do.”

[1] It’s also one of the reasons I simply don’t get the “How many women/minorities/etc are on your blogroll?” question that’s making the rounds. I don’t know – or care, frankly – who the people are on my blogroll, they’re there simply by virtue of their content. Apart from the people that I know personally, or whose blog title gives it away, whether any random individual on my blogroll was male or female, white, black or green, etc. I’d hope that blogging was one area where our differences would become less important, not more.

Categories: Blogs.

  • http://www.baus.net/ Christopher Baus

    Blogging rule 189:

    Interest in an entry is inversely related to how much you like it.

  • http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady sogrady

    ain't that the truth.

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