As this brief aphorism from Human, All Too Human shows, Nietzsche really does have a snippet of wisdom for every occasion.
I’ve noticed something interesting in the pattern of followings and unfollowings on my Tumblr recently. Every time I post, almost immediately a few people unfollow. More slowly, over the course of the next 24 hours or so, a few people follow. Usually, at the end of the day, the number of followers exceeds the number of unfollowers by a small margin. My completely intuitive hypothesis (that’s philosophese for “I’m pulling this out of my ass”) is that, as my posts worm them way around Tumblr, new people discover them, and go, “Oh, this is interesting.” But my blog is pretty random in terms of content, so I imagine that many people are surprised when they see the following posts; if you signed on because you’re a feminist theorist and you liked my post about Irigaray, it may surprise you to find a post about the etiquette of ass-eating on your dashboard the next evening; likewise, I imagine that at least some of the people who liked my recent post about the Black Party didn’t care about today’s Hume-an diagram (I’m impressed with my own pun, so I’m going to keep using it). In other words, my hypothesis is that the majority of followers and unfollowers are the same group of people who come and go, with the small margin of additional followers being the statistical marker of people who are curious enough to stay on board. (I suppose I could actually look at the names of all my followers and test this hypothesis by seeing which people follow and unfollow, but that seems really excessive both in terms of effort and in terms of time. Also, I really just want to think about something for a minute, rather than demonstrate something empirically. And finally, it’s really people’s own business if they want to read my crap or not).
Why is this interesting? Well, if you’re anyone except me, it’s probably not very interesting. But this is my blog, so fuck you. The thing is, my posts have, over the (gulp) years gotten longer and longer, somehow. So my theory is that it’s also become harder to get a quick glimpse of what my blog is like. It used to be that there were 10 or so posts on my homepage; now there are 3-4 at most, usually, and I imagine that when I do the longer posts (like this one) a lot of people don’t get past the first one. Which is also just fine. I have no problem if you stop reading after 2 paragraphs; I try to put the gist of the thing in the beginning for just that reason, so people can skip off if they want (I most emphatically do, have a problem, however, if you stopped reading after 2 paragraphs and you still feel entitled to critique).
When I started this blog, it was kind of an inside joke between me and, maybe, 4 people. I used to have a Blogspot blog that was about “theory.” It was very rarely updated, and when it was updated, the posts were elephantine (much like this one). So I started this Tumblr as a joke, with the motto “Fuck Theory” and forced myself to fit a complete idea into every index card (thanks again to friend and genius Grant for suggesting Tumblr at the time). Each card was just an exercise in capturing a thought, so I really just wrote about whatever I was thinking about, from philosophy to fucking, as the saying goes (I pretty much still write the blog that way, except now I have these huge self-indulgent footnotes). I imagined that, if it was wildly hilarious, 50 people or so might eventually read it. Well, it’s kind of ballooned past that at this point.
The point of all this masturbation is that after a long time writing these cards, I still have no idea what it is that people actually enjoy reading on my blog. I keep having these little hypotheses, but ultimately none of them prove accurate. I base my estimation here, again, not on any statistical data but just on eyeballing. I basically look how many notes a post has gotten. I used to think the longer ones got less notes than the shorter ones, but that hasn’t proven true over the long run. It used to be the sex related ones got way more notes than any philosophy ones, but that’s also long since inaccurate. Then for a while I thought that linked article commentaries were more popular then my own concepts, but that also hasn’t proven valid. Nor has the idea that introductory posts are more popular than complex posts, or the idea that my ranting-and-raving posts are more popular than my geeking-out-philosopher posts. There’s really no firm way of knowing whether readers will like a post or not. And I honestly really like that fact, because though I like to think that I would post whatever the fuck I wanted anyway, it’s nice not to have to choose. I post whatever the fuck I want because I honestly have no fucking clue how you people will react to anything I post. Oh, except that everyone seems to like the swearing. Fuck. No, really. Why are you people here?
Since I’m already in the middle of a gushy self-indulgent streak of narcissism, I might as well take a second to note how fucking amazing it is when I suddenly remember every couple of months that I have a Google Analytics account and I see that people have been reading my blog from Pakistan and India and Australia and Norway and Argentina and so many other countries that I wish I could visit (my continent travel count has been stuck at 4 for too many years…does anyone own a hotel in Buenos Aires?). But I digress. It’s really kind of too incredible that technology makes it possible for my index cards to be read across the planet, which is why I can’t look at that Analytics account too often or it starts creeping me out. It’s not news, of course; the Internet is the new sublime - dwell on its workings too long and it will devour you…