Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Tweeting and blogging

I will have been blogging now for nine years come April. Over that time I will have published over 2,250 posts. Each month, this blog has around 15,000 page views - up from a recent low of 10,000, down from a high of 20,000 (there was a short period where Google Analytics was telling me I was getting 100,000 page views a month, but those were probably bots rather than humans). My blog hit peak view in 2012, and readership has been in decline since. This can be seen below:

The Golden Age of blogging (circa 2010) - when everyone had a blog and everyone read blogs - has passed. But blogging is not dead, just as TV did not kill the radio, just reduced its audience share. In the meantime, Twitter has come to prominence and Facebook has been growing relentlessly.

Below: Google Analytics' traffic tools are far more detailed than Blogger's (both are part of Google). Different results - this is because I've not worked out how to insert the up-to-date tracking code into my blog. Frankly - too much bother; I generally check my traffic stats on Blogger rather than using Google Analytics. Sorry - it's evolved into something way too geekily nerdy for me.

I started on Twitter at the end of 2013, and today I have 455 followers (the average number of followers per active Twitter user is 208). Being good at Twitter isn't easy - you need to spend time on it (in my case mainly during commutes); you need to deliver to your followers - insights, humour, whatever, all in 140 characters; your writing must be sharp and clever.

Why am I on Twitter? If I'm to be honest, it's to drive traffic to my blog.

Why am I blogging? If I'm honest, it's to stake a place for posterity. Initially, I wanted to document that little corner of a Warsaw suburb in which I live, note the way it is changing, place a marker post for future generations. But blogging gives me the opportunity to share observations about Poland, Britain, politics, economics - and the human condition. It gives me something to fall back on to see how my views have changed, become more refined, more nuanced with age. If anything, I hope the future will be brighter, so I will be able to focus more on matters spiritual, the lifelong quest for spiritual understanding. And the Sublime Aesthetic.

Back in the mid-1990s, as I was starting to get to grips with what the internet would be able to do for mankind's development, I posited that in 20 years time, I'd have my own TV channel with an audience of ten viewers around the world. I was wrong about the TV bit - my medium is the written word and the still photograph. And I somewhat underestimated the size of my global audience - and global it is - the bulk of my readers outside Poland are from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and - surprisingly - China (actually slightly ahead of Australia). This is the main advantage of blogging in English  rather than Polish - global audience. Plus for me, educated in England, trained in journalism and with nine years' experience in editing a monthly business magazine, my written English is considerably better than my written Polish.

Blogging has its rewards, not least the occasional e-mail of thanks from a regular reader (one wrote the other day that his morning online starts with the news, the weather... and And I blog with my 92 year-old father very much in mind, especially when writing about local matters.

Tweeting is different. As I wrote the other day, the main problem with the 140-character limit is that you cannot develop an argument. This means you can preach to the converted, but you can't convert. This tends to draw battle lines in societies which can quickly spill over into hate speech. With the best will in the world, it is difficult to seek common ground with those whose worldview is different to yours in Twitter. Any egregious behaviour online will end in accounts being blocked; trust in society has been taken down a notch. This is especially true in politics; Poland is but a microcosm of the shitstorm that will hit Twitter in the US in the run-up to a Clinton v. Trump presidential race.

If anything, the direction I'll be taking on Twitter in coming months is to avoid Polish politics and focus rather on the economy, promoting activities that help generate faster growth, innovation and new trade. It is emotionally draining having to deal with trolls who misunderstand your motives and writing. Not a problem I have when blogging!

This time two years ago:
The sad truth about the pavement for Karczunkowska
[Since then one tiny stretch has been paved. Rest is mud.]

This time six years ago:
A haul of wintery wonderfulness

This time seven years ago:
Optimal way to work?

This time eight years ago:
Highest point in Jeziorki 
(photos of the Rampa before demolition)


meika said...

I appreciate the writing, especially as a castle-in-the-air scheme of mine to re-locate the family (with much less of the language skills) to Poland (or even just Ireland, there are lots of Poles there—) for a couple of years, remained ungrounded. I follow your experience with much interest. Thanks from Tasmania.

Spectrometrist said...

A long time reader. Please keep writing, I am fascinated by your accounts of life and changes in suburban Warsaw. My husband is from a Polish family in Manchester and we are frequent visitors to the country, mostly to Kraków. Living in the Boston area of the US now, I am constantly surprised at how closely our weather patterns match to yours.

Bob said...

Always good to read your blog. If you want more page views I would suggest you cross link it with a Facebook page and develop a simple strategy to build a following - happy to chat about it and brainstorm in mid Feb when I get back from the US. (We are overdue for a beer anyway) Bob

Tomasz Andraszek said...

Thanks for writing Mr Dembinski. I link to your blog from mine:
Have you tried Quora? You could really shine there. Currently, with 15,000 views on my 57 answers, I am the top writer in category Poland there, but you could beat me very quickly - I do not even live in Poland. The second most viewed writer in Poland, with 10,000 views, is Ukrainian. :-)