Guest Writer: Tim Dungan (aka ptvGuy)
Not to be just another SOB, I had to come by and thank Liz personally for including me here in her collection of certified SOBs. I will wear my badge proudly. It’s such an enjoyable departure from the web development and public television stuff that I usually deal in.
Frankly, there are so many fun things about blogging that tend to get lost behind the business end of it. I hope you don’t mind if I share a few things here that I will never be able to write about on my own blog where I must maintain a certain air of “authoritative professionalism” (which is a nice way of saying “stuck-up, self-importance.”)
PageRank and search strings and keywords, oh my…
If you’re like me, then you regularly check your blog stats for all sorts of important information like who’s visiting your site, how often, and, especially, how they’re getting there. When search engines like Google send visitors your way, it’s important–and sometimes quite fun — to note the specific search strings that got them there. The idea, of course, is to analyze your keywords and optimize your content to get more visitors based on what they’re searching for and what draws them to your site, etc., etc. However, there are times when that isn’t such a
brilliant thing to do.
I, for instance, routinely blog about my own unique style of writing perfect code or what I refer to as “anal coding.” It, therefore, doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to figure out the kind of search strings that often manage to bring visitors to my blog (“Anal journey” is one of my favorites.) nor to assume that they probably left disappointed. Like this blog and the award that made it famous, that
was something of a purposeful malapropism — in this case, the use of a negative term as if it were a positive thing to strive for. I hope to be half as successful at it as Liz.
The thing is, there are always certain search strings in the list that simply make no sense. You’re left asking yourself questions like, “How on earth did someone find my website by typing those words into a search engine?” I’ve tried a few of these (No, not the anal ones.) and gotten 30 or 40 pages into the results without finding any mention of my site.
If we assume that our stats are not mistaken, then we have to guess that somehow for some unknown reason and for a limited amount of time every once in a while, the underlying search engine algorithms simply stop to daydream. Why not? It’s a complex system. Given the choice between daydreams and occasional hiccups, IÃ¢â¬â¢m going with the daydream theory.It works for me. Then again, I’m of the opinion that PageRank is determined by who can flip a nickel closest to the wall, so what do I know?
Podcasting, the Ultimate Form of Ventriloquism
If you think about it — and it’s best not to–podcasting is about throwing your voice literally around the world. It’s a ventriloquist act. If your blog includes a podcast, then you too have the unique privilege of hearing your own voice coming out of cheap, tinny computer speakers. I guarantee that this will remove any delusions you may ever have had that you sound eloquent or suave or erudite or anything else other than nasally and annoying. Every time I finish a podcast now, I
go and give my wife a long backrub and thank her for tolerating that horrifying sound for all these years.
Another thing about podcasting is that one gets to discover certain habits about oneself that are better left unknown. For instance, I have discovered that I have a tendency to take in a particularly snooty-sounding, deep breath right before delivering a long, self-serving diatribe of a sentence meant to make me sound important. These are things we always notice about others and never see in
ourselves. It’s not pleasant.
And then there’s the kids…
I work out of my own home. Lucky me, huh?
This means that, at any given moment, my children are likely to burst through the door screaming at each other about who did what. We won’t even discuss what I’ve gotten to learn about myself from that. Suffice to say that I’m glad it’s not a live show and that I’ve been able to look up all sorts of information about how to edit an audio file prior to uploading it. (BTW, this has also saved the world from numerous bad puns, the odd moments when I burst into song, and even the occasional belch.)
Anyway, thanks again for the award and allowing me a place to ramble for a moment. It’s good to be able to drop the professional persona once in awhile and just be me.
Thanks for this lovely thank-you card.
You chose a way to say thanks that is so perfectly in keeping with the spirit of SOBs and everything about this blog. What fun and how nice that you would take time to do this on a Saturday. That means a lot to me.