Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where have all the readers gone?

Or, more to the point, where have all the commenters gone?

The Cowboy, we know, is mired in trial preparations. But Tulsa was silent from Monday to Friday. And FG has disappeared as mysteriously as he/she/it arrived in the first place. And those three are just about it for the regular commenting; so, when I lose them, the blog seems mighty quiet.

More pointedly still, where have all my old friends gone??

At the start of the week, I sent out an e-mail to all the folks 'back home' (a roughly even split between the UK and North America, as it happens - with a few more exotic countries thrown in here and there) exhorting them to come and visit the blog, and making a 'recommendation of the week' for them to check out (of course, the infamous 'Asexualismo' post over on the Barstool - I think I'll add that one to the sidebar on here, if I haven't already). And I haven't heard a peep out of any of them. Not one. Not by e-mail, not by phone, not by letter, not by postcard..... and most certainly not in a comment! I'm really starting to wonder if that e-mail of mine got through OK. Perhaps spam filters worldwide are now being ridiculously vindictive towards multiple-blind-copies. Perhaps 'The Kafka Boys' here in China are intercepting my e-mail. Perhaps Yahoo has been suffering one of its occasional "We can be just as useless as Hotmail sometimes!" glitches in service. I shall have to do some follow-up on this.

You see, during my first four-and-a-half years in China I kept all of my buddies overseas entertained with regular 'bulletins' about my new life here: about 1,200-1,500 words of wit, rant, and general froogery almost every week. Although a few people asked to be taken off the list because they were "just too busy" to be dealing with my narcissistic noodlings, the majority actually encouraged me to keep up the habit, and interacted with me by e-mail at least once in a while; a few loyal fans would promptly query or complain if there was any cessation of the usual outpouring for any reason. And in fact, the mailing list grew in length over the years as I added a number of friends-of-friends, former China colleagues fled home, pen friends, blog friends, etc. Yes, the 'bulletin' was going out to 70-odd people every week..... and being 'enjoyed' by a significant number of them.

But..... well, I rather fell out of the habit early this year. My posting on the blogs has been taking up all of my writing energies of late, and tends to cover much the same sort of ground as the 'bulletins' did in the past (though, of course, in a private e-mail - while I still gave all the dramatis personae the anonymising protection of an amusing nickname - I was able to be far more outspoken in my commentary about friends, acquaintances.... and especially employers; and also about my romantic life; or, at any rate, my prospective romantic life, the endlessly fluid lists of women I was unpromisingly 'interested' in). Hence, I was finding it harder and harder to make the time to compose the weekly 'bulletin', harder and harder to think of suitable material to include in it - topics that I hadn't already covered on here. It became too hard. I gave up.

However, there hasn't been a high rate of 'conversion', of former 'bulletin' fans becoming regular readers of the blogs. I know from e-mail exchanges that there are several of them who do look in here, at least on the odd occasion, but don't comment - but that's only a small fraction of my original 'readership'. And so far, only The British Cowboy, Scottish Ali (aka 'anonymous') and Earthling have become anything like regular readers and commenters.

So...... I have set myself to try to chivvy rather more of these folks into joining us here on Froogville and the Barstool. My first attempt appears to have been a resounding failure. But I shall try again. Oh, yes.

"The world shall hear from me again."


Anonymous said...

It would be lovely to welcome some converters to the comment box. Come one, come all, I have a pot of tea brewing and some hobnobs on the table (yes, hobnobs - they are available at my office building's convenient store)

And froog, what are you talking about?? I've been here all week... maybe you overdosed on that clove-coco concoction and didn't notice...

Froog said...

Ah, OK - I'd forgotten my haircut post was on Tuesday. Thought it had been on Monday. After that, we didn't hear from you again until Friday (and only then because I was threatening to die on you!).

Anonymous said...

Still having fun with the Codeine and paracetomol, are we?

does it kill all the pain? if so, how do you know when to stop?

Froog said...

Fun? Yes.

All the pain? No.

And "How do you know when to stop?" is probably The Big Question of Existence. Another time, please. You want me to be up all night?

Anonymous said...

I continue to blame work, as its main function is to serve as an excuse for everything else I don't do in my life. So no regular comments from me, I'm sorry to say. But I'm still around. Just... on occasion.

I also sent an email (not blog related) to a bunch of my friends and heard no response whatsoever. Perhaps the email monster got it too?

Froog said...

It sucks when that happens, doesn't it?

I really think it might be overactive spam filters. These days they do seem to take an especial dislike to anything with 'blind copies'. I have always thought it more polite not to reveal dozens of e-mail addresses to people who might not know each other, but..... Maybe these days there is no alternative.

I hope you hear from your friends soon, OMG.

Anonymous said...

All that aside it seems to me that your comment threads are way healthier than they have ever been. So you must be doing something right.

Re 'Round Robin' emails. Hmmmm, a tricky business.

Many people are not keen on them and soon don't reply. I guess they ask themselves what value these things have. People are charmed to have ones attention and get something bespoke most of the time. They soon realise if they don't get this.

I note people often do it in Christmas cards and although well meant it has a funny effect of often turning the receiver off.

It seems from reading recent comments here that the same applies to mass texting.

moonrat said...

so much for "old friends".... my only surviving friends are digital ones, and they wouldn't even be able to pick me out of a crowd...

sushi is my friend. yes it is.

Froog said...

Are we living in 'Tron', Moonrat, are we?

Sushi may be tasty, but it doesn't have great conversation.

Get some of those 'Robert the Publisher' T-shirts printed up, spend a Saturday afternoon at a street market somewhere trying to sell them..... and see how many interesting new weirdos you meet.