Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When my blog posts "go viral"

So, in the last couple of months I’ve had two blog posts that blew up.
The first was a colorful map of the ELCA Synods, which several hundred people looked at right after I posted it.
The second was an old post of my Watch Night Sermon on internship, which a bunch of people looked at the two weeks leading up to New Years.
That got me thinking, what makes my posts go viral?
I looked and saw my top five most looked at posts are:
I think the Synod map went viral because the ELCA’s version of the map is so bland that mine was useful.
My Watch Night Sermon apparently shows up when you google “free watch night sermon” and clearly there are pastors whose preaching pallet is dry after Christmas Eve and are looking for inspiration or outright borrowing—I hope my meditation on Genesis 22 is helpful for them.
As for the Zorba the Greek quotes… I get messages from time to time that I should put page numbers down, or even add an essay about the book that they could copy and paste… because people are using the quotes to write English 101 papers… so again they are looking for inspiration, borrowing… or outright plagiarism.
The Open Letter likely went viral because it rode the wave of disgust at Washington for their cuts to SNAP funding, and because it came from a faith perspective.
Then, finally, judging from emails I received about it, my New Years Resolution involving going without internet (yeah… I need to get back on that) genuinely horrified some of my more tech-appreciative friends and followers… so reading that post was maybe a little like rubbernecking.
So, in short, my most read posts are useful or hit a certain nerve… which means my “Weekly Simul” theory of expanding readership was off.

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