A day ago one of my tweet on the dissapointing aspects of Obama’s presidency went viral. It was a list. Lists do well, because they structure information and it is clear what you are talking about. Lists also give a feeling of ‘completion’, of finality, and especially in our world where opinions, half-truths and even some facts fly around at insane speeds, people are looking for the final verdict on a lot of issues. The list form is excellent to cater to that need.
Worth noting here is, if you googled ‘how to make a tweet go viral’, how little it means when one or more of your tweets go viral. When it happens, you realize how little it accomplishes. It does not get you any money, it does not convince even one of the people who disagree with you that you might be on to something, it does not get you any friends, it certainly does not lead to sex.
Maybe you will have the fleeting emotion of mattering. For a moment it seems as though the world hears you, as if your opinions matter. This is of course a false experience. My tweets, even the popular ones, have no impact on the course of humanity. Being kind to one person I meet, even for two minutes, does far, far more for the world than a tweet that gets thousands of likes or reweets.
I have millions of views on Quora. My goal with this website, PEP talk, has always been to get more than 10,000 visitors a month – it’s a modest goal, but most blogs do not even get 500 visitors a month, so it is a fairly ambitious goal . We are way past 10,000 visitors now. It’s nice to reach a goal, absolutely, but so far it has still not got me anything else than a feeling like ‘hmmm, maybe am doing something right, maybe am offering some value to some people’.
Is it worth it?
Important to note: I write because I can not not write. If I do not write I grow restless to the point I feel like am going to explode or do something silly. So even though I would say that writing gets me very little, the most important thing it gets me, is that it quiets down my mind. Other than that:
My online writing activities did not lead to sex, they did not really lead to any friendships, and some of my writing has lost me friends, it lead to some money, but very little compared to the time I have invested. It has opened the eyes of some people I value incredibly much, such as Hanka Pistova, my beloved sister in law to certain issues I care very deeply about. She has come to see the actions of Israel – sanctioned by the US – for what they are: in many cases vile crimes born out of greed and arrogance.
This website is also a way to communicate with my very busy wife. She reads every post and it seems to be like every blog post is also a letter to my wife, to some extent.
Is it worth it? I would say that in the end, perhaps it is, it has made me structure my thoughts, it has made me consider lots of issues much more deeply, it has taught me about communication and how information spreads, etc. It has made me get to know my friends much better, perhaps better than any other means of communication would have allowed. It has made me more humble, and I have had to be disciplined about it to reach the goal of 10,000 visitors a day.
It has also shown me what people care about most deeply. There are 900 posts on this website so far. Most do not deal with sex at all, yet the top ten most popular posts on this site all deal with sex…
I have learned plenty of stuff about getting your message out, formulating your thoughts, the potential backlash of expressing yourself, etc. I will not stuff all of that into this post. One thing I have also learned is that you have to keep blog posts short. This one is already too long. If you have questions about blogging, writing, or anything, just contact me, it might take me some time, but I always answer.