Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Update and Explanation

This is a little message about why I have not been posting much on this blog as of late. I enjoy writing this blog and wanted to share it with others, and thought it would be a great way to practice my writing skills. I decided at the beginning that I would not use it as a means to make money (hence the lack of ads on it), and I am sticking to that. I do not expect to become an overnight sensation. I recognize that I am one of countless Trek fans who write about Star Trek on the internet, and do not anticipate becoming any sort of celebrity. Having said that, I do like having lots of people read my blog and share their thoughts. I like engaging others and hope that people enjoy what I have written, and recent events have put a damper on that.

Even though regular readers are very few in number (I think I have 3 followers, but being small in numbers doesn't mean I do not value you any less), I typically have a few hundred hits per blog post. When I made this blog I had no idea how to attract readers other than putting it out there, so I turned to social media (mainly Facebook and Google). I started with my friends (people I can actually put a face to their name), and then started to join some fan groups on Facebook and Google+. I saw the number of page visits go from a couple dozen to a couple hundred. I continued to write and gradually added a few extra groups. Pretty soon I would be getting around five hundred or so hits per post. I would get a few comments here and there, and I must admit that I enjoyed that. I even had some of my posts exceed 1000 and even 2000 views. This exceeded any expectations I had, and I was getting some good feedback. It helped me polish my skills and I felt that things were going well. 

A couple months ago, I was contacted by one of the administrators of one of the Facebooks groups I belonged to. She informed me that my posts were being deleted because I did not comment on anyone else's posts. She told me that I was spamming the group with my weekly posts. I was a little confused at that, so I asked for some clarification. I was met with a wall of intolerance. I had a different understanding as to what "spam" was than her group did. I asked for some guidelines on what level of participation that wanted from me, to which she ended the conversation, blocked me, and banned me from the group. I suspect she also labeled my blog as spam to Facebook. I was a bit hurt by the situation as I had never intended to break the rules of any group. In fact, I would do my best to learn and to follow the rules of each group. If a certain series or type of post was not allowed in a group, I would not share those posts with them. I felt that their reaction was over the top, unfair, and hurtful. I panicked a bit and worried that I was doing the same in other groups. It caused me a lot of stress (more than it really should have, I admit), so I quit a few of the groups I was in. I reached out to other admin members in other groups, and many of them responded with some good feedback and advice. I then got back to writing.

Sadly, my page views plummeted immediately after this, by as much as 90%. Types of articles that would normally hit 600-800 views were lucky to break 80. I rejoined a couple of the groups I left, and found a couple more to be a part of. Since then, the numbers have only marginally improved. I contacted Facebook to see if being labeled as spam from someone else could affect how often my post was showing up in someone's feed. I have had no reply. When I mentioned this in another group, someone suggested that if I stop posting for a month or so, things would "reset" in a way, and the label of spam would be gone. If I kept posting weekly, it would indeed be seen as spam and nothing would change. I decided to give that suggestion a try and see what happens. 

So what this means to the three blessed souls who still follow this blog is that I will be not be posting anymore articles or episode reviews until late January 2019. This is good for a few reasons, as it will allow me some time to write, as well as have me not feel pressured to keep up with it during a busy time over the Christmas holidays (I'm taking the family on a trip, and likely won't have time over the next couple weeks to do much on the blog anyways). It gives me a chance to reassess the situation and further engage myself in the FB groups I am in. That was one of the changes I made afterwards. I realized that this other group was correct in stating that I did not participate with their group nearly as much. I participated in other groups more, just not theirs for some reason. I committed to give a few more comments and be a better community member when possible. 

So I hope that you will continue to check on this little old blog every now and then and stay with me when I am back. I'll hopefully have some time to renew my energies and come up with some new ideas. I have lots to write about with over 500 episodes left to review, so I do not plan on going anywhere. I'm just taking a needed break. Until Discovery Season 2, live long and prosper my friends.

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