The year in which I quit blogging may seems an odd one to scribe a year in review post but something particularly strange occurred in 2017 and I felt obliged to cement it into the history books. Now, to say something strange happened in 2017 is hardly an earth-shattering revelation. The past year saw an almost hourly parade of the strange and bewildering, not to mention appalling and terrifying. If anything, it was a year most of us wish we could forget. Entirely. If we had all awoken January 1st, 2018 and found Bobby Ewing in our showers, I doubt very much any of us would have been shocked. In fact, our collective relief at learning the entirety of 2017 was nothing more than a dream would have filled the globe with a mutual joy the likes of which have not been witnessed since the climax of Independence Day.
In other words, don’t expect an invective-laden anti-Trump rant. Those are in plentiful supply elsewhere. Venture forth at your own risk. I would, however, beg a few moments of your valuable procrastination time in order to share the 2017 peculiarity that prompted this blog post. It fascinates me, will likely dull you, but ultimately sums up quite nicely why I am not nor will I ever be a successful blogger.
I spent 2016 chasing a variety of motivational New Year’s resolutions, some of which were distinctly writing related. I was attempting to prove my blogging chops and see if any sort of prose career was a viable option for me. I set about writing and posting a minimum of two blog posts every week for the entire year. Well, as 2016 came to a close, not only had I resoundingly failed all my resolutions but my increased posting efforts had resulted in fewer viewers venturing to my website than in 2015. I was working harder and getting less for it. This unexpected response from the interwebs so saddened, frustrated, and pissed me off that by March of 2017 I decided to quit altogether. I even said as much in what was then to be my final blog post and I went about systematically “quitting” all social media. I know how to throw a petty tantrum!
This revelation promptly gave me a traffic bump not only for the remainder of that March, but through the entire summer as well. How fitting. I was being rewarded for quitting. As 2017 trudged onward an inevitable truth was taking shape. This past year would prove to be my most popular year in the history of my blog. Who knew quitting would be so profitable? Imagine the traffic I’d be garnering right now if I had quit on my second post ever back in 2014? Oh, hindsight, you mischievous bastard!
Perplexed though I remained, I was inspired to come back this past autumn and started posting a few things again. Accordingly, your eyeballs drifted away once more and my traffic numbers returned to their typical underachieving ways. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, though I am a little disappointed. I returned with what I thought would be a controversial and potentially viral post. How quickly I had forgotten the realities of social media popularity and my repulsion of it.
Nonetheless, it was a momentous, if quirky, year. A look at my most popular blog posts of 2017 reveals one striking fact. A Crock of Schmidt is apparently a campground review website. Fully 15 of the 20 most popular posts on my blog are reviews of campgrounds. These reviews are something I started writing simply for something to write about back in 2016 when I was trying to post weekly. We camp a lot in the summer and I’ve always felt meaningful, detailed reviews of campgrounds are handy for campers looking to find new spots to enjoy a weekend. Those Google reviews are typically brief and vague or worse, nonsensical rants. It would seem my reviews are providing a valuable service to an increasing number of folks and I think I’m okay with that.
I think this also proves what most successful bloggers, sorry, influencers, already know. Despite its reputation, the internet remains a place where people go looking for useful information. The days of the funny non-celebrity writing goofy bits on a blog are long gone and those that remain have saturated the market. That genre has moved to video anyway. I, like your funny, drunk uncle, am not in demand nor even as amusing as you think which is why my awesome post stating that Smokey and the Bandit is a better movie than Star Wars remains largely unread or why my musings about The Dukes of Hazzard being a CBC show is less popular than dog owners who don’t scoop the poop. Give people something they want and you’ll get a few readers, maybe even a share or two. Give people something your closest family members might chuckle at and well, you’ll find it’s only read by those closest family members.
Even my attempts at heresy garnered little support. My post ranting about the psychosis infecting minor hockey parents in Canada was one I thought would surely gain some traction if only because it subtly discussed, though didn’t specifically name, people in my own neighbourhood. My neighbourhood can get a little pissy towards those questioning our minor hockey association. Furthermore, I was running down Hockey itself which, in Canada, remains the sole crime punishable by death (I think). Alas, this wonderful diatribe that my wife had forbidden me to publish in its original form the year prior, only managed to squeak into the top 30 for 2017. And it wasn’t even the most popular 2017 post I made. That one was about the shock of home renovation costs and though it did better than the hockey rant it did only better enough to rank one spot ahead. Hardly boast-worthy.
In retrospect, I probably should have stayed quit and just ridden the coattails of my 2015 and 2016 campground reviews in hopes of one day earning $100 in advertising revenue, the minimum amount for which Google will write a cheque. I wish I could say I’m a sucker for punishment, but the reality is I’m bored out of my fucking skull. I’m too “ill” to work a real job and so I sit around all day wondering what I can do to be productive for the remainder of my fruitless life. Every few months my mind loses itself and I attempt to write something. I quickly remember that I don’t particularly enjoy writing all that much followed by the humbling jolt when said post’s popularity tops out at 25 readers resulting in yet another Don Music style smash of my head on my keyboard.
Happy New Year, I guess.