Thursday, 14 February 2013

Vole: Superachiever

As you may know, I'm a keen reader of Boing Boing, the essential repository of all things simultaneously geeky, nerdy, creative, intellectual, left-liberal and cool. Indeed, Boing Boing is a kind of forerunner of Plashing Vole in this regard, though I fear it lacks the mass appeal I've so carefully crafted. 

However, as an arbiter of taste, Boing Boing takes itself seriously, and its founder has kindly published '10 Tips For Building An Addictive, Compelling Website', excerpted from a modest book called The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do And How They Do It So Well. Let's see how Plashing Vole shapes up amongst the Superachievers, shall we?
1. Tap into the Zeitgeist.
I think can modestly claim to have fulfilled that condition admirably. The world has come round to wearing Doctor Martens and corduroy once more. Plashing Vole extols the joys of equal marriage, Welsh-language literary science fiction (here's a story about an armadillo having sex with an hotelier), apostrophe preservation, teasing no-hope small town journalism, posting pictures of birds or my friend Dan scowling at Nature, and bigging-up bands like Ectogram. I bought a history of street-lighting yesterday. Zeitgeist: I am in you. (Alernatively, you might believe that one can never willingly choose to be 'in the Zeitgeist': if you try, you're not there).
2. Be original. If you try to emulate a successful blog, you’ll just be a second-rate version of something already out there, and who needs that? Make the blog that doesn’t exist yet, but that you’d want to read.
As long as 'original' means cracking horse jokes with 36 hours of the story breaking, hounding my local MP for his obvious failings and moaning about my students – as well as the occasional obituary – then it's another big fecking tick for the Volester. God, this social media stuff's easy. 
3. Make the connection.
I've got readers. The stats are astonishing. Readers from several hundred yards away. And not all Googling for unmentionable sexual practices. There's a market out there for What I Reckon About Paul Uppal and the various books I've compulsively bought today. But let's not be hasty. I like knowing you're out there… rather than in here. Keep a respectable distance please. 
4. Get an attitude. Without a point of view, your blog is unfiltered mush. 
Manufactured outrage? One lump or two? I've got loads of the stuff round the back. Nobody disdains the Daily Mail with quite the hauteur, nay, froideur, of Plashing Vole. 
5. Don’t waste people’s time. People are busy. 
No they're not. I've got the site visitor stats to prove it. Anyone who comes here twice either has very low standards or an awful lot of time on their hands. (Or in the cases of Peter Rhodes and Paul Uppal, to prove to themselves that at least someone's paying attention to them). 
6. Mix it up. Posts that are easy to grasp in a couple of seconds--a bit of shopping news, helpful tips or gossip--get lots of hits and move fast. 
That's right, sheeple! You're all consumerist dummies who need your goldfish brains pandered to now and then with some patronising 'and finally' stuff because you can't cope with raw unadulterated screeds of My Genius. Here's a picture of a cat with some bad typography for you link-bait meatbags:

Happy now? Good. Now get back to Mail Online where you belong. 
7. Appeal to the novelty gene. It’s good to blog frequently, but the stuff you blog about has to be unexpected or people will lose interest.
Yeah? You reckon great works of literature, political affairs and pictures of Dan scowling at nature get boring after a while? Perhaps I should perpetrate some novelty crimes to blog about solely to keep this imaginary audience of adulterous blog-whores coming to my yard? Or replace a limb with a 3D printer for sheer futurist-comedy LOLZ. You'd like that, Boing Boing readers, wouldn't you? Yeah, everything's better with a 3D printer for all your role-playing needs. Oh, and endless stuff about Minecraft. Or, for maximum Boing Boing orgasm, a Minecraft 3D Printer
8. Let feedback change you. The community feedback has made me more aware of my insensitivities and the blog has evolved because of it.
Sadly, my commenters all slavishly agree with me, except the ones who don't, and who needs them? It's a mutually reinforcing circle. I read people who agree with me, nick their ideas, they read me, then we're all surprised when it turns out that meatspace where you lot live is actually dominated by horrible horrible people who wear jeggings and vote Tory. (Actually, I love getting comments and quite often find myself re-thinking my perspective). This is a good tip. Now we just need Guido Fawkes to learn from it. 
9. Think of a friend. To get over blog stage fright, when I post something I’ll often have a friend in mind who has the same sense of humor as me.
To my friend with the same sense of 'humor' as me: get help. You sick, sick puppy. And stop sending me those emails. I'll get the sack if IT ever find those pictures. Or the authorities find the grave. 
10. Keep it real. 
Keep it real? I live in a town which thinks cuisine is a pig's hide attacked with an oxy-acetylene torch and that peas should be grey. People vomit on my doorstep. Staples are a black-market commodity where I work. I agonise over fabric softener choices, enjoy ironing and bought slippers last year. I'm losing teeth, hair and keys. I had to email my landlord about a door handle yesterday. The other day, I told the students about talented typographer Eric Gill and beautiful Gill Sans. Then I told them that he had sex with sister. And his children. And his dog. Another student misread 'deserts' for 'desserts' and wrote about Shakespeare and Pudding, while another one thought David Cameron is a Labour PM. 

Keep it real? Are you mad? I'm on here to get away from all that stuff, not inflict it on you poor blighters. 

Thanks Boing Boing. I love you but I don't think we should move in together. We wouldn't last a week. 

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