Getting back to my Photo of the Day posts with this shot from Orange County, California. I’ve shared a few versions of this before, but it continues to mesmerize me as I work through minor adjustments on this and other images, trying to decide on some new releases for the upcoming season. This one is especially poignant in that regard as I feel it’s very reflective of time. There’s just a certain mystique about it; a mix of something tangible yet really unknown. Kind of like standing in the present and trying to make sense of what’s in the future or what has passed; drifting through tangents of consciousness at the peril of missing out on the beauty of the moment. Such is time and such is life, and if you’re not careful either can get away from you.
On a lighter note, you might be wondering about the title of this post- “Below the Fold.” This is in reference to an old newspaper term, and the practice of putting the most eye-catching images or headlines on the top half of the front page, or above the fold, where it would be visible on the newsstand and enticing to potential readers. In this case, however, I’m curious how many of you actually look beyond.
The reason I’m wondering is lately I’ve been kind of reevaluating my online efforts and looking a little closer at the analytics that accompany this blog and my social media accounts. With this page in particular I’ve noticed some discrepancies that I’m trying to figure out- namely the fact that somehow my posts seem to receive more “likes” than “views.” For those of you not familiar with WordPress analytics, bloggers have access to limited information which provides a glimpse of how people are engaging with their sites. This includes various stats, but it’s primarily centered on how many times people have viewed blog posts and how many have expressed enjoyment by clicking a little star icon to indicate that they like what they see. (Much like the little thumbs up on Facebook, a heart on Instagram, etc.)
So how is it possible that people are liking my posts without viewing them? It’s not exactly a chicken or the egg scenario. I mean a person has to first view a blog post before they can decide they like it. Or do they?
I kind of have two theories as to what is going on here. A) The WordPress analytics are inaccurate or B) Other bloggers just go through and randomly “like” posts without actually viewing them.
As for the latter, WordPress has this thing called the Reader to help you find new content or follow the work of other bloggers. Basically it will show you the title of a post, a lead photo if there is one, and the first couple of lines a blogger has written. For whatever reason there is a “like” button attached to this preview. I’m not well versed in all of the functions of WordPress, but I’m assuming that a blog post only gets credit for a view if a person clicks on it to read beyond the preview, whereas it can get likes right on the spot.
So what does it matter? Nothing really, but it is a little bit frustrating to spend time on a blog post and realize that very few people are actually reading it. Beyond that, it seems kind of insincere to me that other bloggers would take this fly-by approach and I can’t help but wonder why. The only explanation I can think of is they’re “liking” the previews in hope of others turning around and actually looking at their own sites. Views and visits are important in this online world, arbitrary as it seems, especially if the occasion should ever present itself (jobs, sponsorships or freelance opportunities) where you need to demonstrate your digital relevance. There have been times when I’ve put out a 1,000 word blog post and within seconds of it going live I already have 12 likes, much faster than a person could have possibly read it. Even if those on the other end mean well, it’s always demoralizing to pour yourself into something and have someone brush over it and say “yeah, sure, that’s great…” without giving it a second thought.
So this is all my roundabout way of asking for your help. Like I said, I’m wondering how many people view my blog to read these posts in their entirety (aka below the fold) and how that compares to how many “likes” I get. If you’ve made it this far, please leave a comment below and let me know that you have. You don’t have to say much if you don’t want to… just write “Yes” or “Read it” or something to that effect. And if you have thoughts, insights or similar experiences you’d like to share, please feel free to mention those here as well.
It’s just a little experiment I’m conducting, and I’ll discuss what I learn in a post to come soon.