10 Things I Have Learned About Blogging: Read Number 2 Before Hitting “Like”!


I have only been at blogging for about a month.  Good times, some great people, and some wonderful writing.  I am happy to be here.  Here are my initial observations of this cool new world.

1.  The potential for people to read your work diminishes with every extra word you add.  The relationship is non-linear, as follows:

# of views = -4.9 * Ln (# of words) + 40.7

Try it (Ln is the natural logarithm).  Don’t forget the negative!  In this relationship, a 50 word piece would give you something like 25 views; a 2000 word piece would give you like 2.  It totally works.

2.  Magically, it is possible to have people like your work even if you have no views.  This is an amazing phenomenon.  It’s like people have delved into the first few lines of your writing and have intuitively gleamed what will happen next, how it will end, and exactly what the author was trying to convey.

3.  Incredibly, there are people out there who like everything.  They find joy in every word written by ever blogger.  They love poetry.  They love prose.  They love blog tours, interviews, reviews, blank posts, photos of defecating monkeys, thesis statements on anal warts, and possibly even this post.

4.  There is more information out there on the topic of writer’s block than on any other five subjects combined.  It appears that half the people who post on the subject are aware of the irony of writing about this when they think they can’t write about anything; the rest, I’m not sure.

5.  The more scantily-clad the person in the intro photo, the more likely the post is to be viewed.  Actually, this might be just me.

6.  Now and then, I come upon a post that really really makes me think.  Example: http://chineseowl.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/%E5%B7%A5%E7%A8%8B%E8%8B%B1%E6%96%87%E8%AB%96%E6%96%87%E7%B5%84%E7%B9%94%E5%AF%AB%E4%BD%9C%E7%AC%AC%E4%B8%80%E9%83%A8%E5%88%86%E8%83%8C%E6%99%AF%E5%8D%81%E5%8D%81%E5%8D%81%E5%8D%81%E5%8D%81-7/

7.  The ratio of poetry to prose writers in the Writing and Fiction categories on WordPress is approximately 3:1 (poetry:prose) by my calculation.  I have no idea why I wrote that.  Or what difference it makes.

8.  Approximately 99 percent of the posts I have read are better than this one.  For an example that fits into the remaining 1 percent, go here:


9.  Bloggers do not make money doing this.  They don’t necessarily forward their careers.  Blogging may not help people sell their self-published books.  However.  Bloggers.  Win.  Awards.  Enough said.

10.  I have yet so see anyone propose a jamboree of WordPress bloggers, but someone really should.  I see a large dusty field somewhere in Canada because that’s where I live, and foresee many beers and debauchery.  And that’s what it’s all really about isn’t it.


Dream hard, rage hard.

179 thoughts on “10 Things I Have Learned About Blogging: Read Number 2 Before Hitting “Like”!

  1. Trent–I am going to reblog this–perhaps you will get another award from one of my readers as a result 😉

    I personally seek out photographs of defecating monkeys to like–you are onto my game, dammit! I have often thought about, and actually did for a day, disable likes on my posts to see if it made any difference. It didn’t–but I did learn exactly who reads my posts from the reader and who does not. It was informative. Not saying good, not saying bad.

    As for the party in a field in Canada, I am all for it. Bring on the debauchery!

    1. Thanks much, Susan. You know, you sound like a lot of fun, most people aren’t down with field parties. And a wonderful poet to boot. As for the defecating monkeys, I knew it!

      Maybe I can organize a party in a field somewhere and invite people. I figure if even one person shows up, the party can begin.

      1. If you set something up, I will drive to a field party in Canada with my enhanced DL–if you promise to bring a monkey! Can just hear the border chat now on the way back–are you SURE this monkey is your child? Birth Certificate please…

  2. I “liked” this post primarily because of #3. I think there are people out there who think they’ll be rewarded more richly in their afterlife if they “like” everything they possibly can. Well done. I also think you comment about the poetry to prose ratio of bloggers is interesting, not sure why, but there’s something there.

    1. Yeah I don’t know. I think possibly there is some need out there for validation that a stat count in WordPress provides. I’m not knocking it, I do other things that likely just as weird to others, but it does make me wonder. As for the prose-poetry thing, I wonder if it’s just a time thing, but that is a cynical thought. I think people naturally navigate to poetry for the same reason people have been at it for centuries, it’s a very pure form and evocative without excess words. I wish I could do it, it seems like fun, but I’m more a prose writer.

  3. Hi Trent, I was at Susan blog just now, I am #3 (sounds I am in aaa meeting lol), I am obsess with art any type of art, right now I love words, like wrote in Susan post…
    there are cases that there are no words to say wow I love this (especially in writing and poetry) so we simply press “like” button well that is my case.

    Also, we get paid with a little orange button at top. A young poet posted this poem about this back in August and I re-blog it at my blog, we often feel like this on the blogosphere…


  4. The “like” button should be removed from the reader …. I recently did a rather nasty post about this but find likes without views highly irksome. Good post

  5. I think you could expand number 4 to the wider category of meta-blogging – there seem to be an inordinate number of people who are very, very serious about writing very, very seriously about the fact that they have a very, very serious blog. And want to give advice to us how we to can look very very seriously and making our blogs very very serious too by following their very, very serious examples. You want people to read you writing? I mean, you want up to a million readers? Want most of them to email you with a comment? Put a classified selling a used Volvo in the San Jose Mercury and misplace an apostrophe. That’ll get it done 🙂

    I, by the way, am a #3. I don’t see the point in having half a million very very clever people writing around you if you aren’t going to dive in almost at random and see what’s good!

    1. Good one, about the Volvo. I dunno, I think the advisors etc are interesting in these sense that they seem to be feeding a bit on the hopes of people. I think writing is writing, it’s done for it’s own reasons so anything external is surplus, and distracts from the original intent.

      I read a lot of people too, I’m just amazed at the people who seem to hit Like on absolutely everything, doesn’t seem possible that they’ve actually read that much material. Out of respect, and because I’d wish to be treated that way, I read people’s stuff fully.

  6. This is one of my favourite articles…. I have had umpteen conversations on this subject with other bloggers. I had to take a break from blogging because the above was annoying me so much. I’m glad that I am not alone.

  7. Ok, so now I know where the monkey in the canadian field came from! I think it’s a grand idea. As a lover of and descendant of the frog…I’m in. Not sure about the monkey business, but the debauchery sounds fun! Susan, I’ll drive…we’ll get there faster. I happen to avoid the “reader” at all costs. I too think it quite silly to like things that have not been read, but that’s apparently what the ‘reader’ is for. Boo Hiss I say! Rock on Trent…I promise…If I like,..I read! Nuff said eh?

  8. you forgot most blog awards are the equivalent of a chain letter,

    many ( myself included ) write because they have some pain to expunge

    and finally, some write ( myself included ) because it’s fun.

    enjoy… by the way anyone who invokes a natural log in a post deserves a like.

    ps — thanks for visiting

    1. My pleasure. I understand the expunging pain thing. I’m pretty sure I used to write exclusively for that reason, but now I just need to. As for the natural log, it has the best r squared!

  9. Jamboree dude!!! 🙂 I enjoyed this post and I think you’re right on many fronts, particularly the “likers” who like lots and never comment (I added that part myself). One ought to comment once in a while no? I mean if they’ve read a whole piece and have some impression? I always have to work hard to read through as many folks as I can and do try to comment. It’s a challenge sometimes as many folks have interesting names and identities for their blogs so it’s hard to keep track of. To be honest it confuses me mostly. The Trent Lewis blog is memorable cause it’s uh, Trent Lewis. But the “All My Random Thoughts For You” blog (fictitious) is hard to remember who the writer actually is… but I try. 🙂 (not I’m rambling).

    Thought provoking here bud.

    1. I agree, hitting like and never commenting raises the question of serial-likers who are trying to get people to like them back. Seems a bit vapid. As for jamboree, I think that’s the ticket, need a good field party, it’s been a while.

  10. This was hilarious. I clicked “like” (even after reading #2 and #3). I do not click the ‘like’ button often – not because I don’t like anything, but because I reserve. If I use it too often, my like means nothing.

    Oh yeah, my like doesn’t mean anything to anyone else anyway. Huh. Interesting.

    You know what I like about blogging? The hilarious spam messages that end up in my queue. Anything that describes my knowledge of the subject or how much they learned from my article has to spam 🙂

    1. Oh thanks. I understand about being sparse with use of the like button. And rest assured your like means something to me, I am quite flattered. You know I don’t know if I’ve seen any spam messages or at least not many as yet. Hope it stays that way.

  11. I can’t really disagree with any of these. #2 especially drives me nut. When Likes outnumber views, it makes me question the veracity of my stats, and I wonder if I’m actually entertaining an audience of millions and The MAN just doesn’t want me to know it.

    I’ve come extremely close to indulging in #4 more than once, but have suppressed the impulse every time and somehow pulled a subject out of thin air to write about instead. It’s usually just a matter of widening the grid search inside my head.

    1. It’s interesting. There seem to be some people who like everything, like seconds after it’s posted. Seem to be some usual suspects. Anyway, stay true man.

  12. We are even here. You know what statistically I think maybe more than half people on WP has same complaints, what to do there are more useless stones in this world than diamonds. I know this is frustrating but few true admirers cover it all. .. I periodically check your blog to see if I get something of my taste, you’ll never get a like on something which I didn’t read or didn’t like. Man!!! I have got to follow you 🙂 Something similar I wrote for my non-following followers you might wanna check out.. Like only if you do!! 😉

  13. Before too many people diss the ‘like’ button because there’s no associated view—I believe if someone uses WordPress’s Reader to read your post, it doesn’t show up as a view in your stats. But you can comment and leave likes from the Reader. So someone may have read a post without a “view” showing up in the stats.

    There are also other ways to read (that I don’t understand, feeds and the ike) that WordPress doesn’t include in the views.

    But I like the idea of magic better. 🙂

  14. Alright, this deserves an A minus. Should have been A if I didn’t find #10 disturbing for suggesting to meet people (a.k.a pedophiles, cannibals, the man with a Barney tattoo, neon-wearing chicks) in open fields, two things I hate. Or fear. Whichever comes first.

      1. Really? I’ve never been to a field party before. Maybe if I’d be less strange then the invites would start coming. Still I don’t see fields as ideal places for a party. I’d like to think of them as places where you place a really big cauldron in the open one full moon and take off your clothes for a rightly deserved moonbath. Right, that sounds like so much fun a witch could have. Hm

        1. Holy crow, are you a witch? I’ve always wanted to meet a witch. Field parties are elegantly simple. Find field. Bring beer. Have at it. I think you should consider combining the cauldron idea with the beer idea, for perhaps at last the two should meet.

          1. Yeah? Only if one could swim in the beer perhaps instead of drinking it. 😉 Forgive me but I could only think of urine as the inspiration of the first beer-makers. Eeyuck. Give me chocolate milk any day. Sadly, it would be too weird for me to join children’s parties now.

  15. That’s a big YEP from me….why do people like and not even bother to read….I think I know…it’s cos you will see their like and then run to return the favour and so they grow their community. I for one, have promised myself to act with integrity and if I push Like, I have read. It’s also why I tend to comment as well. Well done Regards Leanne

    1. I think that’s the key, I agree. Like isn’t really feedback, I think it’s fine to hit Like and not comment if you have nothing to say (empty stuff is no good). But you should read what you are reading.

  16. !!. The set up for leaving a comment on a blog is such that you have to go through all the other comments already made so that if you are going to say something constructive (critical) you’re made to feel like you’re the only one who might have a quasi-negative thing to say. Also, it takes a long time to get to the reply box and you might get sleepy before you get there and forget what brilliant thing it was you were going to say.

    On another topic. Is it me or does everyone and anyone get the opportunity to and do eventually receive an award-there is something suspicious to me about being one of 15 people to be nominated for an award with part of the qualifications being to nominate 15 other people. It’s like some sort of unholy Venn diagram. KB

    1. I agree with first point, although I seldom if ever have anything brilliant to say. However, I think in general WordPress is set up as a reward-based scam in some ways; I think validation comes from views/likes, and that sponsors bad behaviour. I try to be good.

      As for the awards… I’m always really embarrassed and less than overwhelmed to get one because I’m pretty sure my conduct and writing are not all that meritorious. But I have to tell you, I love the idea of giving awards, as there are some wonderful writers and personalities on here, and it seems great to recognize them. Some of these people should get way more attention than they likely do, so anything that can help them be read is aces in my book.

      1. I got nominated for the “Beautiful Blooger’ and turned it down because it just didn’t make sense. I figure I’ll be the only one on wordpress that doesn’t have an award and then … I mean it seems some people of questionable merit and writing skills, not to mention their deeper thought process on life live for these things. I look for the comments from other writers. I put the quote for a day up in between poems just to stay in touch.

  17. This is brilliant!
    I’ve always wondered who those people are… the ones that hit ‘like’ after approximately 2 seconds that I’ve published something… and they didn’t even click on my post! Insane, I just feel like punching them…

  18. So, like, first of all, Becca at 25ToFly suggested a meet-up. Yes, it happens.

    Secondly, I am guilty of clicking like half-way through. I don’t do it without reading, but often do it before I come to an end. It is more than possible to know you like a post before finishing it… as a like does not necessarily means you agree with it 😉

    1. Yeah I’m with you. Who the heck is this Becca person? Do I need to look her up? Well Pixie Girl, welcome to my shitty blog, it’s no great shakes I tell you.

      1. I’m sorry, you don’t know Becca? Mate, your blogging world is not complete without her. Do look her up.
        So your blog is shitty and no great shakes… meaning I should just go now, right?

        1. Well it has its moments, but don’t expect anything all that accessible. I like to write on the weird side. I’m gonna check out this something fly becca, in order to complete my blogging world… something direly needed.

              1. Oh my GOD you can laugh about it, but I cried the first time I saw that clip made of deGrasse Tyson’s speech about that. Seen that?

              2. No! But now I’m intrigued, I don’t really know who that is. I was referring to the Moby song. Plus from a physics standpoint, it’s kind of true.

              3. Well, that floored me. I have never seen this before. Quite amazed. Have to show the kids. Plus it’s set to one of my favorite songs of all time. Thanks Pixie Girl – this was a great way to start the morning.

              4. Don’t matter to me how old or young or both you are. You seem a pleasant enough sort, for a Brit (speaking as a Brit, of course). But I have been transplanted, and it sounds like you have too, and you’ve been to flippin Kuala Lumpur and I haven’t, so that makes you cool in my books, plus now I have this imagery of life, the universe and everything revolving in my poor excuse for a caffeine-addicted brain, and I have few words enough to thank you for that you old sot yo.

              5. I’m kinda at a loss whether you’re still with me or not… but okay, let’s say everything I said on Eric’s blog is the truth 😉

                To clarify though, I’m not a Brit, I’m one of those Eastern Europeans taking the jobs away from the rightful.

              6. No, if you took a second to read ‘About’ you’d know I was joking 😉

                Sorry, my Tuesday sense of humour may be unpalatable sometimes.

              7. All right, I had a gander, and I got you now. I’m all for unpalatable humour, just note that I’ve had exactly one large coffee so far, and my higher functions don’t really kick in till the fourth cup. Here’s to the Tuesday morning jitters!

    2. Also, I am mostly poking fun at the people who clearly cruise the Reader and hit like from there without opening a post. I got no problem with your approach yo. In Canada, by the way, “yo” means “eh”. You should look it up, we Canadians are wicked smart.

      1. Believe me, ‘eh’ is in my everyday vocabulary. That’s what happens when you have weird friends, eh. Yo is a new one for me in the sense that I didn’t know it was used in Canada. Or you mean the other way round?… (I gave up caffeine, my thinking ability shrunk by 67%. Still puts me above the majority of the world but… okay I’ll just shut up).

        1. I don’t understand concept… giving up caffeine. What this mean? People don’t really say ‘yo’ in Canada unless they’re fourteen and high on smoke. Glad to meet a fellow fellow of the ‘eh’.

          1. Fellow follower, more like.

            And the ‘yo’ clarification will make it easier to sleep at night. My previous idea that ‘yo’ is used all over Canada was too much to bear. Or bare… bare too, actually..

              1. Sorry… but you know, there’s a storm coming tonight, big one. You can probably see some footage of the Canadians walking into the blustery wind au naturel… although tonight’s festivities are apparently going to include heavy wet snow, which is no one’s idea of a good time unless you happen to have some excess blubber sitting around the house to insulate you, plus you can chew on it if you get hungry while sucking back a Tim Hortons.

              2. Please say you mean London England, not London Ontario, cause if that’s the case, I’m going to hurl. But if you mean London, that’s cool shakes, cause I was born in Crawley.

  19. I’ve written two one word posts. I’ve gotten more likes and comments on them than on many of my posts with actual paragraphs and stuff. I think you’re onto something with your #1.

    1. I actually tried that once, but people seemed put off by my tasteful nudes. I mean, I was even wearing a beanie and everything…

      There is a lot to be said for debauchery. Such a misunderstood word.

  20. Reblogged this on because it is okay to vent! and commented:
    read it before liking, or the author might just get you arrested! 😉 oh and before you go ahead and visit his blog and like or comment on his posts, consider changing your display picture to something scantily clad 😀

  21. what is the status of the debauchery plan? given up on it?still in progress? or been done already? debauchery with monkey and all would be freaking fun! 😀

    1. I find that the organization of the great debauchery takes considerable time and planning, but it is certainly under progress. I imagine that dusty field full of laptop-wielding bloggers smoking everything in sight and clinking glasses in the fall sunshine. And of course the monkey would be there, whispering sweet madness into the ears of all those who will listen, and taking a strip off those who will not. Hey, a guy can dream can’t he…

        1. Be careful with the monkey, he is vindictive and elusive, whenever he is pursued he hops up a chimney and swings into a poplar. I think he lives in the sewer, judging by the smell, but that may be being charitable. One thing’s for sure, the monkey has some insane writing chops, he tells me so when I’m half-asleep peering at the keyboard trying to put one word after the other, I think when I’m tired enough he prods my shoulders into writing stuff that I don’t think could ever have come from me. It’s in insidious parasitic relationship that we are each loathe to give up. Oh yeah, the monkey also likes beer. A lot of beer. He really has a problem if you ask me, but don’t mention that to him, otherwise he may pay you a visit, and you don’t want that.

    1. Have no fear my friend, they will find you in time. They will show up and like you over and over again until your ego inflates to the point of explosion. But they will never stop to say hi or explain why they like you; no, they will just shift off to the next person they apparently adore. Basically, it’s the sub-culture of people who are convinced that having lots of likes and followers on WordPress is the means towards instant celebrity, so they do everything possible to draw attention – even if it means superficial participating in the blogs of others. Now do you really want that? I suppose it has a place. I find it funny and sad, but alas, I am a funny and sad person.

      1. No, you’re right, that does sound depressing. I want to be liked for me, people from number 3, not just because you want a piece of my sandwich. But one fake compliment wouldn’t hurt. ;p

  22. I’ve been blogging for approximately ten minutes. Nine of that was spent wondering why the hell no one gives a shit. Then I read numbers one and five and immediately decided I need to cut my post in half and take a topless photo to accompany the shit show that I’m attempting to create Thank you. I also intend to work in ‘salacious’ often and save my shit smearing stick for only the most important occasions. I ask you, Sir, where is your topless shot?

    1. Ah yeah, but I’m counter everything, so I decided to become as unpopular as possible. No topless shots here. I don’t swallow what I spew. Anyway, dear nine minutes and counting, no one does give a shit but at the minimal least, I’ll fake it for you and give you a follow if only because you seem to have the potential to be funny.

  23. I write short poetry precisely because of number 1.
    Number 2 happens a lot….lots of likes…no views.
    Number 2 can be explained by number 5 in my case, I wear clothes but….boobs
    Nice post!

    1. Why thank you Ms. Hasty. How are you? Are you plotting any shenanigans with our friend PMAO? You should. I feel that you could surely decimate that poor chap.

      1. I haven’t lately 🙂 We wrote a steamy poem he decided to let me post cause he was scared…lol. It’s under my duets. Trying to catch up on some reading 🙂 Looks like you are doing well 🙂

        1. I am doing well, never enough time for writing, but it’s fun when I can get to it. I’ll have to check out the poem under your duets tab, my curiosity is piqued.

        1. Feel free to hang out anytime. This particular post is an aberration, it’s not really what I generally write about. But I love it when a few thoughts on blogging come together.

          Cheers to you, wayfarer.

  24. had to reread and reshare. in hindsight it all makes more sense now. and is more true. sometimes i wonder where half the people go. in the end i guess we blog for us. and the one or two real people we met along the way who became something-sort-of-like-friends, or maybe something else, or maybe just someone who understands the importance of having someone else who understands. who gets it. whatever it may be. thanks for being one of those. 🙂

    1. Yes, this is an odd world. It is very superficial in my eyes, this blogging thing. It comes and goes, it’s about collecting statistics, it’s about hoping that enough statistics will get you to a level where you will be noticed. It may sound trite, but I’m glad to have abandoned that. I just want to write. I love it at the bottom corners of my heart and everywhere else too. I want to touch people, even if only a few – and judging by the response, it will only ever be a few, for blogging is not really a good mechanism to reach people. It’s just a good means to practice.

      Happy to always read your stuff, one of the few I’ve honestly kept with since I started this trip about a year ago.

  25. i find myself looking forward to your comments, or even just likes, knowing you see the soul behind the avatar. and i admit, i may not always understand your writing, or find a place to sit behind the curtain of the scenes, but it’s like i can always peer thru the windows of your blog and hear you laughing somewhere in the back. coz you write what you like, not to share or impress, but just because. writing is who we are. we don’t need an audience. but it’s nice to have a friend. 🙂

  26. Hi Trent, I hit random post and ended up or down here depending on ones perspective. I love a post with so many entertaining, well mostly were funny, interesting enough to drag me all the way to the comment box . Enjoyed this, I’ll be back, Steve

  27. “2. Magically, it is possible to have people like your work even if you have no views. This is an amazing phenomenon. It’s like people have delved into the first few lines of your writing and have intuitively gleamed what will happen next, how it will end, and exactly what the author was trying to convey.”

    Thank you, Trent. This answers my question as to why 77% of my page views are for less than 30 seconds.

  28. I can’t get enough of that Chinese OWL website, thank you. I bet if I could read Chinese it would be even better. Very entertaining post. Glad I stopped by!

    1. I know, it’s wild over there. So, angry sports fan, I see you don’t like the Sox but seem okay with the Yankees? This makes you ok in my books.

      1. Indeed I am a Yankees fan, a pretty unhealthy one at that! Thus, the Sawx are high on my list if dislike! Glad to hear you like the Yanks… At least more than the Sox!

  29. I’m trying to figure out if this is just merely brilliant, or brilliant AND a way for Sean Smithson to get me to change my profile picture to something with less clothing.

    1. Um, Meg, how exactly done one take an eyeball and put less clothing on it?

      Yes, brilliant is about correct. I really need to write a follow-up now that the Smithson has taken this concept and actually done something super-cool with it.

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