Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, July 04, 2021

Funny thing. Just yesterday, I reiterated my old blogging maxim:

On those rare occasions where someone’s asked me what it takes to build a highly-trafficked blog, the one thing I’ve advocated above everything else — more than even content focus — is frequency of publication. The way I frame it: If you’re looking to gain an audience, you have to accept that you’re no longer blogging on your schedule, but rather on your readers’ schedule. (emphasis added)

Then, today, I was pointed to Eric Kintz’s list of points about how publishing frequency is irrelevant, even detrimental, for blogs.

Kintz’s chief arguments are that too-frequent posting (i.e., multiple posts per day) amounts to information overload for regular readers, cluttering up their RSS aggregators and thereby turning them off. A corollary reason is that quantity comes at the expense of quality: A bunch of half-baked snippets versus one time-culled gem of insight.

As someone who’s only consistent blogging theme here is, indeed, daily and frequent posting, I take a skeptical view on this. I expressed as much in a comment:

For me, it’s worth blogging daily doses of singles and doubles (and foul balls, of course), with the payoff being an occasional home run. That’s my rhythm, and I come to it via a lifetime of writing. Naturally, others not as comfortable with the written word might not prefer that rigor…

Note that [an established regular publishing schedule] doesn’t necessarily mean frequent posting, or even daily posting. But it does mean that you should decide on an update schedule, and stick to it. If you start out posting two times a week, or five time a week, or two times a day, then your audience should expect that’s what’s coming their way. Unpredictability turns readers off.

In a way, limiting post frequency is a nod toward publishing on your audience’s schedule, but in almost the reversal of the concept I was getting across originally. Let’s face it: The typical blog suffers not from an overload of posting, but from a pathetic lack of it; it’s not uncommon to see casual bloggers take weeks-long unannounced breaks (and then whine about how no one’s reading). Frankly, I didn’t think the chronic writers in the blogosphere needed to curb their output as a way to succeed.

At best, the less-is-more approach works if you’re maintaining a niche site that has a targeted and recognizable audience, and drawing in new readers via search engines isn’t a priority. And — this is crucial — the blog is past the start-up phase. I think a critical mass of archived posts is essential, which is why you almost have to earn that wind-down frequency after a rather torrid start (an approach advocated by Performancing, incidentally).

But if your aim is to cultivate bigger traffic numbers, the more content you crank out, the better. Like it or not, Google and other aggregators give more love to frequently-updated sites, and the audiences they funnel can’t be easily replaced by other means. New posts are as good as gold in that regard.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/04/2021 11:42:12 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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If your attention span is as miniscule as this modern Digital Age fosters, then the Ten Second Film Festival is right up your alley.

No, the entire Festival isn’t a ten-second event. But each of the submitted film projects are, which is the point:

The festival is the brainchild of Madison, Wis., natives Chris Pennington and David Temby, who wanted to create an event where anyone could be an artist.

Too often, Pennington said, people don’t consider what they create to be art because their perceptions are limited to what they see in elite museums.

Not so with his show, where a cheap digital camera can make anyone into a short-form auteur, whether they are a soccer mom or a high school student.

“They’re kind of overlooked in terms of their creativity,” Pennington said, adding that it’s not hard to make a good 10-second movie.

After watching “Batman’s Day Off”, one of last year’s TSFF winners, I’m thinking I should submit for the next edition. Hey, my phone’s got a videocam function, and I’ve already played around with it some. Of course, it’s got a max record time of 15 seconds, so I’ll have to discipline myself to that 10-second limit.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/04/2021 10:32:42 PM
Category: Creative, Movies
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You’ve seen and/or heard about it by now: The fun to be had by plopping a Mentos into a 2-liter of Diet Coke.

It must be catching on, because Mentos has embraced spectacle by linking to the Web video on its U.S. site. (The Coke people are less enamoured with the fizzy phenomenon, apparently taking their diet brew’s brand image a bit too seriously.)

I decided I had to experience this thrill for myself. So I bought my 2-liter and my roll of candies, and found a clearing for the setup. I unscrewed the bottlecap, unwrapped the candy wrapper, and dropped the Mento into the sugarwater.

And… I was disappointed.

I mean, yes, the combination gushed up the bottleneck and tiny little mess. But that’s just it: It was a little mess. The agitated Diet Coke didn’t shoot up high in the sky, like it did for the Eepybird pranksters. It shot up a couple of inches, coated the bottle itself, but that was it. No spectular geyser shooting up into the sky and raining down some sticky-sweet rain. Just a minor puddle of mess that didn’t extend too far from its source.

Did I not use enough Mentos? Should I have used the cinnamon-flavored variety instead of the mint? Did I need to mess with the bottle to maximize the carbonated pressure that was created? I can’t figure out where I erred, if I erred at all.

I was hoping for a liquified alternative to Fourth of July fireworks. But I guess that’s not going to happen.

And despite the assurances that this nucleation gone silly is perfectly safe, I’m treating this foodstuff chemistry in the same vein as the Coke-and-Pop Rocks stomach-bursting urban legend. Just don’t ingest, kids.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/04/2021 02:31:33 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Comedy, Science
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Nearly half of Queens’ 2.2 million residents are foreign-born. So that means celebrations for a whole lot of independence days:

On March 25, Astoria was aflutter with blue and white flags, commemorating the 185th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. The next day, Bangladeshi immigrants from Woodside to Bayside marked Bangladesh’s secession from Pakistan. And on May 5, Mexicans across the borough loudly celebrated a national holiday that has come to eclipse the country’s actual Independence Day of Sept. 16.

Then there are May 26 (Guyana), Aug. 6 (Bolivia and Jamaica), Aug. 24 (Ukraine) and Sept. 1 (Uzbekistan), to name a few, all observed with that bittersweet mix of homesickness and pride that is the lot of even the most enthusiastic new American.

Now, lest the uber-patriots get riled up from seeing this as another sign of immigrant disassocation from the American experience:

But July 4 is different. It is a day that looks forward, not back. The aroma of hamburgers hissing on a grill awakens no Old World memory, the swells of “America the Beautiful” no tinge of the past, just a fresh start. And, in an era of cellphones and satellite television that strengthen links to native countries, many say they welcome the day as one when they can exchange their more complex identities borne from straddling two cultures, for just one.

So, the best of both worlds. You have your heritage and celebrate it whenever you can, to accentuate your individuality. But the Fourth of July serves as an overarching unifier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/04/2021 01:53:21 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin'
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I picked up a bag of Cracker Jack today. I haven’t had any in a while. Besides, it seems like a patriotic kinda snack for today (must be the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” connection).

Does anyone else take issue with the way the peanuts in this popcorn-and-peanuts snack settle to the bottom? I mean, I like the caramel popcorn just fine; but when I pluck out a few morsels of that sticky goodness, I want a mix of popcorn and peanuts. That typically isn’t possible, unless I want to dig my hand all the way to the bottom of the bag — and even then, it’s an iffy proposition.

You’d think the food technicians at Cracker Jack Central would get on this. It would only enhance the eating experience.

A lot of oldtimers grouse about how Cracker Jack isn’t as good as it used to be because it no longer includes some neat-o metallic toy surprise, like it did decades ago. I’ll admit, those crummy paper-based trinkets are mighty lame. But to me, the peanut thing is a more pressing problem.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/04/2021 12:55:47 PM
Category: Food
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