Viral posts, intended audiences, and so forth.
|A friend makes these. They use the ND DOH data, but presents it in a different way.|
Early in my blogging years, maybe around 2004 or so, I had a viral post due to an "Instalanche." That's what happened when the Instapundit blog linked to you. A few years later, popular blogger Tim Challies linked to a blog post I wrote about a house (yeah, really). That wasn't as big as the Instalanche, but there was a brief moment of big traffic for a few days.
Then, in 2013, I wrote a post about Diet Coke and that exploded. The stat counter I used on that blog at that time topped out at half a million, so that's where my count ends.
A few years later, I wrote about a marijuna measure. Got quite a few hits, and some jokers on Reddit had their field day. Then there was this year's post about the governor and $1.8M in propaganda, which got about 20K the last time I looked a while ago.
Then there was last month's post about North Dakota and the pandemic.
Nothing has, or ever will, top the Diet Coke post. That was insanity. My point here is that I know that various things happen when something you've made, or are in, goes viral. None of them are particularly good.
As we've come to learn this year, virality isn't a healthy thing.
When I write a blog post, I imagine about 20-30 people reading it. To me, that's a pretty good readership. People I know and care about, reading and being encouraged by something I write—that's a pretty good gig. Who wants anything more? I don't have ads or monetize my blog because that's tacky and annoying, so I don't really care about traffic. I don't know a post is getting lots of views until the crap starts rolling in.
That would be emails and trolling blog comments, if you're wondering. Or the delightful Facebook messages from people not on my friends list, requesting permission to send me something nasty.
All blog comments are moderated (because I learned a few things over 20 years of blogging), and they come to my email inbox. This past week I wasn't online much and when I finally did hop onto my email, some troll(s) had apparently had a field day in the comments of the North Dakota pandemic post. I don't know if someone purposefully tried to spam it, if some Concerned But Clueless Karen kept hitting the submit button about 50 times, or what, but as I scrolled down the emails, I decided just to select them all and dump them. I work from a strict "inbox zero" method of getting freelance work done. Each time I go on my email, I have to process and clear out before the next time. Between the many identical comments were some "you're stupid" type, and really, why bother sifting through all of them? Who has the time?
I just mass deleted them, closed the comments, and went back to client work. I don't owe such folks anything. My blog comment form denotes my policy, and in it I link to my website where I have a blog comment EULA. Again, 20 years of blogging. I've seen a few things.
Virality, whether on a blog or social media, doesn't change your life for the better. Not at all.
This is especially true if you're introverted and your dream blog audience is about 25 regular readers, and not 55K+ drive-by readers looking to argue. It's kind of like you got some new clothes and you could ask a friend who knows you well what their opinion is of what you're wearing, or go outside and have a crowd of strangers start yelling what they think about your new outfit.
So anyway, the North Dakota festering pit post.
I had no idea anyone outside my regular readers had read it until—yes, this is how the internet works—some people not on my friends list sent me unpleasant messages via Facebook messenger. I got some good feedback also, but the first inkling that I should check my traffic on that post came with the first stink of trolls wafting my way.
That's fine, I guess. There were some serious comments, too. But the higher the traffic goes, the more annoying this gets. You will absolutely be deluged with people contacting you from every avenue available. It's really not fun, and it's not the reason introverted writers write stuff. If you want to call me stupid or whatever, just do it on your MySpace page and spare me the bother.
The Diet Coke post was a phenomenal moment. I had no idea people could become so angry and vile about soda pop. 20 readers, good discussion in the comments, but 500K+ readers? Not so much. And the time it takes to moderate, sifting through and publishing or not publishing, is significant.
Just like a coronavirus viral curve, and internet viral curve peaks and drops down and away.
Yes, North Dakota's positive cases are still rising. Our hospitals continue to be full.
But we run our PCR tests at (from reports I'm seeing, since the ND DOH won't tell anyone) about 40 cycles when Dr. Mateo from Sanford said, during a recent city commission meeting, that going above 30-35 cycles produced questionable results. How many of our positive cases are a) actually positive b) carrying legitimate viral load that would be capable of infecting anyone? But we don't talk about that here in North Dakota. We just diddle around with colored charts.
But our hospitals are also taking in patients from Minnesota (mask mandate for months) and South Dakota (no mask mandate, but individual city mask mandates). Our hospital problem isn't just a North Dakota problem.
But I keep hearing stories from people going to the hospital who have just tested positive and sent home to simmer in their own juices and if they get worse, they come back in really bad state and take up a hospital bed. That is, our hospitals aren't using any of the strangely politicized therapeutic treatments. They'll send you off to hopefully get better on your own with vague "treat it like a cold" instructions, and if you don't get better but get worse, toss you in a bed for expensive Remdesivir, ICU fun, and maybe a ventilator.
That first but deals with our positive cases.
That second but deals with our full hospitals.
The third but deals with our full hospitals, and also our death rate.
Is North Dakota a terrifying festering pit of infection, like none other? Nope. Not more than anywhere else. We're climbing the curve, just like many on the coasts did months ago. Comparing between states is not useful because we're not at the same points in our timeline, in our testing rates, and our protocols. We're in a region behind the others who had their go up the big curve earlier than we did. So you can focus the attention on us, but no. While we've been described as if we're entering the Walking Dead realm, it's not the case.
There's no mask, no mandate, no lockdown, that will stop what this virus will do. Your health is your responsibility, not mine, not some politician's. Take the initiative to research the vitamins and things they're finding out can help. This blog, for the past eight months, has been full of links to experts from all over the world acknowledging this reality, that we can't really control a virus, as experience and data accumulated to show this. And if our medical community, public health officials, and political leaders don't start using and encouraging early therapeutic treatment, vitamins, etc., yes, we'll have a number of folks have a serious bout and take up a bed and maybe even die.
But that's their choice to run the treatment protocol that way. It's their decision to send sick people home and cross their fingers hoping they don't get too sick. It's their choice to think viable medical treatment and concern is simply fixated on whether a person locks themselves in their house for two weeks for quarantine.
And also, after a week of seeing videos, photos, and eye-witness reports of election fraud and a likely stolen election, and the reality that we can no longer trust the election process (in particular, those counting the ballots) and therefore, are seeing the end of the republic, I have zero interest in pretty much anyone's opinion except my handful of regular readers at this point.
Have a nice day.
P.S. A letter going out to the legislators has incredible information on the sketchy PCR test we're using, the cycles we're running it at, the systems our state is using to run the tests, and insider information on how unreliable the test results are. Did you know our state health dept. has a gag order in place? That sure seems open and transparent.
You can get that PDF here (PDF will immediately download).