What's the moral here?

Reviewed my Google Analytics this morning. In the past month, for the first time, all of the top hits to this blog are for posts critical of the Unitarian Universalist Association, or something Unitarian Universalist.

My themes for this blog are church administration and growth; Christian and particularly Universalist theology and history; Unitarian Universalist institutions; and a idiosyncratic mix of Ubuntu Linux, Esperanto and District of Columbia references. I write, regularly, on all of these. Sometimes I put great effort into a post that attracts few readers. Other times, a few quickly-dashed out words brings in an avalanche. And, yes, the scope of my audience matters. If I didn’t care if anyone read what I wrote, I wouldn’t blog. (Why do preachers preach?) After all, I have a paper journal for private thoughts.

Data showing links to this blog in the past month

I don’t relish a reputation as a crank or malcontent. Still, there aren’t many people who write critically of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and there’s clearly a market. Advice “to say something positive” — it’s happened — when there’s little to be positive about is willful ignorance. But to rail on about what won’t change is a waste of time and energy.

So I’m trying to stoke the SEO and use the data to improve my other markets. I’d appreciate a mention or links from your blogs or social media sites (Facebook, Twitter or what-have-you) if there’s something you like here. It can even be about church growth or administration.

12 Replies to “What's the moral here?”

  1. Scott, I’ve found the same thing on my blog. It’s kind of depressing. I was reading an article about Heather Armstrong, the blogger at dooce.com, which pointed that when her blog pissed people off and she got hate mail, her Web stats went through the roof — so she wrote more posts that pissed people off, and now she’s one of the biggest bloggers out there.

    Certainly, on my own blog, when I’ve written controversial things, my Web traffic has increased. Unlike Heather Armstrong, that doesn’t make me want to write even more controversial posts just so I can see my Web stats go up. But the point remains — the reality of blogging is that controversy increases your Web traffic.

    By contrast, when I write a series of posts about theology, or religious history, or some other serious topic, I can count on my Web stats going down. However, when I do write serious posts, people I respect are more likely to read my blog. I’m sure you’ve had the same experience.

    I guess it’s just the nature of the blogging medium.

  2. Same here. I’d been thinking about posting on this myself, in the wake of some radically different hit rates.

    Despite what some might think, I didn’t get in to blogging to write about the PCD. But my top five posts are all about the PCD, with between 360 and 530 hits. But a post that I wrote about giving money to the church in Turley, OK (the church covered on the front of the UU World) got maybe 30-40 hits so far.

    Even my essay on dealing with cancer only runs somewhat better – only 90 hits.

    I guess this is what drives some of the evening news and tabloid journalism – “if it bleeds, it leads.”

  3. Also noticed the same on my blog – when I post about something I dislike about UUism, always gets more hits than in-depth-takes-forever-to-write posts on spirituality…which no one really seems to care about…

  4. I thought some of the posts on Universal salvation got good responses. I think there’s a lot of work to be down on our seven principles and just how “binding” theye are, and whether or not we “affirm” them. That’s theology that might spark interest.

  5. @Bill. Something tells me that would run to criticism as fast as anything.

    Part of it is that we speak primarily to a intra-Unitarian Universalist audience. Some of my best read, most upbeat posts is when I reach outside of that.

  6. Scott, anyone who lives in community needs to blow off steam now and then. It’s easier to complain on a comment line than it is to show impatience with the people you worship with every Sunday. Unitarian Universalists are critical people. It’s just a component of who we are. Were we uncritical we would be elsewhere.

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