Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

It’s a good thing that no one is reading this

… so why do I bother to write it?

Pointless, my favourite TV show

Pointless, my favourite TV show

It seems that when I post a link to a blog post on Facebook lots of people comment on Facebook (never on the blog itself) and haven’t read the post anyway. It sometimes worried me and made me think sometimes that blogging was a pointless activity.

Here was I taking all this trouble to write something, but nobody was reading it. And anyway the people whose opinions I was seeking never responded because Facebook never showed it to them. Facebook’s algorithms seem pretty pointless too. I have something like 470 friends on FB, and Facebook only shows me stuff from about 15 of them. I become friends with someone on FB, and Facebook shows me their posts for 3 days and then stops. So what’s the point?

But then I read this (from a link from Twitter), and thought I’d better stop worrying about it Why it’s a very good sign that people don’t read your content:

When I started out as a blogger, I had no idea what I was doing. I was working so hard, and creating content that was pretty darn good. And yet, nobody was reading my posts, commenting, or sharing. I was frustrated.

Pointless-3But if it’s all pointless anyway, what does it matter?

As that article points (oops!) out, it doesn’t matter whether people read it or not, so why bother to try to write anything coherent when no one is going to read it anyway just random stream of consciousness stuff will do and writing a blog post will be like a dog scratching itself to get rid of flees but why is my doing still scratching himself when I just put Frontline tick stuff on him three days ago? Ah, Frontline there’s a brand, and brands are the most important thing nowadays. Content is nothing, brands are all. I’ve seen web sites that ask you what you’re interested in and one of the important things to be interested in is brands not brands of anything — cars, shampoo, antitick stuff for dogs it doesn’t matter the important thing is brands. Not art literature books or anything just brands.

TelkomQuotaActually I haven’t been reading many links on Facebook myself lately either. I “like” it or not based on the headline, because if I go to the article itself this will happen –>

And waiting for web pages to load becomes like watching paint dry. Telkom does have a thing where you can buy more bandwidth and speed it up again, but it hasn’t been working for a week now, which makes Telkom Internet pretty pointless too.

So I’m not reading your content and you’re not reading my content, but that’s a good thing, according to the quoted article, which I bet you haven’t read either.

And so life is reduced to pointless click bait.


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7 thoughts on “It’s a good thing that no one is reading this

  1. I read it 🙂

  2. Phillip on said:

    Dear Steve

    Thanks for this post, which just shows that someone is indeed reading it.

    Ultimately writing for a large impersonal audience is always going to be problematic. Surely writing personal emails to people in your coffee groups will enable you to have a reasonable discussion when you meet face to face in meetings like you TGIF and your “Inklings” group which meets at the cafe in Arcadia.

    People are just bombarded with so much information that they tend to respond most easily to the outrageous and the humorous without putting effort into understanding long philosophical discussions.

    I have just canceled my Facebook account but only after I downloaded all its content into a local zip file. At least I can refer back to all the friends that I have made on facebook, but I hope to save some precious time by not allowing myself to fall for all the click bait which is now being posted.

    Keep well,

    Kind regards


    • I suppose I’m nostelgic for the 1990s, when we had BBS networks that used Fidonet technology, and anabled one to have multiway conversations online.

      There are still mailing lists and newsgroups, but they are actually older technology and clunky by comparison. Blogs are useful as a kind of one-to-many communication — testing ideas by the method of throwing a stone in the bush and seeing what flies out, crawls out, or leaps out.

      I find Facebook is useful in that it has enabled me to make contact with many old friends that I had lost touch with, and many widely-scattered family members I have never met. So I continue to be a member of Facebook, but at the same time it has serious incompatibilities between the needs of users and things they find useful, and Facebook’s need to maximise profits, which means that Facebook will never be as useful as it could be, and nothing will ever work optimally for the users.

  3. I’m not on Facebook. I read your blog posts. Yours is a lucid voice and you write about important things. In addition, as an American I need the thoughts of others who have different views about the happenings in the world.

    I signed up for the thandanani list on the cusp of entering the Church, in case I needed another place to discuss Orthodoxy etc. but have not sensed the need to use it for that. I do appreciate that you have maintained it all this time.

    May the Lord bless you & yours, Fr Deacon.

    • Thanks Dana.

      The article I referred to was talking about marketing, and in that context I suppose it could be a good sign that no one is reading your content. And I suppose that people who think solely in marketing terms might see that as a good thing in all circumstances. For example, they might see having a blog like this one as a way of “selling yourself” and “marketing yourself as a brand”, and so the main aim of a blog is a kind of ego trip, and if that is the case then it doesn’t matter if no one reads the content, as long as your personal “brand” is put before the consumers. And I’ve read articles on how to write blog posts that actually say that explicitly.

      But I don’t write blog posts to sell myself — how boring! Write blog posts to bounce ideas off people and see what they think, the same as one does in personal conversation. I wrote my masters dissertation and doctoral thesis by bouncing ideas of people on the internet, mainly through mailing lists and BBS conferences, which enabled me to sharpen my thoughts and check things I would not have otherwise checked. For that, reading content is important.

  4. Benjamin on said:

    I always enjoy reading your work, either here or on your other blog. You are the only South African Orthodox voice I know, and I thoroughly enjoy your perspective.

    I never comment because I always read your posts in my emails.

    Thank you for all your hard work!

    Benjamin in China

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