I’m not going to write about our daughter’s wedding yet, I need time to reflect and digest so here’s a blog about a more mundane matter. First, I have a confession, I have one small weakness as a human being, this is that I want people to like me. When I worked and with the job I had it really wasn’t realistic to aim to be liked by all. Sometimes you positively had to piss people off in order to be doing the right thing. Now I’m retired and so much more insecure I want people to like me, well, some people anyway. When I started writing this blog I told myself this is for me and it really doesn’t matter whether other people like it or even read it. But… As I’ve gone along with the blog it has become more important to me that it is read. To be honest being liked is a bonus but being read is quite important and hence any comments, as evidence of this, are nice.
You may not know this but I use WordPress as the ‘vehicle’ for my blog. I don’t know much about this programme, if this is what it is, but it seems to do the job and it was the one recommended to me by The Gentle Author, who ran the ‘how to blog’ course at The Guardian all those months ago. He was responsible for everything I am as a blogger. Actually that’s not fair, as authors often say in their books – I would like to thank x, y and z for all their help but the mistakes are all my own. The point is, on the whole, I use WordPress to publish and, I confess, I use it to check my readership numbers, sometimes a little too often and I’m not proud of this on-going need to be liked / read, but I don’t use it for much else. Except.
I have noticed a section in WordPress under the heading of ‘Newsletter’ (the graphic is at the beginning of this blog) entitled ‘subscribers’. Now, in my ignorance, I just assumed that this meant people who subscribed got my blog automatically providing I ‘confirmed’ their request and left it at that. There was, however, a wee problem because they weren’t coming up as confirmed. At one point I asked my IT guy why they weren’t actually coming up as confirmed and he told me that’s because I was doing it wrong and actually hadn’t confirmed them. So I did it right and I started, every now and again, confirming them in the recommended manner. Then a funny thing happened although not very funny because I started to get dozens of emails saying, in effect, that my confirmation emails couldn’t / wouldn’t go through or whatever they do. So I asked my IT guy about this and he didn’t know why, in fact his explanation was feeble, even I could see that, saying maybe the email address was not longer ‘live’. Well, that’s a lot of people sending emails from discontinued email addresses.
And then it got worse when I asked him what the subscribing achieved? This was his explanation, he said it gives me permission from the subscriber to send them newsletters. And no it didn’t mean they got the blog automatically. I have never sent out a newsletter and, as far as I am aware, have no intention of doing so. So I stopped confirming the subscriber’s request and the number of those emails saying ‘can’t send’ stopped appearing in my email box, although not all of them. There were still one or two (or more) but nothing like as was.
So I said to my IT guy, well, can we set it up so that the subscriber does receive my blogs automatically? His response was disappointing, he said he could but it was complicated and hence would cost quite a lot of money for him to make this happen. At which point I lost interest. But this does not resolve the issue because on the occasions that I check my subscribers list, it keeps increasing. Nobody has complained yet that they haven’t been confirmed as a subscriber so I guess it’s all some kind of scam or at the very least a way of promoting their businesses rather than my blog and most of the email addresses do seem suspiciously like businesses rather than actual people desperate to receive my latest blog and gain the inside gen on retirement.
So I want to ask any of my readers what should I do about this subscriber list, it’s up to 300 plus at the latest count and while I did initially confirm them all in my naivety, I haven’t confirmed any of the last 250 or so but they keep piling up. Question is, am I missing an opportunity to promote my blog? Should I be publishing a newsletter, which if you’re still reading this, you will remember that’s the section under which subscribers appear. Given my all-consuming desire to be read, I just can’t get rid of the feeling that I am, in some way, missing a window of opportunity. On the other hand I don’t want to be using time, when I could be writing, confirming subscriber requests if the process is of no value to me as a blogger. I haven’t read of other bloggers having the same issue so I have no idea what I should do. Hence dear reader, my appeal to you for advice. What should I do?
As I’m writing this Tim Liora on the radio is droning on about how popular Classic FM is, most popular breakfast show, figures going up, etc. It’s a shame that somebody who seems like a decent bloke has to do this. I’m sure he would rather not engage in all this self-promotion but then just because I’m crap at it, perhaps I shouldn’t be knocking those people who do care about their listeners / readers and take every opportunity to big up their readership or listenership. I thought when I retired all my competitiveness would magically disappear, instead it seems to have got worse, or better depending on you view of these things. Retirement, who’d thought it.