Popular vs. Best

This from the great Seth Godin last month:
Seth’s Blog: My most popular blog posts this year.

My most popular blog posts this year

…weren’t my best ones.

As usual, the most popular music wasn’t the best recorded this year either. Same for the highest-grossing movies, restaurants and politicians doing fundraising.

“Best” is rarely the same as “popular.”

Which means that if you want to keep track of doing your best work, you’re going to have to avoid the distraction of letting the market decide if you’ve done a good job or not.

That’s true. I would hope that none of my posts are terrible, but occasionally something hits big — or has legs — and I’m left scratching my head. Sometimes, it’s when something hasn’t gotten a lot of play; sometimes it’s when another person directs people to it; sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw.

Whatever it is, I’m always grateful that people read what I put out there. I’m particularly gratified when someone takes the time to comment — even if it’s just a simple “thanks.”

As I think about this, I have always found that this idea of popular and best rather curious. I am immediately reminded of a time a few years back when I received a “significant award” for news writing. I couldn’t believe the story that was picked won. I had written much, much better stories that year, I thought.

What I learned about best, popular and the fickle nature of audiences I learned by developing audiences for the theatre. These things translate:

1. Treat all assignments equally.
2. Always do your best work.
3. Be proud of your efforts.
4. Say “thank you” and mean it.
5. Be grateful and and a little bit humble.
6. Never, ever believe your own P.R.

If you think that those things have nothing to do with popularity, you’d be wrong.

Follow, Follow, Follow

Two points if you know what musical the title’s from! (If you don’t know, I’m going to box you severely around the ears!)

I’ve taken up a new full-time job recently and it may suck me dry, though I’m hoping to have time to continue to ruminate here on a regular basis.

I’ll have time to tweet more than blog, I think, at least for the first few months while I try to wrestle the unruly beast to the ground as I create a communications plan and system for this organization out of whole cloth. So, please follow me on the Twit at @markrblackmon — there’s a link over there (points left) to make it easy.

Thanks for following, liking and commenting on the blog; I appreciate it. … Good God, it’s October. How did that happen???

What the World is Reading…

SundayAfternoonReadVincennes

Not your grandpa’s reading material.
Image: Front porch, Sunday Afternoon, Vincennes, Indiana, 1941. Photo by John Vachon for Farm Security Administration/WPA | Wikimedia Commons

…on my blog.

I’m endlessly fascinated by statistics. (Don’t judge.) According to WordPress, here are the 10 most read pages/posts on my blog in the last week, month, and year.

LAST SEVEN DAYS
1. Home Page
2. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
-originally posted Jan. 4, 2013 — fascinated by the legs this one has
3. Gay Teen Boys and Highschool Romance
-originally posted Jan. 26, 2013 — link to a great story on HuffPo
4. Jake Silbermann: Just My Type
-originally posted Apr. 30, 2013 — link to Silbermann’s terrific essay + my thoughts
5. How the Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling Could Upend the Immigration Debate
-originally posted May 4, 2013 — link to great analysis on BuzzFeed and my thoughts
6. EastSiders Debuts on LogoTV.com
-originally posted Apr. 18, 2013 — one of many posts about Kit Williamson’s great crowd-funded gay Web series
7. Gay Marines Talk About Falling in Love
-originally posted Mar. 11, 2013 — glad this post has a long tail as, socio-culturally speaking, it’s wildly important in understanding perceptional shifts. (Also, they are adorable.)
8. Durang’s Best Chekhovian ‘Spike’
-originally posted Apr. 30, 2013 — a quick piece about “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” and the Tony Awards. A tangential companion to the Jake Silbermann piece at No. 4.
9. Pine Valley Is Open for Business Again
-originally posted Apr. 29, 2013 — a riff on the premiere of the online roboot of “All My Children”
10. Gay West Point Cadet Escorts Boyfriend to Winter Weekend Formal
-originally posted Feb, 6, 2013 — another one with surprising legs

LAST 30 DAYS
1. Home Page
2. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
3. Pine Valley Is Open for Business Again
4. EastSiders Debuts on LogoTV.com
5. Gay Marines Talk About Falling in Love
6. Gay Teen Boys and Highschool Romance
7. Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings Punter, Rocks
-originally posted Apr. 3, 2013 — headline says it all!
8. Like Sands Through the Gay Hourglass — Ticked Off at American Dramas. Again.
-originally posted Nov. 12, 2012 — riff on American vs. European soaps and how backward American soaps are … even when there is some forward progress.
9. Seven Reasons to Watch (or Rewatch)  ‘The Outs’
-originally posted Apr. 4, 2013 — BuzzFeed list about one of my favorite Web series
10. Jake Silbermann: Just My Type

LAST 12 MONTHS
1. Home Page
2. New Kids on the Block — All My Children, That Is
-originally posted Mar. 17, 2013 — Cady McClain tweeted this link and the thing just exploded. The viral power of social media.
3. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
4. Like Sands Through the Gay Hourglass — Ticked Off at American Dramas. Again.
5. Gay Marines Talk About Falling in Love
6. “Bare” Off-Broadway: Cover It Up [review]
-originally posted Dec. 9, 2012 — my thoughts on the disappointing revival of “Bare”
7. Pine Valley Is Open for Business Again
8. Gay Teen Boys and Highschool Romance
9. Sam Champion Engaged: ‘GMA’ Weather Anchor Comes Out, Plans To Marry Rubem Robierb
-originally posted Oct. 6, 2012 — I don’t understand this one at all. I was just being snarky; I didn’t think anyone cared!
10. ‘Scut Farkas’ Takes Bully Battle to Court
-originally posted Dec. 20, 2012 — this one pops up every now and then, maybe when people see Zack Ward on TV? No idea.

A FEW OTHER TIDBITS
15. Grandmother’s Pound Cake
-seriously, a cake recipe? I mean, it’s a good cake, but….
19. In With ‘The Outs”
-one of my many posts on this Web series, which I think is terrific
39. John Lithgow, the National Theatre, and my own Name-Dropping Memory of the Best New Year’s Eve Ever
-my story about spending New Year’s Eve with Sir Ian McKellen
51. Eine Kleine Ukulele Muzik
-link to a great video: the Queen of the Night aria accompanied by ukulele
53. Cleveland Street Comes to Broadway
-a review of “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” which I loved (as did this year’s Tony nominating committee)

TAKEWAYS
-People are eclectic.
-You can’t pinpoint what people will read.
-Interesting how some posts that you never thought would be that popular, are. Consistently.
-Thanks for reading — whatever is is you like to read!

P.S. — If you read it and like it … hit the LIKE button! Thanks!!