OMG, Do I Do It For Clicks?
I have to admit, yeah, I sort of do. It is human nature after all to care what others think. There are multi-billion dollar social media companies built on this vanity. I am human and of course I care what people think. A sociopath is pretty much defined as a person that does not care what others think and I am pretty certain that I am not a sociopath. I started the blog for myself - and it is still largely that - but I have to admit that I would not spend so much time if it were only for myself. There is some balance. I try to write posts that others will find interesting, useful, and entertaining. In all cases, I write about things I am interested in and for others, sometimes I hit their interests, other times I do not.
A bit more background on the blog. I make no money on it. There are no affiliate links. Nobody is sending me free stuff (but feel free to do so...). In fact it has cost me money to do this. I only share this to show that my motives are not financial. Then what are my motives?
COVID made me do it. I needed a creative outlet to make me feel closer to sane. I did it for fun in a time that was not all that much fun. Living in the COVID era has sucked ass - the understatement of the century. I needed to do something different. I need to do something to be creative (other than tying flies). And I needed it to be on my terms. So, to some degree, I did not give a shit what others think. But some times I do...
One of my biggest problems in drawing attention to "my little blog" is that I am a Midwesterner, a Wisconsinite. We are generally not prone to drawing attention to ourselves. I am not trying to be falsely humble. I am a bit of an introvert. I like my own little quiet world. Consciously drawing attention to myself is not something that makes me feel terribly comfortable. I write stuff that I think is sometimes important and informative and of course I would like it to be read. It seems that sometimes people agree that the post are informative and interesting - but certainly not always. Some posts receive (relatively) a lot of attention whereas others are not read by many. There is no question that if I make social media posts - or others do - the posts get a lot more attention. As I write this, a post that received a lot of Facebook attention has received over 800 views (Re-Birth of the Driftless; now over 1,000) whereas Introduction to Population Dynamics had received a whooping 13 views (now up to 16! views).
I like to write about things I like to write about (well, no shit!). They might not always be things that others love to read about. The science posts may not draw the attention of the others. Who knew people don't enjoy reading about math and population ecology in their free time? I will continue to write them - not because I do not give a shit about what you want to read - but because it is what I want to write sometimes. Most will continue not to read them and I am OK with that. They will stay on the internet and maybe somebody will find them useful someday. I know I find them useful for getting my thoughts together about complex ideas.
I like to write about things I have some perspective or experience with that others may not - many of these are the scientific posts but also the history and mentorship posts. I like to write about things that are personal to me (Wolf River, mentors, and my favorite scissors). I love fly tying, I tied flies before I fly fished, and I have been at it for more than 30 years. And I have, I would say quite humbly, I learned from some of the best in Wisconsin and elsewhere- George Close, Bob Blumreich, Hans Weilenmann, and others. I like to share what I know, mostly through sharing some favorites, Wisconsin flies, and some overlooked fly patterns (CDC and Elk, Tongue Depressor, Magic Minnow, Thunder Creek, and Mangrove Muddler). As well as some information about what you are looking for in particular materials, one of the most important - and hard earned - things to learn in fly tying.
As my friend and Coulee Region Trout Unlimited president Fred Spademan put it, the blog is "hyper-local" and I like it that way. I could - and sometimes do - write posts with an appeal outside of Wisconsin and the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. We are shaped by our experiences and it is a whole lot easier to write about what we know. I do not have a lot of interest right now in writing a bunch of "how to" posts. It is not that I can't, I just do not really want to. Maybe some day that changes, who knows?
Why did I write this? I am still trying to figure that out but mostly, I think it was a chance to write something a little lighter, something off the cuff. I would love for you to subscribe and read all the stuff I write. As humble as I would like to be, it is often a crap load of time to write these posts, particularly the more scientific ones. While it for "fun" and most of the time it is fun, sometimes it feels like work. I write when I feel like it - this helps keep it from being too much like work. If it ever becomes too much like work, I am done with it.
As they say on YouTube - like and subscribe. Feedback is more than welcome. Tell me what you like to read - and what you skip over. I will probably still write the posts you skip over but, hey it is MY blog and I do not do it for the clicks. Or do I?
A few of my favorite "under-read" posts: