Is it More Important to Be Popular or Taken Seriously?

I’ve operated this site now for 27 months and despite times of lengthy posting droughts, like earlier this year, or times of daily updates, I’ve managed to produce 225 entries. I think with this experience behind me, I can start to develop trends on what works or doesn’t work when it comes to people reading my articles.

From a statistical point of view, the entries from the first few months are both at an advantage and a disadvantage. They have lived on this site the longest, and have been searchable through Google for the most amount of time and the SEO clock has been ticking the longest. However, when they were posted, there were far less regular followers, which still makes up the core of views. This site gets a decent amount of hits based on what I’ve read for traffic numbers of many bloggers. The place that you don’t see great numbers is often in follows, likes and comments. Without having done any real surveys, I believe this is simply because the website has the words “porn” and “addict” in the title. I think a lot of people would be hesitant to publicly follow a site called “Child Molesters are Bad” despite the fact that we can all agree with that sentiment.

I further believe this phenomenon to be proven when you look at what the most popular postings in two metrics. First, there are the ones that are the popular articles based on “likes”. If you want to see a list of these, just head to the homepage and you’ll find them on the right side of the screen. You should actually do that to understand the rest of this article better.

The other metric to view to determine the most popular articles is based on “hits” which isn’t a public display option on WordPress, yet is the actual number of times an article has been read.

By number of hits, these are the top 10 entries in the history of this site:

  1. The Bond Between Sex Addicts and Those With Eating Disorders
  2. Spotting the Signs of Pornography Addiction
  3. The Day I Went to Jail
  4. Facing Triggers Makes You Stronger
  5. Statistics on and The Definition of Pornography
  6. Q&A: PMO and NoFap as Addiction Cures
  7. Q&A: What Does ‘Gaslighting’ mean?
  8. Practicing Empathy Has Been Huge to Recovery
  9. Mental Health Education, Not Gun Laws, Will Reduce Violence in Our Schools
  10. Q&A: Does Hiding a Porn Addiction Mean He Hid Affairs?

Of these top 10 most-viewed entries, only one, The Day I Went to Jail, makes it onto both most hits and most liked Top 10 lists.

So, considering that any entry has to be in the Top 4% of what I’ve written to make either list, which I think is a large enough sample size, what conclusions can be drawn?

First, I think people do want to read about the ins-and-outs of pornography addiction and want real information. Looking at the hits list, only the jail entry is an experiential piece and only the mental health education one is mainly opinion.

When I look at the most liked list, it’s much different. The top two liked articles both have the words “mental health” in the title and they are both experiential pieces talking about my life. In fact, 8 of the Top 10 most liked articles have the words “Me,” “My,” or “I” in the title. You can even make an argument that the other two are experiential mixed with opinion.

There are certainly other variables. Seven of the top 10 most liked articles have been written in the last three months, and liked by mostly the same people. This could suggest that I just have a following that is more apt to hit the like button at the moment.

Perhaps I’ve also consciously or subconsciously got better at writing click-bait like headlines. I look at the Top 10 most liked articles vs. those that are sitting in the 190s and there’s a big difference in the quality and excitement of headlines. Funny, sensational, cliffhanger-like headlines draw people in. It’s why the news media does it all the time. I mean, let’s be honest, when you read the headline and saw the photo for this post, did you think it was going to be about website data analysis? No, but it got you this far.

I think among those posts that are liked the most, there’s also a level of relatability. Tales of mental health issues, visiting other blogs, frustration with Facebook or loving my dogs are things that you don’t have to be a porn addict to relate with. When readers see themselves in the entries they may be more apt to like them.

I think that a similar correlation can be drawn on the most viewed articles. Clicking that you like those articles may “out” yourself as a porn addict, sex addict, someone with an eating disorder, a partner of a porn addict or somebody else you’re not ready to identify as publicly just yet.

I think another year or two of entries will help to establish whether my hypotheses are correct or if I need to rethink how people approach this website.

This is probably all “inside baseball” to those who don’t have a blog or website, but I’d love to hear from those people who have been blogging for a while. Do you find that there is a wide gulf between the entries that are most read and most liked, or is my experience an outlier?

So…one final experiment I want to try. I need you to “Like” this article. In a month, when views will slow down to a trickle (assuming it’s not one of the most “hit” articles), I can compare how many hits the article got to how many people liked it. In liking it, it shows that you are both supportive of my little experiment and read this far. The difference in # of people who “hit” this entry vs. “like” it should give the number of people who never got this far in the article.

Also, while I have you here, there’s a cool book I want to tell you about… https://amzn.to/2qvxVbm

The banana book is winning again. Help a guy out….

Random Thoughts, November 2019: The Person I Can’t Forgive, A Book Push Coming, Gratitude Proven Healthy

It’s another one of those days when I’m ready to start writing but my mind is so full of multiple things that I don’t know where to go with it, so a random thoughts entry seems best. Strap in and we’ll see what comes out of my fingertips.

For those of you who check in here almost every day, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your continual support. You have been a piece of my ongoing recovery that has been like a rock I can always count on and I thank you.

That said, I’m going to warn you in the next month or two, there’s going to be a lot of messaging about my new book appearing on the site and it might get old or boring if you’re here every day. I apologize in advance.

First and foremost, this site is a great tool for marketing. Based on the search terms and how many people come here from search engines, I know there are a lot of new visitors here daily. They may only visit once in their lives and I have to let them know the book exists. Also, if anybody hears me on a podcast or radio show (of which a lot are coming – I’m recording 3-4 a week right now) and they visit the site, they need to easily figure out how to get the book.

I would really like this book to make some money and I’m going to try and do my best to make sure it gets into as many hands as possible. I know that I’m doing a good thing by producing the information in the book, but if I want to write more books, the publisher needs to make money and if I want to justify the time it takes to write the books, there has to be a few dollars in it for me. So anyway, thank you very much in advance for understanding I’ll be a little bit more in sales mode when the book goes on Amazon pre-order next week.

And of course, feel free to buy many copies. They make wonderfully awkward stocking stuffers.

*************

I’ve let go of so much resentment in my life and given internal apologies to so many people who did me wrong in my life as part of my recovery. It’s been a crucial part of getting better. Letting go of bad feelings has freed up plenty of space in my head and my energy can be used for more productive things.

There’s one person who I’m still having the hardest time of forgiving and it’s my fourth grade teacher. I know that sounds strange and I keep running through incidents in my head that more than prove she was a cold, narcissistic phony with little regard to children or their mental health. It doesn’t make sense why of all people, she’s the one I’m holding a grudge against. Why could I forgive the others and not her?

I could share a lot of stories that would make you dislike her, too. She wasn’t a good person. But even if I easily convinced you of that, why does this stick with me?

I remember once she said something to the effect of, “I’ll have you children know that you may think I’m not fair now or I give you too much work, but I can’t tell you how many of my former students come back and say, ‘Thank you Ms. G. You were the best teacher I ever had.’” I think she couldn’t tell us because it hadn’t happened yet.

I recall the moment she said that I thought to myself, “I’m going to come back and tell her how terrible she was and I hope I hurt her feelings.”

My position hasn’t changed in nearly 35 years, and I don’t know why.

***********

Speaking of productive things, for those of you who read this entry from a few weeks ago, you’ll be pleased to know I cleaned the garage enough to get a car in their during winter storms. Or, rather, I threw about 10 trash bags of junk away, made around 20 trips to the basement moving stuff I wanted to keep, then was exhausted, moved everything into a big pile on the right side, and called it good. I’ll either finish the job in the spring or die before that. I’m not sure which is worse 🙂

************

Finally, I finished reading a study about gratitude yesterday and while I’m not going to write a full entry about it, in the last few years, science has made amazing strides toward connecting those who regularly, consciously practice gratitude vs. those who don’t.

From quicker recovery time from major ailments and procedures, to a better overall performance at work, some of the statistics blew me away. Part of me still wonders if there is some other common thread that researchers are missing, but it’s hard to deny that aside from just making you anecdotally feel good, practicing gratitude will make you a healthier, more productive person.

So, I guess this means we should stop throwing up in our mouths a little when every perfect family shares on Facebook how much they are blessed. Apparently, it’s healthy.

Science is cool.

The Grateful Eight

OK, so if you’re reading this in the far-future, today is Friday, November 8, 2019. I’ve spent much of my week proofreading my (please, God, please) final galley of my book coming out next month. I’m so proud of the book and think it’s going to help a lot of people, but it’s been a lot of work. I need to remind myself that I’m grateful for having the opportunity to write it and see it published.

As I was reminding myself I need to be grateful, I came across another blog that I follow that said today was the Grateful Eight. Apparently, on the eighth of each month, this nice lady likes to list 8 things she’s grateful for. Despite the fact I’ve been cranky for a few weeks, I am actually someone who has included gratitude as part of my everyday recovery.

I had so much to be grateful for, even in the depths of my worst alcoholism and porn addiction, but couldn’t recognize it. I now understand how much work it is to create and operate a magazine, so I’d never do it again, but I think I still possess the dumb optimism that allows me to embark on grand adventures. And I’m very grateful for it now.

Anyway, along with that, and in the spirit of embracing other people’s blogging games, here are my Grateful Eight…

  1. My wife – I know it’s a sucking-up move, but she doesn’t read this blog, so it really isn’t. Despite our differences, we make a very good team and if it was not for her support, not only over the last 6 years, but also the 10 years we were married before that, I think I’d be a shell of who I am today.
  2. My mind – Despite the fact there are facets of it that seem broken, there are other facets that work far better than most people’s. From my ability to read people and size them up quickly to the photographic-like way I can remember trivia, I know that I was given extremes in how my mind operates. I’ll take extremes over average.
  3. My parents – If you can find two parents who have been dragged through more emotional highs and lows by their kid, well, I don’t want to have dinner with those people. Within the space of a year, my parents went from hearing from everybody, “You must be so proud of your son on the city council” and “His magazine is so terrific, you must be so proud” to having to deal with, “So, he didn’t really do it, did he?” Their support for me has never wavered, and at times, that has included far too much financial support. I hope I’m half the parent they’ve been to me.
  4. Vaccinations – Both because they may have saved my life multiple times and I’m sure there’s someone reading this who will get irritated and claim that I don’t know what I’m talking about because they once heard of someone’s kid getting Flying Squirrel Syndrome or whatever other disease from a polio vaccine. Realize this, though. Our grandparents could die from stuff that we don’t even think about. That’s science at work, not superstition.
  5. My kids – While I admittedly wasn’t the best father for many years of their childhood, thankfully they only have one father, so they don’t know the difference. Just kidding. I find as they get older they offer me far more wisdom than I offer them these days. Taking the cross-country trip with my daughter (it was just her and I the first 10 days, then other parts of the family joined up for a week, then just my dad and I the last 10 days) this past summer was one of the best experiences of my life with her and I can see my son and I developing a best friends relationship that will run deep into his adult life.
  6. The open road – The thing I missed the most while on bail, in jail, and on probation was my inability to move freely outside the state of Maine. If I had been in California, that’s plenty of space to roam around and experience different places and climates. Not so much here. While that August road trip sent me into the red, it was the soul cleansing 9,000-mile journey I needed to put the legal ordeal behind me.
  7. Chefs – Thank God there are people in this world who know how to take food and make better food from it. I have literally never made anything from scratch except for fried rice and pasta salad, and neither are very good. I don’t think they get enough credit for being true artists. My life would be far less joyful without them.
  8. The benefit of the doubt – I need this a lot in life now and I’ve learned there are many people who will never give it, nor give it back, to me. It’s an act of faith and means a lot.

As a bonus one, I’m grateful for all of you who will spend a few seconds looking at pictures from my awesome road trip. I keep meaning to put these up. I guess two months late is better than never, right? I guess if you click on the photo or hover over it you get a caption.

 

I don’t need your full eight, but I’d love to hear about a few non-obvious things that you are grateful for in this life, and you can’t say my photos. I already know you loved those.

Don’t Blame Me, Blame the One Who Gave Me the Blogging Award

As some of you who are very old to this site know, I generally am not very gracious with the fake awards, and never post anything about them. Part of that is because awards were like catnip to me in my old life, if I were a giant feline. Too easy to go for the Are You Being Served?-style pussy joke right there. But, it’s the weekend and I’m avoiding my real work, and nothing immediately springs to mind to write about, so my new rule is that I do one of these per year.

And I mean no disrespect calling it a fake award. It’s just that, at their core, all awards are subjectively fake, or at least I have to tell myself that to keep my walls free of them.

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Food.For.Thoughts, which is one of my favorite blogs. The award is designed as:

“The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award of recognition given to bloggers from fellow bloggers. It recognizes those who are creative, positive, and inspiring. It celebrates people who spread sunshine.”

Yup, that’s me.

So, I’m supposed to nominate a bunch of people and ask them questions, but I choose not to do that. Two or three weeks ago, I posted a list of a bunch of smaller bloggers (in terms of followers, not their actual BMI) I like, and you can see that list HERE.

Then I’m supposed to answer some questions so you can all get to know the deeper me:

  1. What is the best advice you’ve ever heard?

I bet this is a question that doesn’t get asked a lot in the deaf blogging community. Most advice are clichés, like “It’s nice to be important, but important to be nice” but they’re true. It’s hard for me to point to one nugget and say that’s the one. I guess “Don’t do it for the money” because that’s never been a priority in my life and as you read HERE, I’m still struggling with the concept.

  1. What is a lie you tell frequently/with ease?

Many of my freelance writing/ghostwriting clients know nothing about my addictions, crime or recovery. I worry what they would say and if they’d dump me. So, I use an assumed name in all of our dealings. And no, I won’t tell you that name, even if you’re currently working with me and don’t realize it.

  1. Do you have a blogging routine? If so, enlighten us.

I either write my blog first thing in the morning and wait for between 10 a.m. and noon to publish it, eastern time, or I write it the night before and schedule it if I know I have a lot to do the next day. Either way, serving you is my priority.

  1. What is one thing you really want to do/accomplish?

I only need to go to Colorado, Utah and Alaska and then I’ll have been to all 50 states. I need to get that done before I die because it would be a cool line in my obituary. “Former city counselor, magazine publisher, film festival founder, professional wrestler, ex-con and 50 states visitor — you see George, you really did have a wonderful life.”

  1. What is your biggest pet peeve?

When my dogs bark at the door, but won’t come in. My biggest human peeve is when people are late. It’s just as easy to be early or on-time as it is to be late. I think it’s one of the most disrespectful things you can do. The next closest is willfully embracing ignorance. The next is being susceptible to the placebo effect.

  1. Do you have a ‘pick me up’ song?

Depends what I’m doing. On long road trips, I like peppy 80s music. Best of the Go-Gos is a staple on that playlist. When I’m doing yard work like raking or shoveling snow, I listen to 90s gangsta rap. I don’t listen to music when I work anymore because it distracts me too much.

  1. What do you like the most about blogging?

I think it’s the best way for me to follow my passion of educating about porn addiction. As a professional writer who doesn’t run a newspaper or magazine anymore, where I could write about whatever I wanted and ensure thousands of readers saw it, this is as close as I can get to sharing my thoughts with an audience I couldn’t otherwise reach.

  1. Which household chore are you most likely to skip?

Cleaning the garage. It’s been like four years and aside from my mostly clean house, it looks like an episode of Hoarders in there. Speaking of which, has anybody seen my cat lately?

  1. Which event from history is most fascinating to you?

I wish I could go back and record the Big Bang to shut a lot of deniers up, although these days, even photographic, scientific proof doesn’t stop a lot of people from believing what they want. I’d also like to see what really happened the week of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, maybe pick up a T-shirt. That week set off waves that, believer or not, we’re all still feeling today. Not many weeks in history that are over 2,000 years old can claim that. It would be interesting to observe what really happened, even if I’m not religious.

  1. Are you superstitious? If so, what do you do or believe?

No. Much like religion, I think we codify things we can’t explain to make them more palatable. I’m perfectly OK walking under a ladder or believing there is no afterlife. I’m not an atheist, I’m just a realist and don’t sweat too many questions I know mankind will never be able to answer. And I’m cool with anybody believing what they want as long as they don’t pick a fight, try to make me join their team, or shame/pass judgment on others. Although I may have problems hiding my smirk when you tell me about the benefits of essential oils and reiki.

  1. What made you happy today?

There are so many awesome wiseass answers to this that sprang into my brain. I don’t really shoot for happy anymore. I shoot for contentment and thus far, I’m there today because nothing bad has happened yet.

Much like seeing the doctor, that wasn’t as painful as I thought and much like seeing the doctor, I don’t plan on being back here for another year. Don’t forget to set your clocks back if you’re in the United States. Set ’em back anyway no matter where else you live.

 

 

10 Blogs I Love That You Should Follow, But Probably Don’t Know About

I appreciate every person that follows me and based on my hits, I know a lot of people read the site regularly even if they don’t want to raise their hand and admit it. That’s fine. I just sometimes wonder if the people who have 2,349 followers recognize how lucky they are. Conversely, I also wonder if the people with 18 followers are doing something wrong but don’t know it. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

There used to be a great page on WordPress called the Swimming Pool, run by the company itself. Every Monday, people could post their pages, asking for feedback to what they wrote, the look of their site, or anything else in general. It was where I met a lot of the people who I first followed and who first followed me.

They closed down the page and it left a big gap for introducing people to one another. Now, I only learn of new sites if I specifically search for them on the Reader page or if I check out what commenters on other sites have to say.

Anyway, I follow about as many sites as follow me and many of them, like me, have a decent following, but deserve to be introduced to a wider audience. So, in the spirit of giving back, but since I hate those dumbass awards, I’d like to share some links with you.

The following links have between 25 and 300 followers. They have posted in the last month and post with regularity. I apologize to anybody if it offends them that I didn’t list them here. Dry those tears while reading these blogs:

Life Advice

Coaching Skills International – Quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. It may just be a meme reminding you how to stick to new habits or a well-written article on relationship issues, but I always know I’m getting a quality post when this site pops up in my reader.

Tony Overbay’s Official Site – OK, I’m breaking my rule by sharing a site with less than 25 followers (as I write this) but Tony’s got one of the best podcasts out there and links to his episodes here. He’s a brilliant licensed marriage and family therapist. He’s also the co-author of my new book, so I’m probably biased.

Health/Fitness

Revfit – Jason Leenaarts hosts a great podcast, but also provides great inspiration in the areas of fitness, diet, weight loss, philosophy and shares plenty about his own life. I don’t understand how he doesn’t have 500 times the followers. Inspirational and fun to read.

Defeating Stigma Mindfully (DSM) – Dr. Alexander Sinu breaks down all subjects health-related from addiction to to supplements to dementia. He keeps things short, has supporting links if you want to read more and writes with a level of respect and care toward every subject.

Life Happenings

Return of Conflict Girl – Holly is dealing with a lot right now, but somehow, she keeps her wits about her. She’s an introvert dealing with an uncertain future and is a real testament to having inner strength.

Suicide and Sex Work – Hope is a woman 100 times braver than most of us. She went through unspeakable horrors being sex trafficked as a small child by a family member. The fallout all of these years later sticks with her, but she’s open to sharing it and spreading understanding. It’s sometimes very hard to read, but her honesty is powerful.

BetrayedWife.net – This site was one of the big inspirations for me to write my new book and I think is a real gem. Any woman who is dealing with a husband or partner that is trying to navigate recovery from sex or porn addiction should really be reading this blog.

A Mix of Everything

Sophybless – I wish I was as good at writing short fiction that has a message to it as you find here. She’s able to craft vivid characters quickly and leave me both entertained and thinking about what she wrote. I’m not a big fan of poetry, but hers is quite good, too.

Even Christians Get the Blues – Rollie Anderson was one of the first people to embrace me on WordPress and let me know I wasn’t the only recovering porn addict here. Every Monday, he shares Bible verses, his interpretation behind them, and how they fit into the modern world of religion and spirituality. Even a guy like me who isn’t religious and only kind of spiritual gets a lot of out his writing.

Food.For.Thoughts – This has become another one of my recent favorites to read late in the morning. Most of it centers around mental health, with recent posts about social media, insomnia and therapy, usually tying the topic into depression by the end of the post. I very much appreciate how she refers her sources, but also gives her opinion on the facts.