The Curse of the Broken Lever

Think of [your blog's] readers as laboratory animals in an experimental cage that’s equipped with a bunch of levers. If the lever you control dispenses a tasty morsel each time it’s pushed, the animals will keep coming back for more. If you forget to provide a treat for the animals’ effort, the animals will stop pressing your lever and look for a more reliable source of nutrition. That’s why it’s good to post at least one blog entry a day, because people will get used to the idea that your blog will deliver a treat each time they visit.

- Tip Number 4 for running a popular blog, from Rule The Web, Mark Frauenfelder’s guide on ‘How to do anything and everything on the internet – better, faster, and easier.’

Long ago, I recommended Mark’s book to anyone and everyone who uses the internet, giving it the highest possible praise by suggesting its title could have been, and should have been, The Junior Woodchuck’s Guide to the Internet. It was nice to read that this pleased Mark.

Mark’s very first blogging tip says that:

…I’m surprised at the number of people who post things just because they think they will attract more readers to their site… if you aren’t passionate about the things you’re writing about, readers will quickly become bored and never return.

And there, fellow lab animals, lies the problem. I think Mark Frauenfelder is exactly correct, and up until quite recently, I’ve tried to provide a morsel per day.

Future morsels will be just as tasty, but new ones will probably appear on a less-than-daily schedule. I expect that the ones that do find their way here will be all the more tasty, given the added prep time.

Please come and press the lever every so often, even though I admit defeat in balancing Mark’s first and fourth tips on a daily basis.

Spencer Tracy characterized Katherine Hepburn once by saying “There ain’t much meat on her, but what’s there is cherce [sic].” Less posts here, but what goes up will be cherce, and that’s a promise.

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