Friday, November 2, 2007

Why Reddit Just Doesn't Mean Shit

Ever so often there's a huge controversy on Reddit which ignites a gigantic flame war and sends crowds of angry programmers to somebody's blog.

Here's the effect that has on traffic. (My big controversy happened on October 22nd.)

If you don't recognize that graphic, here's a hint.

(From the original Wired story.)

The attention you get from a Reddit flame war can seriously mess with your day. A large group of people saying unpleasant things about you is bound to affect your mood. But look at the numbers. First of all, in my particular case, 30,000 pageviews in a month is nothing compared to somebody like BoingBoing, so there's no point getting worked up about it. But more generally, out of that 30,000 pageviews, only 2,500 were views on my controversial post about debuggers. That's 8%.

Blogging is a long tail medium. At worst, Reddit controversies are short head controversies, which means they seem to matter more than they actually do, and at best they're long tail controversies, which means they're just a drop in the ocean.

The next time you get some huge pack of foul-tempered Reddit monkeys arguing with you all day over a point they're not even taking the time to think clearly about, just remember: it really just doesn't matter.