Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What the readers are saying

If you notice, there is a green link called “ShortSurvey” on the right hand side of this page. Sometime back, I had requested regular readers to take this survey so that I can get an idea of who they are. Blogging can often get isolating in this age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where it is very easy to have a real-time, two-way, instant conversation. However, I am old-school, am neither on Twitter nor Instagram, do not restrict my thoughts to a certain number of characters, and still find that blogging is the best way to express my thoughts. I do agree that interaction becomes delayed and one-sided, and I am not really the best at replying to comments. But about sixty of you filled out the survey, and your responses were enlightening. I promised not to identify people or publish personal comments, so I’d rather post some generic findings. I am all about the stories that data tell, so thank you to those who took the time to respond to the survey. You can still do it.

Sixty percent of those who filled the survey are women.

Sixty-three percent of those who filled the survey live in India. Twenty-eight percent live in North America, and the rest in Europe.

Seventy-eight percent who filled the survey are in the age range of 30-40 years. Eighteen percent are younger (20-30 years) and a very tiny sliver of those who sent me their responses are in the range of 40-50 years.

A good number of those who filled out the survey live in Bangalore.

I do get some of this information about geographical locations from the trackers on my blog. I know that till date, the US, India and Russia are where I get most of the traffic from, closely followed by Germany, UK and Ukraine. I do not know anyone from Russia, UK or Ukraine, and would love to know who they are and how they got here. For example, are they Indians living in other countries, or are they Russians and Ukrainians?

I know that I get a lot of traffic from Sayesha’s and Ovshake’s blog. Thank you!

I also know that a lot of you end up here while looking for “green veins in legs”

Now some more interesting findings. A whooping sixty-four percent of those who filled the survey said that they have never shared any post of mine with the others. Only 8.6% said that they have shared, and the rest responded “Sometimes.” I wonder, why?

Some more interesting findings. Forty-eight percent of those who said that they share said that they do so by email. In this day of quick information sharing using Facebook and Twitter, I had not expected emails to be the prime mode of sharing.

Now onto some interesting comments. There is a question where I ask you if you have any questions or comments for me. There was a time when I had a fancy pair of red shoes as my header. Those are my favorite shoes and I still wear them. Someone commented that it looked like wearing shoes inside a temple. It was hilarious. However, I thought more about it, it did seem like wearing shoes inside a temple. After much deliberation, I removed them and made my blog shoe-free.

Someone said that they don’t like that I have self-esteem and that I have become more stubborn over the years. I don’t know how true that is, but coming from people who mostly know a slice of my life though my own writings, I was definitely amused. What is wrong in having self-esteem?

It was also interesting that most of you said that you started reading me 10-12 years ago. There were very few of you who were recent readers. It does say a lot about the loyalty of readers. Thank you for that as well.

Some of you wanted to know my name, where I live and where I work. I have nothing against these questions, but over all these years, I have tried to maintain anonymity as much as I can. I never share my own posts. I know that people connect more to writers when they have seen their picture or know their name. However, I have shied away from revealing personal information to complete strangers. This was a deliberate decision after a string of harassment and internet bullying episodes I experienced long back. The internet can empower a lot of people with both good and bad intentions. One of you asked for a picture and I did share a picture, only to receive a hilarious response. The person said that they were expecting a much older blogger but I look much younger than what they thought.

One of you asked me a very interesting question. “In a world without work visas, what would you do?” I absolutely loved that question. If I haven’t already, I plan to blog about it sometime. If I have already done so, please remind me. With the amount of writing I do, my memory fails me at times.

One of you also asked if I have ever made friends through my blog and if I have met them. Plenty. Definitely has to be more than fifteen. Okay, maybe that is not a lot, but given the level of anonymity I maintain on my blog, I would think meeting fifteen people over the past twelve years is a lot.

A lot of you mentioned finding my blog through Munnu’s blog. He is one friend I am glad I met during my initial days of blogging. We used to be close friends, although I have no idea what he is up to these days.

For reasons not clear to me, I saw that my blog readership started declining sharply since May of this year. I do not know why it happened, and the numbers keep falling. That has made me wonder how worthy it is to put my time and energy into blogging. Reflecting about it has also made me realize that at the end of the day, I am writing for myself. I am aware that I do not do it that often, and if I could, I would write a little snippet at the end of every day before going to bed. However, no matter how infrequently I write and no matter how much readership decreases, this blog is my own personal nook that I enjoy hanging out at. Sometimes I read old posts, as old as a decade ago and fondly remember those times of my life. My family does not know about my blog, but maybe I could write it in my will so that they can read it if I pass before they do.

All that aside, thank you for reading the blog over the years and also to those who filled out the survey. I have recently added a few more features on the right so that it is easier to contact me and leave a feedback or comment for me one-on-one. So don’t hesitate to reach out in whatever way, by writing to me, commenting, sharing, and helping me keep my blog up and running. You could also tell me anything you would like me to write about, and if I feel enthused enough, I will do it. Some of you did not like a recent template I was using and I changed it after I realized that I do not like it as well. So yes, I do take comments and good feedback seriously. I have toyed with the idea of writing more about academia from a faculty’s point of view, since I am one now. But I also wonder how interesting that would be for readers not in academia. I am a compulsive story teller and I itch to tell stories about my life, things that I see and things that I find interesting. This blog is the longest commitment and longest long-term relationship I have had with anyone or anything.


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