Statistically Speaking

stats

I am drawn to my WordPress stats page at least once every day although the stats do not tell me things I am curious about like how old my readers are. I know a twelve-year-old girl who reads my blog occasionally and a man of fifty-one, who claims to have read everything on my blog. Are the rest of my readers older or younger? My stats do not also tell me if I have crossed gender barriers with my pen. Who reads my post more, men or women?

 
I know no one in Brazil and Azerbaijan is a place I must locate on a map, yet my words have gone where my legs could not go. My words have travelled over Congo, a place I visited in Wilbur Smith’s The Dark of the Sun, and touched down in the United Arab Emirates. At least one person in every continent, in 105 countries, has viewed my blog.

livelytwist country views

I have heard it said that Nigerians don’t read, and that the average Nigerian’s appetite for literature lies in entertainment (Nollywood gossip), politics, and religion. I think I have done my part to debunk that claim. My highest blog views are from Nigeria, closely followed by the United Kingdom and the United States. Mind you, nearly 5,000 views in a country of 150 million people is a drop in the ocean, but I’ll take that drop, thank you!

 
What brings people who I have never met to my blog? I’d like to think that although I don’t know what gnaws on your mind at night, my words do. More likely, search engine robots pull you to my blog when you search for words like Akpos or Body Magic. If Akpos is unique to Nigeria, then majority of the seventy percent of viewers from Europe and The Americas are Nigerians. It makes sense as my Naija experiences colour my metaphors, making me feel proud that I’m also exporting Naija culture to non-Nigerians.

 
Was it my smiling Gravatar or a comment I left on another blog that brought you here? If so, I’m never changing that photo! If Facebook brought you here, I am not surprised for people share my posts on Facebook more than on any other social media platform.

 
I wonder if you stay after you land on my blog or if you leave, bookmark the page, and return later. If you stay, what do you like to read most? When I read a book, I try to find someone I know or myself in its pages. Is the protagonist’s failure like mine or is his success worth aspiring to? Does he walk with a limp so I can catch up with him?

 
I think the best stories are about the human condition, which would explain why stories about my or another’s insecurities served with wit, are the most viewed, most shared, most commented, and most liked posts on this blog. Posts like The Body Magic, I am not Looking for Love, I am going to Work, The Measure of a Man, Any Comments, and Six Degrees of Separation. Perhaps vulnerability exposes authenticity that makes you stay beyond the polished prose.

 

statistically speaking

Now I know what drives traffic to my blog, do I write another Akpos post? Now I know which posts attract the most views, comments, likes, and shares, do I stop writing posts like, Grow Up Mikey and Our National Pastime, because they performed poorly at the box office?

 
I cannot confine myself to the prison of writing for stats; my mind is bigger than that. However, I realise that my stats are my friends and they are relevant to the degree that I can make right inferences, which affect my writing and ultimately enhance your reading pleasure. So please fill in the gaps and tell me what my stats page won’t: who are you, what brought you here, and what will keep you coming back?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 
Related posts from Livelytwist:
https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/what-brought-you-here/
https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/wordpress-106-writing-and-perception/

 

Image credit: illustration from Microsoft

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I Do

I do

Some people believe that after they’ve met The One, they could never develop feelings for another. I think that if we are blindfolded we may be unable to distinguish touch from touch. This is not an argument against monogamy, but for focus.

In his book Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning1.  In making the point that excellence requires a critical minimum level of practice, he says ten thousand hours is the magic number that researchers have agreed on for true expertise2. That’s an awful amount of focus.

Livelytwist and I have been married for a year and as much as she has pleasured me past our honeymoon weekend of 2,000 views, family, friends, work, hobbies, books, TV, social media, and a hundred other commitments compete for my attention. If I have achieved any kind of excellence in this marriage, it is because I rarely let anything come between Livelytwist and me.

Our marriage has not been without its challenges. Although I spend hours conjuring word pictures to process big ideas, promoting these ideas beyond my small circle tasks me. Learning how to ‘shout’ on Twitter and Facebook does not excite me. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.3

I remember that at twelve or thirteen, my mum gave me the talk.

“You’ve started your period. From now on, if a boy touches you like this,” she tapped my arm, “you’ll get pregnant!”

I did not take her words to heart. But the next day, as I played tag with the kids on my street, the horror of how many times I could get pregnant weighed on my heart. At dinnertime, I watched the boys run to their homes while I trudged to mine, sure that my stomach had already started swelling. I stopped playing tag after that.

My mother had successfully sold me her abstinence formula, which I bought until I turned sixteen and the boys came to play tag in droves. Only then did she change her marketing strategy.

Where I come from, we call every carbonated drink Coke. Such is the brand dominance Coca-Cola enjoys, and yet the company still spends millions on advertising.  I realise that I must first write posts that resonate with readers, before I figure out how to get them to read it, and then be ready to change when my methods age.

At the same time, I do not want to be that guy at the airport, who you ask, “What do you do?” and he answers, “I’m in sales, and you?” Then while your lips are opening, he tells you about his eBooks, his tenor rising, rising, dropping, rising, rising, as he shoves a Kindle in your face. You cannot get a word in edgeways, so you promise to buy at least one book and make a mental note to go for confession. When you throw the bookmark he gave you in the bin, all that remains from the encounter is the smell of musk.

The first indicator that someone outside my close circle was anticipating my blog post came a few months after I started blogging.

Lively, how far? It’s 2 p.m. here and we’ve been waiting all day for your blog post.

This email from a reader via my contact form proved that my walk was louder than any talk I could have given for he had noticed my Sunday-Sunday consistency. It changed the game for me. I shovelled out my doubts about blogging and said, “I do” to Livelytwist.

All of you who share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and by word-of-mouth, are my connectors to the rest of the world. Your referrals are fresh like 8 a.m. doughnuts and relevant like Google. You helped me stay faithful to Livelytwist. At every crossroad, you lifted the lamp of love, and I saw in your face, the road that I should take.

Thank you.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Related posts from Livelytwist:

https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/wordpress-103-recruiting-followers/

https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/wordpress-104-in-search-of-content/

 

  1. Gladwell, Malcom, Outliers, The Story of Success, (London: Penguin Books, 2009), 175
  2. Ibid., 43 – 44.
  3. Peter Drucker Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/peterdruck154444.html

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Six Degrees of Separation and Other Stories

secret of change

On a scale of one to ten, I was born with a six in writing, just as you were born with a six, or seven, or eight in something. This means that even if I don’t develop myself as a writer, anything I write would be better than what most people write. But talent is not enough. It can be a beginning.

I believe in six degrees of separation, the version I have heard, that you are only five people away from any one you want to meet. I could meet Barrack Obama if I want to. My family knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that knows Goodluck Jonathan. Goodluck Jonathan can lead me to Obama. In theory.

I put this man know man to good use when I tried to publish my manuscript traditionally in Nigeria. It helped. In theory. I got an audience with every publisher I wanted to meet. In those days, I wrote creative non-fiction and dreamt about a coffee-table-style book with rich photos, that readers could leisurely leaf through. Two things stood in my way: money and a photographer to team up with.

After I butted my head against the wall several times, I used six degrees of separation, again, to get the attention of glossies and weekend papers. I received some offers. Two conditions made me decline. The publications demanded exclusivity and wanted me to write free of charge.

“Are you crazy?” asked my cousin who was number four in this particular six degrees of separation.

“What exactly do I get from this arrangement?”

“This is Naija, shine ya eye well well! You’ll get a platform to build your reputation as a writer, and before long, they’ll be calling you for speaking engagements. Then you can charge like 100k per engagement,” her eyes shone as she giggled and clapped.

Should I have taken the offer? In 2008, Michael Birch sold Bebo to AOL for $850M. In 2010, AOL sold Bebo for less than $10M, as the story goes. Birch said, “Obviously, the timing was good for us and bad for AOL.”

Was the timing good for me? I only know two things. One, that although I had about two months’ worth of articles on my laptop, deep down, I feared that I could not write engaging articles week after week. Two, that if you don’t know who you are or what you’ve got, people will remould you until you cannot recognise your reflection.

Once, a mentor asked me to pay a token for advice. He said, “What is given too cheaply is often despised.” I have found that humility is not being the doormat others step on because you don’t know your value. It is knowing your value, but choosing to be a doormat anyway.

Some of my missed opportunities are like Halley’s Comet while others have prepared me better for this time. Some people ‘wait’ for opportunity as though opportunity is passive, like something that happens to you, as in the sentence, I was hit by a truck. At night, I look at the sky and believe there are spaces in the universe for us to fill. We cannot rule out what some call luck and others providence, but in a sense, we call opportunity by our preparedness.

As I tried to get a writing gig going, people would say, “Your articles read like a blog post. Why not start a blog?”

I chewed the idea and spat it out, for the same reason that I never wanted to start a business. I have no entrepreneurial bone in my body. I’m a nine to five girl jare. Share your vision and I will actualise it; but don’t ask me to come up with my own.

Four years later, many unpublished articles and short stories later, miffed that I found one grey eyelash while looking in the mirror, I wrote an article about getting older and posted it on my Facebook Timeline. The responses surprised me. Not just the likes or comments, but the call to start a blog.

I had come full circle. I wrestled with the thought that I was moving away from my dream of being traditionally published. In truth, I had buried that dream under a big box labelled life. My sister told me, “When you’re down, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

I started this blog with grit, a little knowledge, some research, plenty goodwill, confidence, trepidation, and a two-month content calendar.

One year later, this gift that chose me, feels like a solemn trust, like a platform to do my life’s work. When you read something and say it inspires you to do life better, I let my tears fall where they will.

 

path to your dream

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Related posts from Livelytwist:

https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/wordpress-101/

https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/wordpress-102-no-pressure/  

 

Photo credit: Pensiero / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Title: Reading

Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pensiero/70530914/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Share Your Story

share your story

“So, you would have been blogging for a year now this April?”

“Uh huh.”

“Wow how time flies! You don’t sound very excited.”

“I am.”

“But?”

“Well, it’s not like it’s such a big deal, people have been blogging like forever.”

“True, but you’re not people.”

“I know.”

“Why don’t you write about it?”

“Me? It’s not like I won Olympic gold or something.”

“You’re too hard on yourself. You keep waiting until you arrive. Learn to celebrate small successes on the way. Life has peaks—”

“And valleys. Every peak is a valid point for celebration, blah, blah, blah. Okay, how should I do it?”

“Share your story, what you learnt, why you started blogging, that kind of thing. Your writing voice lends itself to the personal essay.”

“Really?”

“What’s wrong with you? Where is your confidence?”

“Don’t! I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I am your mentor. If you want a cuddle, go to your friends. If you want to kick ass, you come to me!”

“Alright. But it’s not like I made money blogging, what exactly do I want to tell—”

“You of all people should know that money isn’t the only index of success—”

“You didn’t just say that?”

“Of course it’s a biggie, but writers like us console ourselves it’s not. As I was saying, haven’t you found fulfilment? Didn’t you achieve some of your goals?”

“Well . . .”

“And what is it you say again on your blog? ‘We’re all doing life together.’ And the other one that makes people think you’re sooo deep? Aha, ‘Because life happens to all of us—’”

“You’re an idiot and your advice ain’t worth two cents.”

“You can always go to the mall and buy a Gucci bag to celebrate  . . .”

 

I went to the mall. I didn’t buy a Gucci bag. Writing is so much cheaper.

 

For the rest of April, I’ll share about my experience blogging for a year because I feel proud of what we, you and I, have achieved on Livelytwist. I hope you’ll stick around. I hope you’ll locate yourself in my stories and maybe share parts of yours too. Thank you so much for your support.

 

Take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!

timi signature wordpress

 

 

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credits:

Photo by Rob Gros:  http://www.creationswap.com/media/3387

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Any Comments? No, I think I’ll Pass.

no comments

Dear Non-Commenter,

Today, the spotlight is on you! As I reflect on my blogging journey, I realise that engagement is a big part of the fun for me. Why have you decided to blow out my candles before the MC counts to three?

Following my informal survey, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why you don’t comment and given my tongue-in-cheek arguments against them. Find your excuse and tell me if your arguments are louder than mine are.

Reluctant Barry

You claim that you want to see what others are saying and where the conversation is going before you add your voice. In other words, you don’t want to be the first to comment. You surprise me. Are you incapable of independent thought? Monday to Friday, you make decisions like an entrepreneur without a board. Is it only when you come to Livelytwist that you cease being a pioneer?

Scared Molly

They told you the internet is a dangerous place and now you take everything you read with a pinch of salt. You worry that future employers are googling your name. You worry that when you become a presidential aspirant, a comment you left on Livelytwist can and will be used against you. Hmmm, what do we know for sure? Y2K didn’t happen and aliens are yet to take over our world. Unconvinced? Leave your comments with a grain of salt; call yourself Panteka Monleka, who cares?

Forgetful Harry

You were planning to, but you forgot. Committing things to your memory is like fetching water with a basket. No time like the present. Stop this minute and go to the comment box. Write about the sea or the prevalence of memory loss in Homo sapiens living in the Twitter Generation. You know what; don’t sweat it before you forget again. Just write, nice post, and know you have done your good deed for the week.

Ungrammatical Sally

My “grammar” intimidates you. You don’t want to sound like a fool. Really? Did I set an English exam for you? Do you not have spell check? Is it not true that since you began reading Livelytwist, your writing has improved? You’ve stolen a metaphor here and a paragraph there, basked in accolades, and didn’t mention my name. Meanwhile, you shared The Measure of a Man, with that boy who showed you pepper and when he didn’t say sorry, you read Happy New Love and rekindled hope. Yet, not a comment, not even one comment.

blog comment infographic

Invisible Cheerleader

Timi, you go girl! Oh yes, I can soar on the wings of your private messages and clinch the Nobel Prize for literature! You say although you do not comment, you’re supporting me from behind. Ah, I can manage my behind myself. Please move to the front. For your sake, I posed questions at the end of posts to foster engagement. You ignored the hint and sent me yet another BBM: Timi you go girl! Get ‘em tiger! Where did you find a smiley clothed in animal skin? Never mind that, just leave a comment please.

Livelytwist Unofficial Ambassador

“Lol, this was so funny, I’m in stitches. Y’all need to read this!!!” If you’d left this comment on my blog, this post would’ve been redundant. Instead, it was what you wrote as you shared my post on Facebook and Twitter, while counting the minutes until the end of the second service at your church. I am grateful that two people heeded your call. Did you know one of them left a comment? You’ve almost earned your badge. 140 characters or less gets a pass mark in my book. I’m waiting . . .

Tongue-tied Mary

You don’t know what to say. I get it, the post doesn’t move you. What of last week’s post and the week before that? Like seriously sixty-plus posts and you don’t have an opinion? In school, you must have been like that child who always whined when the teacher posed a question to him, “They’ve already said what I was going to say.” I allow that here. Simply reply someone’s comment and write, “True talk. You just took the words from my mouth!”

Naija Pally

You have promised to comment by God’s grace. Your one argument trumps my thousands. No network. Enough said. Scores, Livelytwist: zero, Naija Pally: one.

 

Non-commenter, I could go on, but hearing from you is more important.

 

Regards,

Livelytwist

 

P.s. faithful commenters are also invited to weigh in 🙂

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Read about social media habits: men versus women

http://socialmediatoday.com/valerie-mellema/2231276/do-men-use-facebook-differently-women

http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/19/how-men-and-women-use-social-media-differently-in-one-graphic/

 

Photo credits:

Image credits: all people illustrations, animes, avatars, and vectors by Microsoft

Design & infographics: ©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.