It’s not often that I share the personal frustrations of being a dog-blogger — especially one who tries to stand out from the crowd by keeping a lid on the pablum and fluff, and presenting from time to time some stories of depth about important dog-related issues.
Yesterday was a case in point.
I posted three items — about the daily average for ohmidog!
One was a mention of an upcoming motorcycle ride, sponsored by a motorcycle club and Baltimore’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, to raise money for abused and abandoned dogs.
One was a story about a day of global protest against eating dogs in South Korea.
One was an update on a story I wrote a few years back after meeting in Los Angeles a homeless man and his three legged pit bull (her fourth leg was lost as a result of a police shooting). Both have fallen ill and need help.
I was especially proud of the latter two, as they both contained some original reporting, and original photographs, and displayed a little first hand knowledge I had gathered, mostly during the year and a half I was working on my book.
Checking my Google Analytics, as I do from time to time, I saw this morning that the dog-eating post (of global significance) drew 116 views; the post on Michael and Topaz (of national significance) got 46 views; and the post on the fundraising motorcyle ride (of local significance) got 16 views.
What drew most readers to ohmidog! yesterday — 676 of them — was a post, nearly 50 days old, about Jennifer Aniston getting her dog Norman’s name tatooed on her foot.
Thereby showing you the significance of celebrities. It blows my mind.
How people try to remember and memorialize their dogs is a legitimate story — and a large part of the book I wrote — and the fact that more people are going the tattoo route, as the New York Post reported this week, is worthy of note.
But let’s face it, it was Jennifer Aniston that brought me those readers — and while I appreciate her, and those readers who dropped by, it bugs me that her foot tattoo so overshadowed two stories of deeper importance and deeper humanity. But, despite all that’s in the bowl, they chose only that.
My little corner of the universe, or the Internet, serves it seems as a microcosm of what’s happened to the news media, which, to survive, has caved in to the pressure to give readers easily consumable, barely newsworthy bits of what they want, rather than fully fleshed out stories on topics of greater importance to the species, be it human or dog.
Looking at my Analytics — and I think it’s OK to share this proprietary information, given that I am the proprietor — a total of 435 pages and posts were viewed yesterday, 1,941 views in all.
The vast majority, though, were focused on Jennifer Aniston’s foot.
For those consumed with numbers, and getting them to increase, and paying the bills, the thinking would reasonably follow: We need more Jennifer Aniston, more tattoos, more feet, or more of whoever or whatever else is, at this given moment, “trending.”
Here’s one of the things that has happened. News organizations, and bloggers, see what’s “trending” and base their coverage on that, thereby making it “trend” even more, while items of higher significance — worth some digging up — fall unseen by the wayside.
Add to that the fact that those who write strictly for the Internet, often, are no longer writing for humans. Instead of writing for quality, instead of writing, even, for readers, they’re writing for robots — those search engine Peruse-a-trons that scan our words, mathematically determine their import and influence how many readers come our way.
Add to that the fact that average online writer now spends more time touting what he has written via social networks and elsewhere than actually writing what he has written. Time once spent on research and the craft of writing is now mostly absorbed by shouting about and hyping what one has written, even if that “writing” was little more than a cut and paste job.
We’ll even admit to doing some of that — what is now called “aggregating,” what was once called plagiarism. We’ll admit to touting stories we’re proud of on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll even admit to, once in a while, posting a story because we think it will draw a crowd.
Were ohmidog! a true money-making venture — which in some ways would make more sense than being poor and principled — we might follow the route that so many have, bringing you a steady diet of the cute, the happy, the adorable and the celebrity-related.
But, Jennifer Aniston aside, we plan to continue to vary our fare — presenting the cute, from time to time; the uplifting, as often as we can find it; but also the cruel and depraved acts of humans that lead to animal suffering.
If, in the three years we’ve existed (did I mention we’ve just turned 3?) and in the 3,000 posts we’ve posted, ohmidog! has shown anything, it is this: the depths to which humans can sink and the heights to which they can rise when it comes to dogs.
We’re going to keep doing that.
And you can tattoo that on your foot.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggregating, analytics, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, blogging, blogs, cute, dog, dog inc., dog stories, dogs, eating dogs, facebook, fluff, foot, google, internet, jennifer aniston, korea, michael, news, news media, newspapers, norman, ohmidog!, online, page views, pets, readers, robots, search engines, social networks, tattoo, topaz, tout, touting, trending, trends, twitter, visits, websites, writing
Restless, poor, unemployed and finished with THE BOOK, I — along with my two co-dependents, Ace and ohmidog! — am hitting the road.
Maybe for a month, maybe for two, maybe for more, we’ll be traveling the country — or at least those parts of it that are dog-friendly and in the red zones of that Verizon wireless map.
Basically we’ll take what we are spending on rent, and spend it on gas instead, see some America, visit some family members, camp out a lot, mooch off friends, continue to blog and job search and keep an eye out for places that are particularly dog friendly.
We depart with no real destination and no firm plan. We’ll be stopping in North Carolina for a quick visit with (Ace’s) grandma, tool on down to Alabama for my son’s high school graduation, and, proof of citizenship in hand, drop by Arizona, where my father and brother live.
Beyond that, it’s pretty wide open, and we are, of course, open to invitations, especially if you know of a good place to pitch our tent.
If you run an especially dog friendly — not dog tolerant, dog friendly — institution, program or business, feel free to drop us a line (email@example.com). The same holds true if you run a rescue, shelter or dog-related organization that’s doing new and exciting things. Depending on where you are, and how close we’re passing by, we’d love to come see and document your efforts.
In part, our journey will be a search for dog friendliness — and by that we mean the true and sincere form, not dog friendliness based on breed, weight, or a non-refundable deposit.
What prompts the trip, more than anything else, is being finished with the book I left the Baltimore Sun to write, and my guilt about all the family members and friends I’ve ignored during the research and writing of it.
As for the book, it’s a behind the scenes account of the quest to clone a dog and the subsequent marketing of that service. It’s title will be “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend.”
It’s scheduled for release in December, but don’t worry, I’ll remind you.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, book, cloning, dog, dog friendly, dog inc., dogs, dogscountry, john woestendiek, journey, ohmidog!, pets, readers, road trip, travels, trip, website
Carey Hughes, a longtime friend of ohmidog!, sent along this photo of her dog Bimini, whose attention has been drawn to something on the computer.
Look closely and maybe you can see what website Bim is so caught up in.
It leads us to wonder — how many of the 50,000 visits we’ve been getting a month are actually dogs, logging on after their humans have gone to bed?
Do they visit websites other than ohmidog!?
Do they enjoy some cyberfetch? Order treats delivered? Go on Facebook and post the trivial details of their lives for all to see:
“Rex is looking out the window watching the snow fall. Can’t wait to play in it. I love snow. Rain, not so much. I’m glad I’m not a cat. OMG, I’m so hungry! And I just ate three hours ago. I think I’ll order some treats.”
Maybe that dog who ordered Xbox points via a remote control is just the tip of the iceberg, and dogs around the world are evolving to the point that they understand computers, or at least understand them as much as humans do.
Or maybe not.
In any event, they’re all welcome here.
Keep reading, Bim.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bim, bimini, computers, dog, dog news, dogs, doogle, facebook, google, news, ohmidog!, pets, readers, visitors, website, websites, xbox
Based on my Google Analytics — the service that tells me how many people are reading ohmidog!, where they come from and what they have in their refrigerators — I thought it might be fun to make some gross, unfair and highly non-scientific generalizations.
(I don’t really know what you have in your refrigerators, though a certain someone in Dayton, Ohio might want to check the expiration date on that raspberry yogurt on the lower left hand shelf, behind the dill pickles.)
Looking at the past two months, I see that ohmidog! has had 57,912 visits. Of those, 47,547 were “absolute unique visitors,” meaning, I figure, that more than 10,000 visitors who stopped by were not unique at all. That’s OK, you are welcome here, anyway.
Together, our unique visitors and our run of the mill ones perused 78,153 pages. Most of you landed on our main page. As for specific entries, Baxter the therapy dog (featured in our “best of” section, above) drew the most views.
Outside of the U.S., Canada (2,574) and the UK (1,097) sent the most visitors, along with some place called Not Set (1,434). More than 100 visitors each came from Australia, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Philippines, New Zealand and India.
As for the good old USA, looking at the last two months, I was surprised to see that Californians (5,394) are the most frequent visitors to ohmidog!, holding a slight edge over residents of Maryland (5,385), our home base.
After California and Maryland, the states most prone to visiting ohmidog! in the past two months were, in this order: Texas (3,398), New York (3,251), Pennsylvania (2,927), Florida (2,159), Virginia (2,089), Illinois (1,874), North Carolina (1,721, but most of those were probably my mother, who is absolutely unique) and Ohio (1,685, and, you in Dayton, don’t forget to check that yogurt.)
From our Google Analytics figures, we are able to extrapolate (always keep an extrapolate, in case you lose your original polate) the following conclusions about our readership:
Most loyal readers: Maryland.
Most depth (meaning they stay on the website the longest, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they read more, as opposed to more slowly): Maryland.
Shortest attention span: California, New York, Florida.
Least likely to read ohmidog!: South Dakota.
Dirtiest refrigerators: South Dakota.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 13th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: absolute, analytics, audience, blog, california, dogs, extrapolate, figures, florida, google, loyalty, maryland, new york, ohmidog!, pages, pennsylvania, popular, popularity, readers, readership, states, statistics, texas, unique, visitors, website
After a nearly year-long hiatus, Ace went back on duty as a Karma Dog over the weekend, attending the first HEARTS (Help Encourage All Readers to Succeed) session of the season at the Baltimore County Public Libary in Catonsville.
The program runs for the next eight Saturdays, and starts at 11 .a.m.
Nine books (three of them Curious Georges) were read to Ace, who – from the moment I put on his special Karma Dogs harness and bandana — seemed happy to get back in the program.
He was one of three dogs at the library Saturday morning. The program is aimed at helping children grow more confident about their reading skills. Dogs don’t judge or criticize young readers when they make mistakes, which can often unintentionally cause them to become discouraged readers. When a child is more confident, they can learn more easily and are able to increase their vocabulary and become better readers.
The sessions are aimed at children who can read or are learning to read, and are usually in grades 1-5. To get the most out of the program, Karma Dogs recommends that children attend a session weekly.
Karma Dogs is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of others through relationships with therapy dogs. Its various programs are aimed at improving literacy skills among elementary school students and working with children and adults with developmental disabilities to improve communication and socialization skills.
Karma Dogs was also in the news recently for its “Oath of Kindness” program, which was developed in response to the recent violence against animals in Baltimore. Children take an Oath of Kindness with a Karma Dog, where they promise to be kind, tell their friends to be kind and tell an adult if someone isn’t treating an animal properly.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, baltimore county public library, catonsville, children, dogs, encourage, hearts, help, karma, karma dogs, kindness, literacy, oath, readers, reading, therapy dogs