This sort of came up today, and I thought I would throw it out here for some discussion.
A weird thing happens to me from time to time while doing the ExtraLife comic, on and off for the last 6 years in fact. I have a few weeks where I am really happy with my work, traffic is growing, things seem to be as positive as one should be allowed to expect, and then something happens.
It’s usually just one guy in one comment in one post, but typically it’s someone complaining that things have been going “downhill” for a while now with the comic. Today it’s someone blaming it on the WoW guild we formed, which is ridiculous since I tend to get more comic inspiration when I am playing games, but anyway…it’s different every time as to why the person surmises a problem, but their conclusion is always the same: Things are going downhill.
I am not really sure what the definition of downhill is. Does it mean there is simply a trend in the negative? Does it mean that its a steady downward angle that can’t be pulled out of? Or does it mean something else? And what qualifies someone to determine a downward trend?
Now, I know what you are saying to yourselves: Scott, why do you even bring this up? It’s only a couple people once in a while…all other factors point to things going well for Extralife! Well, you are right, and I know that. But I guess what I am trying to get to the bottom of is why this happens, and why those people perceive a specific trend downwards, that by the populations account at large is not happening at all. And I am pretty sure that the EL readership does not expect me to knock it out of the park every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I also know that even the biggest of the comic folk get this all the time from different fans and such. Some get it a lot worse than I do…bigger the audience, the louder it gets sometimes.
When I had 1000 unique visitors a day, someone would say, “bah…the comic is not like it used to be…its going downhill.” When I had 9000 unique visitors, they’d say, “not sure why but the comic has really taken a turn down lately.” When I hit 30,000 uniques a day, like today, we get the same thing from someone.
I am not writing this to get a bunch of you to help massage my ego and tell me everything is just fine, or any of that. I write it because I am just confused by it. Is it like my obsession with B.C. when I was in my teens, and my inability now to enjoy that strip anymore? Is it like craving Doritos and then one day saying, bleh…sick of these, and not eating them again for a few months?
It’s interesting psychology at the very least, and I tend to dwell on such things, and sometimes vent them here on the blog. And further, why should this sort of thing bug me when ALL other signs, ranging from raw statistical and more and more links around the web to interviews and sponsorships, collectively point in the complete opposite and positive direction?
Maybe its simple human nature to want to try and please everyone. And let’s face it: A good portion of the reasons I do all this stuff is so you guys have something you can count on daily, that you might be entertained, that you might find some community and common ground with others, and generally use this place as a vehicle to have a bright spot to visit on the web occasionally.
Not sure there is a good answer, or that there even needs to be one. But it’s been on my mind today, and thought you guys might have some thoughts as well.