The other day something happened to my blog that I had always hoped would happen, but never thought it would happen to me. My blog started getting linked by blogs I had never heard of. My blog had gone viral.
About two weeks ago, I was writing a post about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It was a snarky sarcastic summary of the first episode. In a desperate attempt to pad the post a little bit, I threw in a drinking game based on the well-known Sorkin clichés and a few things I saw in the episode. I had never written a drinking game before but knew the format well. You pick repeated phrases and situations and make fun of them. The archetype of this goes back to the old Bob Newhart show where you had to drink everytime someone said “Hi, Bob.”
I figured there was some group out there that authorized and vetted the various drinking games on the internet, but there isn’t. After I posted the drinking game, I did a Google™ search for “Studio 60 Drinking Game” to see how my effort compared to the prior art. The only serious match I got was a thread on the Television Without Pity forum board for Studio 60 where they were running a drinking game thread with about 40 comments. Most of them had been posted before the show aired and were based on Sorkin’s other series. In a mild breach of message board etiquette, I made an on-topic comment and included a link to my drinking game. That brought in about a dozen rubberneckers over to my site, which is typical for when I pull that kind of stunt.
The giant entertainment blog Defamer noted that NBC had put up a parody site called Defaker that pretended the pilot of Studio 60 was real and summarized the first episode as if it were written by a gossip blog complete with screen captures as paparazzi photos. To make it look and feel real, the blog had an unmoderated comment section. At first the commenters (some of which had to be shills or sock puppets) were playing along with the conceit that it was a “real” blog about a “real” show. Then the hoi polloi arrived and things got ugly. People were trashing the show and even more, the fake blog. I did my comment and run plug and that brought in another couple of dozen hits. I felt pretty smug about my guerilla marketing since the whole fake blog was pulled just a few days later and any future blog whoring opportunities there were now lost.
A few days later, I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits from two entertainment blogs, namely InsideSoCal.com and TVTattler.com. These sites had linked to my drinking game and were bringing hundreds of readers. Then later that same day, Defamer itself gave a link and traffic shot through the roof. The next day a blog called PopCandy run by USA Today also linked to the game. Instead of the typical 100-200 visitors I get, I spiked at over 3000 visitors. Once the word got out, about another half-dozen blogs linked to my game. The most flattering to me was from Zentertainment written by Sean Jordan which I used to read nearly ten years ago when it was an e-mail subscription list.
Since then, my traffic stats have been doing their inevitable exponential decay back towards my core group of readers. I’ve always
I’m happy with my fifteen minutes of rather minor internet fame, but it’s not going to change my life or my writing style. I write about what I want and it’s up to the blogosphere to decide whether or not to pay attention.
Still, I am now the “I Feel Lucky” hit for “Studio 60 Drinking Game” and I expect to get a small spike in traffic every Monday night when bored viewers go websurfing for drinking games. I’ll be playing along at home too.