Welcome to Part 14 of our continuing series, "The Unrav'ling Thread" where we explore the things that happen after a diary is cast to the winds of the Great Orange Sky. While some diaries seem to soar to the "Recommended" list and some are "rescued" to enjoy the "Community Spotlight", many diaries seem to languish in obscurity.
Several factors may account for this, including:
The diarist being relatively unknown and not having built up a "following"Notice there's no mention above of the quality of writing. Indeed, if you look at what diaries make the "rec" list, quality of writing is not always a factor.
A diary title that doesn't grab attention
An introductory paragraph that doesn't "hook" the potential reader hovering over the diary link
Minimal number of tags that would help people find the diary
Time of day of posting (either too many other diaries hitting at the same time, or too few readers online)
An avalanche of other concurrent diaries dealing with more "popular" subject matter
Among the overlooked diaries are some real hidden gems, beautifully written, informative, insightful, and compelling diaries by writers known and unknown. Today, we will look at some ways that you can help these diaries attract some more "eyes".
To be published, a diary needs at least one "tag", a keyword that will enable readers to find the diary and/or see what it's about. Some people pile on the tags, using known tags and making up others. Some, though, err on the side of too few tags.
Let's say someone's written a diary about converting a factory in Ohio that was closed by Bain into a new plant manufacturing solar cells. The ribbon cutting ceremony featured an appearance by Joe Biden. As you read this diary, you notice that the only tag applied by the diarist was "jobs".
You can click on "Edit Tags" at the end of the diary and add a few more tags, separated by commas. So instead of "jobs", once you're done, the tags could include:
jobs, Ohio, manufacturing, alternative energy, solar power, Bain, Joe Biden, employment
In under a minute, you've completed a simple act of on-line generosity that will help an overlooked diary get some more attention. By the way, this process works well on your own diaries as well!
Follow along below your aura of goodness for helping others for some more suggestions...
Republishing to Groups
There are currently over 500 Daily Kos groups in existence, with memberships ranging from a single Kossack (no, really!) to over 900 Kossacks and covering all manner of interests. These grups publish their own diaries, and also allow members having "editor" rights to republish their own diaries - or the diaries of others - to the group.
This is a fantastic way to get more attention for your diary, or someone else's diary, with an audience that's already interested in the subject matter. Let's say I find a well-done diary about a local Progessive meet-up in Austin Texas. I'll repubish it to the TexKos group, where it will get some Lone Star "love" in the form of tips, recommends, comments, and - ideally - action. While I'm at it, I'll check the tags and add some if necessary.
So: how do you obtain republishing privileges? It's simple. Take a look at the list of groups (or just click on a group name when you see it displayed on a diary),go to the group profile, and click "Send Message" and create a message asking to join. Someone with "BlogAdmin" rights who has the ability to add members will send you an invitation, and you accept. That will get you in as a contributor. If you're interested in being active and republishing diaries to the group, mention that in your original message, and you can be added as a "BlogEditor".
With those credentials, you can republish diaries to the group's "queue", and from there, schedule them for publication. Note that a single diary can be republished to multiple groups. You can see evidence of this every day at the bottom of diaries where it says "republished to [group], [group], and [group]". It's perfectly legal, and highly encouraged, even for your own diaries.
Giving a "Hat Tip" or Shout-Out
Let's say you come upon a great diary that's languishing in obscurity, but it's really good. You can make mention of it and post a link in your own diary, or in a comment in anyone's diary.
Suppose for example you find a marvelous diary on Elizabeth Warren that's well written, covers some new ground, and provides some compelling ideas for action. However, it's gotten only 2 "recs" and 2 comments. Meanwhile, another diary on Elizabeth Warren is on the "rec" list. It's perfectly fine to post a comment in the rec-listed diary saying:
"If you're interested in Elizabeth Warren, check out this diary by [diarist] at [link to their diary]".
Please note, however: while it's fine to do this for someone else's diary, doing it for your own diary is considered a shameless plug and should be avoided unless you can do it with unprecedented finesse. Trust me: you wouldn't want to see what would become of this site if everyone pimped their own diary in every rec-listed diary written by someone else.
In addition to these actions, always keep in mind the old standby:
Tipping, "Reccing", and Commenting
The most obvious way to show some love to a languishing diary is by tipping, recommending, and adding some constructive comments. The comments in particular let the diarist know that they've struck a chord with you, and send a signal to other passersby that they really should check out this diary. You can also "follow" the diarist. It won't increase the traffic to this particular diary, but it's a great way to ensure that you won't miss their next one, which may also need a bit of extra love.
In your own diaries, you can respond quickly and personally to comments, to show the commenters that you appreciate the time they took to read and comment, and that you value their insights.
Your small acts of kindness and generosity towards others will likely be repaid in kind, in the long run, if not immediately.
If you've missed previous installments of The Unrav'ling Thread, here are the links. If you have ideas for future topics, please let me know. As long as there's something to write, I'm happy to add more installments.
10:44 AM PT: As ericlewis0 so correctly noted, you can also "share", "tweet" or "like" a diary using the buttons at the top. Three more ways to show some love for a diary deserving of more attention from within and outside DailyKos!