Yesterday was 1 December and an innocuous post on about an Advent calendar immediately reminded me of an amusing (and completely true) blog post I wrote two years ago.

This, in turn, prompted me to write this short note on and the post on subsequently appeared on my FriendFeed stream.

Normally, when I post a new blog entry, the post gets visited by a handful of people - presumably a subset of those subscribed to this blog. In this case, this wasn’t a new post so regular RSS readers wouldn’t see this content so any visitors had to come from or FriendFeed.

Despite having over 150 subscribers on and 21 ‘friends’ on FriendFeed, only a couple of people clicked through to the ’eat your own dog food’ post when it appeared on and FriendFeed. This isn’t unusual (for me, at least) - the same pattern happens with any new blog content.

My very good friend and Oracle colleague, the right honourable Emperor of Ontario (possible pseudonym alert) had recently signed up to and was curious about the viral effect of reddit and how it might be used to help generate traffic to a blog.

Ontario Emperor kindly submitted my humble blog post to Reddit under the category ‘Funny’. When I became aware of this, I monitored the Web server logs and immediately saw a lot of traffic generated from reddit. At one point, the post reached No. 15 on Reddit’s ‘Funny’ page and 6 people ’liked’ the entry.


The traffic spike was short lived (similar pattern to getting a post on StumbleUpon). However, although the increase in traffic is interesting and briefly satisfying, it is really not that useful for a blogger because:

  • Reddit generated visitors are almost always ‘one-hit wonders’. They visit one page and immediately leave.
  • Reddit generated visitors are unlikely to linger on the site and explore other content.
  • Reddit generated visitors are unlikely to comment and resurrect conversation over a two year old post.
  • Reddit generated visitors are unlikely to subscribe to your blog.
  • Reddit generated visitors are all new visitors to your blog. Consequently, they don’t understand the context, the author, the history, the sense of humour or the writing style.

As a brilliant example of the last point, a solitary comment was left on the blog post by a Reddit visitor. The comment was so superlative, so funny, so brilliant, I have chosen to reproduce it here in all its glory to save you all the trouble of a time-consuming, pesky mouse click.

why r u so cruel to your own children?

can u not be a little more sympathetic?

You shouldn’t need to explain yourself. You shouldn’t have to put sign posts up everywhere. You shouldn’t feel obliged to use the tag ‘Humour’. You shouldn’t need to insert a plethora of emoticons just for passing visitors idiots.

And that is why Reddit is completely useless to bloggers.