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Popular: Viral without the vaccine

Apparently, Dive Bar is pretty popular. Within the first day of posting last week, a couple of friends who are frequent commentators on this blog stopped by to comment their reminisces about dive bars – one a reminisce actually including me, and the other a reminisce that I wish included me.

Facebook, where new posts automatically appear on publication, funneled the usual amount of curiosity seekers among my friends and relatives.

Then, something weird happened.

On Tuesday night I was out with a group from church headed to a meeting to discuss Open and Affirming in our faith community. During this van ride, through a thick fog, where the dominant topic was wine – making , purchasing, tasting, mastering (for the sommelier in the group) – it was also asserted that I have never been to a dive bar.

One of my blog subscribers, who was driving that night, is convinced that my experiences were too safe, too clean, and generally not dive-y enough. That, plus that I experienced live music and fully conscious people at these dive bars, mean that perhaps I need my more experienced elders to impart their dive bar wisdom upon me. Fair enough.

But, besides the fact that this was a conversation in a van full of church people, that’s not what was weird.

I don’t slavishly monitor my website traffic statistics. I check the site stats bar chart when I’m logged in, but since this isn’t a monetizing blog, the analytics are little more than a fun way for me to monitor the odd search terms browsers use to find this blog. And the spam comments, which collect in a filter, are non-stop hilarity.

Back to the weird thing that happened – when I got home Tuesday night I checked my email and found three comments on Dive Bar from complete strangers. So, curious, I clicked over to my site stats and I saw that there were 300+ views of that post on Tuesday alone.

Wait – what? Three hundred?

A daily view statistic of 10% of that would be high traffic for me. Quick detective work uncovered that my post was picked up by someone who is somehow connected with the finale dive bar in my post – Marge’s Lakeside Inn. They reposted to their Facebook wall, and then so did the proprietresses of Marge’s. –> (which really is a great place, and when I call them a dive bar I mean it in the most heartfelt, best possible way.)

Views of Dive Bar currently stand at 500+. But I have to confess something. When I sit down to write my posts on Sunday afternoons, I almost never know what I’m going to write about. And the writing of Dive Bar was interrupted by a previously scheduled two hour client call in the middle of that afternoon. Dive Bar was serendipity.

Writing these posts every week is just me telling the stories that I love, about people, places and experiences. It might not technically be my best writing, and I do sometimes have to log back in to correct typos. But I write about whatever compelling story comes to mind, and I would continue to do it if only five people were reading.

Occasionally, a post really catches on. Posts about babysitting my nephews are usually big hits. This post about loss struck a chord, and this post about bagging groceries along with this post about being a bad guitar student both draw a steady stream of browser referrals. But nothing like Dive Bar.

While I can’t quantify why certain posts enjoy high traffic, I do have a theory: When people hear or read a story and think –

“I remember that, too”
“I went there, too”
“I feel that, too”

— Their shared experience makes them a part of the story. Dive Bar is about feeling belonging. Belonging is about love. I love to write. It all comes full circle. Thanks for reading.

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  1. Ha! Congratulations! I was going to comment with reminiscences about my favorite dive bar, the Pink Flamingo in Buffalo. Maybe I’ll go back and do it!

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