Working patrol, you never know when or where you might find yourself in a knock-down, drag-out fight. As such, it makes sense to have some stratagem in place ahead of time. That thought was in the forethought of my consciousness when I decided that if I ever faced an asskicking and really needed assistance, I'd key my mic and advise that I had Jessica Alba oiled down and naked rolling around on a front lawn.
The success of my gameplan was fairly assured. I didn't work West Hollywood and, while the ensuing collisions between well-meaning-would-be rescuers would resemble outtakes from the "Blues Brothers" and wipe the station's "Days Without a Preventable Collision" Board back to zero, it was a safe bet that I'd soon hear the euphonic sirens of at least one of those lovely black-and-whites that'd gotten through the libido-laden gauntlet. Any incipient asskicking would be deferred, at least until I got back to the station and found myself dealing with the fury of the "Jessica wasn't there" crowd.
Planning ahead to help ensure my ultimate success in any unforeseen circumstances has become a way of life for me, at least in my professional endeavors, less so in my financial planning. Lately, it's found me contemplating just what kind of actions might be taken to increase my page views herein.
The challenge is easily on par with learning advanced calculus, as I'm in constant competition for my readers' attention: "You ARE the father!" tv exposés…those 140-character nuggets of Twitter wisdom…neurosurgery…etc.
The disagreeable reality (to me) is that these distractions have the corresponding effect of diminished page views, which incurs waning enthusiasm from our financial backbone: advertisers. No ads and we fall onto the ephermera pile. POLICE magazine, RIP.
Thankfully, we're no closer to that than Kanye West is to being named Country Star of the Year. But while we've an enviable share of the market, staying atop the Darwinian heap remains as an omnipresent concern as what that fratricidal dictator is up to now that our crazy li'l basketball ambassador to North Korea ain't around to entertain him.
Such are the reasons that for all my seeming flippancy I actually put more thought into these blogs than might be readily apparent.
Throughout, a governing concern is maintaining my credibility, which is why I tend to leave subjects like arson, computer forensics, and the crime-deterrent effectiveness of rainbow motifs in patrol units to those better versed in them. And while dissemination-friendly information—such as Stanley Cohen's thoughts on ballistic helmets in the last blog—is readily passed on, I defer to the tactical demographic in determining their viability. If nothing else, this inclusiveness prompts thoughts and dialogues. Hell, I'm not even above referencing something by a competing entity if I think it can help a cop.
Another guiding principle is the belief that it's important to occasionally have some fun while being respectful of my readers' time. Admittedly, this tact assumes that you have a sense of humor. Knowing the crap that you deal with day-in, day-out, I sure as hell hope so. You are armed, after all.
There are other personally established guidelines. No racial jokes involving anyone but Asians (seems to be the social standard). No digs at anyone who might kick my ass. No arcane cultural allusions that Dennis Miller couldn't sink his teeth into. All this I try to adhere to in a bid to ensure that some arbitrary standard is maintained.
Despite such considerations, I know that my blogs vary in quality and that the best specimens are not necessarily the most read.
Timing and subject matter have a lot to do with it. If I'm writing about something that just happened/is happening/is going to happen, I'm more apt to tap into that whole zeitgeist thing and get subsidy than if I blog about some subject matter that I deem important but whose relative popularity suggests otherwise (e.g, ethics, staph infections, and life-or-death decision making). True, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have 40 million erudite fans between them and I've but three, but I try harder.
Then there's the demographic. Cops comes in all shapes, sizes, and ranks, and are hardly joined at the ideological hip like the catenated humanity we occasionally supervise. Keeping you all laughing and scratching is something I'm still grappling with, like how this alleged global warming thing is asserting itself. (you can carbon date the last comment left by a female of the species).
The scattershot approach I've been employing—writing on whatever catches my fancy—has been serviceable enough, although I do find myself occasionally thinking I may have backed a bad cause (Zimmerman, anyone?). Still, while the boss says you can't hit a home run every time I wish that I could; if not, at least get credit for a run scored. And that means getting as many page views from one week to the next as possible.
Lately I've entertained the notion of tailoring some sure-to-get hits headline and fashioning a tongue-in-cheek column around it. Maybe even include the promise of some supporting graphics that I have no intention of keeping. It would be easily accomplished, too. All I'd have to do is a little algorithmic legwork, kinda like those predictive policing programs currently gaining traction. Hell, once I determined what key words readers are most inclined to lock onto based upon their interests or outrage my work would be half-done.
Not that I would ever do such a thing.