Thursday, July 19, 2012

I've Gone Viral! . . . In China?

This blog really doesn't get much traffic at all. I get anywhere from 2-20 pageviews per day, and that number usually spikes up to around 40-60 views on the days following a new post. The "low season" in between posts isn't completely dead, because plenty of people seem to land here from Google Images. For instance, I got an interesting spike in traffic last month when Extra Credits started a T-Shirt design contest and apparently a lot of users were landing in my History of Extra Credits articles looking for images.

However, these mini-spikes in views usually aren't very significant compared to the traffic I get from subscribers every time I post. So imagine my surprise when I noticed a spike that was slightly bigger than the usual new-post spike. This spike happened just a few days before I posted my most recent post, and that should have been part of a really low season since I haven't posted an update in over a month. After looking into it, I found not one, not two, but three websites with articles linking to me.

Long story short, someone seems to have translated my article on How to Think Like a Designer into Han Chinese. And since then, it's been getting passed around and reposted on multiple Chinese websites.

My Rise to Fame

(Warning: Chinese websites have a reputation for being risky to visit, so be aware that you are clicking on the following links at your own risk!)

The phenomenon started last Thursday when posted an article called 阐述优秀设计师应有的思考立场及创作态度, and they even took the time to post the original English version within the same article. Two days later, reposted my translated article, this time with slightly better formatting, in an article called 优秀设计师应有的思考立场及创作态度. The virality of the article must have been reaching its peak at this point, because it was only a few hours later when republished my article under the title 优秀设计师应有的思考立场及创作态度.

Of course, this was all done without my permission. I even checked my spam folder, and it doesn't look like anyone even tried to notify me that they were about to repost my article. I have no hard feelings, though, because they were respectable enough to give credit and to link back, so it's not like it was blatant plagiarism. Of course, the reason I found these sites was because I got traffic from them, so I really don't know anything about the sites that didn't link to me or if they even exist.

A Good Time to Make Some Edits

Putting the ridiculousness of this event aside, I've decided to use this as an excuse to finally remove all of the random bold formatting in some of my old articles. If you've ever gone back and read through any of the articles from 2011, you'll notice that I had a habit of taking seemingly important sentences at random and making them bold. The reasoning was that this blog was originally created to fulfill class requirement, and since I was writing some rather long posts when compared to my classmates', I figured some people might want some kind of mechanism that would help them skim through the "important" parts faster.

Even though I always cringe at the random bold formatting now, I've always resisted my urge to go back and edit those posts because it just feels wrong to edit such an old post for such a trivial reason. It just feels like a wimpy thing to do, as if I'm trying to hide the flaws in my past work, which runs directly counter to one of the tips that I gave in my How to Think Like a Designer article.

But you know what else runs against those tips? The fact that I lost sight of my audience by ignoring how annoyed they were by the random bolding of sentences. And if people are still finding my past articles helpful, then that's all the more reason to fix that design problem.

Of course, the downside to fixing this problem is that several years from now, someone's probably going to dig this up and accuse me of helping communists.


  1. So after all those, how much did the views peak at? :) glad to hear that mate, when you're all famous and rich remember who created imperio! ;)

  2. Wow I thought had a sentence about how many views it was, but it seems like it must have been lost in the proofreading or something. Anyway, it was only slightly bigger than the peak in traffic I got on Monday for having a new post: 61 views. I hope you didn't misread and think that it was actually a serious amount of traffic, because my super low standards for what qualifies as "a lot" of traffic was part of why I thought this whole thing was pretty funny.

  3. So it's not like you're all big and famous now? :(]
    Either way, that was a very amusing post.