Hello, everyone. Over the weekend, my Apple Store piece gained quite a lot of attention thanks to sites like Hacker News and Reddit. The count is still climbing as of this morning, albeit a bit more slowly, but so far it has attracted 70,400 views. This is a high enough number that it makes the previous years' worth of traffic almost look like a flatline:
Needless to say, I've been a bit beside myself watching all of this happen. I never anticipated such a strong response, which has naturally been both positive and negative. The positive feedback I've received has far outweighed the negative, but those few negative responses still bothered me.
After a while, I simply stopped reading the Hacker News and Reddit threads, but before doing so I saw that my story was being called into question. I'm not about to address every single complaint, but I would like to clarify a few things:
- Yes, these events really happened.
- Yes, certain parts of the story were a little embellished, a tiny bit of which was for storytelling purposes but mainly because the event took place 6 or 7 years ago and my memory is terrible. In all honesty, they may have all been purchasing iPod Touches rather than MacBooks and I could be misremembering. It's certainly a gigantic difference money-wise but that's also not really the point of the story.
- No, I don't remember what the name of their school was or why they all knew sign language if they weren't deaf. They may have been training to become deaf translators, for all I know. I had a couple of friends back in high school who were doing exactly that, so I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility.
- No, I didn't write it to pat myself on the back. It was an experience I had that I felt like sharing, that's all. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am definitely not someone who seeks out lots of attention. I wrote this as someone who doesn't expect more than maybe a few hundred page hits on a given day, and that's if I'm lucky! To be quite honest, being in the spotlight is an uncomfortable position for me, as I'll talk about in a minute.
- When I said the students were going store-to-store, I didn't mean that they went on a huge shopping spree. They were in the mall mainly to visit the Apple Store, but they visited various stores (not every single one) and spent a few minutes simply trying to ask employees questions. One example I remember was a student trying to ask someone at one of the clothing stores where they could find a certain brand of jeans. The point of the assignment was to see how employees dealt with these types of situations, not to buy anything.
After the story blew up, I wondered if very many people were subscribing to the site's RSS feed. I have no way of telling, since Squarespace 6's RSS service doesn't track that sort of thing. I do know that I gained several followers on Twitter and nearly doubled my follower count on App.net.
For a short while, I hesitated to post anything on either service for fear of suddenly alienating all these new people. I've since decided that it wouldn't be fair to myself not to express my thoughts in the way I choose.
I'm going to continue doing exactly what I've always done, which is post stuff that interests me, make the occasional bad joke, and not worry whether or not people who found me through a lighthearted story get offended that I have certain strong political views (just to get this out of the way right now, I'm about as liberal as it gets). I may lose the new followers, and already have lost a few, but I figure they probably wouldn't have stuck around long anyway.
The same kind of thing goes for this site. Any new readers should know right now that I don't constantly post long, personal, feel-good stories. They do come up occasionally but aren't the focus of this site. Check the archives if you want a better idea of what I do here. Yes, I have link-posts like many other tech bloggers do. Sorry if that bugs anyone.
Again, I sincerely thank everyone for all the kind words I've received these last few days, and I hope many of you will stick around as regular readers :)
*Whew!* Now I've got all that off my chest, back to work.