Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

What may make blog posts popular?

Unpopular doesn’t mean the blogger is doing something wrong.

A new milestone. I’m celebrating my 2,000th blog post published here. To be read, what helps, and what could you do and not do?

1. Sheer luck. Kind of disheartening but the truth. One of my early blog posts was in the TOI top 45 for months on end. Amazing. Appealed to a large group of their readers. After half a year, I made another one exactly like that one. Flopped. Prayer might be in order more than anything.

2. Popularity. This is about numbers, not quality necessarily. Numbers can be pushed up by three things:

A. The size of the audience you appeal to. If your post thrills an enormous group of people, it’s ‘popular,’ which doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Many USers and US Christians read the TOI, it seems. Often, I focus on Jews, Israelis, or the Dutch, which makes me miss out on popularity.

English is not my native language. So, my use of English is away from the Anglo-Saxon bubble. Yet, many native speakers reject the discomfort of reading outside their ethnic box—their loss. (But I should always use a grammar checker. Grammar mistakes are not charming.)

One of my posts caught the eye of two Chinese bloggers who translated it. Each time Israel is in the news, its popularity skyrockets. Do you know how many Chinese-speakers there are? Almost as many as people in India. The same post, by the way, upset a US Nazi website editor. He makes it read, but not by many who will grasp it. Again, popular doesn’t mean good.

I write to promote activism for jointly creating a better world. (That is a realistic goal since almost all misery is caused by people.) Yet, most people take the news as entertainment, not to get informed. (That’s kind of good since most channels lie and confuse, are poison.) They follow news shows. To confirm their feelings, numb their pain, and kill time. Not my public.

B. Trendiness. Often, my texts are about virgin subjects or explore some groundbreaking, trail-blasting ideas. Those won’t be popular with the masses; but maybe with some other innovative minds, if they’d find them.

Over time, others start quoting my words but never referring to them, so I can’t know if they stole my ideas or the time got ripe for others to see the same because I was I’m ahead of my time. Trending is only half the work. Search engine recognition is critical, too. The Times of Israel does that very well. When I google something I wrote, my post comes up early.

If your views are decent, albeit controversial, and don’t fit one particular dystopian niche, the TOI might be the only platform willing to host you.

C. A pool of followers. I have a pool of 2. The variety of what I write pushes newly interested readers away each time I change the subject. Also, I’m not left-wing or right-wing but write about truth wherever it can be found. Most people are in an information bubble, only exposed to what they agree with. Easily, they think I’m in ‘the other camp,’ and maybe I am.

If you want readers, write to their taste, even junk; if you want to nourish, accept that your posts may never get the quantity for the quality they have. But you’re not pizza, so you don’t need to make everyone happy.

3. Headline. It must be catchy, if not provocative (as far as the publisher will let you), immediately followed by giving away the bottom line. US culture is not like the Dutch or German way of reasoning toward your conclusions. No time, patience, reading skills, tradition, whatever it is.

4. Edit, edit, edit. It should read smoothly. If there is confusion in the first lines, readers will skip it. It doesn’t mean it can’t have mistakes. Popular posts have them. (Only G^d is perfect.) Bertrand Russel already said: you want to write well, read a lot. I’m adding: and write a lot. Practice makes better. And listen to your editors. They reveal your blind spots.

Some people’s English is so good you’d read their texts even if they say nothing or nonsense. They are the movie stars of literature. As long as they are beautiful, they will entertain and charm. Beauty can coincide with substance. Rarely, but it does happen. (The Sound of Music, Rabbi Sacks.)

5. If you really want to go viral, try TikTok. Who still reads anymore? Look around on the bus: social media, YouTube, Facebook, gaming, and texting.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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