The Challenge of Stat Watching

Or not watching stats, is the part that’s hard for me.

I’ve explained that blogging is a step on a writing journey that began with journaling, which began when I was old enough to write.

When you’re seven in 1977 and you’re writing in a Snoopy diary with a flimsy lock, there’s no danger of checking the stats on how many views you’ve had and having it rattle your cage.

My first blog was The World According to e which I had for a couple of years. One time, near as I can figure, the fact that I linked to an article on cnn.com resulted in them linking to my blog in their “readers comments” section or some such, for maybe a minute and a half but it was enough to get me 90 views that day.

Previous to that I’d be lucky to get 10.

Well, new benchmark, I was thrilled. How to get it back up there? I knew it would be tough to hit 90 again but I knew I’d never be happy with 10 again. I linked to their stories, adding my own thoughtful commentary, of course, tried to add more interesting photos to my posts, fussed over details.

The words got lost in the obsession with numbers.

My blog was never the same again. Soon thereafter I “took a break,” then gave up entirely.

Yesterday, on this here new blog of mine, someone linked one of my posts to Facebook. This time my new daily high is 177 views. Up from a daily average of 5.

Once I’d realized what had happened, I was rushing in to check on the computer every half hour or so to see how high the numbers were getting.

My mind began once again to race, wondering how I could promote myself to keep my numbers high, to keep the views flowing in.

But I’m not a number person. I’m a word person. I’m going to stay a word person. (No offense to numbers. I’ve learned to enjoy playing with them. But as soon as they get too close I poke them with a stick and send them scurrying back under their rocks.)

I’m going to keep on the Wise Way, welcoming Tribe members as they arrive, whenever and however they arrive. When it comes to my personal mathematics, one Tribe member > 10,000 invisible stat views.

To paraphrase (or butcher, as the case may be) the song from Finding Nemo:
“Just keep writing,
just keep writing,
just keep writing, writing, writing,
what do we do?
we write, write, write.”

p.s. Despite all my pithering above, I am truly grateful that someone thought enough of my writing to share it. That was seriously cool and greatly appreciated.

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4 responses to “The Challenge of Stat Watching

  1. interesting… I disconnected my WP and FB accounts… i write because i like to write… stats are secondary… 🙂

  2. I don’t look at my stats very often, because looking at them too frequently would discourage me when they climbed too slowly. But I *am* writing for an audience, and I want that audience to grow, so I do think about ways to make the numbers bigger. Checking out my stats doesn’t interfere with my writing, though. If my stat-viewing got in the way of that, then I would kick it to the curb!

    Now, research on the other hand! I can have an idea for a post and then start researching it to death and get so bogged down in the available details that I can’t get my head around the actual post. I do much better with word-dump writing than reasoned and planned out writing.

    • I think my relationship with “audience” is problematic. In my day to day life, I feel like I exist to be and do whatever others need (and sometimes want) from me. If I carry this over to my writing, it becomes awful. Sometimes I will re-read a particularly good old piece I’ve written and I’ll think, wow, I like that so much, and I don’t even care what anyone else would think. For some reason, this feels genuine, but really, it could be just jerking off, you know? If you don’t care what the audience thinks then why even put it out there? But when I think about growing an audience, then I DO care what someone would think, then my writing is lifelessly simpering.

      And research – I think after all these years of watching people beat each other over the head with statistics, use faulty studies, use conclusions from studies biased by the funding source, etc., my opinion of “data” is quite low. I pay the bare minimum of required respects, because otherwise one’s credibility is shot completely. I think that reasoning, common sense and anecdotal evidence are far more valuable than we currently give them credit for.

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