I am one of those bloggers that can’t stop looking at her stats.
Really. When I click to get to my dashboard, I go though the main site and click the bar graph for stats on my WordPress top bar to get to the backend stuff. Every single time I visit my blog, whether to reply to comments, update something behind the scenes, or write a new post… I look at my stats.
It’s a terrible habit, but one I’m not alone in doing.
I think that our obsession with statistics directly correlates with our cultural need to define our success by popularity. And how do we determine if we are popular? Overwhelmingly, it’s by the numbers. How many followers do you have on Instagram? How many friends on Facebook? How many times were we retweeted? Whether or not we feel successful in our pursuits depends so highly on whether anonymous people enjoy our pictures and witticisms. The thing is – we put too much value on what anonymous numbers tell us opposed to opinions of those we respect, and ourselves.
According to to Professor Mitch Prinstein, science has defined two different kinds of popularity, and we have our priorities backwards. He says “In childhood, our popularity is defined by how much we are liked by others” whereas as we get older and reach high school, popularity markers switch to social status. As adults – we can choose between likability, and status.
Our culture overwhelmingly chooses status, which Prinstein says is a problem because “Because unlike the positive outcomes associated with high likability, research findings indicate that having high status leads to later aggression, addiction, hatred and despair.” And fellow bloggers, doesn’t that sound correct? How many times have you slaved over a post only to watch it get a measly dozen hits… or less? How many times have you watched your stats flatline after a brief hiatus? It’s disappointing, and can make a blogger second guess the reason for being out here in the first place.
For myself, I took a step back at the end of 2017 and told myself that I needed to stop caring about the stats. This is so so difficult especially because I took the leap with my blog into self-hosting instead of the free-base. I want to be popular, too. I want to make sure that the time and money I’ve put into the blog is worthwhile, you know?
But honestly, I also want everyone to like the content I put out. It’s a good feeling when I put out a post that you all enjoy, or that makes you think. I’m better than I used to be about letting the stats define how I feel about my blog, but I can’t deny the rush of feeling like I’ve done well.
How about y’all?
This week’s Book Blogger Hop asks:
Do you sneak a peek at the number of views your posts have gotten?
Short answer: Definitely. I do try not to let them affect me as much anymore, reminding myself that I enjoy blogging and there are things that I can be doing to boost my stats. It is always nice to see folks appreciating my posts, though. 🙂