The Numbers Mean Nothing

The Numbers Mean Nothing

I ought today to have been celebrating the 350th post on this blog, but earlier today I went through and deleted several old posts and marking others as ‘private’, some because they were embarrassingly bad and others because they contained excerpts I would rather not have in the public domain. I’ve left most posts from spring 2011 untouched – it’s only the first few months of this blog’s life that needed culling.

So how many posts have I written now? Do those others count as posts though they no longer exist? According to WordPress, I now have 311 published posts. Or 329. It keeps changing, and I’m not sure which is correct. That number, then is meaningless.

What should I celebrate? Perhaps I could celebrate having passed 18,000 all-time views – that happened yesterday. That’s exciting. And yet that number will have changed by the time you read this post, whether dramatically or just by a few I do not know. So the number of views this blog has had is irrelevant. (After all, I’m aware that many of my hits are from people who stumbled here by accident after some … interesting google searches.)

Followers then. Those of you who email subscribe are very close to my heart. How many of you are there? The truth is, I don’t know. Every time I receive a new subscriber, WordPress gives me one number, and yet when I open the notification, it gives me another, and they never add up. I can’t understand why. But the fact remains that I don’t know how many followers I have. Several of them, I’m sure, are just the same person who changed email address and felt the need to resubscribe without ever unsubscribing.

Therefore, that number is meaningless.

I don’t blog for the numbers. I’m addicted to stats, it’s true, and I’ll continually refresh the page for a few hours after I’ve published a post to see if I’ve had any particular jump in hits. If I pass 100 views in a day (which has only happened on around five occasions, in over two years), I dance around for a while before reminding myself that ‘it won’t last’ and tomorrow I’ll be back down to 20. And yet if all I ever saw was those numbers, would I carry on writing these posts?

The truth is, I wouldn’t.

The reason I blog is because I have something to say, and if I want to get it off my chest this seems to be the best place to do it. Often that’s a writing related rant, but sometimes it can be completely different. I blog because I like the discussions that start up in the comments, and the friends I’ve made that way. I like writing something ever so slightly controversial and seeing all the different sides of the argument.

It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the words. And it’s not just about my words because a blog that was just for myself would be pointless. I might as well start my entries with dear diary. It’s about your words, too, and your opinions, and interacting with other people and discovering their opinions.

It’s basically about people.

Not numbers.

We’re not numbers. This blog isn’t numbers. These words aren’t numbers. The wordcount at the bottom of this post is irrelevant. The stats bars are pretty, but irrelevant.

I’m not writing this for the numbers. I’m incredibly blessed with the followers I have and the recent increase I’ve seen in the number of people who read my work, even though I know it pales into insignificance beside the achievements of many of my fellow bloggers, but in the end it doesn’t matter how many of you there are. I’m so grateful that you take the time to read my posts and comment.

I do it for you.

11 thoughts on “The Numbers Mean Nothing

  1. *insert montage of applause*
    I’ve never even looked at the stats for my blog. I count it by the number of comment reponses my post gets – and that’s only to see if it interests people enough for me to get tips on how to make things better for them.

    Making people happy, as I said long ago in a post involving a singalong from a childrens’ TV show, is what I’m after. And I’d say that was just about the best motivation you need. You certainly do it for me, anyhow :)

    1. With WordPress, the stats are so very shiny… and I like to know what countries my readers are from and how they got to my blog, e.g. by search engines or by referrals. So I end up looking at that part of my dashboard several times a day. I wish I could wean myself off it, but it’s the easiest way to keep track of what’s working out ;D
      Until recently, I could have a very popular post with very few comments. I’m not sure what’s changed, but I’m certainly getting more comments nowadays, and that’s a real encouragement.

        1. For the number of followers, you have a lot of comments :D I have around 116 followers, I think, but as I said I lose track, and usually I get around 8 different commenters maximum.

  2. Hear hear! *joins applause*.

    I find the stats shiny as well, especially when it turns out that I have readers from small countries that don’t make the news a lot. I have exactly one visitor from Moldova, which I think is in Eastern Europe. I’ll never know why the Moldovan stopped by, or what he or she thought, but it sure is intriguing to think about. :P

  3. I write for people too. :D I like to see what they have to say in reponse. And I blog to get my thoughts sorted out.

    I’m addicted to stats as well, but not for the numbers. I love reading the search terms – they’re crazy.

    Did you see my widget question in the last post?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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