How do you know if your site is worth advertising on? Stats. How do you know what posts made a difference? Stats. How do you give yourself that pep talk when you’re feeling like you’re running out of posts that matter? Stats.
Some bloggers check their stats dozens of times per day. They tweet/FB something with a link and then they’ll check to see if that made an impact. They use the words “gay” or “sex” or “scandal” and watch their stats spike. It feels nice. But then they start write to make that happen. I’ve done it too.
Some people abandon their ideas based on their stats as I was surprised to see author and popular blogger Jason Boyett just do. This strikes me as terribly sad.
With inverse proportions, the Content quality goes down as stat checking goes up. Vision and mission are compromised.
It was a spiritual practice for me to stop spying on my stats. My stat stalking was compromising me. It began as an Advent practice actually, but I’m learning from it already. In the same way fasting from food hones focus better on first-things-first priorities, fasting from my stat data worked like that for me. Without checking on them, I can better ask myself the questions: What is the most important thing for me to be thinking about or writing about? What passion must have voice?
My stats may really drop as I ignore them. That’s what usually happens. But, in the process of doing that, I’ll gain a new perceptive on the reasons why I write in the first place. My readers will read the posts that aren’t based on what I think they might enjoy (consumer oriented) but rather I’ll be writing to like-minded readers (tribe cohorts). I’ll be building the trust (and resources) of my “thought posse”. Would Seth Godin would be so proud of me, or what?
But, gosh I want to be popular!
And herein lies the greater good for not feeding that monster. The stat-centric mind set is the proverbial ball and chain for the creative mind. I will venture that it is even spiritually damaging.
Plus! Innovation never comes by adhering to notions of popularity. Changing the world, or even just influencing and benefitting a handful of people, isn’t accomplished by riding trends or gauging what people will like. Plenty of times we don’t want we like until encounter it anyways.
For those reasons, and more, I also just deleted my profile for Klout. I got the impression the wild fluctuations in scores didn’t so much accurately measure my social media influence (which, as I mentioned, I’m trying to put in its proper place) as much get me to regularly push their switch to get my pellet treat. No more.
What about you? Have you given into the pressure to be popular recently?
Please, oh, please God give me the strength to not check my stats on this post about not checking stats.
BIT OF AN UPDATE…I stayed away from the Stat Monster syndrome for about 10 days. Since then, I’ve been looking far less now, and it’s been a boon on many levels.