A Frustration of Numbers

Sometimes I sit and count all day... sometimes I get carried away!

Sometimes I sit and count all day… sometimes I get carried away!

Yesterday I received a notification that this blog has received 500 “Likes” in it’s short lifetime.

This is good news, and I am pleased to see this kind of progress, but it did get me to thinking about how this business of social media is a numbers game and a deceptive numbers game at that.

In general I don’t worry too much about how many followers I have or how many views I get on my blog. If I get ten visitors in a day I feel pretty good about myself and my work. Partly this attitude come from the fact that I am lazy and self promotion is a full time job. Partly it comes from the fact that I don’t have a lot of money to spend on sponsored ad space or promotional exposure opportunities that would raise the number of views that I get while reducing the number of dollars I have in my pocket. And I generally keep a laissez faire attitude towards popularity because I want to find out what topics and writing styles actually draw people in rather than just trying to get my numbers up.

But I might be the only person in the world taking this attitude: whenever I do receive a precious “Like” or even more coveted “Comment” on my blog I always take a moment to look at the work of the person who “Liked” or “Commented”. Almost without exception they have dozens more followers than I do. And that’s OK.

The problem with numbers of any kind: followers on a blog, weight on a scale, money in the bank, etc is that we tend to ascribe meaning to them. 500 “likes” on a blog isn’t just a tally of people who have clicked a button on a website it also becomes a statement on how popular that site is. There are “good” and “bad” weights on the scale that aren’t good or bad at all: the scale isn’t making judgements, it’s just reflecting a measurement.  And money in the bank doesn’t qualify someone as “rich” or “poor”, it just quantifies how many dollars they have set aside.

Usually I am pretty good about remembering these facts, but every so often my attention is drawn to an example of the numbers I “should” have: the amount of web traffic I should generate, the size clothing I should wear, or the amount of money I should be earning and suddenly numbers become the only thing on my mind.

So I’m going to stop this cycle by just being grateful for having 500 wonderful people who have been so kind as to “Like” my posts in the past. This means a lot to me and I truly do appreciate it.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 19, 2013.

4 Responses to “A Frustration of Numbers”

  1. Great post! I agree and I too take the time to appreciate the person’s work who commented or “liked” my post(s). 🙂
    And I didn’t know that there was a way to pay to get more views? I am not impressed with that idea.

    • I know, right?! So much for earning views and likes because of good content- why not just pay for better numbers?

    • Actually I think it counts each post that you read as a visit so even if you read a bunch in one sitting it still runs up the meter. I’m pretty much just happy to have readers, though, so just keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

  2. I am a horrible follower that may mess up your numbers. I read all the posts, but tend to do it all in one (or two sittings) one or two times a month. Can’t they count that as multiple visits? Maybe, in the future, I will just shut down my browser window with each new blog I read.

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