Do you remember junior high cliques? I do. (And I shudder.) The uncertainty-of-place and insecurity-of-person create a desire for the crowd’s confirmation and acceptance and approval. That desire can set a person on a performance binge to gain that elusive “certainty” and “security.”
I thought I had gotten beyond such binges. (Age and counseling and God’s grace can do wonders!)
But then I started blogging. And those familiar concerns and worries drifted back over my heart with echoes of my preteen past.
How did this happen, you might wonder?
It all began with that revved-up stats page our beloved WordPress launched. You see, the stats page beckons me as both friend and foe. It holds sway over me with numbers that pronounce each post’s triumph or defeat. (And I’m highly amused by the often-bizarre search terms that deliver viewers to my door.)
The trouble is I find myself measuring the value of my writing and my blog based on these statistics.
When I first began regularly checking my stats, I merely hoped to see an increasing slope on the traffic graph. Slowly but surely, traffic has increased. But then I got paranoid because the increase in viewership did not translate into an increase in viewer comments. This could be attributed to those bizarre search terms that point people to my blog; and once here, they realize my site is completely unrelated to the topic they need.
Whatever the reason, my junior-high filter tells me that people stop in to my blog and then aren’t interested enough to add to the conversation. (Don’t cue that pity party quite yet . . .)
I must confess that I am guilty of reading a post, enjoying the content, and failing to let my happiness be known. So it is (it must be!) possible that low comment stats are not directly connected to the quality of the content. (But my paranoia has already kicked-in!)
All this wondering came together last week when I found Ginny’s lament. She is in the desert existence of feedback land. (I readily posted a comment to give her a boost and let her know we wanderers must stick together to survive the wasteland.) Then I did a quick search and found griffmcg54 wondering about the thing! He proposes that bloggers may be hiding behind their computers, lacking the confidence to post opinions and comments. (Ah, junior-high mentality strikes again: stay quiet until you are certain your comments are acceptable to others.)
I’m guessing (and hoping) that my views-to-comments ratio is about normal for a site like mine. (I’m not posting much that’s controversial in nature, which could also contribute to the dilemma. And I’m OK with that.) My ratio comes in today at 65.79 to 1 (that’s one comment garnered for every 65 views). Interestingly enough, griffmcg54’s ratio is 64.4 to 1. Maybe this ratio is about average?
Ratios and stats are interesting; they provide a gauge for measuring progress, I suppose. But what I need to remember is that the value of my writing and my blog will be seen over the long haul—if what I have to say stands the test of time and is relevant long after other posts drop from popularity. And that’s what I want.
I want to be a writer with substance. I may have to give up some traffic and popularity for that. But it’s worth it.