My Latest Addiction


Well this blog is a few days old and I have a quick observation to offer. It is amazing how quickly I have become obsessed with checking my statistics. For those of you unfamiliar with WordPress blogs, WordPress keeps tracks of the numbers of views your blog receives. It also tracks the links that people clicked on your blog and which posts are most popular. This feature is incredibly addictive and I’m sure most bloggers use it to guage how successful their blog is doing. I think a better guage of success would be the kinds of discussion that a blogger has provoked or is provoking. In the absence of this kind of direct feedback; however, statistics play a vital role.

The statistics though can be a bit misleading:  On WordPress, potentially one individual could be checking back for content regularly and be responsible for numerous views, but there is no way to track this.  It is also impossible to know if a post is popular because of its content or do to some other factor. For example, on my blog, the “About the Many Faces of Wayne” post has so far received the most attention. Maybe this is because of its placement at the top of the page?or perhaps, it is because it explains the premise behind my blog. This information is unknowable, and for my purposes, largely irrelevant. Yet, I find myself trying to make sense of these numbers (in spite of their ambiguity) in an attempt to distill their meaning and improve my blog. 

This happens in many areas of our society.  Statistics, polls, surveys are all an attempt to obtain this. It has created a whole industry for marketers, public institutions, political activists to judge and measure their success. Our elected rulers use principle even to govern the nation.  

I think this a very natural thing for social creatures to do. We need feedback from the tribe to understand our place within it; however, in many cases the analysis we are making based on the collection of statistics may lead us to inaccurate conclusions. This process can be similar to predicting the future from the scattering of tea leaves at the bottom of a tea cup. 

I would argue that direct feedback is always a superior. 


5 responses to “My Latest Addiction

  1. there should be another voting option: funny 🙂

    Oh, and check this out:

    very cool.

  2. That was an interesting video. Thanks for posting it.

  3. I’m not sure direct feedback is superior.

    Would you rather have one person writing a response regularly or have many people who enjoy your blog returning read it regularly without adding any comments? Personally, I prefer the latter. Commenting is but one way of engaging with material and not the way all folks engage. Different stroke for different folks.

    p.s. it’s a bit early to be reading the tea leaves of your statistics. The sample size is insufficient. Better to regularly up-date and write about what you care about.

  4. Thank you Sterling for responding and I think you are right when you say it is a little early for reading tea leaves. I would also agree that any audience (especially at this point in the game) is very positive whether they comment or not. The statistics do provide me with an idea of who is potentially reading my blog and that is enough to keep me going for awhile.

    By actively participating and providing direct feedback whether through comments or e-mails, however, gives the audience a chance to directly influence the blog. This might be unfair in a way, since the majority might enjoy it the way it is. Yet, in the absence of feedback from the silent majority the opinions of the vocal minority take precedence. I suspect this is true in all levels of society. If this assumption is correct than direct feed back/participation is a very powerful thing.

    As a side point, as an extravert, part of my motivation behind this blog was a desire to provoke conversation. Perhaps, this will come later. Admittedly with the exception of the arts funding post, the content I have produced thus far is probably not that conducive for generating discussion. I will have to work on that.

  5. Pingback: Why Folks Don’t Help: A Hypothesis, Plausible Responses, And The Foundations of A Communications Strategy « Movement

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