If you’ve never written a blog before, one thing that is interesting about it, is that programs like WordPress provide you with a whole bunch of stats about your blog.
You can find out how many people have visited your blog in a given day. You can also find out whether they clicked into it via a link from Facebook (or some other site) or came directly to your blog. You can also see whether you have any subscribers or not (people who sign up to recieve your blog via email).
Seeing how many subscribers you have is a bit like checking out how many friends you have on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Seeing your stats is a bit like seeing whether anyone has liked your status on Facebook or tweeted @ you. Receiving a comment is the equivalent of someone commenting on your status.
The trouble with blog stats, comments on posts, and liking someone’s status is that it’s one of the things that feed many people’s addiction. It’s an addiction to getting a response. Someone out there likes what you write, and by association the glory is on you. It gives you a feel good hit – but usually the hit doesn’t last long, and you look for another soon after.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to write things that people find insightful or amusing. There is nothing wrong with striving to write an interesting post, status comment or tweet. Where it all becomes dubious is when you find yourself checking in constantly to see if someone has visited your blog or commented on your status because you crave another ‘hit’ of that social media drug.
So whilst secretly wondering when I will achieve another post that will top my record stats for a day, I’m also toying with turning off the stats on my blog. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to write stuff that people want to read. But the stats shouldn’t rule your life. The hit of a response should not rule your life. I think this aspect of social media is something we need to foster a greater awareness of.
It’s so important to find the meaning in life in the activity in it, not in writing and posting about it. When writing and posting let you clarify the meaning, and discuss the meaning with others, they are wonderful tools. They can help you reflect on, and be mindful about, your life. They’re great so long as they are not your life. We need to create most of our ‘hits’ from real life experiences, and not online ones.
Do you use social media or blog? Do you get a hit from people responding to what you write and post?
What steps do you take (if any) to ensure social media plays a healthy role on your life?
And for me, for the moment, the stats stay on… as long as it can remain a healthy interest for me in seeing which things I write people are choosing to tap into… (whilst the devil inside I’m moderating who’s after the online hit says… ‘read this post…come on people, click on me, subscribe even, I’m insightful, occasionally funny….follow me… you know you want to…’).
Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecampbells/5042764163/sizes/l/in/photostream/ with thanks to shawncampbell.