2011 In Review. Sort of.

Lots of posts in the last few days about blog stats, mainly because of the stats from JetPack and wordpress.com that people use. Which is great – but I don’t understand why people like stats. Politicians and businesses need stats as they serve a direct purpose in shaping decisions and growth so those I do understand, but blogs? Why?

If you look at stats I imagine that you would like to see bigger numbers but if you start going after that then surely you start blogging differently, you start to look at each post more critically, maybe you increase your posting frequency but why do this? At what point does the blog become less you and more traffic orientated? And by what are you measuring stats? Just numbers? If you look at them then they must mean something to you.

My old site – tamba2 – has past 907,000 views and 734,000 visits which to some might be pretty good. But it only got 10,000 comments. That again seems good but it is only 1.1% of posts looked at that generated a comment. That number isn’t so good if you want to look at ‘engagement’. A way of looking at this would be if you opened your house up to visitors and every day 100 people walked through. 99 said nothing, they just looked. That last person will say something, maybe even just “Hi Nice house!”. Wouldn’t that 99 seem odd? (which is why spammers are so good, they say more. It’s false and exploitative but their comments are welcomed because of those other visitors who say nothing. They cater to people’s need for comments, for validation of their posts maybe.) Wouldn’t you rather write 10 posts and have 1 comment? That would be 10x the comment rate. Ah you say, I don’t write for comments and they really are a bonus but why then are you running stats? To see how many people don’t leave a bonus?

I have no idea what my stats are because I don’t run any stats. Even my blog dashboard stats aren’t reliable because I’ve lost posts when messing about with the database. So I can’t give you a stats view of 2011 except for “I blogged less. I wrote less personally. Comments were few”. Which is all okay.

If you want a real review: D is great, reached her 21st, started her Nursing Degree and has a job. P is great, she hit 18 and has a year left of College before she heads to University. J had a very bad year, is a lot more disabled than she was, quality of life dropped and is ill again right now. I had a bad year too.

The last post I wrote linking to my music stats at Last.fm – that’s all about stats though isn’t it. Yes, but I see those as being more personal. Music is more personal than a blog, it is based on mood right at that moment not what you care to share with the world and I don’t believe people think “Hey my stats at Last.fm need tuning out of Maroon 5 and into Aerosmith” whereas people do consider more what they write before clicking that blue Publish button. I really don’t care if you can see that I’m listening to a lot of Christine Aguilera right now.

Why don’t I write more personally which might get more visits and more comments? To be honest it’s because people will read them. There are long time readers who I would have no problem writing and them reading. But there are others who I do not want to know. I don’t want them reading between the lines, I don’t want them to be the “twitching curtain” where they hide themselves but always want to know about you and make assumptions. So it’s easier to write it offline then delete it. I find writing to be useful, cathartic in some respects so it still happens.

So should no bloggers use stats? Of course they should and for whatever reason they have but numbers aren’t the whole picture.

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