Not the numbers

It isn’t about the numbers…

In the past I have invited readers to examine the stats for my blogs.  I regularly check these, and how my numbers are going on Facebook (friends, page likes, insights) and Twitter (followers, unfollowers and impressions on Twitter analytics).

When I began Sue’s considered trifles I had a notebook in which I wrote the title of each post and the date it was published.  It made it easy to keep track of the number of posts.  After each 39 posts I had a summary post.  Now I am only posting links to earlier posts, I am not counting or even keeping a list of the titles.  I have confused myself and the post-counter on WordPress by accidentally publishing at least one post before I intended and having had to restore its status to draft before scheduling it for the correct month.

I am aware that many people use apps to follow Tweeps (Twitter people), who are likely to follow them back or to unfollow those who didn’t (follow them back).  I only use an app to find out who unfollowed me.  There is no point taking unfollows personally, although there is plenty of advice about how not to annoy people on Twitter.

Those readers, who look at my posts on computers rather than phones, may have noticed that I have now linked my Twitter to this blog.  I have been learning how it works.  Apparently Tweets I send to the Twitterverse rather than to individuals appear in my preview stream.  Those sent to individuals do not.  (It is possible to change these settings.)

At present the widget, which looks after this for me, is located well down the sidebar of my blog.  It is quite likely that people will not find it if they are only reading a single post.DSC_0014~2 DSC_0016~2 DSC_0017~2 DSC_0021~2

I am also learning what the camera on my phone is capable of.  Sometimes I share the results here or on Twitter.  And people like pictures.  So I am going to add a few to this post. They have already appeared on Twitter.

Because I watch my stats closely, I am aware that I have had extra views as a direct result of having a post featured by post40bloggers.  Belonging to groups on Facebook also allows me to promote posts from time to time.  I find that Twitter leads to more referrals than my Facebook page does. Now that may have something to do with numbers.

So, why is it not about the numbers?

It is my hope that something I write in every post will encourage or inform (or even amuse) at least one reader.  Although it appears fairly random, how people find my posts (categories and tags help here, but I am careful not to use so many that my posts are excluded from the WordPress Reader) I believe that God is able to direct people to the reading matter they will enjoy or find helpful.  I have found that the saying, Build it and they will come, does not apply to information on the internet.  Rather we have to build it and decorate it with banners and flashing lights.  (I don’t like anything which flashes on a web-page I am trying to read, so you won’t find any real flashing lights here.)

WordPress stresses numbers.  There are summaries of numbers of blogs, numbers of posts, and numbers of anything else, which can be measured easily.  It serves to remind ordinary bloggers how big the internet is and how unlikely people are to spot our blogs, unless we make ourselves known by commenting on or liking other blogs, responding to comments on our own blogs and finding ways of letting potential readers know that we exist.  Each blog post is just a drop in the ocean of online information.  And, in case you are wondering, the photos are not of “the ocean”, but the Irish Sea.

Writers sow seeds.   There is a picture in the Bible of how messages are spread by more than one person.  St Paul wrote, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)


13 thoughts on “Not the numbers

  1. It is about the numbers–and it isn’t. I think it depends on what we are trying to achieve and what others are seeing. For the most part, I think we can get bogged down by numbers, becoming confused by them and misinterpreting what we see. I don’t even know if we can always trust the numbers.

    It’s probably good to take the numbers into consideration and exam them like you’ve been doing. It’s interesting for one thing. I found early on that the “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t work any better than setting up a business and just waiting for customers. You’ve got to work at promoting and it’s a lot of work if you want big results. Expect little, but don’t let that keep you from working hard.

    For blogging, I do a fair amount of social media stuff, but what still works best for getting comments is making rounds to leave comments on other blogs. I’m not too thrilled by the necessity of reciprocity for the non-celebrity blogger, but I think that’s the best way to stay in the mind of the blogging public. It sure is time-consuming though, but it can be fun and interesting. It’s part of the planting seeds philosophy. I like that analogy that you excerpted from 1 Corinthians.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


      • Maybe in a minor way within a relatively small community. Celebrity status even in the big time must be constantly groomed. I guess that’s why the need for PR agents and the like. The public quickly forgets as newer or more outrageous celebrities come onto the scene.

        I was watching an old movie promo short from back in the late 1930’s where they were featuring all of these celebrities of the era and people that the narrator was referring to as famous. There were very few with whom I was familiar and even those few are probably mostly unknown to people today. I think of all the “where-are-they-now” types from my lifetime–so many shooting stars no relegated to trivia columns on the internet or just totally forgotten.

        Fame and celebrity is a fascinating subject to study. Just like numbers and stats, though this latter topic is probably more useful in the larger view of things.

        Arlee Bird
        A to Z Challenge Co-host
        Tossing It Out


  2. What was it “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”?

    Having been involved in computers from way back, I’ve seen many examples of CAD – Computer Aided Disaster. People forgetting that the numbers are merely those things that other people decided to count – so they may or may not represent a valid picture.

    While I enjoy the fascinating game of juggling numbers as much as anyone else – I hope I’ve learnt to take it all with a pinch of salt – or at least keep it in perspective.

    As the world shrinks the ‘Great Unknown’ is constantly being reduced to a set of numbers. Soon it won’t be enough to write ‘Here there be Dragons’ without specifying quantity, size and colour. Naturally, it won’t be necessary to mention whether they breathe fire or not.


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