As many of you know, I'm a baby blogger. I started the blog because a rock-star blogger-turned-friend, Heather, aka HEAB, made the suggestion, which got me thinkin'. Though I was a bit trepidatious at first, I decided to go for it. Once Heather announced on her blog that I was up and running, BOOM! Readers galore! That was August 9, 2009. Here is one of the main reasons for starting my blog: (and I quote myself- that's weird, oh well):
[I] "want to share my experiences when I believe that they would be of some value to others. I feel that I learn so much from the so-called Peanut Gallery (of which I am one of so many!) that even if one person gets something out of one of my successes or failures, then this blog is totally worth the time to write."
A few days into it, I decided that it would be fun to follow the statistics of the blog, so I signed up with StatCounter. There are huge amounts of information that you can learn about your blog traffic: number of pageloads, which posts are being read, time spent on each page, where your readers come from (geographically), where they come from in cyberspace (links from other blogs, google reader, google searches), numbers of repeat readers, etc. You can even "see" who is reading. For example, I know my (hypothetical) friend who left a comment at 4:36pm on 8/11/09 lives in Barstow. If I see that someone in Barstow visited at that exact time, I can deduce that the IP (cookie) is hers, and I can even label it with her name to see when she comes back to check the blog! Hello, Big Brother! A bit creepy, no?
At first it was fun to check the data... even intoxicating- and that had nothing to do with all those double-vodkas either. It was so cool to see that someone from Seoul or Belfast or Khazakstan had visited. Truth: I have a very dedicated reader in Hefa (not Haifa), Israel, so a HUGE shout-out to that person! Shalom, friend!
Checking the numbers daily was strangely addicting. It was soon becoming a form of validation. Turns out every day that my numbers were higher, I was happier. When they were lower, I was...well...low. Interestingly, anytime a "Big girl" blogger would link or mention me, my numbers would go ridiculously high. Heather, the quintessential rock-star, is a great example- I call it "The HEAB-effect". I joke with my hubby that all she has to do is sneeze, burp or fart my name in a post and my numbers go through the roof! It is truly wild!
In the last week or so, however, something has happened with the numbers. They have been falling. In fact I told Heather that it's as if the people who came and visited the blog, performed some weird feat of reverse-osmosis and "took back" the pageloads! I tried to figure out why: did I say something to offend the masses, did I make a Ricky Gervais-esque un-PC comment? Was I too opinionated? Not funny? Boring? Worse yet: not interesting? It started to really get me down. After a few teary conversations with my Dad and hubby, I realized that I needed to change my focus revisit the reasons that I started blogging.
For me, this should not be a popularity contest. It is an outlet for creativity (that I never knew I enjoyed) and an opportunity to share my experiences with people who can find them valuable. Turns out, it is also an opportunity to "meet" people who are stumbling along in life just like I am. (and really, aren't we all?) There are aspects to the health- and food-blogging community that I (HONESTLY) did not know existed until I started blogging! That's why I never left any comments for the whole first year that I read blogs- I did not know that it was all part of a big virtual conversation! I did not realize that relationships were forming.
Yesterday, the following quote appeared in my inbox courtesy of a blog I like, called The Happiness Project:
I saw it as a sign.
So I did the blogging equivalent of throwing away your scale or kibboshing calorie-counting... I stopped checking my stats. I am blissfully unaware of how many people are or are not reading SmoothieGirl. And honestly, I'm ok with that for the moment.
The reality remains that blogging has definitely 'stirred my mind'. And sometimes, that might just have to be good enough.
So to my regular readers and commenters: a HUMONGOUS "Thank YOU!" Numbers be darned, you guys make it all worthwhile.
And let's face facts, at the end of the day, when you throw your undies into the hamper and you get a sudden "Meow" in return, you just have to laugh off the small stuff, right? Life's too short.