The site that hosts this blog, wordpress.com, provides each blogger with a page known as the “Dashboard”, which functions as a control panel of a sort. My dashboard allows me to easily find all the tools necessary to organize my posts in any number of ways, change the blog’s appearance, and so forth. It also provides statistics about my readers. I can see how many people are reading my blog. I can know how many are reading each individual post. I can learn what people are searching for that leads to my blog. I can even know what links there are from other blogs to mine. (Currently there’s a grand total of one such link.) I could doubtlessly get even more stats if I really wanted them.
Should I care about any of this stuff? The high-minded answer would be ‘no’. My blog is about self-expression, isn’t it? I say what I want and everybody else can take it or leave it; isn’t that right? Such is the attitude taken by many. I recall Andrew Sullivan once said, “I’ve always assumed that losing readers is a good sign that you’re committing journalism.” That’s the attitude, there. If folks avoid my blog, then forget about them.
Well, I will tell you right now, that’s not my attitude. Whenever I log onto my account here at wordpress, I go straight to the dashboard to see how many hits I’ve had. Were I a proper, self-respecting writer it would be the writing alone that matters, but in reality I can’t deny that I get a little kick whenever my readership rises. Yesterday it spiked to an all-time high: thirty readers. Of course I can’t be sure that it’s thirty separate people, because someone may have logged on twice. Nonetheless, thirty looks pretty good to me. Huffingtonpost may get millions of hits each day, but that’s because they stuff their front page with trashy celebrity news and other stuff that caters to the lowest common denominator. I have my thirty or so readers and I still have my integrity.