Friday, January 13, 2012


Those of you who have a blog of your own probably already know that others can "follow" your blog and thus receive updates about new postings each time they sign into Blogger or Google or Gmail. And even if you don't have a blog of your own, you may have noticed how on some blogs, in the sidebar or down near the bottom, there will be a cluster of thumbnail images showing all of the people who are "following" a certain blog.

I've always been a bit uncomfortable with that term since "following" also implies "leading" which is a weird fit for me. Still, this blog does have "followers." I decided to uninstall that from the layout of the blog so that there is no list of followers on the public side of things. I mean, it just felt a little egocentric to me on a personal level.

Still, each and every single time I sign in to create a post, right away on that blogger dashboard I see a notification of how many "followers" I have. And yes, that number rises and falls.

It's hard to know what to do with that. Against my better judgment, when the number goes up and the blog has a new "follower" I do find myself getting a little excited. Like "Cool! Someone likes my art!" And yes, when that number falls, I do feel bad. Worse than I should, really.

It's funny, I did have some concerns that posting 26 pinhole photographs in 26 separate posts in one day might alienate a few people and it seems to have done just that. The "followers" number dropped precipitously this morning. Was it the Vegas thing? Is it that lack of constant Moby-Dick coverage? Is there anything to be gained from even wondering about that? Probably not.

Anyway, to those that have continued to "follow" and those who visit regularly, or even semi-regularly, thank you. I do appreciate very very much you making me a part of your day, and I promise to always do my very best to show you something interesting, worth looking at, and hopefully intriguing enough to talk a bit about in the comments.


  1. Matt, apparently, there are also add ons so that that bloggers can know exactly how many hits, at what time, from where, etc. These are add-ons that go way beyond the basic stats that Blogger provides. I decided early on that I didn't want to include the stat trackers either, for many of the same reasons you list here.

  2. Agreed, Sandy. I can see how that kind of information would be very useful if the blog was an extension of a business, but mine is definitely not that. I just don't think there is any way to go down that road and end up happy. I'm always very pleased when visitors leave comments and I get a lot out of the conversations that arise from them. That, and being able to share some of this art, is more than enough for me.

  3. For what it's worth, I find that Google's statistics on my blog are occasionally utterly out of whack to the point of telling me that I had 31 visitors and 120 page views.

    And so I don't fret about the numbers. I myself 'follow' bloggers as an easy way to see a summary of their posts in one place. The ones I really care about, I subscribe to the RSS feed. I use a Firefox add-on called RSS Ticker that scrolls updates across the bottom of the browser so I can read the updates as they are posted.

    Just a couple of reasons I don't think much of the page statistics.

  4. You're on my RSS feed, so I know when you post something, but I'm not "following" you... which makes the tracking even more of a waste of time.

    I have exactly the same relationship with the whole stats/followers/pageviews thing: I wish it weren't there. I can feel it affecting what I post. And I'd really prefer to think that it wouldn't.

    I stopped playing the lottery because it actively made my life worse: even though I never expected to win, I was still disappointed every week when I didn't.

  5. Maybe they just wised up & all switched to feed readers? I'm all about RSS & such ilk!

  6. Buck, I suspected some of that since, at times, the "followers" number has oscillated madly in the span of just a few hours, going up and down and up and down and up and down. I just wish there was some way I could remove that number from the dashboard so I don't have to look at it every time I sign in.

  7. Richard, this part: "I can feel it affecting what I post. And I'd really prefer to think that it wouldn't." Absolutely. I try and try and I struggle mightily against this, but it's so insidious. Fortunately I almost always win the battle, but in the battle zone inside my brain, I can far too often hear echoes of "I wonder if people will like this." All of these comments help a lot though. I'm deeply relieved to realize I am not the only one who feels this way about the whole "followers" thing.

  8. Mordicai, I thought about that and hope that perhaps it's true. Then I wondered why the whole "followers" thing was allowed to even stay in existence but I think maybe it's because Google wants to offer people as many options as possible for keeping up with the content they like.

  9. Titus, thank you! I did enjoy posting it, especially the way I was able to put up one image at the time it had been taken to simulate what that bizarre and debauched day was like.

  10. I really enjoyed your Vegas photos. The ones at night look almost cosmic, like images of nebulae and exploding stars deep in space. Very cool.


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