Though WordPress is the niftiest of blog programs once you get to know it (like weird neighbors, perhaps?), one of its blessings and one of its curses, in my opinion, is the access to blog statistics.
I’m able to view the number of “visits” to the blog, what search terms someone used in Google that resulted in a click on my blog, if anyone has clicked on any of my hyper links in a given blog post, how many people subscribe to the blog, and I’m sure lots of other things that will make my life more complicated.
You see, when I log in to WordPress, and I see the little graph of blog visits that pops on the “dashboard” screen, I start to feel my heart rate pulse a little stronger and a little faster, my compulsive side wondering what I can do to influence the little jaggy cliffs on the line graph, diving here and there, strangely high on any random day, seemingly unrelated to what I say or even whether I posted that day. When I see four clicks from Facebook, which I don’t even have, I look over my shoulder slyly, wondering which of my readers linked to it. (It’s always my brother. He’s also the one who periodically asks me how many subscribers I have, slowly feeding my compulsivity.) When I see that someone has clicked through a dozen of my old posts, I wonder if it’s a newcomer or just someone bored at work or, most likely, one of my parents going through the archive to read the comments.
What’s ironic about this is that I blog about community, so the compulsion to check my blog stats, the unnerving curiosity to know who is reading it and what they’re thinking, it’s, well, probably getting in the way of my real-life community.
But it does make good fodder for conversation. J teases me about it all the time, especially when I report on my first comment from a complete stranger and my conjectures for how he came across the blog on the internet… or when I am perplexed at which posts get comments and which don’t… or…
See? I’m watching you just as much as you’re watching me. (Cue the eerie music.)