Ok, right off the bat, I have to admit that title of this is, well, a little click-baity. It’s not untrue, as this blog did ALMOST hit a record number of views yesterday! However, that number was 76, which is admittedly low compared to other sites and blogs.

But it did get me thinking about our obsession with numbers, particularly in this new social media era. Truth be told, I’ve had the most meaningful interactions when just one person takes the time out to comment on a post, often when the “views” are in the single digits (aka my mom plus a couple of people who accidentally clicked on the wrong link). So even in light of that fact, why do I more often place a heavier premium on the volume of views or likes as opposed to the quality or content of the writing, or the quality of the interaction with readers?

A few ideas:

  • Like many bloggers, I have a half-formed dream of making a living writing. Conventional wisdom from the benevolent blogging overlords says that the way to do that is to increase traffic/eyeballs/{insert-your-own-analogy-for-views}. But every time I make that a focus, it feels wrong, and my writing suffers (Queue the obligatory self-defacing comment – “Not that you can tell!”- Hi-yo!).
  • I am falling prey to the core belief that being popular is more important than having a few really good friends (or readers, in this case – or both!). This thought takes me back to my teenage years, when the angst of wanting to fit in led me to ignore key meaningful relationships in a quest to be a part of the popular crowd. It hurts to think of the times I missed the opportunity to build close relationships with some really great people. And although I’m thankful for the life I have now, I have very few close friends, and I think this is why.
  • There’s another core belief that somehow got lodged in my soul at a young age, and although it could be described by different terms, it often surfaces in self-thought phrases like “You don’t measure up.” (I wonder if anyone can relate?) And although I’ve spent many years now combating that fundamental deceptive thought, or more importantly the assumptions that lie beneath it, it can still be a powerful driver, if I let it. I mean, even the name of this blog hints at it. While the title Second-Rate Scientist was meant to denote the fact that I am more interested in writing than science, and therefore not particularly astute at my “day job,” it still carries the self-deprecating insistence that I’m lacking something fundamental. So, my temptation is often, if I find something that works, some type of post that people like, even if it goes against the type of writing I actually enjoy and want to present, to engage in the song and dance, to pander for likes, and it all seems off. It often turns out that I missed the mark with what people want anyway!
  • We are quickly approaching a point in our society where our very perceived value is determined by how many people are looking at/commenting on/liking/praising you at any given moment. I truly worry for my kids, that they are growing up in a time when, if you’re not “internet famous,” you have little worth. So, I try to make sure they know that they are valued for who they are, by their family and by a God who created them. And as much as I say that I hate what I fear we are becoming, as much as I can write that it’s all a bit sad, I would not turn down a little slice of notoriety, if it came to that. I am broken like the rest.

None of this to say that having many views or fans or followers is wrong. Besides, isn’t it always those who are unpopular who say popularity is overrated? ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps. I plan to continue to write, and I welcome more eyeballs. This is just a reflection on the motivation, and I hope I can find the right one as this journey continues.

(A big thank you to fellow writer Heidi at https://heidiviars.com/ (“Wings of the Dawn”) for the great discussion and encouragement surrounding this topic. Follow her if you don’t already!)

15 thoughts on “Local Blog Hits Near-Record View Count!

  1. I find when I try to write to engage people, rather than just writing for me, my posts suffers. As a person who is kind of in the middle of the digital age (I started high school in 2001) I definitely feel that part of my identity is definitely wrapped up in the online side of things. It took a lot of personal reflection to try to limit that impact of that on my own self-worth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great reflection! Thanks for sharing. So glad to hear that you’re thinking through the type of impact these things can have.

      I wonder from your perspective how you see these things impacting the kids who have only known this digital age (i.e. kids who are starting High School now). Is the impact or struggle more? The same? I know as someone who didn’t really have the internet until college (graudated high school in 1995), I STILL have issues. I can’t imagine what it’s like for kids who live on social media.

      How do we encorage them to limit the impact?

      (So many questions :))

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My son will be 15 next week. He is a bit special in that he doesn’t give in to peer pressure. He refuses to have any social media apart from Instagram, where he doesn’t even share anything. I guess, he is not trapped (yet?) in the need to be present all the time and share everything and anything to feel valued.
        Personally, I had a time in my life when I needed (almost relied) on the instant gratification of likes to feel any self-worth. I am glad that time is over…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lots of questions but good ones! This is my first year as a full-time teacher, like ever! and before I was a nanny. Drawing on that: I really do think the struggle is more for children these days. When I was younger, yes I was fat (I was!) but I also didn’t have the entire world being able to access my pictures or give me feedback on them. I think that to help them limit the impact, parents have to be more engaged in what their children are doing. When I was 12ish, I got hooked on chat rooms. Men (not boys) would tell me I was beautiful and they wanted to kiss me and be with me, and I had never felt that before. I had never had anyone tell me I was even pretty before! I wanted it, I craved it. My parents didn’t talk to me about internet safety or addiction (no one knew what that was in 2000), and it’s been a struggle to regain my freedom from that ever since. I am much more comfortable online than I am in person. 100%.

        When I was a nanny, I worked for mostly one family with children ranging from 7-12 when I started and 9-15 when I left. The oldest was never without a device in her hand. The parents were always wanting the kids to do off-line things but they had TV’s everywhere, unlimited access to those TV’s, 2 computers for the kids by the time I left, 3 of the 4 had their own phone, every Christmas or birthday or “yay you got into this French school” or “well I guess I have to give you something because you’re complaining” or “I have no time for you so we have scheduled an hour together so you can come and run errands with me” the kids got something new. Usually something electronic. Parents need to set limits and expectations and go over safety and impact with their kids.

        Sorry that was SUPER long lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so encouraging and real. Our conversation has stirred me deeply yesterday and actually prompted a post as well … unfortunately, I analyzed my words way too long and didn’t post … fearing people wouldn’t like it …
    So, I am going to head over to my drafts and hit the “publish button” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Glad we have crossed (cyber) paths, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I mostly write for my self, but if there are views, I am very happy. Comments are almost nonexistent on my blog. If the views on my blog are above 10, it is a success, and I wonder why they are or what I did. Do you ever get the feeling to be torn between wanting (feeling you deserve) more traffic on your blog, and feeling less pressure to write quality content because of the fewer views?

    Like

    1. Thanks for the comment, Catherine! I absoultely feel that pressure. Writing and putting something out there where others can see it is such a strange thing. I mean, we could all just journal and keep this to ourselves, but there is something about writing for others to read. And yeah, I often think I “deserve” more likes or comments, or maybe more to the point I wonder why some posts get more traffic and others don’t – as you put so well, “What did I do?”

      But I think that’s where I’m often missing the point and where, for me, the dark-ish side of human nature has taken over, one which says that my words are only “good” if more than a few people “like” them or respond to them.

      Writing can be some amazing and so heart-breaking, sometimes within the same moment. Keep going!

      Like

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