For those of you who have blogs, I ask: Do you find yourself tempted to the sins of pride or vanity when it comes to checking visitor statistics?
For a while I was lucky in this area. Way back when I started this blog my sole purpose was to seek answers and have reasonable, focused discussions about religion. Because of that, I specifically did not want a lot of readers. The fact that I only had an average of nine visits per day for months and months was just fine with me.
But as the site has grown I must admit that I feel a twinge of anxiety if I see a significant drop in readership or if the number of Bloglines subscribers goes down. And when the 2007 Blogger’s Choice Awards nominations came around I was shocked that my site was on the first page in the Best Religion Blog category for weeks, at one point ranked as high as #5. I tried to tell myself that that’s not important, who cares, but I admit that I gritted my teeth a bit when I saw that Et Tu had slipped to the second page (leave it to me to turn a blog about seeking God into a forum for pride!)
This was all brought into relief when I closed comments and turned off stats for Lent. I really thought that that wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I found myself surprisingly anxious to know if anyone was even reading my blog anymore. Every time I was tempted to log in to my Sitemeter account or check to see if the number of Bloglines subscribers had increased, I was forced to admit my pridefulness, and to ask myself if my motive was the glory of God or the glory of Jen.
And once I finally got used to not knowing if I had any readers I felt like my writing was more honest, more in tune with the Holy Spirit than at any other time. It sounds crazy, but it was easy to believe that not one single person was even reading my blog anymore. And it was a wonderfully freeing concept — my self-consciousness faded and I began to think of my little posts as more of a conversation between myself and God.
Anyway, I don’t think that wanting to know how many readers you have is always sinful. Watching visitor trends can help you create better content, and it’s only natural to be curious about how many people are reading what you write. Yet I think there’s a slippery slope that’s easy to go down, where you start to care a little too much about other people’s “approval” of you in the form of increased hits.
What do you guys think about this? Has anyone else ever found looking at visitors statistics tempts you to pride or vanity?
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