Tuesday, June 17, 2014

when the numbers tell a story

I was looking at my own Instagram account the other day - I often like to do that, or to peruse my blog or recent tweets, to see how other people see me - does anyone else do that? Anyway, I was looking at it and selected a picture of something, it isn't really that important, that felt like it happened not all that long ago. And, thanks to the handy week counter that Instagram uses, I saw that it was a little more than a year before the day I selected. I looked at the number of likes and it was something insignificant, less than five. I looked at the next picture, and the next, and none had very many likes. A number so small that now, quite honestly, I would be sad about. And I started to think about how my numbers, small as they may be and little as I'm supposed to care about them, tell a piece of my story.

You see, last summer was my coming of age and when I feel I hit my stride, in terms of blogging. I started to find my voice and really think about what I wanted to say each day. I look through those posts and see the tiny seedlings of the blog friendships I've formed. I see comments from bloggers who I now know in real life, and others whose posting and commenting presence I miss on the days they aren't around. I take an outsider's approach and see me, getting better as a writer, going beyond the day-to-day and finding more to say, taking stands and thinking more about the world around me, no matter how silly it is. I see the number of comments grow and behind it, the faces and the voices behind them all.

Time moves fast, as it always does, and another summer is upon us. My numbers have increased and relationships have grown. I'd like them to be greater but hey, wouldn't most of us? I often have to take a break and remind myself that the number doesn't matter, but the people behind them do. Before last summer, when I was mostly lonely and writing to and for no one, to this summer, where I know my people who will text me or tweet to me after I say something especially profound or ridiculous (I have a GOMI deal with one blog friend - if we think the other could end up there, we have vowed to share). As the numbers have increased, so has my desire to fill this white box nearly daily with something, my understanding of different parts of the world (it blows my mind that breakfast tacos are a Texas thing and some of y'all wear jackets in July), and my appreciation for lives lived far differently from my own.

I would love to have followers on all the sites in the four digits, sure. I would love for brands to trip over themselves wanting to work with me and to quit my job and spend my days telling stories via blog. But that isn't going to happen. What has happened, and what I hope will keep happening, is that I'll put faces behind each number. I'll know the people who visit here and who know me. I'll build relationships and be someone missed and you'll know my story and I'll know yours, too. Every number is a story and tells a story. After all, isn't that more important than just a simple number on yet another social networking site? What kind of story do your numbers tell?

27 comments:

  1. i feel the same as you - the people behind the numbers matter most; not the actual number itself.

    i don't look at my stats but i'm always surprised to see my bloglovin number jump up (when they send me update emails) because i think: who wants to follow my garbage writings about nothing significant??

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  2. I do the same thing! I will browse my old posts, tweets, and pics and try to imagine what someone thinks of me who doesn't know everything about me like I do! I thought I was weird for doing that haha but at least I'm not alone

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  3. As much as I love getting the email that says hey you have reached xyz I like the friendships more. Like road tripping to meet a blogging friend this weekend! Being able to connect with others is better than any number!!

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  4. I do look at my stats more recently as I get invited to local events and a few paid posts based on those stats. But that is a very recent thing. And what I get most out of blogging is the friendships I've made online and just getting things out in general. It's just awesome. :)

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  5. You have to start somewhere! I just love all the different people you meet in this journey!

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  8. I cant tell you the last time I looked at my stats, I don't even have the plugin that keeps track of them for Wordpress anymore. I just know that I LOVE all the comments, emails, tweets and texts that I get from all my blogger friends...whom I really talk to more than my IRL friends!

    It does make me feel good when I get my Bloglovin weekly info and see that I have a new follower.

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  9. As usual, you put my thoughts into perfect written form. I got a little caught up in the numbers and when they dropped from my break and vacation I got too caught up in that. Great reminder to focus on the people behind the numbers!

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  10. Great post, Lauren. This is all so true. I'm not going to lie and say I'm not happy when I get new followers, I will say that I am thrilled when I get new loyal readers who I develop ongoing conversations with. The people behind the numbers is right!

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  11. The only number that really matters to me is the number of comments, and even then it's the joy of seeing my friends and engaging with them through the comments.

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  12. At the end of the day, I just try and remember that I would rather enjoy the people that come to my blog than the number of likes or hearts or views I get. It's not always easy and I catch myself looking at other people's blog numbers and think why don't I have that, but then my guess is their friendships in the blog world might not be as genuine so I am just going to be grateful of what i do have in this little blog world of mine

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  13. Ha! I'm not sure I want to know what my numbers are telling me. BUT-blogging has become such a part of who I am and something that I love so much that even though they cross my mind I have to just leave it at that. I will say I used to get 0 likes on Insta and now I at least get some which is nice. Good for you for finding your footing in the blogging world. It's not necessarily an easy thing to accomplish.

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  14. My numbers tell a story of friendships and connections too. I also remind myself that while I'd love to have thousands of readers I've really connected with the few I have and that's so much more important to me than the number.

    I know that some people are more about the numbers and less about the connections. I don't understand those girls but I sure do try to figure them out.

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  15. I definitely do the same thing. Especially anytime someone new follows me on whatever the SM may be.

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  16. I really struggle with this too because I am constantly checking my numbers. But it does not determine my blogs worth. It makes me happy. That's good enough for me

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  17. What a lovely post Lauren! Yum, breakfast tacos! As much as seeing the numbers increase feel good, it would be really lonely without all the comments and support :)

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  18. YES to faces behind numbers... they SHOULD mean more than numbers! Numbers are okay to look at, but, it's the people who give them real meaning. :)

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  19. I really loved this post. I honestly hate that I even care about my number of followers at all. But recently, I've created a little following of people i hear from daily and I seriously love those relationship and appreciate the people who do come by. And I think that is is also a 2 way street because I make it a point to visit them too. Seriously a great post you have here :)

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  20. It's a love/hate with the numbers game, really. I love getting new readers and hate when I see my numbers drop; but every once in a while I run across a blog that has over 1000 Bloglovin followers (for instance), but as many comments as I may get in a day. I'd much rather have the interaction than a bloated number with no conversation.

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  21. It's hard not to get caught up in the numbers sometimes. I know for me I used to take it personally but now I just remind myself why I started writing, and it wasn't for the numbers.

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  22. Numbers are SO HARD because there's just never enough. NEVER. I realize that no matter how much growth I see it breeds a desire in me for MORE. But when I feel the community at Mr. T & Me grow it's much more satisfying. Much More Satisfying.

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  23. I don't even fill out my SEO stuff half the time lol. The laze is real.

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  24. I just became a GFC follower, so there's another number for ya! :)
    I've been blogging for five years. Some days are better than others. It seems like I get comments all day, every day at times and then the numbers will drop. You've realized the most important thing: It's not the numbers, but the people who stop by to acknowledge and get to know you.

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  25. Another thoughtful post on blogging! I love the idea of thinking about the faces behind the numbers. As much as I would love to grow my numbers, it's the people behind them that really count. It's so cool to think of how many friendships we've formed since we started blogging! I also love that I can think back to several comments that have meant a great deal to me and really solidified why I blog what I blog. Lauren, I think you are an incredible writer with the gift of both poise and snark, and you absolutely deserve to see much more blogging success :) <3

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  26. before i started blogging, i liked the idea behind numbers. but now i dont, and i enjoy the people behind them much more! great post girly.

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  27. Every single time I can't help but smile when you write a post about blogging and relate it to the people you've met (in real life or not). I'm so glad your blog has brought you friends and happiness! :)

    As far as my numbers, they don't tell much. I don't have many people that comment (just you and Kathy fairly regularly). I assume more people see it on Facebook and look at it. I don't know if my friends read it until they comment on how much they liked a post of mine (but that part is super cool; it makes me feel special!). So basically, my numbers say: put some more time and effort into it!

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I like comments and read them all but I'm not great about responding to them, so please don't be offended. I would much rather visit your blog instead!