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?