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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Numbers Game: In the Blogsophere, On Twitter, and in Life.

Written By Lee

The views expressed below are not necessarily the views of the other women that make up MWOB.  Don't hold any of this against them.  It's all me.

So I have some thoughts brewing and it's time to try and put 'em on the page.
There comes a time when a person on a venture needs to take stock of what's up and remind themselves and others perhaps why the venture was started in the first place.

And for me, that time has come.

The original intent of Moms without Blogs was a no-pressure scene. It was a place where, if a mom, stumbled upon it, she wouldn't feel lame about the kind of mom she was. A space where maybe she would feel that she was not alone. That being a modern-day mom is tough. And it's cool to just take the pressure off and stop the endless tail-chasing on the spinning racetrack with a finish-line labeled "Supermom!"

Ultimately, Moms without Blogs was created as a sort of safe haven away from the one-up-man ship that seems to inherently exist as to who is doing what better in modern-day mom land.

And now that I've been around a whopping six months, I've noticed that no matter how hard I try, competition is just part of the deal.

Who has more followers? Commenters? Subscribers?

Who has won more awards? Is more influential? Runs with the important crowd?

Who's on whose blogroll? Who's been nominated for what? What meme or carnival or other linky game have I created that gives me exposure and prominence and therefore......what?

Yeah, therefore....what?

What happens when, on any given day, you get 70 plus comments and you have 427 followers and 695 subscribers and you've won 2 prominent blogging awards? What then?

Is it all good? What happens? Do you get the feeling that you have somehow arrived?

Arrived where?

I'm getting pretty darn exhausted of the numbers game around town. I'm tired of people telling me how sad or confused they feel when they lose a follower or two or six and they wonder what they've done to deserve such a travesty. I'm tired of people pimping for nominations and votes and subscribers. I'm tired of memes and linky games and feeling like I'm supposed to participate and if I don't, someone might get upset.

I've started to feel it's just one big game.

And all I really want is just to read some good stuff. And maybe write some good stuff. And laugh a lot. And cry a little. And learn some stuff. And gain some new perspective. And engage in some conversations. And meet some cool people. Some real people.

In my life I have real friends. Friends I can see and touch and talk to and all that good stuff. And you know what? I don't have 427 friends. More like 16. Give or take a few. And I don't even desire 427 friends. I really don't. I mean, who can keep up with that pressure? How would you do it?

I know it sounds cliche but it's quality over quantity for me. In my life and on this blog.

I would rather get 5 killer thoughtful comments on something I wrote than 232 comments that basically said nothing. Comments that just let me know that they were there stopping by. I mean, cool for stopping by and all but if you don't have anything to say, why comment? Really - why?

I'm thinking of instituting a "No Comment Obligation Policy" here at MWOB. Like really. Don't feel pressured to comment if you don't have the time. If something strikes you and you want to say something, cool. I love it. I dig it. I'm all over it. But the pointless comments? Whatever. Save yourself the trouble and comment elsewhere. On a blog where numbers matter.

'Cause numbers don't matter here. Really.

I mean, sure it's nice to look over to the follower box and see someone new who was inspired to click follow because of some post that they read but in reality, how many of those followers are reading everyday anyway? People are busy. I get that. If they clicked to follow one random day and never found time to return and then one day they decided to unfollow, who cares? Not me.

I mean, when you lose a follower and you say something about it like "Why 
me?", how do you think that makes the other people who are reading you feel? Like their follow is not as worthy of a mention because they're still sticking around? You know?

I hope people who come to read here get something out of what they read. I adore and love and crave getting something out of what I read out there in the blogosphere. I really do. But when I'm reading someone's posts, I'm reading for ME. Not THEM. I'm not reading because I think I should. I'm reading because I want to. And I really want people to feel the same way when they come here.

Read if you want to and if you have the time and the space in your brain to do so. And if you don't? No worries. We'll see you another day. Or we won't. Have a nice life. And I mean that in a friendly way.

In life, I don't walk around meeting hundreds of people who "get" me. It takes time to "get" me. I can only imagine that the same rules would apply in this bloggy place. How could I expect that hundreds upon hundreds upon thousands of people would "get" me here? That's an unrealistic expectation and a strange one. At least I think so.

Is this all just me? Please tell me if it is. Maybe I'm truly just in the wrong forum. Really maybe I am.

I read blogs when I can and when my brain can handle it. I am totally and utterly NOT into obligation in my relationships. And that goes for my bloggy friends too. I will not visit you because I feel obliged, I will visit because I want to. I. Want. To.

And I may even want to and I don't have the time. For days. Fancy that! If I don't get to a particular blog one day, I want that blogger to know I'm friggin' busy. I have three smallish kids and I'm generally a lunatic and I didn't make it by their blog because I barely survived another dinner, bath and bedtime routine. Nothing personal.

I truly do not know how women are making the rounds day after day after day with no rest in sight. That shit is tough.

And add Twitter into the mix and wow, I'm screwed.

I like me some Twitter. But only on my iPhone. I rarely, if ever, tweet from my computer cause if I'm at my computer I'm reading a few blogs, leaving a comment or two and trying to write something. I like Twitter when I'm on the move.

Recently, there has been this whole outcry against Ashton Kutcher and Oprah because they have millions of followers or they want a million followers or whatever. And some Twitter hardcores or Twitter ambassadors are all upset because these celebs don't follow them back. Ashton has one million followers but only follows 30 people back or whatever.

But you know what?

Ashton is the one of the only dudes on Twitter who is being realistic about his numbers! One million plus people follow Ashton and he knows and follows about 30 people (give or take) in his real life. People that he actually wants to follow. It's want. Not obligation.

I think that's cool. I'm suspect when someone says they are following me and I look at their stats and it's all five thousand people plus are following that person and they are following those five thousand people right back! That's weird to me!

Who does that? Who follows five thousand people? How is that possible? It's not real. You know?

I'm a not a numbers game kind of person. Did you get that yet? I would rather sit one-on-one with someone and talk for two hours than stand in a room with one hundred people and talk with each one for 15 seconds.

But that's me.

And it seems that for most of blogville, the 100 person scenario sounds better.

I wonder why. I really really do.

I keep wondering "To what end?"  The commenting, the networking, the game-playing, it's always the same question for what end?  

So the deal is if it's me writing here and you click on by, I really want you to know, no pressure. I know you have a lot going on and life is busy and there are family and friends that you love who need your real attention and time, so it's all cool.

Read my post it you're feeling it. If you're not feeling it, no worries.

Leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. If you're not inspired, no worries.

Follow me if you're into it. If you're not, don't.

Unfollow if I'm no longer keeping your attention, no worries.

This is a no obligation zone.

That's not to say, I'm not into meeting you if you're into that.  I would love to converse with you and and actually get to know you a bit. 

I've met some really good people already. A couple who I might even call friends.

So in that numbers game? I'm feeling way ahead.


  1. I TOTALLY agree with you. It is a game, and it shouldn't be. I myself try and stay away from most memes, linkies, etc. for that very reason. I write because I love writing, and at first, it upset me when a follower dropped, but now, I don't care, except if it's because of something that maybe I did or said. Otherwise, it's all good.

    Thank you for bringing this out in the open. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

  2. You have to blog without guilt or else there is no fun in it! I have a tendency to get much more caught up in the numbers than I mean to...

  3. I have a hard time ignoring all the numbers, but I know what my goals are for writing a post. I want to impart of myself to others. I agree that when having a huge comment count most of the comments start to sound the same. I have become more selective in my commenting as of late because I don't have enough time to write good comments. Rather than just saying "Hi, I'm here" I just don't comment— unless it is something good that deserves a comment.

  4. What? You have more followers than I do! How did you do that? What about me? I want more followers! Ha! Just kidding!

    I don't really worry about what others are doing or who they are following. I meander about my own blog business and hope people enjoy my place enough to come back, but if not, oh well. I'M enjoying it and that's why I do it.

  5. here's my experience on the matter. when i started blogging, i knew i would have a couple of readers (the peeps that inspired me to begin), but thought the whole "growing the blog" thing was too out of reach for little ol' me. but it did intrigue me, i will be honest. i guess my thinking was "oh, if i have a big enough audience, i will be able to influence the masses with my deep thoughts and ideas". however, the problem i ran into was a) my ideas and thoughts had all pretty much been covered by others already, and b) there's not a very big market for real soul searching and the advancement of ideas.

    it does seem to me that any of the "quick and easy" ways to expand your readership are basically a sell-out IN MY EYES ONLY. i would rather stay true to my vision, and if there's anyone out there that is touched by what i am saying, that really DOES make me happy, because i do like the idea of reaching out and finding common ground. i do believe that there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. but when 100 ppl read my post and comment about the most superficial aspect of it hurriedly, well, then, i still feel just as alone because they either didn't take the time to really read it, or they are just not on the same page as i am. WHICH IS FINE... but all i am saying is you are right, quality over quantity.

    so back to my little timeline... after realizing the numbers weren't what i was looking for (or the hollow numbers), i have kind of had a paradigm shift on my blog and started a smaller blog that really focuses on women supporting women. we'll see if they grow, die or just keep on keepin' on. whichever will be fine. as long as i stay true to myself.
    anyway, that's it.

  6. Oh how I adore thee!! Your timing is perfect. I yet again lost another follower after one of my FFFT posts and I worried - did I say too much? But why?! I'm only offering up a little dissension, not spreading hate.

    I've been kicking around the idea of dropping my "follower" button. It goes along with the reason why I never check my feedburner stats or have any other "traffic" thing on my site - I don't (want to) care. I want people to WANT to read what I have to say.

    If not, that's cool.

    You're right. It's beginning to feel like a "grown-up" version of Mean Girls out there. No thanks. I already survived high school - barely.

    So I'll continue to build it. Come when you can.

  7. ARGH! I just wrote out a long comments and my thingy timed out...and I lost it. Hope that wasn't too technical..."thingy"

    Anyway, I totally, completely, 100% agree with you here! You took the words right out of my mouth!

    I love to receive and leave comments for a laugh basically...that's waht I'm here for!

    Then I went on to say that I think we're on the same island...I get to be Ginger and you can be Mrs. Howell if you want! I'll never vote you off! (Getting my genres mixed up...but who the hell cares!)


  8. You are right shouldn't be a numbers game...

    I am by all accounts not a big well known blogger and I truly, other than my family cant believe anyone really cares what I have to say...

    I write dribble, I cant spell and I am not remotely funny but the thing for me is...I like reading blogs, I like comments-giving and receiving, they make me feel special in a weird kinda way...perhaps because I feel under-appreciated in my real life...

    Over the past yr of being on blogger I feel like I have gotten to 'know' these wonderful people on my blogroll-they have shared their lives with me and the blogosphere and in some cases these people know more about me than my RL family and friends...

    sorry rambling...another bad habit of mine...

    I really appreciated this blog post and am yet again humbled...

  9. Why is it so easy to get wrapped up in the numbers aspect even if that had nothing to do with the original blog intention? I catch myself getting caught up in it all the time.

    I see so many bloggers working so hard for followers and in my opinion kind of selling out in the process. Their posts look more like advertisements and lack real feeling. (I am guilty of this at times too and it bothers me...but like I said it is easy to get caught up in it all).

    I feel the pressure to comment a lot. Because isn't it the "rule" that is you comment other people will comment on your blog and of course bloggers want comments right? But those return comments I end up getting are lame and mostly just people saying things like "lol" or "that's cute." Lame. Lame. Lame.

    I am really trying to break myself of all this crap too so I appreciate this post and your honesty (as always), and from the size of the the previous comments I don't think I am alone in that appreciation.

  10. Love it Lee. That is exactly why I started have a safe haven, to feel connected for once to people with idea's similar to my own. I love your blog, and do not feel obligated to read it everyday, I just do! Thanks for like the millionth time for always putting into words that most "super" moms can't...b/c really we all are super moms in my eyes, look what we have to deal with on a day to day cycle. Email me it ya want to chat sometime...always up for one! :)

  11. You have allready figured out what take some forever to. I never, ever look at numbers. I couldn't tell you how many people follow me on twitter, or how many subscribers I have, or how many people comment on my blog. I get the emails when comment rolls in, and I don't click to my main page, and I don't have that thing that tells you who unfollowed you on Twitter. I don't write a blog for a response, I write it for me, for later. You guys do the same thing here. I think it's pretty obvious when people write for a response versus writing for themselves. I read those who do the later.

    I think I've told you this before, but you NEVER have to comment on mine blog, either. I know you're there. You know I'm here. It's good.


  12. I am still so new to blogging and did it to make lasting memories for my girls. I have stumbled upon so many others that at first I was following and then I learned about google reader and now add them to my subscription. For a while, everyone was on my favorites and I would just check in like that. Really, I am very confused about the whole thing. Should I follow or just subscribe - what is the difference and does it really matter? Honestly, I check in when I have time and love it.

  13. I agree with you. I blog to have fun! I love what I do and I love to make people laugh. Sometimes, the people that don't follow us any more may not follow us because we are no longer what we need. Yes.. I am happy when I see another follower, but if I lose one I don't whine and pout.. I just go on and do what I do.

    I enjoy the hell out of your blog and always have! When you brought in the other writers, I was excited and have not yet been disappointed when I come to your blog.

    I see your points in everything and I am glad someone had the balls to come out and express what a lot of s feel ;)

  14. This blog stuff is all WAY too complicated. I am going back to World of Warcraft.

    Jay Dubs.

  15. Totally agree with you. Quality over quantity is an adage that serves for many , many things in life.

    I comment if I have something to say, I don't if I don't. I read my blogroll everyday and sometimes read my blogroll's rolls.

    and then again, sometimes I don't.

    Nyah,nyah , nyah, Nyah , nyah NAH!!

  16. Bravo Lee, Bravo!

    I am not a numbers fanatic either.

    I just like to laugh and want to try and make other people laugh too.

    I think it makes the day a nicer one, when you can smile, chucke, or even snort out loud!


  17. Wow - so Lee, tell us how you really feel.

    Coming from an official MWOB, I don't know how all you MWB's do it. Honestly. My one little post had me so wrapped up in how many comments I received. As if to say, if people don't comment, my post sucked. You're right. That's lame.

    Thanks for reminding me of what's important.

    A funny story about my post ... I desperately was competing for comments so I sent the MWOB link with my post to many friends (and others) and begged them to comment. Some of the people I sent it to were moms at my daughter's Catholic school. I got an email back from one mom the day after my post was up saying she was sorry she couldn't comment, she's too busy etc. etc. I think she went to see my post a day late and got Sass's sex toy post and thought it was mine. Which, by the way Sass, was great. It's just that this lady is very conservative. Arg! I worried all day. See that's what I get when I go panhandling for comments.

  18. Wonderful post. I agree, you (as always) have great timing. I enjoy the conversations with the people that leave comments, thats what motivates me. I hope I don't ever get caught up in the rest...

  19. it - i got bumped out and lost my comment...

    Anyhow, love it, love you. So glad you say what you feel. I enjoy the conversations with commenters, that's what drives me. I love you guys!

  20. Great post. It's hard to not get wrapped up in the competitive nature that so many of us (especially women) slip into. Many of us are out here sharing some very personal, transformational experiences and, I must admit, the comments can make your work feel more worthwhile. There are times that I have toiled and agonized over a post and "heard crickets" on it. That sucked and hurt. After all, who wants to go through all of that effort to make it public when it seems like you're talking to an empty room?

    I've had to back myself out of it and remember that I write because it's important for me to have a place where I can share, explore, document, discuss, and (sometimes) rant about life and that my life goes on regardless if there's anyone to see it.

  21. I have decided to stop watching a following the numbers. It is hard for me b/c for the longest time I checked my stats daily twice a day or more but like you I asked what for? I blog about things that I want to. I read blogs b/c I want to.
    I like what you said about connecting with people. That is really whats its all about. Meeting people, forming a connection and feeling that I am not alone in this big world.

  22. Bravo, Bravo! The pressure was one reason I "retired." Oh, yeah....and I ran out of stuff to talk about! LOL
    Well said.

  23. Oh my gosh did I need this today.

    Sometimes I think you are in my brain; only you are the smart part and I'm the other one.

    I was just trying to figure out what the heck a "meme" is, and I thought my head would explode. I know that crap isn't ME, but I so want to fit in with the cool kids.

    Like I said, I so needed your post today. thanks. I needed the re-direction.

  24. clapclapclapclapclapclapclap



    (the pause was so I could stand up)

    You just gave me permission to post something I've been agonizing about. Will it scare people away? Will people wonder what happened to Hotfessional's funnybone? Will I be judged for being whiney? What will it do to my readership?

    Well. Guess what? I wrote it. It's one of the best things I've ever written (in my own mind's eye) - and I'm going to post it. Screw the numbers.


  25. Pick weight up off shoulders...put it aside. WHEW!

  26. I didn't really want to comment, but now I feel obligated (just kidding :)!!!)

    This was a brave post, my friend. I don't have a blog of my own, but I can understand how the numbers could really start to matter. You're right, though, to what end? What is the ultimate goal?

    I'm no writer (obvious if you read my posts), but I DO write from my heart. Only when I'm inspired and only when I have something to say. And I love to read a post from someone else that touches me or inspires me as well. That connection is what brings me here.

  27. I am guilty of some of these things and not guilty of others. the bottom line is you have to do what makes you happy. The pressure from others can be difficult but at the end of the day all we can do is try to remember why we do what we do and if it still feels right to do, then we should do it.

    not as eloquently put as I would have liked but I know you get the idea

  28. i always appreciate your honesty. so thank you so much for that. i will admit that at times i fall into the numbers game, but i usually find that when i do i am less than satisfied. i visit other people's blogs with the hopes of making a new friend + sometimes just to say hello. but, i have gone on mindless commenting sprees + fully admit that they feel empty. i want people to read my blog because they want to read my blog. because they like my images + words, not because they feel like they should just so they can get a visitor or two.

  29. I could have written this post word for every frickin' word. Thank you. For your honesty and insight. I just love you more and more all the time.

    I've been doing lots of thinking about this.

    I too CRAVE quality over quantity.

    I've had one woman comment on my blog THREE different times with "I'm new here, great blog!" She's chasing her tail, and I don't mean to judge, but how tiring!!! Rushing around the blogosphere making that statement (cause I've seen her same face with the same statement on tons of other blogs...), and what end? And WHY?

    I started out totally clueless that I could even grow a readership. Now I have a small one and I too battle wanting to grow it, but lately I've just been wanting ONLY people who really care to be there, visiting the ol' EO. That's all. True relationship. That's it. Say you appreciate me because you really do, and chances are I'll appreciate you too. I've found so many kindred spirits here and I have come to a place where I only visit genuinely.

    Holy long comment. Obviously I love this post.

  30. You are always an inspiration. I still think about what you said when we met - don't drive yourself crazy blogging every day. I have FINALLY started taking that to heart (although I still like to blog most days).

  31. Just one thing--and I'm not saying this to "just comment:"



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