A few days ago I got an email from WordPress.com promising statistics from my 2014 year in blogging. “Our stats helper monkeys have been busy putting together a personalized report detailing how your blog did in 2014!,” it siren-called. Thank you stat monkeys!!!, I preened. When I clicked on “View your full report online,” I was escorted to the screen above.
I watched it for a while, resisting the increasingly likely possibility of a relationship between dates (which looked distressingly like dates on which I might have posted) and THE WORLD’S CLEARLY LAMEST FIREWORKS DISPLAY EVER.
I clicked everywhere. Nothing happened. It was still a very bad fireworks display.
Finally, I came to the sad conclusion that this screen was, in fact, the full WordPress online report, and that the intensity of fireworks somehow correlated with the number of views of my blog, or the quality of its words, or the quality of my writing life.
I looked at it with these eyes for three days.
Then I saw this:
I didn’t know you had to scroll down.
It didn’t really get much better, even so. I think it said the day I got the most visits was a few days before my actual first post, reflecting the work of my friend and Supergenius Jodi Chromey as she was setting up the site. Another statistic was “not bad for the first year” which you know means not great, either. I had six viewers from Romania; I’m guessing they were spammers.
But my kids were home for Christmas. It was so very good to see them. They are in their 20’s and much in their jobs and relationships is new and raw. Some things delight them, others frustrate, still others (both good and bad, I think and I know) reduce them to tears. They are at points in their young lives where they have to learn a lot, and quickly. About work, and people, and life.
They are steep on so many learning curves.
They gave me new eyes.
A year ago today I didn’t even know what WordPress.com was. I didn’t know how to Tweet, never mind how to link a tweet to a newly-posted blog. I didn’t know how to get the right photo to display when I linked my blog to Facebook (OK, I still don’t know how to do that.)
The point is that everybody learns. All the time, if we’re lucky. And that maybe if you haven’t set yourself up to fail lately, you’re missing out.
Three amazing MN bloggers have taught me so much since my first post in March of 2014. Jodi Chromey, for one, setting up my site and following up with frequent, funny, touching and relentlessly useful posts like the one today, “Things We Can Be done with Now: Resolutions for the Internet.” I had to look up just exactly what is a “tweeting checkin,” but now I’m sure I wouldn’t be caught doing it for love or money. I finally found out what tbh and smh mean. (Whoa. Talk about learning curves.)
Never, never, never think about stats, Jodi says.
Thank you, over and over, Jodi Chromey.
I generally don’t write about topical events because (a) everybody else is doing it, (b) those articles age badly, and (c) it feels like exploiting tragedy for page views.
And yet I did, too, write about that specific event, because…why? I don’t know, but it feels like if I’m doing it like Kurtis–regarding children and their sensitivities and vulnerabilities and all-around wonderfulness, then I must be on the road to something good.
Thank you, Kurtis Scaletta, for all the things you’ve taught me.
And last (for today, anyway) and certainly not least I would like to thank Nina Badzin for her no-nonsense help with the ways of all things social media. I’ve visited her website for hours of good reading but also, many times, to the drop-down Twitter/Blog Tips. I literally printed out the tweeting tips early on, and read them as I warily (and excitedly) composed my first Tweets.
Thank you for this and other kindnesses, Nina Badzin.
And thank you to the universe (and perhaps particularly to my husband of 35 years yesterday, to whom I am grateful for things big like love and small like when that switch on the wall turns the lights on) for the opportunities I’ve had throughout my life. Opportunities to try, to fail and succeed: to learn.