Am I the Only One Who Dislikes New Blogger Stats?

I really dislike the stats area on the posts page of the new Blogger interface. I tried for about twenty minutes yesterday morning to get rid of it and gave up. I'm now using the old interface.

And I'm happy with the old interface, but I'm going to rant about the stats area on the new interface anyway.

I love it when people read my blog. I love it when they send me an email or post a comment. But I don't check my stats. Ever. I really don't want to know. My blog is a chance for me to post stuff that interests me: historical notes, parts of my writing, reviews. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy trying to improve my writing. But I'm not trying to be popular.

I feel sometimes that the Internet has become the equivalent of a high school prom. This is one major reason I'm not on Facebook. Almost every person who talks to me about Facebook--even to praise it--talks about it in popular terms: the number of comments, the numbers of "friends," the number of links. After which I get to hear about who "unfriended" whom and why this person had to block that person, and why so and so got offended by somebody else's comments or pictures. And, man, is this high school or what?

I realize that for many people, the Internet is a source of income. Shoot, I post on I also realize that for many people, like myself, writing is a source of income, and, well, electronic publishing is here to stay (as I can personally attest). I even realize that there are benefits to a networking site like Facebook.

But that's work. In my working life as a teacher and my other working life as a struggling writer, I have to worry about people's opinions. And I accept that as a given. I still don't want to spend every minute of every hour of every day worrying about whether I'm "cool" or making a splash.

When it comes to Blogger, I just want to communicate my ideas. It's important to me to be as clear as possible--to create posts for a potential reader rather than write to myself. (I can write to myself on my home computer or even long-hand in my journal.) But the fun of Blogger, for me, has always been the writing itself. One reader/one comment is enough to make my day.

Before anyone points out the obvious, I will admit that I should be able to look at the stats on the new interface and shrug my shoulders. If it really doesn't matter . . . But having them there, literally under my nose--when I didn't ask for them--is annoying. It reminds me of Facebook tiffs, of comments like "I don't like this" or "I don't like you" (as if such responses were the equivalent of cogent arguments), of identity becoming tied to ephemereals like the number of "hits" a person gets. It transports me back to high school.

And I really don't want to go back.


a calvinist preacher said...

I don't like stats. I don't dislike stats.

The problem with most statistics is that they create an illusion of accuracy. We put a number with something and think we have precise, useful information, but do we really? What counts? How do they count? When did they count?

The same thing is true of airport/train/bus departure and arrival times. When is it considered to have departed - when it leaves the terminal, or when it leaves the ground, or some point in between? What about arrival - is that touchdown, or when the gate is out to the aircraft, or when the door is open? Whose watch are we using to determine the time? As they say, a man with one watch knows the time but a man with two is never sure.

Nevertheless, if the method of determining the given stat (or time) is consistent, they can be useful tools for indicating trends or comparison of things we want to compare (i.e., the GDP of one country compared to that of another - although you need to verify that they are, in fact, measuring GDP the same way).

Stats are tools. Like other tools, they're good only to the extent they're useful. If I've not got any nails to pound, why do I need a hammer?

Joe said...

I like Facebook because it's helped me get in contact with long lost friends and to help find out which of those really aren't friends anymore and not worth the time or effort to deal with them. Most importantly it's an easy way to share photos with my kids and closest friends, and to at least keep tabs on what my extended family is up to.

I do agree, however, that heavy Facebook and Twitter users are highly correlated with narcissistic personalities and their activity bears a striking resemblance to high school cliques.

However, there is a difference between people who passively accept Facebook friends as a matter of course, and those who actively pursue this and/or brag about it.

I do think there are bloggers who, like you, simply want to present ideas, but many more for whom the stats are everything. They are very much like those tiresome people who tell you things they should only be telling their therapist--it's not about the information, but making themselves the center of attention.

What baffles me is how popular some of these latter blogs are, though I have observed that many turn into weird self-obsessive clubs of the blog author and commenters. Just like a high school clique, you have to say the right comments and make the right observations else you aren't welcome.

Mike Cherniske said...

You know, I've been curious about how the mike-kate video club has been doing reader wise for awhile, and i have to admit, I kinda wish I never saw the stats!

Still, I am fascinated by which posts received the most views....

As for facebook, after some bad experiences, I mostly use it now as a way to share news and pictures with family. I avoid drama, remove an political rants I see, and only post funny random updates.

And when a facebook friend goes all dramatic? I ignore it. and all all costs, I DON'T respond. As a Behavioral Therapist I know very well: The easiest way to diminish an unwanted behavior is to avoid reinforcing it!