Whee! Today is my Annieversary! What? Oh oops, I’m still romantically unaffiliated. No, some of you may already be aware that these stories first began appearing on my Facebook page some time ago. A couple of people have even stuck with me since my very first post. Probably nobody besides me remembers the date, though, which is okay. It’s a just meaningless statistic. Aw, that’s really sweet of you, but I said the statistic was meaningless.
It’s true that I did create a page for my first blog post exactly a year ago, and I’m kind of excited about that! But during the two months that followed, the majority of the dreams I recounted actually predated my page. Sometimes things sit in my notes for a long time for one reason or another. For example, Picturesque was written in November ’09 while I was beginning work on my novel, and it sat unedited until April ’11. Anyway, I didn’t have a way to backdate the posts on Facebook, so the statistics for those first months made me look very prolific. And that’s the thing about statistics. They kind of lie.
Misleading or not, I’m going to admit to being a bit of a junkie for my own site statistics. That started long before I moved everything to WordPress. My addiction really has nothing to do with trying to convince my ego of anything. If my posts weren’t well-written, I wouldn’t waste my time with them. The reason I crave these statistics, is because writing so often feels too much like introverted self-indulgence. My life-long penchant for introversion aside, I don’t want to write for myself. I want to write for you. I need statistics to assure me that I do.
Facebook tried to sate my addiction with a very misleading statistic they call “impressions”, which is the “raw number of times this story has been seen on your Wall and in the News Feed of your Fans.” Impressions are wonderful! Some of my stories have reached up into the 1200’s for a single post! Woo hoo!
But impressions are not satisfying! You see, they are immediately accompanied by another statistic called “feedback”, which is the “number of Likes or Comments per impression.” When seven people Like my post, and three of them even tell me how wonderful it was… well, I got to see a lot of 0.43 % feedback. That’s just not very encouraging, but I think I understand. The problem with these impressions is that they scroll by under an avalanche of other status updates and app posts and are quickly vacuumed into the black hole of Older Posts.
Facebook seemed like a good idea at the time. I was already there and pretty much the rest of the world was too, but to be blunt, Facebook sucks for encouraging your readers. “Annie’s #1 fan just commented on Annie’s latest post,” is just another impression that tends to disappear under a that avalanche of all the bazillion other things that were said and done on Facebook in the last minute. It finally occurred to me that there was probably one meaningful statistic that I was missing: “Idiots”, which is the raw number of writers naive enough to try to gain exposure on Facebook.
Did I hear someone say, “Class of one?” Who said that?
We will politely not discuss how long it took me to realize this. Thank you!
So after some shopping around, I moved all of my stories and other stuffs to WordPress and invited my 51 whole fans, another meaningless (and inflated) statistic, to come along.
This is probably a good time to mention that am a Yo-Yo of emotion tied to the end of life’s middle finger. Those who know me have grown accustomed to my dramatic mood swings, precipitous over-reaction, and an occasional inability to cope altogether. Something as simple as a bar on a chart could be my ticket to dance in Heaven with angels, or it could be the last dance call that sends me home to my pillow in tears because no one asked me. My first statistic at WordPress was both.
It took me two days to move everything from Facebook to WordPress. There were some minor formatting issues, and of course I had to replace all the original content with links to its new home. Grr! I write more than I thought I did. When I was all done, I got the thrill of my life! I already had seven unapproved comments! How cool is that?! And without even publishing anything new!
You can imagine how excited I was! I went into my Comments to approve them. Pop! There went my excitement balloon, zig-zagging its way across my bedroom and landing in a crumpled, disheveled heap on my pillow. Somehow my stories had created the comments all by themselves. What?!
My second WordPress statistic was equally deflating. I spent a third day conforming my stories to their new format, making them fit my page. I added “More” tags, dug up photo credits, built a navigation pane and menu, and even fixed some really stupid-sounding stuff I wrote along the way.
One of the widgets I added in this process was a hit counter. After placing it on my navigation pane, I went to my page to view it and was thrilled to see that I had already been viewed more than 50 times!
Again, you can only imagine my excitement! I went to my dashboard to see what people were reading. Poof! There went my daydream, disintegrating into forgotten oblivion in the tear-stained sanctity of my pillow. I was responsible for all 42 of the hits on what still remains my busiest day.
Yep! Those views you’ve helped me reach at the top of my page…? Just another inflated statistic! I don’t feel guilty about that though. I had a lot of really nice comments on Facebook before I moved and I didn’t get to bring those along, so… nope. No guilt.
Let’s put my mood swings aside for a minute. The blog statistics on WordPress are fabulous! Not only do I get to see numbers of views, I get to see what was viewed, where readers found me, cool searches that were used to find me, who commented on my page, and numbers of times people commented. Each post has its own individual statistics. Those actually seem pretty useless, but give me time. I’m sure I’ll find a way to place too much importance on them.
WordPress doesn’t allow me to track my statistique du jour because I started on Facebook. True, as a statistic it it’s just another day on a calendar, but as an event it means everything to me, because it’s my very first! I pour my heart out in words. It’s quite an emotional investment and it took a lot for me to get up the courage to begin sharing it with you. No matter how much I like to pretend and tease myself with them, the statistics that measure that aren’t important. You are.
This is a big world with a lot of people in it. It makes it very difficult to be first at anything. That makes “first” a meaningful statistic doesn’t it? Okay, probably not, but firsts, even silly ones, are exciting to me. Since this is my first Annieversary, I’d like to give a shout out to some people who are my firsts.
The first dream I ever turned into a story, I wrote for my friend Lisa Heart. That little dream, about two girls in a hotel bar, blossomed into my first novel, Webster’s Kiss. Without Lisa, I would never have had that dream, I would never have written that novel, and I might never have written anything at all.
Saurabh (dr.sab) Tendulkar was my very first official fan. He has been my best friend. He’s endured my insufferable mood swings, inspired me, challenged me, and most importantly, accepted me for who I am. Typographical Error and Daily Horoscope were both written at his request and Who Do You Think You Are? (which features his phone) is one of my dreams about us together.
Cindy Galamiton Alli was the very first person to comment on Running Down a Dream one year ago today. She has followed me this whole time both as a fan and a friend. She’s the only person who ever read my entire Fortune Cookie series (not available on WordPress), and she is one of the first to follow me here.
Ruby Garot was the first to drag me out of my closet and make me face new people. She was my first hope that a name without a face could still have real friends. She was the inspiration for Four Letter Words, which both to my joy and chagrin, became my first real fan favorite. Ruby’s also the first very talented writer I met!
Lori Lane was the first person to take me in her arms and cuddle me when I fell apart at her feet. She’s been an amazing friend and sometimes my mom too. She convinced me to believe in myself and ignore stupid things like statistics! If Only It Would Rain… and an upcoming story called Deskbeat were both inspired by her. Lori, it turns out, is also a very talented writer!
Dave Hiner is one of my most avid readers and was the very first person to leave a comment at my new WordPress home. This is something like being the first salmon that makes it to the top of the dam. Haha, don’t worry; spawning isn’t mandatory, Dave! If one comment doesn’t seem like a big deal, refer back now to the Yo-Yo please.
Rumpy Drummond was the first WordPress blogger to welcome me here with a comment, and my first ever comment from a dog!!! Woo woo! Rumpy really made me feel like I was at home, because nothing says home like a wagging tail at the door! And there’s nothing quite like being welcomed by a Malamute with a unique perspective on human life.
PCC Advantage talked me into writing the closest thing to my first non-fiction piece ever in Why Jump Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane? More importantly, she set for me my first, and the best, and most amazing blogging example of positive reinforcement, engaging and edifying others in both her writing and her comments. She has a really super-cool blog of her own! I’m a big fan… of her writing, her sense of humor, and her attitude!
Quiet you! You matter to me too and you know you do! Sheesh! It was just a meaningless statistic anyway! Remember?
Happy Annieversary, everyone! Thank you all so much for reading me this past year! ♥
© 2011 Anne Schilde