Statistical Analysis

Sometimes I read more into these than I probably should.

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.

Who ever scrolls down far enough to click this link? Okay, besides me...

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.

saggy boob pencil test

"saggy boob pencil test" ??? Forgetting for a minute that my page showed up in the search results, someone actually typed that into their browser search field. And here I thought everyone was searching for the perkier variety.

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.

My first (and only) Literary Award. I'm also the first (and only) writer to ever receive it! What an honor! ♥ I'd like to thank...

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

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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20 Responses to Statistical Analysis

  1. and am still following you :p how can’t i? you’re such an amazing author and i know you still have a lot to give and share to all of us. just keep on doing what you’ve been doing. we’re just around waiting for the kill. lol. happy anniversary dear Anne! so proud of you. Mwah 😀

  2. Congrats, Anne!! I expect many, many more people will come to climb the mountain of your productivity 🙂

  3. Okay, first of all, I am so sorry that it’s taken me so long to get a chance to read your post! *Ugh*…no excuse for that, no matter how busy life gets!

    Secondly, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! You are an amazing writer, and the fact that you’ve been able to go THIS long and still not run out of ideas is proof of that. 🙂

    Lastly, thanks so much for saying such kind things about my blog. I know I’ve said this before, Anne, but…you’re the best!! 😀 (And you know that I feel the same way about your blog too, right?) 🙂

    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary, my friend! xo

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thank you! 🙂 I really am pretty excited about it. And thanks for coming by when you had time! The worst nightmare of all, eh… running out of ideas? Haha, I should write about a thought monster that sucks all the ideas out of my head. Then I can stumble through the empty pages of my blog in brainless idiocy, searching for my next story. The zombie fans would love it!

  4. Phil's Lounge says:

    Hi Anne,
    Loved the post, congratulations on passing another milestone. 🙂
    I know we shouldn’t really place too much emphasis on them but the stats are interesting.
    They may not be completely accurate but they do give us Bloggers an idea of what our audience are looking at…I don’t know about you but I’m surprised (at times) at the pages which capture my visitors interest.

    Oh and by the way, I have to say A BIG WELL DONE to you if you managed to get your Facebook peeps involved with your writing… When I was on there I was obviously either too controversial or I needed to broaden my circle of FB friends. lol!

    Thanks again for passing by and leaving a comment.
    I’ll be back. 😉

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Thank you very much, Phil! Passing one year really makes me feel like maybe I can do this. It’s very exciting!

      Haha, I call Facebook the anti-social network. Everything about it is designed to turn you into an app zombie and recruit other people to become zombies too. 😦

      Thank you for your comments!

      • I meant every word of it. 🙂
        Lol! The anti-social network….app zombie…they’ll be added to what a Blogger buddy and my brother-in-law calls it Wastebook & Disgracebook 😉
        In all seriousness, there are some good points to Facebook but I find that people with “something to say” tend to be on WordPress, Blogger etc.

      • Anne Schilde says:

        You’re welcome to use them.

  5. Lori says:

    So proud of all you’ve accomplished this year. I love you with my whole heart!

  6. Ermilia says:

    I think you made a great point by stating that while writing is usually done alone it is not done for just the writer. It is done for the readers. I too lose myself in statistics (but more comments) when I post fiction or even write an article (on whatever it may be). If I was to write it just for myself why would I post it on wordpress? Why wouldn’t I just open my word document, save it there and never show it to anyone? That’s what I would do if I didn’t care about statistics or about readers. I want an audience. I want to inspire people and hopefully nudge some hesitant writers to join the literary community. Lovely post ( a long one though!) but it got me thinking. Best of luck to you Anne. 🙂

    – Ermisenda

    • Anne Schilde says:

      Yay! Thank you! Yeah, it’s a little long, but it was a really exciting day for me! Readers really are everything, especially writing fiction. Like you said, without them, I’m just a forgotten Word document. As for you? You know for sure you’ve been able to inspire me!! ♥ Thanks for all you do and best of luck to you too!!

  7. Dave Hiner says:

    Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance others will read more of your stories after reading Statistical Analysis. Now where did I put that yo-yo?…

    Nice one Annie. ❤

  8. Katerina says:

    Very interesting post. I laughed a lot, and when I got to the ‘pencil test’, like a mad person. Those statistics! Some days I forget about mine, and some days get obsessed with them, wondering how to get them shooting sky-high. I started my blog at Google’s Blogger and at the time I was really, really obsessed with the statistics. LOL. I went over them again and again, looking at which parts of the world my readers came from and all that. You could even see what browser they use on blogger’s statistics! One feature I liked about their stats is being able to disable tracking one’s own views, something WordPress doesn’t have. I, too, had a similar experience my first day here, 46 views right after I had imported my blog. I was ecstatic! Later I learned not to view my page, I even wonder if previews are counted too. And those ‘home page views? Just confusing. Especially if your posts don’t have a ‘read more’ link, so with one home page view all the posts can be read. Statistics!

    Congrats on the one year mark, and I can’t wait to catch up on all your writing. Scrolling back up now to click all those links…

    Kat.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      That’s so funny! It feels good to know I wasn’t alone. I always make sure I’m logged in before I look at my page. It doesn’t track you when you’re logged in. Knowing geographic stats would be cool. Facebook has that too. As for shooting them sky-high… I think the best most of us can do is keep getting to know each other like this. Most of the people I visit are either because their blog made an impression or because they commented on something I wrote. I suspect a lot of others are the same.

      Thanks for the reading and the great comment, Kat!

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