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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kicking bad habits

The title of this post doesn't refer to any of the usual vices: drinking, drugs, gambling or smoking.  In fact, with the exception of the first one, I don't indulge at all.

OK, in a stretch you could probably count my caffeine monkey as a drug problem, but really... that's it.  Honest.

No, I'm talking about a veeeeery bad habit... arguably the worst habit in which a blogger/journaler can indulge:  Stats.

I used to check my site statistics a maximum of once... maybe twice a week.  On more than a few occasions a month would go by before I'd think to take a peek at who had stopped by or linked to treppenwitz. 

Now don't get me wrong, looking at one's statistics and referrer logs can be very helpful.  You get to see where your traffic is coming from and who is linking to you... both very good indicators of who your audience is.  I think most of us in the blogging/journaling dodge come to a realization at some point that our audience chooses us... and not the other way around.  Once this happens, a writer either goes with the flow or continues writing for an audience that isn't really there.

Since I started this thing without any solid expectations, I was pleased to find that anyone at all was interested in reading the crap that fell out of my head on a regular basis. 

But still, I considered the stats to be more instructive than a pat on the back.  They gave me a sense of which posts were resonating with the regular readers... and which ones weren't.  So I continued to check them, but only intermittently.

But then the summer's war happened... and posts that wouldn't have registered with most of my regular readers were being read on the air by talk show hosts, and I suddenly felt like a Jr. high plain-jane on her first Monday morning at school with her new boobs.  Attention?  Oh my yes!

The result was that I became addicted to all that extra attention... and to checking my stats.

Here, let me show you a picture.  I think even those of you with the kind of rudimentary math education I enjoyed (think 'math for poets') may just manage to spot the summer's war in the following graph:

Stats

For a couple of years now I had been plodding along... doing whatever it is I do... steady and reliable every month.  And then suddenly, Bam!  I was like a crack addict who cared more about the high than about work, family, friends. 

Once you've tasted that first high of momentary recognition, it's really, really hard to go back to being a daddy-blogger whose oeuvre is heavily weighted in favor of stories about dog poop, three-year-olds peeing and grappling with cultural mis-steps.

But I'm trying... I really am. 

I've written about a dozen times in the past that I consider myself particularly ill-suited for political writing... and it now seems that I'm even less adept at tackling the 'comparative religion' beat.

[All together now:  YA THINK?!]

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's taking me a little longer than I'd hoped to re-find my voice in the wake of all that shouting last summer. 

Thanks for not bailing on me.

221_16_5_170

Posted by David Bogner on November 22, 2006 | Permalink

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We're still here... And we've got the bourbon... Have a drink -- on us!

Here's to Turdistan, The Gunslinging Chef and The Neighbor Who's Allergic To Bees...

We love ya David.

Posted by: wogo | Nov 22, 2006 4:06:31 PM

[sobbing hysterically]

WE LOVE YOU, DAVID!!

**sniff**

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 22, 2006 4:25:15 PM

"I suddenly felt like a Jr. high plain-jane on her first Monday morning at school with her new boobs."

And, uh, how do you know how that feels, exactly? :-)

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Nov 22, 2006 4:51:48 PM

oh brother. Just keep writing! (hehehehehe)

Posted by: val | Nov 22, 2006 5:14:47 PM

Wogo... Considering that you and I are on opposite sides of a prickly issue, your comment was especially welcome. thank you.

Doctor Bean... sarcasm much?

Yehudah... For one thing, I was once a jr. high school aged boy who noticed such things. Some of these girls took the sudden attention in stride and others became addicted to the ease with which they could attract attention. As I wrote in an earlier post: "Just as the class clown and the class slut quickly discover the most expedient way to attract attention to themselves... I suspect that neither one ends up entirely pleased with the long-term quality of the attention they attract."

Val... yes ma'am.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 22, 2006 5:47:19 PM

Trep,

We're here and you're published, the people you'll reach there (in the book) are stats you can't measure accurately here, online.

No matter the topic, extend your hand (publish the blog) you'll reach those that it will, WHEN it will, and they will take from it what they will, that's always been the case, understand right, understand wrong, mis-quoted, or mis-sourced. This is the Internet after all, and as you've said, once you've posted it, there's no pulling it back.

I, personally, am glad to have found you(r blog). It's given me a lot of insight. I am a right wing, ex-military Christian conservative. Because of your postings, I have been given a glimpse into a world I'd not have otherwise known. Politically, I see that there is a lot to be said for and against being a hard line party follower. However, it is at times better to follow the platform of the candidate than the party of the candidate. You question your skill at comparative religion, don't. You've instructed, you've explained, and you've shown me why our G-d calls you His chosen.

Thank you!

Posted by: Jethro | Nov 22, 2006 7:24:59 PM

You get well deserved attention, IMHO. :)

Posted by: Essie | Nov 22, 2006 7:28:50 PM

Hmm...Don't I remember a post about a girl and a crocodile that you said garnered too much attention.

Anyway, it has been a fun ride which is why I still hang out here.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 22, 2006 8:07:50 PM

First of all, I still enjoy the blog immensely, so be chillin, dude. Your insights are still much appreciated by many.
Second of all, now that I started my own blog, I must say that your numbers are nothing to sneeze at. You still have a boatload of readers. And I wish I only checked my stats once or twice a week.
The biggest lesson, I believe, is that stats don't reflect how much a particular post touched people, esp. people who don't even comment. You never get to find that out.
Enjoy the ride. You're doing great.
Larry

Posted by: Jersey Boy | Nov 22, 2006 10:37:32 PM

I wouldn't dream of deserting you, Mr. B! Your posts routinely bring a smile to my face, and I've learned so many interesting facts about Israeli society thanks to you. Above all else, how could I even think of deserting you after that meet-up of ours when I first arrived? Who else would have had the patience to direct me and show me around, and then treat me to lunch? One of the most amazing baalei chesed I know comes to mind- you. You're awesome, Mr. B! Keep it up!

Posted by: tnspr569 | Nov 23, 2006 12:21:00 AM

You must be at quality level, because your hits have fallen right back to where they were! :P

In all seriousness, it's sad to see people writing for hits, but you can usually tell when someone is. This blog is not guilty of that, IMO. As for looking at stats, I do it all the time to check where people are coming from. I can see what people are saying about what I wrote that way, and I've found a few times where another blogger has completely misrepresented and/or distorted what I wrote (or better, outright lied). I know you wrote something similar about your sailor story... but it does pay to check.

Posted by: Ezzie | Nov 23, 2006 1:02:08 AM

Now you are making us all very self-conscious about our blogs **checking stats**

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Nov 23, 2006 3:54:32 AM

You get fifteen THOUSAND hits a month!!

Wow.

I get excited when I get fifty in a day.

Posted by: uberimma | Nov 23, 2006 4:28:26 AM

I hardly ever check my stats anymore. The thing is, my blog is welcome to anyone who reads it... but unless I hear specific feedback, there is really not much I can do with the information of where they are coming from. So I just write whatever comes to mind, and if people don

Posted by: Irina | Nov 23, 2006 4:51:10 AM

Sorry, got cut off.If people dont like what I wrote for some reason... umm... theres not much I can do about it either. Anyway, I enjoy reading your posts no matter what you write about, and if I disagree with something, Ill just say it.

Posted by: Irina | Nov 23, 2006 4:52:51 AM

Well, thanks for nothing- until I saw this post, I didn't think it got more exciting on Sitemeter than the world map visitor locator.

Maybe we should start a 12-Steps program?

Posted by: PP | Nov 25, 2006 10:10:08 PM

Since I live in rural Michigan where everyone except born again Baptists are in short supply(it is the one time a white woman can say she is in the minority)I have found reading your posts to be very informative about parts of society I miss by living in rural America. Even as a child in inner city ethnic Kalamazoo my exposure was limited. Please keep posting so those of us who would like another perspective of the world,other than the "Media spin" that is force fed us ,can try to understand how the world can be constantly at war. A little farther east than your war, I have a nephew and soon a son-in-law in Iraq so I am paying a little extra attention to what the global problems mean to us in the USA.
Do you sell your honey?? I love organic (is it Kosher too?) honey.
I read "Door Number 3" all the time and that is where I heard about you.

Posted by: Pat DeLeeuw | Nov 26, 2006 12:47:25 AM

Hi David,

I, for one, wouldn't dream of quitting this blog. It's on my blogroll, and you're one of my religious reads. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Amanda Rush | Nov 27, 2006 4:45:32 PM

I pretty much appreciate everything you write - whether I agree with it or not, you always make me think or laugh, or both.

Stopped checking stats a while ago because it was taking up too much of my (already limited as it is) time. Comments and e-mails tell me all I need to know. And those who read me and don't comment still remain unknown to me even after I have seen how they arrived at my blog.

I may be in the minority, but I actually always felt very uncomfortable when my blog used to spike in hits. When it is just me and my loyal readers, I feel in a groove. When a lot of other people start checking in, I feel like I've been exposed or invaded.

Anyway, I am happy to follow wherever your voice-finding takes you...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Nov 28, 2006 7:58:56 AM

Stats, schmats.

I stopped paying attention to my sitemeter a while back...because there's not much I'm going to do to affect the numbers. I'm more interested in the comments - because it takes some effort to leave a comment!

David, you don't ever have to worry about having a readership. People will seek out intelligent writers who can put a little bit of themselves on the page. Thrown in an extra measure of civility, and you've got something.

The pee and poop stories? Gravy, baby.

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 28, 2006 3:11:53 PM

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