Cyber Humility

Just some rambling and not entirely cohesive thoughts on things that are irking me somewhat…

Irk 1. Stats

I’m under no illusion whatsoever that as far as blogs go, my little blog is of fairly miniscule significance in the blogosphere in terms of ranking, site stats and status….and if truth be told, I am grateful for this and I’d like to tell you why.

There are many advantages to being stricken with cyber dorkiness…for a start it means that there is considerably less pressure to blog daily, or even as some bloggers do, hourly (we all know that increased blog traffic is a consecquence of carpet-bomb posting, don’t we?)

Another bonus to having ‘wallflower’ status in the blogosphere is that I don’t have to worry about my sitemeter statistics. I don’t lose sleep if I get a huge amount of visits (by my blog standards), or if I get relatively few visits (again, by my blog standards). I don’t even break a sweat when i go on holiday and my readership halves…in fact that’s when I know you read me because you want to, because you know that when I’m away I’m unable to post, you don’t bother to show up! Pretty cool eh? To clarify, I do get a warm glowy feeling that people want to pass my way in cyberspace… but it doesn’t validate me or my blog.

For the uninitiated in sitestats…never interpret what you see on a stat counter as being genuine human visits…there are many reasons for this that I won’t go into now, but hits are often made by spam crawlers and not humans…for example, I’ve had over 16,000 spam comments deleted since I’ve been with WordPress alone!…so you see, tehnically, a hit is not necessarily what it would seem, on this or anyone elses blog!

Perhaps my thinking on this matter is aided by the fact that I don’t happen to have a competitive bone in my body and that I can be so vague and laid back about things that I blog practically horizontally half the time. So I don’t mean to sound snarky, but I am not now and never will be bothered what your (read, anyone’s) sitemeter stats are. Full stop. Brag and you will annoy me so much I won’t even visit you!

So why am I blogging about this today? Because my dislike is growing for blogs/bloggers that boast about their site stats or those that post ‘look at me’ type posts…..usually these include images of a static sitemeter page showing a multitude of hits.

Where’s the humility?

As far as i’m concerned it’s prideful and it certainly isn’t going to persuade me to read their blogs more often (if at all) just because they tell me how popular they are, in fact I find it so distinctly offputting that in all likelihood, I’ll visit such blogs less and less until over time, eventually I won’t visit them at all.

I’ll be truthful here and now, because I always am (whether it makes me unpopular or not), even priestly/seminarian/’vocation discernment bloggers’ are not above this kind of behaviour – yes I know they are fallible human bloggers, but it doesn’t mean i don’t still find it distasteful when they do it.

(incidentally, I don’t refer here to those who mention their stats for a particular reason that is not intentionally boastful)

Irk 2. Self-Importance

It really irks me when I’ve taken precious time out of my day to visit blogs only to read posts telling me that readers are not to email the blog author unless we follow certain criteria, that readers are not to comment if they expect a response, and well, they’re not to ask anything at all really…. because, those particular blog authors are very busy and important people….

It makes me want to scream at the computer screen,

“Most of us have busy lives, quit being a pompous ass!”

Irk 3. Other Stuff

As a reader, speaking only for myself on a personal level, I enjoy developing friendships with reasonably likeminded people the world over, via cyberspace…I’m just a friendly kind of person who believes in the power of the internet to change lives for the better.

Of course, not everyone has the time or the inclination for cyber ‘friendships’ and it’s something I can appreciate. But for me it comes down to this….I know the power of online friendship (and it has nothing to do with how many friends I have in my day to day life or how sad you might think I am for writing this post) because well, let me give you a really good reason for why I believe in the power of cyberspace

…about 6 years ago God worked through the medium of the internet, through friends I made on an online Catholic forum, and God used the cyber friends i made, to introduce me to the holy Catholic Church…and if you know anything about me you’ll know that almost all my immediate family members converted either at the same time as I did, or fairly shortly afterwards. (Read my ‘about me’ page for more info if you haven’t already – the tab is at the top of the page). This internet thing, it’s an incredibly powerful tool!

So that’s how I know that there is grace working its way through cyberspace even as I type this…. I just can’t help but think that for some, blogging has become more about number-crunching and places on blogger-billboards than building up a genuine rapport with their readers.

And something else…

Irk 4. Cyber Sycophants

Another thing that bothers me increasingly is the sickening sycophantic behaviour that is prevalent in the Catholic realm of the blogosphere…it’s getting more like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Catholic Blogging everyday, and I don’t like it one little bit.

Anyway, we won’t get into that right now….

You might be reading this and thinking I’m having a bad day, that I’m really just an envious little sow who wants more hits on sitemeter…but you’d be wrong…I’m happy with my sitemeter stats whatever they say, because they tell me that people are reading this blog…that many of you are taking time out of your busy days to read, comment, email etc.

To put this in perspective….I know 25-30 of my readers (friends) personal home addresses/work addresses (that have been proffered voluntarily over the years, thank you) because some of us have developed a kind of friendship that transcends cyberspace…and that folks, is why I bother to blog…because I do believe that many of you, dear readers, have actually come to care about me and my family, just as I have genuinely come to care for you and yours. You’ve lifted me up, carried my big boned body on a tidal wave of prayers many a time, and I am thankful that you are not a statistic to me, nor I to many of you.

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11 Responses to Cyber Humility

  1. Rosemary says:

    Nice post, Deb. I love your honesty. And I definitely see your points here. Yeah. I really appreciate the cyber-friendships too.

  2. Christine M says:

    Hey Deb – interesting post. I know that sometimes I start looking at my stats- and I’ll admit, I’m happy when they go up. It’s nice I’m not talking into a void. But, I’m a very small fish in the sea. And I’ll hit a milestone on my sitemeter and find that some people see those kind of numbers on a weekly basis. And sometimes, I don’t look at my stats at all for weeks. And weeks. (like lately, and this is making me want to go check them)

    I don’t always show up on your site-meter – but rest assured, I always check in to see what’s up via Google Reader.

  3. Cathy Keller says:

    You know when blogging ceases to be enjoyable, I will shut it down. In the meantime I find that there are really genuine, caring people who are sincere in there offerings and contributions. I particularly like to spend time here, as elsewhere because I feel “at home” here…I just want to say, “Thank you.”

  4. Rita says:

    Hello Debbie,

    Good post.

    Parts of the Catholic blogsphere are tired, jaded and getting increasingly petty. I do try to avoid these, small blogs are best!

    However, what interests me most is the fact that many of the best bloggers are suffering greatly at the moment (mental anguish, personal tragedy, family problems). It is as if those who genuinely love what they do and do it for the love of Christ are facing some trials. That’s life, but our response to this is critical. We must keep blogging and be true to what we believe and make it as prayerful as possible.

    It is a family, a very disfunctional family with no shortage of numpties and pillocks, but we’ve got to love them and where possible show that love! You do this in spadefulls and are loved for it.

    xxx

  5. Sitemeter? what is a sitemeter? I wouldn’t even know if I had one ha ha! I am a sad person with very few friends, so I do enjoy making new ones on the ‘net!!

  6. ukok says:

    Christine,

    It’s an odd post isn’t it….I just read it back and even I can see it’s odd! I suppose I wasn’t entirely forthcoming about the stats….it isn’t like I don’t care about them, but rather, like you, I am pleasantly surprised when they increase, but I don’t obsess over them like some bloggers seem to.

    And you know, a lot of hits are spam crawlers that hook on to a word, on to a youtube video etc…they’re not actually people so much as computer programmes that seek out places to spam! No joking, I’ve had over 16,000 spam comments I’ve deleted…and each one of those shows up as a ‘hit’. And I’m not even al that popular! So technically, stats can’t always be used as an acurate way of determining whether a blog is appreciated/enjoyed or even visited by a human!

    I’m glad you still read my posts, I still very much enjoy yours, though because I’m a procrastinator I don’t get around to commenting on your blog probably as much as I should, I read you mostly through bloglines…which is a good thing for saving time, but a bad thing because if I’m lazy or time is short, you’ll never know I was reading your posts…so I’m telling you now, I am ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Antonia says:

    Hiya!

    Yes, I do know what you mean. Whenever I see people writing entire posts about how many hits they get per day I can’t help but think … “Why are you telling me this? Do you think your readers care? What are you trying to prove?”
    I personally don’t read blogs because of how many other people read them. I read a blog if I enjoy the content and I genuinely find it a bit odd when people write periodic posts about how many hits they get just for the sake of telling their readers! why?!!

    I also know what you mean by the name-dropping who’s-who thing…personally, I think it’s just weird to write for a public world-wide audience and then name drop and act as if your audience should somehow know who you’re talking about without even explaining it first. I find some parts of Catholic blogosphere quite cliquey and off-putting, and rather closed in on itself, as opposed to open and welcoming.

    God Bless

    -x-x-x-

  8. ukok says:

    Cathy,

    it does me good to know that you enjoy spending your precious time here, truly it does. Thanks so much for your insight and the wonderful thoughts you share with me. Believe me when I say that it is because of fellow bloggers like you that I continue to blog too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rita,

    I thoroughly agree that parts of the Catholic blogosphere are tired and jaded. I find that the smaller blogs are by far more enjoyable because they have something that the bigger blogs just don’t and that is, the personal touch.

    I find it distrurbing when I come across ‘celebrity’ type blogs whose authors don’t mix, don’t mingle, and whom only associate with other apologists, professional authors, clergy, people who have their stuff ‘published’, or whom are *famous* simply for having a million hits… etc.

    I pray that I never get too big for my boots, I really wouldn’t like to lose my blogging identity.

    You also mention something very interesting in that there is suffering in many bloggers lives at the moment…I can only hope and pray that it makes us more like the Lord with each trial we endure…it reallsy i true…especially in Catholic families of late…perhaps we’re all under attack by Satan?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts here, Rita. I read your post yesterday and the ‘fleas under the armpits’ postscript really made me guffaw…I should have told you that on your blog, sorry I didn’t ๐Ÿ™‚

    And well done on handing in your resignation and moving forward!

  9. ukok says:

    Maggie Clitheroe,

    Hiya chuck!

    Sitemeter is a facility that allows you to see how many people are visiting your blog each day, where they are from, which posts they view, what their IP address is (this is useful for banning people).

    What it is exactly is a little box or tab…there’s one on the right hand side of my homepage, a small green box at the bottom…it’s fairly unobtrusive.

    All you need to do to get one is to join sitemeter (they just need basic info ike a username and password and email address), then you log in to your account, go to the ‘HTML Code’ link and copy and paste a piece of html code into your blog template.

    It sounds far more complicated than it actually is ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lots of people manage without one though, it’s just that it can be very useful sometimes.

    God Bless you ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Renee says:

    Hey, Deb ~

    I just recently got a sitemeter thingy, and found out how few people actually visit my blog. But I love my little community, and count on it for untold enjoyment and support, and that is what counts. Whenever blogging reminds me of being in high school, and I get the same sick feeling in my stomach I had back then, I pull back, take a breather, and when my perspective is better, I return.

    I love this place, Deb. It is lovely and comforting and hospitable. You are a good hostess!

  11. Gabrielle says:

    I love the personal touch too, and the friendships made. I enjoy visiting with just a dozen or so people, to see how they are doing, to share their struggles and their joys, and I learn so much from all of them. I would like to visit more like-minded sites regularly, but it’s so difficult, time-wise, isn’t it.

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