The Tyranny Of Pageviews

Ackerman confesses how much the numbers can mess with your head:

I know, I know: poor me. I only get to do what I love for a living, during an epochal collapse of the journalism industry and a Hobbesian economy, and here I go complaining Screen shot 2012-05-21 at 12.40.13 PMabout, essentially, the world ignoring my brilliance. Maybe the piece sucked. Maybe the story just wasn’t as good as I thought it was; or maybe it is as good as I thought it was and I did a bad job of telling it. Maybe I promoted the piece badly. Maybe everyone else had better things to do for the last 48 hours than read it.

But when you start seeing the actual, quantifiable statistics that are, in non-trivial ways, the results of your work, it’s a mindfuck.

You're telling me. A lot of us in this line of work were nerds in high school and college and were obsessed with grades. Most adults can leave such markers of success behind most of the time – but when you add traffic stats, low nerd self-esteem and the blogosphere together, it's a different story. Writers always want validation. Now they can have it in a crude and satisfying, if ultimately soul-destroying way. I find myself checking stats while waiting in line at Chipotle or in a doctor's waiting room – simply because I can. Even after 12 years and one of the most loyal readerships any blogger could ask for, I'm still insecure if we're down for the week, or month.

But Spencer is right, of course. That way lies madness. And certainly not quality. But what are you gonna do?

(Illustration: my daily crack, or a month's worth of daily visits and pageviews to the Dish via Sitemeter.)