I’ve thought all year about this idea of support. About the many different forms it comes in. About why it’s important. About how it can be measured, if at all. I’ve thought about what it means when someone supports you and then suddenly stops. I’ve thought about what it means when someone doesn’t support you and then suddenly starts. I’ve thought too long and too hard about lyrics like “You wasn’t with me when I was shooting in the gym.” I don’t know if I’ve come up with anything useful or tangible from all of these thoughts.
If society measures a citizen by his or her salary, the blogosphere measures a blogger by his or her’s “numbers”–page views, hits, etc. We’re a numbers-driven, quantitative kind of world. This is a fact I’ve both played into and been sickened by. It makes my stomach hurt when I think of all of the amazing, brilliant individuals I know who go unnoticed by society because their numbers don’t quite add up. It makes me even more sick when I think of bloggers who suffer the same plight.
When I disclosed my numbers to Emily this past summer, I followed the sentence by joking that she had basically just asked for my salary. I know bloggers who willingly unveil their numbers publicly, but I am not one of them. Because, the same way it’s nobody’s damn business what’s on my pay stub, it’s really no one’s damn business what I see when I log in to Google Analytics. Knowing my numbers is a necessary evil. I now know enough not to mistakenly measure my worth, nor the amount of support I have, based on my hits.
If you don’t pay attention to your numbers, you’re fucked. On the contrary, if you pay too much attention to your numbers, you’re still fucked. All I see when I log in to Google Analytics are numbers. I don’t see names. I don’t see faces. I don’t get a metric for how many women I’ve reached, truly reached, in a way that changed their lives or forced them to think about something differently. I don’t get an asterisk next to a number if that person has read my work since 2012. I don’t get a breakdown of which hits are from people who support my work and which are from those who just like to clock my moves. Google Analytics does not measure the nuances of your readership. It does not measure who is real and who is absolutely not. It just uses some algorithms to spit out some figures that try to tell you how well your blog’s doing.
I’ve thought all year about this idea of support. About the many different forms it comes in. About why it’s important. About how it can be measured, if at all. If there’s anything I’ve learned about this idea of support, it is that arbitrary numbers certainly can’t measure it. I’ve learned not to just trust the numbers nor take them at face-value. I’ve learned that a hit could be from someone who was, indeed, shooting with you in the gym or it can come from someone who just wants to see if you forgot a comma in a sentence that day.
I’ve learned that some of your biggest cheerleaders are people who don’t necessarily read every post the second it’s published, but instead keep an eye on your work and watch from afar. Those are often times the people who understand your vision so deeply that they don’t need to be engrossed in the day-to-day of executing that vision. Those people are your guardian angels, watching over you and looking out even when it seems they’re absent. There are people who read your work religiously who don’t necessarily support you; they just like to have a pulse on you to determine when it’s the perfect moment to try and cut your lifeline.
There are fair-weather fans who come and go. There are friends who knew you before the brand, before the blog, before you ever gave two shits about anything–they have been there all along and always will be. There are people who love you until you stir some insecurity inside of them and they decide they can’t support anyone doing “better” than them. There are people who assume there’s a limited amount of success to spread in the world and somehow they believe yours threatens theirs. There are some people who just can’t stomach you. Period. Point blank. No explanation required. There are people who read your every word, people who type that URL into an address bar routinely because they truly care about what you have to say. There are people who are heaven-sent, people who have your back when you have reached your wit’s end, when you’re losing your damn mind, when you want to give up. The forms of support, or lack thereof, are so varied and complex.
So, you can’t consume yourself with the support. It is there, even when it’s just your guardian angels watching from a distance. Soak up the love you have. Do not lament the love you don’t. This dream is yours for the taking. And, all clicks are not created equal.