“A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.”
The start of a new year is traditonally a time of reflection and regrets, reckoning and resolutions — an accounting of the old year with hopes of a better outcome in the new.
It seems that the platform that I use to write this blog, WordPress.com, also is into yearend accounting. On Jan. 2, I received a message from Team WordPress with a report on how Jim’s Bike Blog fared during 2010 in comparison with the other 282,974 blogs — as of this writing — hosted by WordPress.com.
“We think you did great!” was the good news, accompanied by an image of a “Blog-Health-o-Meter” with the needle tilted far over to the right in a green pie segment marked “Wow.”
“About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year,” said the WordPress report card. “This blog was viewed about 58,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.”
In 2010, the report went on, I wrote 97 new posts, increasing the total in the archive to 280 posts, and uploaded 491 images, occupying a total of 123 megabytes of cyberspace. It said my busiest day of the year was Sept. 6 when Jim’s Bike Blog had 377 views.
The most viewed post that day was “What a difference a day makes,” written in Globe, Ariz., on Sept. 30, 2009, during a transcontinental bicycle ride.
I have no idea what caused that spike in viewership. I also have no idea what to make of the report card from Team WordPress.
I expressed similar sentiments about blog stats on May 8, when hits to Jim’s Bike Blog reached a total of 50,000 since I installed a hit counter shortly after beginning these sporadic ramblings in April 2009 to chronicle my cross-country bicycle journey.
I headlined that post “A milestone of questionable worth” because
50,000 hits seems like a drop in the ocean when one considers that some celebrity blogs can record millions of hits in a day with a hot item on some pop flash like Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.
“And consider this,” I observed then. “When I was a working journalist, a single compelling dispatch that I wrote from Moscow, say, as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press, or an Op-Ed piece for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, would command a potential audience of far more than 50,000.”
So despite the “wow” report from Team WordPress and the fact that this blog has now surpassed 85,000 hits, I’ll stick with my conclusion of May 8: Blogging is essentially a narcissistic enterprise by those who imagine they have something to say, aimed at a very small niche audience.
Nevertheless, as I wrote earlier, I plan to keep scribbling this blog about bikes and books, travels and trivia because it’s fun to do. It also allows me to continue writing after more than four decades in journalism, learning something new nearly every day, and it keeps me from indulging in other, more dangerous, vices.