It just occurred to me to check my analytics, and I still get like 20 hits a day on this blog. What is happening there? Who’s out there clicking on my blog every day for a goddamn year checking to see if I’ve finally started writing again? Is it my mom? Mom, is that you?
Honestly, it’s probably just the handful of posts I have that have good SEO. I wrote a blog post about the French Revolution at some point a long time ago that seems to get a lot of hits. Some of it is probably bots. It’s more likely than not that no human eyes in that 20ish average have seen the front page of my blog in a long time.
When I blogged on Wordpress, I was fascinated by my analytics. I checked them constantly, I was hyper-aware of how they ebbed and flowed. If I took a break I was acutely aware of the chilling effect it had on my hit rate. And it’s not as if I’m less vain or desperate for validation now than I was back then. It’s just that on Wordpress the stats are on the dashboard, and on squarespace it takes two clicks to get to the page, and it doesn’t load that fast. I don’t have fifteen seconds to spend every time I want to see whether people still care about me.
Those barriers matter. They matter so goddamn much. I put a cover page on my website because I was blogging a lot about chronic anxiety around the same time I was trying to find a new job, and I was afraid that potential employers would google me, find the blog, click it, and see a headline that says “CHRONIC ANXIETY AND YOU: 32 STEPS TO WIND YOURSELF INTO A KNOT AND THEN CRY.” They don’t care what my blog says, and they aren’t going to read any of the posts. But if it’s the front page, they’re going to read the top headline. Better for them to be able to skip over and go to the “about” page. Mainly they’re just looking to see whether the site looks nice. (I need to do an aesthetic update here so bad.)
Little rules, default settings, nudges and friction and prods have a bigger effect on our lives than it’s possible to imagine. I don’t care how DIY-hacker-offthegrid-homesteader-survivalist you are, more stuff in your home is set to the default settings than not. Have you modified the depth of your pockets? Do you use the standard kind of plugs in all your wall outlets? How much of your reading do you do with a language that somebody else taught you?
This kind of free association shit isn’t by any stretch of the imagination good writing. But who the fuck cares. Nobody’s reading this anyway.