The significance of this experience for me–and hopefully it seems significant to you as well–is that my motivation for working on the site was completely internal.
My goal was only to please myself by creating the best site I could and my rewards came in being proud of what I’d done. Visitor feedback was nice, but it only served to tell me that ’some’ people were enjoying the site. I didn’t really care so much about the volume, only that at least a few other people thought the site was as cool as I did. But if I had only ever received a handful of emails each week to say I was doing a good job, I probably would have been happy, and I probably would have maintained the site for a long time.
But I didn’t. Once stats came into the picture, my motivation was externalized. I wanted more visitors, and I started to only enjoy adding to the site when I felt it would see my stat counter climb. Whenever my visitor count dropped I felt deflated.
I did not start off on this venture with the intention of creating a blog to speak to the world. It was created as a means of discovering and organizing new sources of knowledge and experimenting with some of the tools of Web 2.0, all of which were new a year ago. The blog itself became the focus of the experiments and I discovered that somebody was reading what I wrote or saved. The surprising thing for me was that it doesn't really matter whether its 10 or 10,000, it still has an impact. I also tried chasing statistics, though I was only trying to get to double digits. Then everything deflated for a while.
So I decided to stop worrying about it and focus on what I liked best about doing this. I like having people click on items that I placed at del.icio.us and other places. It makes me believe that they possibly found something useful. While I do not have a large number of contacts, the contacts I do have are more like collaborators working for common . I appreciate the quality more than I yearn for the quantity. I am more impressed with the fact that somebody in Africa might read one of my posts than I am getting a thousand posts in Akron, Ohio (OK, I am lying, I would love to get a 1,000 posts in Akron, but if I don't still OK).
Now I have two active blogs and for whatever reason, because it still seems like tea leaves to me, this blog is doing better. Not next Facebook better, but better enough to make it enjoyable again. I enjoy doing this. Now, with this blog, I am no longer worrying as much about where I stand in blogosphere, but simply participating in World Wide discussions. I am still watching the stats at my other blog, but since it reflects my own views and opinions there won't be any chasing numbers there either.