A Deadly Habit

24 Apr

To die by sword, or by stat counter?

I have a horrible addiction/habit that I need to contend with or I have a feeling it’s going to take its lethal toll on me.

I check my stat counter too much.

Throughout the day, I just try to be your typical, hardworking, honest-man trying to make a living.  But my days aren’t repeatedly indulged in my work.  For there are minutes – considerable amount of them – dedicated constantly to checking the stat counter.

I’ve had this deadly habit ever since the days of MySpace.

“How many people read my blog today?!” I’d anxiously think as I abruptly click on the ‘Manage My Blog’ button.

I’ve done it with every website or opportunity given social media site I’ve had.

I do it with THIS site.

And what it all boils down to is this.

I do it way too much.

Yet, it’s an obsession to get to that “magic number” of readers – for everything.

And yet there’s no “magic number”.  I could have a million people come by here a day to read these blogs, and I’d still reluctantly check my stat counter and try to hit a million and one.

Readers are – of course – great to have.  Lots of readers is great to have.  But, is it really worth checking the stat counter about 25 times a day?  In the big scheme of things, is this important?

I know a lot of people are guilty of this, not just me.  But I really over-do-it sometimes.  I really need to layoff checking it.  It drives at me though, like a little voice in my head crackling, “Check it!  Check it, you fool!  You might have a new reader!”

Beyond checking the number of readers, I check where they came from, how often they visit, what state and city there from – EVERYTHING.

It’s pathetic.  I hold my head down in shame sometimes from it.  I’ll be right in the middle of scripting or something, and for no reason (except for maybe because the computer is right next to where I work) I’ll check my stats.

It’s going to kill me.  I can see in my obituary that Nate has died from his stat counter habit.  Don’t ask me how it kills a person, but I’m sure it’s worse than cigarettes.

If there is a crisis hotline for this addiction, please let me know.  Maybe I need an intervention?  Just trick me and say we’re going to the pizza buffet, and instead have it be a room full of family and friends with letters expressing how my stat counter habit has affected their lives.  Which, I’m sure it has.  Right?

Another reason to hate computers, online and other new technologies that are overcoming everything else.  I’ve always said I’m a print guy, not computer.  Luckily, there are no stat counters in books or magazines, so my work that appears in that media I can safely say that I keep more productive because I can’t check those stats.


10 Responses to “A Deadly Habit”

  1. bearman April 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    It’s funny I used to be the same way. Then I took a vacation and realized all the online love i get will never replace that I got offline. Sure there are days when suddenly a post takes off and I always want to see if I set a new record. But for some reason if I check it once every other day that is enough for me.

    • Nate Fakes April 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      Writing this post was an awakening for me, and I’m going to try to deal with this persistent checking of stats stating NOW. It’s pointless, a waste of time and it really doesn’t do me any good at all. And yes – offline activities far out way anything that can be accomplished on here (except for maybe these awesome icons that come with each comment!).

  2. DadaHyena April 25, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I here you on that. My webcomic stats sink like a stone rather often, and a sensitive artiste like me takes that to heart…then I go cry by the windowsill and write wretchedly moody poetry.

    Well…maybe I don’t do that, but I do get kinda bummed.

    • DadaHyena April 25, 2010 at 9:01 am #

      Sorry, that should have said “hear” you, not “here” you. Don’t ever listen to people talking when you’re trying to type!

      • Nate Fakes April 26, 2010 at 5:43 am #

        It does get me down sometimes (I get about 15 visitors a day on here, if that makes you feel better).

        It seems like a lot of traffic is from Stumble Upon, Digg and those other “traffic creators”. I wonder about the sites that get a ton of traffic from those sources and out of those people who is an actual “reader”. I’ll take the 15 people that actually WANT to come by here.

  3. JerryBenedict April 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    You touched a nerve there…

    I was that way for a long time… and I’m still checking that stat counter, just not as much. I’ve come to believe that my strip’s readership consists largely of other cartoonists, and the occasional family member. I’m legitimately surprised if my numbers get over 100 page views a day. Since the numbers tend to be so small, I’ve sort of stopped obsessing with it. It’s a frustrating exercise when you try to determine what can bring readers to your site… even more frustrating to try and figure out what will make them return.

    What helps me, personally, is the knowledge that I’ve earned money as a freelance illustrator… even did it full time for awhile. If I don’t get an audience with my comics, at least I’ve had people pay for my work.

    Being in MAD is quite an achievement… quite a feather in the cap. It seems your success is really tied in with being in print, and using a purely online metric to measure your audience isn’t really doing you justice.

    • Nate Fakes April 26, 2010 at 5:40 am #

      Being online – for me – isn’t as fulfilling as print. However, I admire a LOT of online cartoonist and there work. I prefer getting their books though more than reading it on the internet. Books are a lot more permanent – and yeah – print doesn’t have those pesky stat counters!

      I worry about crashes, a hacked account and all of that online as well. I couldn’t imagine having ten (or more) years of work online, and then somehow it gets ruined by a virus, crashing or someone coming in and ruining it.

  4. Bo Lumpkin April 26, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    I used to worry about stats and then I started gauging my strip on the comments and only last week I had a real pity party over but now I realize something. I write and make comics because I love doing and I am not sure now that I started that I can turn it off.
    It does feel good to get comments and I try to comment on other peoples sites because I like the interaction but… Just because someone does not comment does not mean the blog or comic stinks. It just means people are busy or they just didn’t have anything to say.

  5. George April 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I used to check mine consistently throughout the day. Sometimes every hour if I thought it may have changed. I was really bad about it, especially when I was on some of those blog sites that promised new readers. I found out that my numbers would increase everytime I posted there. You know how much attention I gave THAT. 🙂

    Now that I’m on ComicPress, I don’t have the minute-by-minute stat counter. I can only check it at the end of the night. It took some getting used to, but it’s also allowed me to “live” a little bit too. I’m not always out to manipulate the numbers or give a push because I think they’re too low at a given moment.

    I just accept it like it is, and try to do better the next day without exhausting myself. I set an achievable goal and as long as it falls within those guidelines, I’m a happy camper. 🙂

  6. Stripy-Artist May 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    This happens to me with referral tracking. I just kept going on the site when I had Feedjit and Extreme Tracking 50-60 times a day, even to the point of completely messing up the hits. I totally relate to this.

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