I’m never going to accomplish anything; that’s perfectly clear to me. I’m never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don’t do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don’t even do that any more.
— Dorothy Parker
I had a phone conversation today with someone I’ve met only through blog posts and tweets. That happens often enough that it’s not actually surprising, but it’s always a pleasure to add the immediacy of voice to the connection.
I mentioned during the conversation that this blog is mainly for me–hence the tagline “interests, ideas, notions, tangents.” I do think that if you put things into a public forum, or at least one that’s publicly available, you’d like to have some interaction; I certainly do. But ultimately for me, the noticing and thinking-through is what matters most.
If you don’t blog yourself, you may not think much about the administrative side of the blogs you read–what the machinery looks like to the blogger. No reason you should. But when I find myself getting impressed with myself, WordPress can help tone that down.
For example, WordPress tells you what search terms people have used to find your blog. Here in ascending order are the top ten all-time search terms that led people to Dave’s Whiteboard:
10th place (with 79 hits): monopoly money
Well, that’s the random stuff you get in tenth place.
9th place (85 hits): how to keep your volkswagen alive
I’m guessing my blog is a disappointment to these searchers. The link comes from my post about John Muir’s classic repair manual, an exemplary job aid.
8th place (92 hits): aplysia
You owe more to Aplysia californica and to Eric Kandel than you might have thought.
7th place (93 hits): (I’d rather not say)
No, that’s not what the 7th most used term is. In reality, it’s a person’s name–but an annoying person whose name happened to appear in the “so to speak” quote here. Seems to be a relentless self-promoter, so I removed the quote from my database. The only one who gets to be relentless here is me.
6th place (95 hits): whiteboard
5th place (154 hits): 10000 hours to become an expert
4th place (182 hits): miranda july
The mention of her was one of my side trips.
3rd place (194 hits): dave ferguson
How about that?
2nd place (204 hits): gideon v. wainwright
And in 1st place (with 1,814 hits): lego people
I’d never figured this one out until today. The phrase “lego people” does appear here, but at the end of a post, in a credit for the photographer whose image I used. How the heck could that pull in nearly two thousand visitors?
Then, today, I searched Google:
I clicked the fourth image (the one on the right); it links to one of my posts about John Medina’s book Brain Rules. I adapted this photo by Joe Shlabotnik (Peter Dutton), thanks to the CC license he released it with.
Anytime I start feeling smug about myself and what happens on my blog, I use stats like these as a reality check. Sometimes it’s not about me; sometimes it’s all about the Legos.