I’ve been making websites since I was 12 years old. I remember making these very sketchy HTML websites with frames instead of divs, no CSS or anything that would make common sense. I remember Geocities, Lycos, using horrible, horrible subdomains.
What I remember the most is the little counter, on the bottom of the page, that would tell me how many people visited my website. I would press F5 so often that I wasn’t sure anymore if I was seeing actual visits or if the counter went up by one because of me. All this happened a long time before the whole likes, followers, Twitter and Facebook thing. The only way to share your website was exchanging links with some other webmaster, or sending e-mails to your friends so they would check your web page.
Then, I went on to use some CMS (Content management systems) to set up my websites quickly so I could concentrate on the content. Drupal was pretty good from what I remember. PHPbb for the forums, or even vBulletin (a pirated version, of course). Every time I would see a new member, a new post or topic on the forums I would smile. F5 again and again. All the time.
Eventually, I gave up on websites until I made this blog. But this time, I promised myself it would be different. I would make this one personal blog for myself. Just for myself. I wouldn’t worry about traffic or success or anything. The point of the whole thing would be to write and be creative. For a while that’s what it was. Until I discovered the WordPress Reader. I started mass-following people. Everything I liked, even a little bit, I would follow, like or comment. A part of me wanted to get involved, and the other wanted people to write back on my blog. A pointless exercise with a pointless objective. Because really, what’s the point? Why would I want someone to write on my blog. It’s not like I’m monetizing it or getting anything out of it, right?
When I rationalize it, I find it pointless. But there is still a part of me that looks at the blog stats at least twice an hour. Every new comment I read. Every new visit, I see. I have become obsessed with it, even if there is no point. And really, there isn’t : most of the people – not all of them – that leave a comment on a blog just copy/paste a cold message, telling you how amazing your blog is and how good a writer you are. And then, just after they tell you how good you are, they say it. “Thanks for visiting my blog” or “Come see my blog”… something like that. They don’t even read what you write. And you do exactly the same.
Everyone visits everyone’s blog, but they… I mean, WE barely read what each other has to say. We only visit, like, and exit.
This doesn’t only happen here, on WordPress. It’s the same thing on Instagram (Follow me to get likes!… and then what?), Facebook, etc. Social sharing is an amazing idea, in theory. This Internet age is the age of the “Likes”, an age in which everyone “likes” everything, while not actually liking anything. In the end, what is the point of getting a lot of traffic and likes if they’re not actually reading your content? I still don’t know. In the end, I’ll just do it for me.
Life lesson : Like and follow this blog for more! Am I being ironic? I’m not sure anymore.
Actual Advice : This is not a rant. I’m just describing the state of things. There are some blogs that I actually read, mostly webcomics though. There is some awesome content on WordPress, some content worth liking. Liking and following people you actually like is a great way to find people with whom you have common interests.
PROTIP : Every time you comment, you warm my heart. Remember as you read this, there is one blogger looking at his screen, pressing F5, waiting for you to show your presence.