Thursday, September 2, 2010


At my gym, wedged between a stream of Pink and Kelly Clarkson are little advertisements for the gym's add-ons, one being working with a trainer. "What gets measured, gets improved," says Mr. Bland-o blandly. I've wondered whether this is true. In high school physics they taught us you can't measure something without changing that thing. They were teaching us about the improbability of measuring, not the value.

In that spirit, I disabled the Google Analytics on this blog. I bet you noticed how much faster it loads now, didn't you? I spent two years using GA to divine the undivinable, which was basically—how can I get rich as a writer and how much am I loved? I've haven't remotely answered either question.

For a week I thought I was particularly popular in Washington, D.C., from whence I received an unprecedented spate of hits. After I received the cease and desist email from D.C. lawyers telling me to no longer refer my Chicago Area Wildlife Society in an abbreviated manner which might create confusion between my estimable wildlife society and their client's estimable wildlife society, my hits from D.C. also ceased.

After I quit Facebook in late May, my blog posts became longer and more personal with less links to outside sites. My stats took a 25% jump. They love me! I thought. All along, that's what people wanted, to hear from me. But of course. My confidence ballooned until I decided to take a look at this weird site that was sending me all sorts of traffic. It's a junky little page that looks like it was created by a third-grader. Google research told me these folks set up proxy ad sites around the world to "visit" blogs. An analytics spam, if you will, so stat-hungry bloggers like myself will go to their sites to see who they are. When I counted the hits from URLs with golb in them, guess what: 25% of my traffic starting late May.

That was it. I was done determining my value from a squiggly little graph. I used to blame my kids for  lack of any time to myself, but as I'm sloughing off my social network addictions one by one, I'm afraid it might not have been them, it might be me. The last two nights I've spent time with them, made a dent in the pretty good but not amazing novel I'm reading, gotten a my own writing done, and even gotten in my favorite forensic reality shows, and it's still not bedtime.

Did you like this post? I'll never know.