Cover Those Stats with a Smudge of Ash [Updated]

The folks over at Non-Prophet Status are indulging in this secular Lent thing, where they all give up something for 40 days because, well, I don’t know why. They’re weird, what can I say? Maybe they think it’ll make them better people to go without something for so long. Oh, except Chris Stedman, who’s just going to say something really nice to someone different every day. I call bullshit on that one, because if you know Chris, and I barely do, you know he says something nice to someone different every day anyway because he’s just like that.
But whatever.

So they asked me if I wanted to get on board their deprivation bandwagon because…well, again, I don’t know. At first I felt like a sissy, because, as I explained, I couldn’t think of any small pleasure I was willing to go without, being that as the parent of two small children, small pleasures are already few and far between. (I kid! I kid! No I don’t.)

Then I thought of something that might do me some good: My constant quest for validation through Internet statistics. So I got an idea, and wrote this for their blog:

For 40 days I will give up a piece of my utterly-fragile ego. I will abstain from checking up on the pageview stats on my blog . . . and I will go out of my way to avoid finding out how many folks have retweeted my material or followed me on Twitter. I may look for other ways to eschew self-validating Internet quantification as I think of it, but these two jumped out at me. I waste a lot of RAM in my own brain in being concerned about that kind of thing, so maybe I’ll become, magically, A Better Person by letting all of that go for a while.

There are, of course, blog comments, which I know Vlad is avoiding. I won’t be ignoring them, as much as I hate them most of the time, because sometimes there is sincere and well-meaning discourse to be had there. Oh, maybe I’ll ignore it anyway. We’ll see.

Facebook is different, as a red-badged notification number often means there’s a message from family or something, not just “likes” on a post, so I may have to keep those up for now.

I’ll have to engage in work-related analytics, of course. I do have a job, you know. So get off my back.

So that’s that. Until March 30, I’ve deleted my little folder of bookmarks to things like stats for this blog, retweets, views on my SoundCloud and Flickr accounts, stuff like that. I’ll remove those shortcuts from my iPhone and Nexus 7 home screens. I hope it will cleanse my brain a little, and keep me from seeking so much approval from pageviews in order to justify my existence.

But in the mean time, how else will I justify my existence?

I DON’T KNOW.

* * *

UPDATE: And so I lost interest in this very quickly. It’s not the NPS guys’ fault, it’s all me. There were moments where I just needed to know how something had done, and I checked. If there’s a silver lining, I still don’t have all the shortcuts and bookmarks to stats, so it’s not something I can default to checking. I have to click through to get there. But yeah, I failed Lent.

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7 thoughts on “Cover Those Stats with a Smudge of Ash [Updated]

  1. Maybe it’s like a second chance for a New Year’s Resolution where you go without something now you said you’d go without back on Jan 1st. But now it’s just 11% of the year instead of the long 12 months.

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  2. I gave up believing religious bullshit for lent 4 years ago. I’m still going strong too. It hasn’t been easy, not believing that a stale cracker and what can only be called wine in the loosest sense literally transform into the organic tissue of a 2000 year old jewish carpenter when a cleric casts a spell on it. Or believing that a bunch of old single guys who’ve never had a family, have steady paychecks and free healthcare have anything of substance to say on marriage, family, budgeting or healthcare decision making. It’s all about commitment, stay strong!

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