When I first started blogging from Rome, I checked how many page views I got per day obsessively. I would watch the hits go up on my Blogger page moments after tweeting a link to a new post or sharing the blog on Facebook and become frustrated if I had less than 50 views in an hour. Less than 20 views on a typical day, even without any new posts, was something to be annoyed by.
The way I was processing it in my mind was this:
No one likes/views/comments on the post --> No one liked it (translation: liked me) --> No one cares (translation: about me)
On Facebook it went like this-
1 like= It's out there. Time to check the Blogger page hits.
10+ likes= Sh*t, I better re-read it and makes sure nothing's wrong with it if people are actually going to read this
25+ likes= It's a good post. I'm heard.
Not healthy, you say? Yeah no sh*t. It's a big reason I stopped blogging for as long as I did after I came home from abroad. I needed a break from the ego meter.
So what's the power of a like? What was I seeking from those little notifications, from a 'retweet' sign or a spike in page views?
It offered me instant gratification. I did it for the likes. It became a weird relationship with the blog where I wasn't sure if I posting to share or if I was ultimately posting solely for the feedback I would receive. The toughest thing about studying abroad was being away from the CUA community and knowing that my friends and the life I had back at school was going on without me. Sharing posts from my study abroad experience allowed me to feel like I was still keeping up with my life back there. It's not that I think I did bad writing while I was in Rome, I just know I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I still really treasure all those posts I wrote and love looking back on them. It just makes me sad to know that when I was writing them I didn't know they were good unless 20 people I knew on Facebook clicked the 'like' button.
When I started blogging again in 2014, I decided I was writing for myself. I rarely check the views I get on Blogger, though I do share some of the writing that I do on Facebook and Twitter. The difference this time around is that what I'm sharing is something I'm proud of- the writing itself. I'm not sharing to brag about the places I've been or experiences I had, which was oh so easy to do while studying abroad. I write for the sake of writing.