I’ve been blogging on and off for about 12 years. Over that time, I’ve discovered a few new confirmations of Jeremiah 17:9 in my own life. One of these is how I react to blog traffic. I too easily become motivated by stats–do they like what I’m saying? Do they think I’m funny or interesting or insightful? Suffice it to say, if I had the audience of, say, Jon Acuff, at this point in my writing “career,” I’d be a basket case.
Another problem I have is that I delve into self-analysis a bit too much, especially in the area of blogging. I’m already a bit too introspective and self-reflective, so displaying that tendency in a public forum can get me into trouble. Let’s just say I’ve blog a LOT about blogging. (You may be thinking, “You’re doing it RIGHT NOW, Dave.” But I’m kinda not. Hang in there.)
I’ve been wanting to get back into regular writing for a while. Lord-willing, I’ll transition into writing books and pursue some side-work writing while I move toward full-time pastoral ministry. So I knew I needed to get back into the habit of writing consistently. Obviously, this hasn’t really happened yet. (Did I really think trying to kick this off, while also working full-time, teaching Sunday School, taking online seminary classes, AND helping to plan and carry out my upcoming wedding, was a good idea? Clearly, I also don’t think through some things ENOUGH.)
Past blogs had more of a regular readership, developed over time. I don’t know why, but I guess I assumed that I would jump back in to the blogging and be met with an adoring crowd. (It appears I have writer-vanity tendencies, too.) But without regular content, readership atrophies. It’s the second law of bloggodynamics: readership breaks down if it’s not consistently maintained and boosted with good content. (It’s in a book somewhere; wiki that mess.) So my most recent blogging enterprise has stumbled out of the gate, and I knew I needed something to build momentum.
I heard Michael Hyatt once talk about how guest-posting is great because it cross-pollinates web traffic, plus it gives your readers something new to check out, a new “voice” on your blog. Sounded good to me.
So when Webster Hunt (@livingheart) mentioned that he was considering blogging, I thought, “Hey, one less day I have to produce content, and maybe he can bring some new readers to my page!” I offered him the slot on Wednesday, and he brought a fantastic, confessional, challenging post. A post I frankly needed to hear, now less than 80 days from my wedding.
As a result, I had more blog-traffic that single day than I had in the past few weeks on my own.
And I caught myself becoming bitter about it. I was jealous that he was not only getting page hits, but comments–Comments!–on his post. I was a little indignant.
And that’s when conviction hit me, like a running arm-bar clothesline. I was suddenly flat on my back, spiritually speaking, and staring up at the spotlights. I realized what was going on. I was falling into the trap of using pageviews and comments to measure my worth or importance, compared to other people. And the fact that another guy got huge response after one post made me angry. It wasn’t “fair.” But that’s when the Spirit starts poking and prodding, and I started asking myself those uncomfortable “why” questions. Why did I want to blog in the first place? Why did I invite Web and a few others to post on my page? Why am I so concerned about pageviews?
One other question weighed heavy on me: Whose glory am I after, right now?
So I wanted to take a moment and confess my sins.
Web, I confess that my motives for inviting you to post were not wholly pure, but I am very glad you took the offer, and I would love to have you post here more often. I still think you should branch out on your own, soon, because you have good stuff to say.
Further, I’m sorry I became a green-eyed blogger for a little while. I tried to hide it, but I want you to know I’m sorry for that, too.
As for the rest of you, I want to apologize for approaching this thing all wrong. You probably didn’t notice, and that’s fine. But I want to do this the right way. So, I’ll work on that. And I’m glad to have you along, for as short or long as you’re willing to hang with me.
Peace and grace. Have a good weekend.
And heed my example: beware the green-eyed blogger.