Great. This is just what I needed. Another minute-sucking, hour-gnashing, completely pointless obsession.
On a daily basis - ok, more like half- hourly basis - I check these things:
Both my blog's sitemeters
I do not play any games or partake in asinine Facebook quizzes. I only check status updates and if anyone "likes" something I've chosen to share that day. However, I still waste probably over an hour a day doing this.
Sitemeter gives me a little thrill every time I see a brand new reader or better yet, a repeat one. And I love to see the google searches that found me. Hot fireman and Husband gone are two popular ones. And how's this one for funny/disturbing?: I hate pooping its so unfeminine.
And now that I am on Twitter I like to see how many of those links are followed (not many). Twitter takes the least of my time because I don't really care what other people are tweeting on about and I assume no one gives a damn whether I am wearing wool socks for the first time this year (which I'm not, but I wish I was - it's cold today!). I post my own blog links and check to see if anyone has mentioned me, and that's it, but it still takes time (and brain cells, I swear).
And now... Examiner.com. I am on my second week as the local Journaling Examiner (talk about a niche) and how many times do you think I have checked to see how much money I've made? Probably 50. Every page view makes me one whole penny and I can't stop myself from checking to see those (very) little cents add up.
Ridiculous! Why can't I just check once a day or week, or even better, be surprised when I get some money in my PayPal account? It's the same with my blogs; why do I need to know who's visiting from minute to minute? Or who's commenting on my Facebook status?
Validation. Acknowledgment. Appreciation.
And that's sad. Very, very sad.
The benefit of the internet is also its curse. Instant networking, instant information, instant publication, instant acknowledgment. Acknowledgment you could never hope to get in real life (not on a minute-by-minute basis, anyway). For an introverted, self-esteem-challenged, compliment-junkie, aspiring writer, the internet is a confidence booster.
But is it wrong to have an inflated sense of confidence? I think not - as long as it gets you where you deserve to be due to authentic talent and not just an over-stimulated sense of entitlement.
But the attention you receive online sucks you in and makes you feel more important than you actually are. And is the acknowledgment real? NO! (Well, sometimes.) Just because someone thumbs up my status update doesn't mean I'm special, a good writer, or wonderful human-being. And my blog? Like-minded, aspiring writers and over-worked mothers like it because they relate, not necessarily because I'm a writing genius. The internet is a playground - some days you're popular, other days you are one click away from being unfollowed, unfriended, unliked.
Where would I be today without the internet? Maybe further ahead. Maybe not. In the hours that I have spent staring at my Facebook page I could have written a novel. Or at least sent out some queries so I'd have a legitimate reason to call myself a Writer. But since I started blogging I have had the audacity to call myself a Writer and it is because of the internet that I am now published.
So while I thank the wonders of cyberspace (which I barely understand) for giving me opportunities and instant feedback, some days I wish my laptop would stop winking at me, luring me in, and causing me to look beyond myself for validation.
And yes, this whole post was actually a foil - an attempt to get you, my dear readers, to validate me further as I watch my penny-counter reach the dizzying heights of a whole dollar.