Blogging without Metrics

I haven’t written another technical post (I know, shocker!): I mostly spent May having fun and June at my internship. Work, while fun, has sapped my motivation to do big technical things in my free time. So instead, I’ve written a short meta-musing below.1

This site has existed in some form or another for around four years. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that long, but given that I’m twenty-one, it seems like an appreciable chunk of my life.

I know that a couple people whom I know in real life occasionally read this (hi mom), but what’s surprised me most—in a good way—is that a couple of strangers on the Internet have reached out to me about miscellaneous things that I’ve posted, from cycling to Latin to computers. Probably only a small fraction of visitors to a site like mine will actually end up sending me an email, so surely there has to be some non-negligible number of people reading this site, right?

This is actually a little intimidating; my gut reaction is to be scared that people will read embarrassing things that I wrote in high school (or even in college) and judge me for it. What makes it even scarier is that I don’t actually know who or how many people read this.

I’ve always kind of wondered about what sort of traffic I get, but I’ve never set up any sort of metrics for this site, so I don’t really know.2 This is for a couple of reasons: it would, for instance, add complexity, whereas I tend to like keeping things as simple as possible. I also tend to dislike being tracked on websites that I visit; while there are certainly non-invasive ways to gather metrics, the easiest ones for me to use (e.g. Google Analytics) tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I want to treat others the way I’d want to be treated on the Internet.

But the most important reason is this: I think having no metrics makes it feel like I’m writing primarily for myself. I almost don’t want to call this a “blog”; I usually call it my “personal website” or something similar. But I guess it really is a blog. It’s first and foremost a place for me to express myself,3 and I think I do that best when I feel like I’m writing into the void. (This is not to say that I don’t want people to contact me; I love receiving email from people who stumbled across this site.)

Who knows, maybe my opinions on having metrics will change someday. But for now, I’m happy the way things are.

  1. I will say that when I read other people’s websites, I’m often more prone to reading their non-technical posts. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to sit down and digest some dense technical content.↩︎

  2. Well, once when I was a silly high school student, I tried setting up a coin miner on this site because I thought it was cool. That’s the closest to any sort of metrics that I’ve ever had, though.↩︎

  3. In fact, one of my friends remarked that he felt like he knew me better after reading my website.↩︎