Jun 25, 2012

A Million Thank Yous

My original plan for today was to tell you all about Belinda Jack’s fascinating The Woman Reader; however, as evidenced by how quiet things have been around these parts, I’m still finding it really hard to get anything written. I was about to call it quits for the day when I noticed that the little hits counter on the bottom left corner of my blog had finally passed the one million mark, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to thank you all for stopping by, whoever you are.

This post comes with a couple of caveats: first of all, I don’t want it to sound self-aggrandizing. I’ve been blogging for over five years now, and I’m well aware of the fact that there are plenty of blogs out there that reached twice as many visits in half as many years, and that can therefore wave around numbers far more impressive than mine. Secondly, visits are a poor measurement of how many people are actually reading and engaging with your content anyway – a good share of those hits are likely to have come from spam bots, from people who left without reading a single full post, from people looking for something very specific and who never really came back, and even from myself, as it took me a couple of years to get around to blocking my IP address from stats sites.

And lastly, I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of equating stats with worth of any kind, for all the reasons expressed so well in this Stacked post:
Stats, as interesting as they are, really don’t tell us anything. They don’t tell us the true impact of what we’re doing. They don’t tell us whether what we said made someone buy a book. They don’t tell us how many people added a book to their GoodReads to-read shelf (sure you could extrapolate, but that’s giving yourself a lot of credit). They don’t tell us anything about ourselves except that we exist and, in some cases, we should be paid attention to. Because we ARE reaching someone. Just . . . we can’t know more than that.
The inevitable question, then, is why I’m bothering to mention reaching one million hits at all. The first reason is that, as I explained on Twitter the other day, I’m trying to use the relatively safe context of blogging to practice owning my achievements and becoming more comfortable with saying, “Hey, here’s something cool that I did”. Right now drawing attention to myself in any way makes me all panicky (and yes, that includes writing this post. Insert several deep breaths here), but sadly that kind of reluctance is not something that gets you very far in the current job market. So: the one million landmark doesn’t tell me I’m bigger or better or more important or influential than anyone else, but it does tell me that I’m reaching someone; that people are bothering to stop by; that some of them actually value what I do; that they haven’t stopped visiting despite my recent erratic posting schedule and other blogging ups and downs. And that means something to me.

This brings me to the second and most important reason why I’m posting this: because I’m honestly grateful to each and every one of you who has ever found my blog useful or worth reading it, be it on a single occasion or on a regular basis. And to express my gratitude, I thought I’d do something I haven’t been able to do in a long while. When I mentioned my bookmark collection a few weeks ago, several of you expressed interest, so by the end of the week I’ll draw a name from the metaphorical hat and send the winner a bookmark tailored to his or her taste. The giveaway is open to everyone: if you want to be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment and make sure I’ll be able to reach you via e-mail or social media. Again, thank you all so much for stopping by over the past five years.

48 comments:

  1. I just love bookmarks, and your collection inspired me to start one! Count me in then!

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  2. Reaching a million hits is certainly a reason to celebrate! Congratulations! I, for one, have found lots of useful reviews on your blog!!

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  3. Congratulations!

    I love your bookmarks. I've tried making my own, but the result wasn't very good. I'm afraid I'm not one of those crafty people.

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  4. That's incredible Ana. You should be very proud of your blog as it's an amazing resource for readers:)

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  5. oh, #luvana! I value and appreciate your amazing thoughts not only on books that I have read and books I now want to read because of you but also your keen insights into that grand concept of LIFE.

    You rock. @bkclubcare / bkclubcare AT gmail

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  6. I read the Stacked post--of course they are right about stats, but whatever. A million hits!!! That's great! Congratulations.

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  7. Thank YOU for your time and dedication to this blog and books. We all appreciate you. *grin*

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  8. One million is something to celebrate! Congratulations. And be proud. :)

    One of the reasons I keep coming back is your writing. You always add something new to the conversation about books.

    Now, I'm off to check out the bookmarks post!

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  9. *congratulatory hugs* Thank YOU for your wonderful blog!

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  10. Congratulations on this achievement! I've only been reading your blog for about a month now, but I thoroughly enjoy it. :)

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  11. I so understand why this post was hard for you to write. And I hope it doesn't sound condescending to say this, but I'm really proud of you for doing it! I know it's not in your nature to talk about how wonderful you are. But you are! (Whether you ever believe it or not, it's true nonetheless.)

    Of course, there really is no way to equate "number of hits" to other tangibles like how many books were bought, etc. But I think most everyone who reads your blog knows that the number of books you've sold through your incredible reviews is enormous, the number of times you've taught someone something new or opened someone's eyes to a point of view they'd never before considered is outstanding, the number of times you've made a difference for the good in any number of ways is too high a number to count. I *know* this--from my very own personal experiences on all counts with you and your blog.

    Congratulations, Ana!

    Love you.

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  12. First, CONGRATULATIONS! The one million mark is unimagineable to me, but absolutely it is a big deal. The most important "stat" for me, however, is the number of comments. Those are the people who have actually read what's been written and have been curious/interested/happy enough (or not) to say so. I value comments over everything else. And even though I've been an erratic reader (and poster) for the past few months, I have ALWAYS been impressed by the number of comments your reviews inspire: literate and thoughtful, just like your work. So keep doing just as you've been doing, Ana. We are all better for it.
    Thank you for your blog, and mostly, for being you.

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  13. You deserve every one of those hits, congratulations!

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  14. Many of us value what you do. I have added more books to my TBR list based on your reviews than probably any other blogger. Your posts are always so well-thought out and you bring up ideas and thoughts that I wouldn't even imagine. I'm sure there will be many more hits in your future because this is definitely a blog that deserves to have people continuing to come back.

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  15. It may be hard for you to fly your own flag, but it is completely valid because you are one of the best. You've got more brains in your pinky than in my whole brain and you read the COOLEST books. And at this point, I try to ignore stats because they always depress me. What matters most are the friendships that spawn from these blogs that will last forever. Congrats girl!

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  16. As you may be aware, when I'm not reading things Sandy has recommended I'm reading things you have, and to be honest, many of the Sandy recs came first from you, then to her, so it's all really you! You have made a huge difference in my life, and I say "life" not just "reading list" because I live so much of my life mediated through ideas, which mostly come from the books I read. So that means you influence ME and how I think quite a lot!

    May you have a million more hits, and may I continue to be able to claim many of them are from me! :--)

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  17. 1 million hits is AMAZING, Ana. Congrats :) The book blogging community wouldn't be the same without you and I am happy that you've stuck with it for five years. That alone is an accomplishment.

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  18. What a fantastic achievement. I cannot imagine my blog ever hitting that number.

    In terms of your blog particularly, your posts are so incredibly thoughtful, and I appreciate that. From someone who started out with an academic bent and then shied away from it, I think it's impressive that you can discuss books the way you do and still have such great conversations. It's truly an art. No need to enter me in your giveaway. Just wanted to congratulate you.

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  19. Congratulations Ana! Quite the milestone and definitely worth recognizing!

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  20. I've only just started following you, but I've enjoyed browsing.

    And I just started blogging, and the stats thing pretty much became my new video-game, even though I recognize that stats don't really follow rules that make sense.

    I wrote about it here:

    http://raisedbymydaughter.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-many-page-views-is-lot-and-why-do-i.html

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  21. Yayy!! Congratulations! That's an amazing milestone. :D

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  22. A million hits is amazing! Congratulations! And good for you for owning this accomplishment--it's absolutely something to be proud of.

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  23. From someone who started a blog a few months ago and has only had 1300 hits so far, a million hits sounds amazing. I enjoy your blog and have actually added some books to my TBR list based on your reviews.

    Thank you and congrats!

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  24. Hey, when you really care about what you are saying, people can tell! I firmly believe career opportunities you care about will come your way eventually, and when they do, the gatekeepers to those opportunities will be able to tell how much you care as soon as you speak to them. Your whole blog has been practice for that, not just sharing your well-deserved stats.

    Or perhaps more to the point, I'll just quote Kage Baker's cyborg antiquarians: "Don't let the monkeys get you down."

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  25. Congratulations on reaching the one million mark! You deserve every view, every comment. Here's wishing you a million more hits!

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  26. Geez, I can't improve on what villanegativa said (this is how the internets keep you humble). But I can say please keep it up.

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  27. Congratulations, Ana! And you should definitely own up to that achievement. :)

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  28. Congrats, Ana!! Blogging wouldn't be the same without you!!

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  29. A million hits is an amazing achievement! And I'm very proud of you for writing this post despite your reservations. I know how hard it probably was. But you really do deserve to be proud of yourself as I agree with what everyone has told you in the comments above :)

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  30. Something else "number of hits" stat doesn't tell you: how many people who subscribe by e-mail are reading your posts, even if they don't come to your blog to comment. (Guilty!)

    Congratulations on your achievements, statistical and (far more important) non-statistical.

    And I would love to win a bookmark ;-) Thank you for the chance to win.

    debbie AT exurbanis 9com)

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  31. I love your blog Ana and want to say thank you to you for all your hardwork you deserve all the hits you get. Plus you know how much I love a good bookmark.

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  32. I love your bookmarks AND I love your blog! What I especially love is that you look at things through a lens that I find interesting and important but am not very well versed at myself. And you get me really excited about a lot of nonfiction about social issues that I care about. I only have three book blogs in my Google Reader and you're one of them.

    Rock on!

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  33. I find everything you say here so thought provoking. Thank you for that.

    This is really self serving, but you were such an observant, engaged reader of May B., I'd love if you could make a bookmark that reflects your thoughts/impressions/etc. of the reading experience.

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  34. congrats-and count me in for a bookmark!

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  35. I discovered your blog the other day for the first time. New to blogging myself and am really not sure whether I'm going to keep it up. It's quite hard work. So congrats anyway on keeping it up for so many years. I was grateful to have found someone that read Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm and quoted your review on the book (couldn't have done it better myself) in the blog I did on reading. I also found the Project Gutenburg site on your blog and now have quite a bit to read. I live in a remote area with no library close by. So thanks, you certainly lightened up my life. Keep it up if you like and if you don't drop it. One of the better sites this one, so do keep it up.

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  36. A million is still a big deal, so congratulations! I always love seeing your bookmarks, too :-)

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  37. Congrats on the one million mark. And judging from the comments on your posts, you touch a great many people.

    I enjoy visiting your blog and hope your sharing continues to bring you joy.

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  38. Wow, one million! That's awesome.

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  39. Congratulations! :) I like visiting your blog, your posts are always so well-written.

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  40. I know you hate saying things that draw attention to yourself, but your readers love you and love celebrating your accomplishments too! One million hits is a big deal, but more than that, you've created a space that encourages discussion and the sharing of ideas. You've introduced people to new books and authors and you've inspired people to step outside their reading comfort zones. That's something to be proud of! I love your bookmark collection too. I've been collecting bookmarks for as long as I can remember and they mean a lot to me.

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  41. One million! THAT is amazing. And like everyone else has been saying you deserve those hits and I, personally, love reading your analysis of books and other things even if I basically lurk and don't comment.

    Congrats :-)

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  42. A million hits!!! Wow!!! That's amazing Ana :D I don't even know how many hits I've had as I've moved blogs so many times, lol. This post just made me so..so…happy and sentimental and made me go down memory lane and all kinds of emotions. I met you a million hits ago :) And your friendship is truly one of the things I treasure more than anything in this whole blogging experience. I know I haven't been the best friend lately, as is evidenced by me just seeing this post :/ And I'm so sorry for that :( But please know that I think of you pretty much every day and you come up in me and Matt's conversations all the time as if I saw you every day :p And I still use your bookmarks all the time which are some of my absolute favorites :) So no need to enter me for that..I'll let someone else have the honors of having an Ana bookmark! Here's to a million more hits :) Love you!!

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  43. Congrats Ana!!! Not just on the (awesome) visitor mark, but also on writing this post & pushing yourself to own your achievements. :D Yay for breaking the good girl curse!!!

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  44. Thank you so much for the congratulations and very kind comments, everyone! I hope you know how much they mean to me. (And one extra thank you to Trapunto. I love that quote and promise to try my best to remember it.)

    I'll get in touch with the giveaway winner next Monday. Petru and Pam G, I don't have your contact info so please check back here in case it's you. I'll leave a comment asking you to e-mail me if so.

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  45. I hope you become more comfortable in saying "here's something cool I did", because you should, your writing is brilliant - style, engagement, arguments. Stats aren't everything for the reasons you provide, but they give a rough idea and are sometimes the best way we have of measuring impact.

    Congrats on the million hits, no matter the bots and your own visits!

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  46. Congratulations Ana! I'm late to the party, but I'm glad you are taking steps towards owning the awesome things you do. :)

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  47. Congratulations on the milestone, you definitely deserve it...

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  48. Ana, you have been there for me since I started blogging. Commenting, making me feel like I mattered as a blogger. And I will forever be grateful for that. I think that there are hundreds of bloggers that could say the same thing and as amazing as 1,000,000 hits is (it IS truly amazing!), your kindness and influence are really what I want to thank you for. So thank you and congratulations. You are an amazing person.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.