September 27, 2011

Chasing Numbers

I have become completely obsessed with all things blog related.  When I started I had these dreams like everyone else did of writing the next Great American blog. Now I have been pretty successful in the past nine months bringing in over 42,000 page views, 125 Facebook Likes, and over 660 Twitter followers, but therein lies the problem.  Why do I care about those numbers?

They are just numbers.

There are three things that I should care about more than anything; my wife and two kids.  Somewhere though I began to obsess about this nonsense, spending much of my day on Facebook and more recently Twitter.  I love the instantaneousness of Twitter, so much so that I would sit on my stupid phone and watch my stream more than I would my kids.  I always thought it was crazy when people tweeted that that were playing with their kids and how much fun they were having.  Why wouldn't you just enjoy the moment and not spoil it by sending off a tweet?  Well here I was doing the same damn thing.

I could shoot myself for it.

I have the two coolest little kids on the planet, sorry everyone else, and I was half paying attention to them because my mind was on my Twitter stream.  What an idiot! That looks great to the kids huh?

You should still follow me
Now don't get me wrong I have some awesome relationships that I have built online.  I have no doubt that if I actually met these people in person we would be really good friends.  The problem though is that for the most part, aside from one other blogger, I have never met anyone. They still exist solely in cyberspace.  It's the real people, the people in the flesh right in front of me, that I should be paying the most attention to. 

Only I am not.

I am making a vow to myself to focus more on what matters to me, and that's my family, somewhere along the way I lost sight of that.  By no means am I going to stop doing my blog, where would everyone get their Lego fix, but I am not going to go nuts wondering how to get more page views or unique visitors.  I am going to put down my phone when the kids are around, maybe take a day off here or there from Twitter or even have a Facebook free weekend.  Maybe instead of sending one of my friends a message, I'll actually go visit them.  Real life face to face.

Chasing numbers?

The only thing I will be chasing from now on is my kids.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?



  1. You just made me stop, look around, and wonder what the hell I'm doing on the computer.

    Thank you.

  2. What an amazing post mate, and really got me thinking as well, i have been doing exactly what you are doing and chasing numbers, trying to get more followers and generally make more friends online rather than spend time with my family.

    I have been trying this week to try and get all my blog posts for the week written, but i think next week i'll definitely make sure to have that done and do exactly what you said.. Spend time with the family. Thank you mate.

  3. I just think we all need a reminder sometimes to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. I love the community I have made online, but that can't be what defines me. It's OK to have both, just need to fit it in at the right time.

  4. I'm the worst about this. It's so hard. I love love love my kids more than anything but sometimes I crave adult interaction...and then it gets away from me. I try to set limits on myself, but I suck at that. I need a twitter free few days, I think - but the very thought upsets my tummy!

  5. Grrr. Had a long comment typed up and my computer logged me out of EVERYTHING.

    Anyway, long story short, this is something that I've been working on, although it's been much more of a facebook addiction for me. I've been making a conscious effort to stay off of the computer in the evenings when the kids are around and it's been much more peaceful without me just being the referee from my desk.

    Now when they're all in school or in bed - yeah, I'm on the computer. But even then, I've been forcing myself to get more stuff done around the house.

    Thanks for the reminder!


  6. Good work Daddio! I struggle with the same thing and trying to find a balance. The numbers are impossible not to care about. Impossible! That and the comments - I still get so pumped for new faces on the GFC and comments. But I've started putting my phone away from 7-9 and 3-bedtime. It can wait. It can always wait. And if it can't, then I don't want it anyway.

  7. It's hard as a stay at home parent... I don't know about the women but as a dad there is not a huge support group where I can lean on in the day. My online friends ARE my adult interaction, I just need to know when to shut it off. Like you said it's hard.

  8. I feel you, man, especially since I've been away from the kids the days I'm on campus. It's hard for me to justify spending time huddled over my computer or cell when I'm home with them just because they want so badly for me to just hang out and be present. I've been making an effort to "unplug" on days I'm home, and while I may not be posting as much as I could be or participating in every social network conversation, I wind up feeling much better after a day spent playing with them than a day I was able to promote my newest post just a few more times. Like you said, it's nice as a stay-at-home parent to have adult contact, so like most other things, it's a question of moderation.

  9. Bravo. I went through the same thing a few months ago and you were behind me. You've reminded us all of a valuable yet simple lesson that sometimes we forget. Thank you.

  10. I am so glad you said this and not just because I find myself online more than playing with my kids either. But, because you see a lot of blogging parents who expect you to read, comment, share and have a intense conversation about every single thing they write. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do all that and give your kids quality play time.

    My own kids are both teens now and are into other things and that is when I do all things online but, like you, there have been times in the last year,where I focused more on blogging than them. I felt so bad about that.

    It is said that children spend more time online than their parents but, some of them had to learn it from somewhere. If a parent allows the internet to take over their life how can you say no to your own child...

  11. Well said - I've been there with you! It is hard to strike a balance between having the best blog and being the best dad. For me I work a full time job, try to be a good father, do a lot of cancer volunteer work/fundraisng, and hold down 2 blogs. I have decided that the blogs need to come last on the list of priorities. My kids learn by seeing me work hard, being with me, and watching me volunteer and help people. They don't learn by watching my back as it is turned to them on the computer. I ain't perfect by any means, but I try to keep those priorities in order. Nice post!

  12. The thrill definitely wears off eventually, and you're left feeling silly that Klout was in the back of your mind for every tweet you typed.
    Well, that was me.
    And now I'm back on track, doing what I started out doing with my blog. It feels a lot better... and I'm glad you've found the same relief!

  13. Hooray! I'm so proud of you! Its like the first step in recognizing that you have a drinking problem. I think social media addiction is worse because you can do it everywhere--on the playground, at soccer and at a red light. We want you back Johnny... So step away from the phone. Great fresh start for your birthday tomorrow.

  14. I never concerned myself with how much I was tweeting for scores and what not but you get kind of sucked in. You send one tweet and hour later you wonder where the day went. Definitely important to set limits, something I have struggled to do. Thank you all for your comments!