Thursday, September 9, 2010

Online popularity and self-worth

Yesterday I posted photos of the various hats I'm going to list on Etsy. I wanted to give blog readers a chance to call "first dibs" on any hats they wanted to purchase. By early afternoon, when no one had expressed interest in purchasing any of them, I was getting depressed.

And it hit me.... God has given me intrinsic worth as a unique human being. My worth isn't tied to how many crocheted hats I can sell. My worth isn't tied to how skilled I am at making hats. I enjoy this new hobby. I know that I make quality items. I hope I can make some money.

But people buy and don't buy handmade items for many reasons, and the cuteness and quality of the hats are pretty far down on the list. Does someone need a hat? Is it in their budget? Will it fit? My hats may sell quickly, and they may sell slowly, and they may not sell at all...and whatever the results are, I enjoyed making those hats. And I'll do well if I can learn not to take my sales figures (high or low) personally!

When I realized that, I felt a sense of relief and of renewed confidence in my worth as a person, apart from my accomplishments. Then it hit me, there is a lesson here for us bloggers too.

People visit blogs for a multitude of reasons, and some of the reasons don't even have anything to do with how well-written or well-designed the blogs are.

Our "blog stats" don't reflect on how worthy we are as people or even as writers. (I stopped checking stats months ago. It's been very freeing!) If we enjoy blogging, that is its own reward. Feedback and readership are wonderful things, but someone with 20,000 daily readers has the same value as someone with 2 daily readers.

If you'd like to, please join me today in making this commitment: We'll try to remember that we have worth as people, and that our worth isn't tied to how "popular" we are on the Internet. Maybe if we can consistently believe that, our non-Internet lives will stay a lot happier too!


Rachael said...

You hats are really cute. I think just no one wants to admit hat weather is upon us?!

I gave up caring about comments, checking stats a long time ago, and find that now I blog a lot less, but I enjoy it more. It's kind of liberating to just blog for yourself, when you feel like it, about what you feel like. Then the feedback is just a little bonus.

Call Me Cate said...

Great post, Beth. I constantly struggle with feelings of self-worth but I will say that I'm impressed with my ability to not let my stats on my blog play into that. Now, stats on another site I run? I'll admit I'm a bit obsessive. But I'm a professional webmaster and it's a new site. It's kind of my job to be obsessive in that situation.

I will offer this bit regarding your hats yesterday - I didn't get to your post until later in the day and was so sure the adorable bear hat had already been spoken for that I didn't yell for it. The pesky downside of comment moderation (though I still TOTALLY get why).

So that said, I'd actually like two bear hats as gifties for the niece and nephew, if you think one could be made to fit my bald will-be-one-in-Jan niece. She has a rather large noggin, perhaps.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I totally agree and I love how you came to the conclusion on your own.

I used to fret over how many Followers I had, how many Fans, how many subscribed whatevers. I do still check my analytics but only because I like to see what key words are still getting people to my site- it cracks me up that some of the stuff I wrote over a year ago still brings people to my blog! I also like knowing where my traffic is coming from and I can see some big changes in my traffic pattern over the past year that shows me that I am standing fully on my own fingers now.

Anyway- I'm with you. I know that I put quality content out there and I know that if I even touch just one person, I've done what I intended to do!

Tia said...

amen sister friend!

Unknown said...

Amen to that!

I will buy one of your hats eventually, I promise. Your designs are great and I can't wait until the right one for me is created.

Lara said...

You're soooo right. Sometimes I right something I thought was brilliant and only 1 person comments and I wonder what was wrong with it. I don't check blog stats, and I don't plan on starting!!

Amanda said...

Amen! I need to remind myself of the same thing. Thank you for this post.

On a side note...if you have a mutitude of hats just lying around, holiday vendor fairs make great venues to sell them at or they could be a great project for women's shelters. You could even do a class to show them how to make them for their own business opportunity.

Mellodee said...

Isn't it amazing how little it can take to upset our apple carts? Disappointments can be insidious, even if we try not to have unrealistic expectations! I don't doubt you'll succeed with your hats, just maybe not quite as quickly as you would like.

Elaine's Semi-Homemade Life said...

Well written, Beth! I've definitely been guilty of this. I just love hearing from the people who read my blog and their comments can be so inspiring! But you're right in that the downside when you don't get alot of 'attention' can be hard to take. Totally great reminder to take in the good and leave the bad! :)

stacief said...

I think the hats are really cute, especially the bear one, but money is tight. My little ones need new shoes rather then hats and I look terrible in hats!

I only have a few people that read my blog and I keep thinking that I'll stop, but I really do enjoy it and it lets my family see what we are up to.

SurvivorBlessing said...

We'll try to remember that we have worth as people, and that our worth isn't tied to how "popular" we are on the Internet.

That said - I do get down as well when I see that no-one has read my blog! But then again, I am not a daily poster either. I write when I get to it - I am a very busy Mami after all...

You are a wonderful person in so many ways, Beth!!! You are beautiful and smart, you are giving and very understanding, you are fantastic! So Amen to your commitment! We love you.

Megan Fletcher said...

I learned this recently when someone who lives far away but was visiting the area again told me how much she admires me and how I'm her hero. Huh?! I thought she was joking until she went on and on about things I had written on my blog and how she really admires me as a mom and servant of the Lord. I walked away from that encounter completely in awe of the Lord and how He allows us to be used despite ourselves! I so often think "no one really cares about this stuff" or "who exactly are you writing to? no one is reading this!"

I write to journal my own thoughts and what's happening in my life. And, I try to remind myself that just because someone doesn't comment publicly on my blog doesn't mean it's not impacting them. And, that's not even my goal! It's a possibly by-product. I often don't comment b/c I haven't fully processed something I've read or feel my comment would be kinda dumb (or just "one more" of the same thing already said).

So glad you know how valuable you are! I'm grateful for you...and your blogging!

Janell said...

That is so true Beth. Thank you for the reminder!

I really like the red button hat - so cute! If I didn't live in one of the hottest places in the world and I wasn't on a tight budget, I'd be all over it. :)

Jen said...

Amen! great post! I have struggled with giving up blogging altogether, but then sometimes my Dad will read a random post one day and gush about how he loves me. (Even though I know he does without saying a word.)

If I feel like it, I post. If I don't, I don't. It begins to feel like a chore any other way.

MarjnHomer said...

this post is so true. i used to get sad about nt gettin comments on my blog but now if i do or don't i still write to free my refreshing!

Zhongming said...

Well said! It really motivates me in many ways. Thank you!