I used to think my biggest problem with numbers, in the New Year, stopped and started with the three digits that appeared on my bathroom scale after the Christmas season (sadly that number's never budging). In recent years, however, a new set of numbers has taken over my life. My resolution for 2016 is all about changing that, and I'm pretty sure it's going to change everything...
Last year I decided to stop being a blogger "number cruncher." I did this for one month. For 30 days I wrote, posted and shared snippets of my world because I loved sharing intimate details of the grand adventure that is life. I wasn't looking at how many likes I was getting on Instagram or how many hits I was getting on FFG. The material I shared was simply shared because I wanted it to be. And here's the honest truth - for the other 11 months of the year in 2015, pieces that made it to publication on FFG made it there because I knew they would be traffic drivers. I have at least a dozen stories, and at least a hundred pictures, that I can think of right now which were not thrown up online simply because I did not think they would grab a great deal of attention. Shame on me. No, seriously. For that reason alone, it makes FFG less of a blog and more of a commercial entity - which I, quite frankly, hate. But that's all going to change, now...
If you'll allow me to slip back, even by just four years, you'll see the online space was a different one. For starters, most of us weren't doing this full time. FFG began as a place where I could write outside my full-time career. I came home every night and posted for hours on end and loved every minute of it. I wasn't thinking about the outcome (or income for that matter). I didn't have a whole computer screen devoted to Google Analytics, where I could watch live traffic on the site (yes - I actually was doing this in 2015). In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't even have an analytics tool for the first year FFG was in existence.
But now, everything has changed and it doesn't start and stop with the blog. Every single form of social media is plotted and dotted to the second. The word "insta" in instagram has become somewhat of a joke. If I could only tell you the number of dinner tables I have sat around where the topic of debate has been the "best time to post on Instagram." Heaven forbid one post a picture at the time they took it, for fear of receiving only half as many likes.
And yes, I've fallen victim to that insanity. And it is a sort of insanity - one that only other bloggers and social media obsessives will really understand. For those outside the social arena, our seemingly jolly participation in sharing our lives is just that - a jolly thing to do. But, it has become so much more than that for so many people. It is a real life popularity contest, played out one hour at a time as numbers roll in from around the globe to seal your place as a social star.
In the past 12 months, I have seen three of my friends walk away from their blogs and social media accounts all together. While each have had slightly different reasons, they did share one commonality - just being fed up. The community that existed not so long ago has become a feeding frenzy, run by one thing and one thing only - numbers. And the sad fact of the matter is that most of the numbers mean nothing at all. Every single thing can be bought - instagram followings, blogger traffic, youtube views - it's all just a credit card click away. How does anyone know what's real anymore?
Now, this little rant is headed somewhere you see. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to give up. I don't want to walk away. I want to keep FFG going. Fashion Foie Gras has seen change. It's developed, over the past six and a half years, into something I still love doing everyday, but I let one thing get in the way - numbers. See a pattern here?
So for 2016, I'm making one resolution and one resolution only. I'm not going on a diet (hello...have you seen my content lately? I'm food obsessed), I'm not going to cleanse my house and become a minimalist, and I'm certainly not interested in doing anything silly like agreeing to do a marathon (let's be honest - I'd be down in the first mile). Nope, my resolution, as a blogger, for 2016 is simple. I'm leaving the number game and here's how I'm going to do it.
First, I've removed the analytics tracker from my site. Traffic hasn't changed much in the past six months (thank you loyal readers), so there's no point in me having a tracker that's just going to give me a slight anxiety attack every time I check it in the morning.
Secondly, I'm making a promise to myself not to check the social number growth on either Instagram or Twitter. I'll be on there liking up a storm, as I usually do, and interacting like a mad woman - but I'll be doing it as part of a community, not as someone who wants to sit atop the community with the biggest baddest digits on hand. I mean really folks, no one's going to beat the Kardashians when it comes to sheer power in numbers on social - so why even try? -don't even get me started on this.
And finally, I'm pledging to share for the complete joy in just sharing. My adventures around the globe, both good and bad, will be shared as they were originally intended when I first started FFG - because I enjoy writing about them and sharing them with you and not because I want to have a better rank on Google or with Alexa, ultimately just driving more advertising to the site.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, it means you might see a bit of a change from me and you'll either love it or hate it. You may leave and decide not to come back - or your may enjoy watching a train wreck and stick around the see how it plays out. Regardless, my detox means not giving a damn about the numbers that have otherwise ruled my life, and seem to rule the lives of so many around me. And who knows, maybe it will have a domino effect. Wouldn't it be great to sit around a dinner table and talk about our great adventures themselves, rather than the best times to share them with the world on social media?
Who'll join me on the numbers detox of 2016?