Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quantitative Friending

There was a time in my life, just a few years ago really, that if you had asked me something like, "How many friends do you have?" I would have looked at you like you had two heads? It is a ridiculous question. I have lots of friends. I have a small group of friends that I've known since junior high. I have friends from my first college. I have friends from my second college. I have friends from many of the clients I have worked for. (I've spent many years of my career as a consultant.) I now have mommy friends. But how many? That's ridiculous.

Except now in the age of social media, we have all kinds of ways of tracking the quantity of our relationships. Let's see:

Facebook personal page: I have 114 friends. This does not phase me at all. I ignore many friend requests. I post lots of personal stuff on my page, so unless I'm ok with you knowing details about my kids, you don't get friended.

Facebook fan page ( I have 17 fans. (No, that is not a typo.) Unlike my personal page, this one seems a little more insulting. A) Because 16 is just pathetic. And B) because it means that people don't want to see my blog posts in the FB feed. "Really? But I thought you liked my blog?" In actuality, I don't really care. So far, I have only been using it as a FB notification method for new blog posts. So if you subscribe to my blog in some other way (RSS, email, etc.) you don't really need another way, and I get that. But I need 25 to get myself a FB URL. Can you say ? (Yes, I know it doesn't work. I just told you that I need 25 fans before they'll let me have it!)

Twitter ( I have 206 followers.I really don't know how this happened. But even if half of those aren't 'bots, I impress myself. Because that number seems HUGE to me. Especially since here is a sampling of my recent tweets:

Riveting stuff, huh? You should totally go follow me on Twitter.

Blog 1: Sarcasm 101 (you are here): 30 followers, 7 email subscribers, 770 page views last month. (These numbers are sad, I know. I started my blog in March though, so cut me some slack.)

Blog 2: Little Ants ( (the rainbows & unicorns side of me... stop laughing. It's a small side.): 15 followers, 2 email subscribers, 279 page views last month. (These numbers are even sadder. But who wants to read adorable stories about my kids? Basically, their grandparents. And really, that's who this blog is for.)

OK. That's all the easy stuff. But then there is also the SLEW of websites that will offer additional information about how loved (or not) you are. Here are some:

Alexa ( Tells you where your website ranks among all sites on the web. Sarcasm 101 Alexa rank =  6,071,394 among all websites. (Personally, the fact that is has a rank at all I find pretty amazing.) Little Ants = no ranking.

Follow Friday ( Tells you how many people have recommended you to other tweeters using the #FF hastag. I have been recommended 7 times. (Really? Did I thank all of you? Thanks!) I rank 113, 234 globally.

Klout ( Tells you how much people respond to your tweets. And what topics generate the most response. My Klout ranking is 54. I am influential (most recently) on blogging, politics, debt, facebook, & tweetdeck.

Note here that I just started using TweetDeck, so the reason my tweets generate a lot of responses is because they look something like this:

More amazingness. Don't you want to go follow me on Twitter? (Yeah, I didn't think so. What are those 206 people thinking?)

Who Unfollowed Me ( A website that, once you register your Twitter account, will keep track of which of your followers dumps you. Apparently I have lost 4 followers in the last few days.

So What Does All of This Mean?
So if you've stuck with me this long, I have an important announcement for you: It doesn't mean anything. Go ahead, look at the numbers. It's fun. But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not put to much stock into them. They mean so very little.

In the real world, do you care if every person that you work with is your buddy? No. Do you care that you're not still friends with every person you went to high school? No. Are you glad for the handful of really great friendships that you have with the people you really love to spend time with? YES!

I know that we all want to think that what we're putting out there is great stuff, but just remember that not everyone is gonna' love what you're putting out there... AND THAT'S OK! So don't fret if your blog numbers are low, or if you're facebook fan page doesn't have enough fans to even allow you to get a URL (Hello! Here's the link again in case you missed it.), or if you lose a few Twitter followers.

I have unfollowed exactly two people on Twitter because I know how much some people fret about losing followers. But here's the thing about me: I am both a prude and an atheist. The two people I unfollwed: one regularly retweeted Bible verses and the other was regularly talking about getting high. (Not a fan of the illegal drug use. Have at it people, I just don't want to be involved. Especially not when it's 75% of your tweets.) And I think that both of these people should continue to be exactly who they are and be perfectly self-assured enough to be fine with the fact that someone like me may not be interested in following them on Twitter. So I may end up unfollowing some more people in the future. If I do, please don't take it personally. And if you ever want to unfriend me or unfollow me or hide my facebook posts from your feed or not include me in a Twitter list or unsubscribe to my blog, go for it. I promise I won't take it personally either.


Unknown said...

Oh, crap. There are a bunch here I didn't already know about.

sigh... off to judge myself on new sites now....

Julie said...

I'd like to print this out in a disclaimer and hand it to EVERYONE. It's great to be aware of your influence and standing, but don't take it so seriously! If you are blogging/tweeting/fbing for the numbers, you're doing it wrong. Write for the joy of seeing the words string together into sentences, tweet for the fun of goofing off with other silly folk and learning new things, and...well, I have nothing nice to say about facebook, so there.

Great post. Really.

Julie said...

Now you'll excuse me while I click on these sites...

Stephanie said...

I am avoiding looking at my numbers at all. I just know that I will obsess which will not do anyone any good.

Matt Conlon said...

Well, I will certainly follow / like / follow you! :)

Anonymous said...

I am such a weenie I can never bring myself to use those sites because of the "if you want to use this feature you will authorize us to connect to you on twitter, let us access your info, tweet on your behalf, and kill your first born child" clause. So I deny and they bump me out ::shrugs::

Also, BAH, when did your blog require me to create an account to leave comments and tag it with my Google ID. I'm so freaking tired of every site requiring me to freaking sign up for something.

::Grump, grump::

Unknown said...

I hate how often I look to see if my numbers have changed of friends and followers on my social media sites. It's sad because I realize I have more friends via social media than in my real life.

Roxanne said...

I liked you on Facebook, to help you get your URL. :)

I try not to think about my numbers. I glance at them every once in a while and see how many blog views I'm getting, but I don't really think they have much....clout (haha).

Kate Pantier @ Mommy Monologues said...

Yeah I've been blogging for a year & I didn't know about half of you are waaaay ahead of me on all this stuff!

Kimberly said...

Now I'm off to check out my lack of social skills...

Alex@LateEnough said...

Wow. I didn't even know about the #ff site. But now I've decide to base my entire day around it. Thanks!

rubyspikes said...

Yeah for threaded comments! Not on this post, but on future ones. So I don't have to do this...

Jillsmo: you are awesome. if other people don't see that, don't worry about it! really! here... have a glass of wine.

Julie: thank you. and what'd you find?

Stephanie: I'd be better off. Or dead from curiosity.

Matt: welcome. and thanks.

Oak Park Girl: i decided privacy is for wimps. not really. i hate it too.

Jennee: that's the nature of social media, though. it's easier to "collect" friends online. IRL, you have to actually work at it.

Roxanne: thanks. i got it, too! yeah!

Kate: i'm new to blogging, but i work in IT. so stuff like alexa i've known about for years.

Kimberly: and....???

Alex: :) glad to help

OK... everyone else as thrilled as i am about the threaded comments? oh you will be...

Post a Comment