One of the things I enjoy the most about my posts on my Website and my Gemini pod is that is have no idea how many views they get. I don’t track page requests, or have cookies. I capture literally zero information regarding visitors. There are no metrics, none. Not even a 90s style page hit counter.
Because of this I have developed a wonderful relationship with my posts. I write what I want, when I want. There isn’t a single metric to tell me how well received a post has been. Because of this I have trended towards longer posts, more opinionated posts and way more book reviews than even I expected. Actually the book reviews are the main focus of my Gemini pod. Just made sense to put the “good stuff” at the top and the rambly bloggy stuff below. That way when people visit I’m highlighting the stuff I am actually pretty proud of. For the website it made less sense and I’m not even sure why. That stuff is in a big jumbled list that I quite like.
The thing is, over the last few months I have been receiving e-mails from readers. Quite a lot. About two a week. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot but I have get two or three hundred views on a video on YouTube before I get a single comment. Writing an email is way more effort that commenting on YouTube but readers tend to be more engaged than viewers. In my head I assume this means I’m getting at the very least a few dozen readers pretty regularly. It could be WAY more or WAY less. Maybe those two emails a week are a hundred percent of the readers. I don’t know. I love not knowing.
The perks of ignorance.
As massively unlikely as it is, it is actually possible that I have a million readers. Unlike most sites, I am not only unwilling to monetize my readership but also totally unable to, by design. It’s way more likely that I have a few dozen readers. But even then, because I don’t have any metrics no one will ever try and buy advertisement space (not that I would sell it anyway). I have essentially an invisible audience and its fucking great.
My content is literally as unaffected by its audience as it can be. I have tried to keep it “clean” of influence on YouTube but the culture there demands that metrics be shown. People like knowing if the video they are viewing is popular. They seem to like reading and leaving comments and as much as I enjoy making videos the numbers that YouTube is so proud of is the least interesting thing to me. Actually its quite off putting to me.
I have said for a long time that if I YouTube closes its doors to me or if it becomes obvious that it’s not a place I want to posts then I will become a writer more than a video cobbler. I’ll still upload audio and the occasional video I’m sure but my content will be mainly written.
I like words. I can express ideas in words in ways that I simply cannot do on video. I can be verbose and intricate in pretentious ways that are satisfying and rewarding. If I were to make videos in that way I would come across like the self-absorbed hipster that I am. On some level I even hope that I one day I get to focus on the written word as my main outlet.
I enjoyed writing my Loop Hero article recently far more than I enjoyed making the videos. Not to say I didn’t enjoy making those videos. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it but there was something wonderful about crafting an article about a game. Being able to go back and change things as I flowed through the ideas allowed me to be creative in a more surgical way than my rambling video format. I was able to precisely say what I wanted to in the exact way I wanted to. My own voice, persona and delivery didn’t change the message. I was able to control it all and because of that was exceptionally pleased with the resulting work.
Maybe the readers hated it, maybe they only want to know about odd little Terminal applications and scripts. I don’t know. I am free to write whatever I want.
The best example of basking in that freedom is the story slices I have shared on here. “The Hunters Garden” series of posts are things that I would not have shared on YouTube. Not ever. I would not have shared them on a blog that had a comments section either. But oddly the few e-mails I got about them were gratefully received, even the very critical one was a good read.
With this ramble reaching I natural conclusion I would like to take a moment to thank all of the estimated twenty five trillion readers for allowing me to be so tirelessly self-indulgent and thank you all or the emails that I receive. I honestly do love getting emails.
With love, Hex.