Site stats and the gamification of writing

19 Jul

MarioThis week, I’ve been lucky enough to have my blog featured on Freshly Pressed for the second time.  Both times, I’ve spent most of the day going “refresh, refresh, refresh!” on my site stats page.  I guess seeing the numbers come in makes me feel like I’m not just talking to myself here.

But really, they’re just numbers.  I’m sure a lot of people click on my post and go “That’s boring,” or “That’s not what I thought it was,” and click away.  Cognitively, I get that.  But, sitting here, I feel like Mario collecting coins in one of those bonus levels.  The happy music is playing.  And whenever I reach 100, I get an extra life.

So I sit here on my couch, watching the numbers roll in.  I had plans, things I wanted to accomplish tonight, but those have gone out the window.

I admire writers, especially those that can make something Real.  I know that it’s about really connecting with your audience.  And that really moving one person is better than getting lukewarm responses from 1,000.  But, somehow, I still want the page views, the points, the coins.  I want to know if this will make my Klout score go up.  Or how many more people will add me on G+ or view my profile on LinkedIn.

Mario Coin Bonus LevelI don’t have an endgame for this blog.  I don’t make any money off of it or anything like that.  So, it’s not like these points and extra lives are going to help me defeat Koopa or anything.  But I want them anyway.  I want a new high score.  I’d like to be able to write my initials in some Blog High Score Hall of Fame.  Sadly I don’t think that exists.

So I’ll settle for this.  My name is Maggie O’Toole, initials MAO, and today’s my high score.

And tomorrow I’ll try to beat it again.

Question of the day: What are your personal coins?  What makes you feel like you’ve gotten an extra life?

MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at

5 Responses to “Site stats and the gamification of writing”

  1. maryct70 July 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    So easy to get caught up in the site stats, isn’t it? Even when your hit count is in the single digits, it gives you a feeling of validation. And when you get the kind of stats that a FP event creates, you feel like you’ve won a Pulitzer!
    Congrats and keep up the great posts!

    • carljbspencer July 21, 2011 at 3:22 am #

      I came onto your blog via the Freshly Pressed page and really enjoyed it – I am now a subscriber (hurray). I’ve only just come back to WordPress after two years and have been looking at my stats repeatedly waiting for that first ever viewer! The good news is, I’ve now had TWO views! Success!!

      Keep up the good posting!

  2. Ty July 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm #


    I found your blog through Freshly Pressed and I’m very glad you were featured. I like your writing style very much and you have a nice range of topics here. This blog is a great read and very aesthetically pleasing and well composed.

    I definitely understand the mentality you’re talking about here and I love the comparison. I only wish my comment would give you a Fire Flower or a Power Star or some other super-charge. But, since blogging isn’t Nintendo, it will have to suffice to say congrats. I’m glad you’re enjoying this process – hopefully it means you will continue to write!

    Looking forward to reading more!!

  3. sharingclosetspace July 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    I found your blog through the “Books” tag on WP, and am very impressed. I’m a new follower 🙂 Your writing is insiteful and honest–do you do any writing besides blogging?

    • Maggie O'Toole July 31, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks! I don’t do any other writing, but I’d like to someday. Unfortunately, right now this blog is all the writing that I can handle. Until I started the blog, I didn’t understand what a big undertaking writing really is. I can’t even image a real process with editors and drafts. Maybe one day…

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