What’s In A Number?

I originally wrote this post in March. I was feeling blue with the ski season ending and missing the comments and interaction with many readers.

July 29th marked the 2 year anniversary of Brave Ski Mom. Over the past two years, writing this blog has taken me places that I would have never imagined and introduced me to more amazing people than I could have hoped. It’s been good for me and my family. Because I am so happy to be writing, I am a better mom and wife.

And while the numbers shouldn’t matter,  93,152 people visited Brave Ski Mom between July 29, 2010 and July 29, 2012. Last year at this time, I had just cracked 20,000 visitors. The amount of growth during the past year is so exciting! Thank you, each of you, for your support. 

What’s In A Number

As the temperatures steadily rose during the late winter and spring, I noticed a corresponding decline in the numbers of visitors to my blog. If mountain temperatures rose above 50 degrees F, the average number of readers visiting Brave Ski Mom would fall. If mountain temperatures were below 30 degrees F, the average number of readers would rise.

I can explain this. Colder temperatures get skiers excited. Add some inspiringly deep snowfall statistics and BSM is a popular place to visit. Warmer temperatures make people less motivated to ski and more motivated to bike, garden and golf. Rationally, I know this. But I am not always rational.

What’s WRONG?

Here’s another correlation: when reader numbers fall, so does my mood. And this makes me unhappy, because I recognize that my reaction is…stupid. If Brave Ski Mom has a huge day, I feel triumphant and validated. If Brave Ski Mom has a smaller day, I feel let down and discouraged. I begin asking myself “What did I do WRONG?”

Numbers Define Us

Sometimes numbers = Simple Joy. Image Courtesy MTBMike.com/Facebook

While it should be obvious, I am still amazed at how completely the symbols for 0 through 9 permeate our lives. Numbers are everywhere. They define us in terms of age, weight, and height. Our identities are bound up in numbers: social security, credit cards, banking, addresses, phones.

Clutter or Care? 

Focusing only on skiing, I follow numeric snow reports and weather reports. New skiing apps that I’ve tested focus on total vertical feet skied, average speed, distance and comparisons against other skiers, all of which end with a numeric ranking. When it comes to the statistics gathered by these apps, I’ve got some perspective. I can ignore these numbers because I don’t need to know any of this information. It’s simply clutter.

So why can’t I let go of other numbers? Why do I check the numbers for Brave Ski Mom and allow them to affect me? Why aren’t these just clutter?

In part, it’s because I am often asked for these numbers. These numbers gauge readership, popularity and my commitment to writing. They help others decide how seriously they should take me. Am I a legitimate writer, or a scam artist? But the bigger reason is because I care. I care about these numbers.

Which Numbers Matter To You?

Numbers help tell my story. And while I can (and need) to choose how I will react to them, I can’t get away from them. And my guess is, neither can you.

How do numbers define you? Do you think this is good or bad? Are you motivated or discouraged by these numbers? Do you feel empowered or powerless? Can you ignore the numbers and measures in your life, or do you sometimes pendulum (like me) under their weight?

Think about it. And please comment. I would love your perspective.

Cheers!

As mentioned above, I wrote this in late March. I am happy to say that once I wrote it, I felt much better about numbers. In fact, I quit checking them! Who says you can’t write your way to mental health? 

© 2012, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.

About Kristen Lummis

I am the owner, writer and head ski tech at www.braveskimom.com. The mom of two boys in a busy outdoor family, I write about skiing all year round, tossing in some biking, hiking, parenting and even a bit of reflection during the off-season. While my recreational passion is for all things snow, my real passion is for my family.
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4 Responses to What’s In A Number?

  1. Jen says:

    I think you should be proud of 90,000+ visitors. I never look at my number but just did and it’s less than half of that;) You put a lot of work and quality writing into this blog so I’m glad the numbers show it for you.

    I recently got a Strava account for cycling. It makes me look at my numbers a little more for training but still not much. Sometimes it great to look at the data though!

    • braveskimom says:

      Thank you Jen for such kind words. I haven’t gone the Strava route yet, but I do use a NIKE app for running that tracks my data. As for skiing apps, I can’t stand ‘em. I don’t need any more encouragement to go faster, nor do my kids. Others may love them, but at least for skiing, I like being data free!
      Cheers!

  2. Amelia says:

    Great post and applies to so many of us bloggers. I often have to sit back and keep myself in check with a few questions:
    - WHY am I blogging?
    - What do I hope to accomplish?
    - How does this help myself and my family?
    - Am I still liking doing it?

    But, totally agree that the numbers make me giddy when they are high (and not so much when they aren’t…which is a good time to step away from the computer!)

    Thanks once again for your excellent insight. You are an inspiration (no matter WHAT your numbers say! :))

    • braveskimom says:

      Thank you Amelia! You are so right with those four questions. As well as the advice to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! So glad to know you. Thanks!

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