If you have a blog or a website, you’re probably utilizing tools to monitor and analyze the traffic to better understand and grow your audience.  My friend Leyla wrote a great post about Using Analytics to Get the Most From Your Blog Posts this time last year and revived it today for an anniversary run.

As Leyla aptly outlines, these tools can help you to understand where your traffic originates, which ads are effectively driving traffic, and what content keeps them coming back.  The keywords section resonates with me this morning.

Keywords tell you which words or phrases were searched that led an eager, motivated surfer to your little corner of the web.  These are illuminating because they can tell you objectively how your content is perceived.

Or they can tell you that you’re fat.

I woke up to this rather shocking slap in the wordpress this morning.  This juicy nugget of analytics tells me little about my blog’s reach but it did deliver.

Initially, I obsessed (as I am wont to do) over the reality that someone recently encountered me at a happy social function, possibly engaging me with a smile, a hug, and promises to catch up one-on-one over lunch only to be thinking behind glassy eyes, “Dang, Felicia has gained some weight.”

What boggles my mind is that this person was motivated to actually SEARCH for information behind this weight gain.  What did this person expect to find?  A reason perhaps, or a discussion thread devoted to the topic. God forbid.

And then something wonderful happened.  I started laughing.  You would think being faced with the words that women fear more than death would give me a moment’s pause to blush or cry or vomit or something melodramatic.  Truth is, I was contemplative and then I was laughing.  And this reaction delights me.

I was too chicken to participate in Rachel‘s brilliant No-Makeup Week campaign for all the usual excuses.  It stands to reason that being called fat would appeal to the same ingrained self-image issues and cripple my confidence for at least a few minutes.  But it didn’t and here’s why.

I come from immigrants.

I grew up on public assistance.

I know people who are hungry right this moment.

I will never, ever complain about having too much food to eat.

I love and I am loved in return.  And I always try to be kind.  These things make me who I am.

So thank you, anonymous searcher, for the morning laugh and lesson.  This concludes my attention to the matter.  I have gained some weight and I think I look fantastic.  I will obsess no more.

And besides…you’re ugly.

Why I left Facebook

February 11, 2010

“You what!?!”

It’s a common response these days, and I understand.

Facebook is a given.  Every person, every family, every business, every brand is assumed to have a page on the ubiquitous site to the point that the question is no longer “Do you have a Facebook page?” but now  “What’s your Facebook?”

And it is indeed a solid means of keeping up with people, reconnecting with lost friends, finding new friends, and identifying yourself without saying a word.  I get it.  I was on for a long time and I had a bushel and a peck of old friends and new, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and sometimes their dogs poking me at all hours.  I felt connected, up to date technologically, and heard.  All was right in the world.

But it wasn’t.

Why do we lose contact with some people and not others?  One friend moves to another state and you speak every day for thirty years.  Another friend is right over there and one day you realize, you haven’t chatted in months.

We’re supposed to lose contact with people.  It’s our natural ranking system.  We make the time and the effort to reach out to some people, while others fall off the radar.

There are one hundred thousand reasons why some fall off the radar but only one reason why others don’t.

Because you don’t let them.

The noise of Facebook got to me one day, although it had been building gradually.  The apps, those god-damned apps, and quizzes about nothing just got too tedious.  I found myself blocking apps and ignoring invites (so very untargeted as Benjamin West aptly writes) more often than I was posting; more than I was enjoying posts.

A few days before my ’09 birthday (Scorpio.  Shocker.)  I deleted my account.  On my birthday, a very strange thing happened.  My phone rang.  I received four calls from non-family wishing me a happy birthday.  Each noticed I wasn’t on FB anymore and each agreed that they probably would have just posted a note had I been online.  But each knew it was my birthday and decided to make the effort to call.

For me, it was so much better than getting 500 birthday posts from people who were just notified that it was my birthday.  Now, you may argue that even those four were notified somehow and you’re right.  So what?  They called.  I, too, have a separate contact list with birthdays for the extra special people in my life, and apparently, I was in theirs.

Ranking system.

(Full disclosure:  I readily admit that I was guilty of relying on FB for this cursory approach to keeping in touch.  2010 is a whole new ballgame.)

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