Shame on You
Have you ever wondered exactly how Professor Myers goes about grading blog activity? After all, with so many new posts and comments added to the account each week, it would seem nearly impossible to gauge each student’s involvement on the site.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to the most intimidating feature of WordPress.com – the so-called “stats” page.
You wont find more heated competition on ESPN.com. The stats page pitches each and every student head-to-head, providing up-to-date information as to number of posts and comments, as well as the popularity of individual entries in terms of “views”, “likes”, and “shares”. And don’t think that it makes any attempt to sugarcoat the truth. The “top authors” section quite literally ranks students based on their online contributions.
In nearly every sense, the webpage is a testament to “quantity” over “quality”.
If I were to begin posting two or three-word entries each day of the week, I am confident that my name would soar to the top of the rankings. I very deliberately choose not to.
I am proud of the quality of my posts and comments. For the most part, I can say with complete assurance that I put forth my best work each and every week. I strive not to make the most contributions to the blog, but instead to provide my classmates with intellectually enriching material.
This doesn’t exactly fit into the WordPress model. After all, there’s no way to quantify the wittiness of a post. Creativity can’t be depicted on a graph. No numerical value can be made to represent the emotional value or tenderness of a comment. The stats tracker simply isn’t… human.
I find it unsettling to think that so many aspects of modern society are evaluated in the context of similarly artificial constructs. The surrounding world will make every effort to measure your success in terms of dollars, cents, and the size of your house. You will be viewed as a culmination of the clothes you wear and the cars you drive. As for morality, empathy, or overall contentedness – they simply don’t compute.
Those things in life that are most important can’t be represented in the form of a number. And in the case of the online blogger, they most certainly aren’t depicted on any stats page.
As a UW student, I am not the number of entries that I post. I am not the number of “likes” that I receive. I am what I write, and how that writing affects my classmates.
WordPress.com, shame on you.