What does Sitemeter (the stat counter used by a lot of bloggers) have to do with libertarianism? Until a day or two ago I would have said, "absolutely nothing!" But today I see the connection.
I call myself "libertarian" because I believe in smaller government, a position which neither the Republican nor Democratic parties stand for. The Republican party is libertarian to a slightly greater extent, but their positions are pretty close. Since Bush has been elected to office he has done absolutely nothing to reduce the size of government, and in fact has been pushing new big-government initiatives like Medicare drug benefits and expansion of federal involvment with education. Even his "fix" for Social Security involves a new government program.
So I thought my moniker fit in with my political views. But since starting my blog, I have received a lot of animosity from hardcore libertarian nutcases who inspect everything I write with a magnifying glass and condemn me for every sentence that somehow doesn't mesh with their own view of libertarianism. (And I recently had an argument with those types in the comments of a post at Mises Economics Blog.)
Libertarians, if they ever hope to effect actual change, have to be inclusive and not exclusive. But too many self-proclaimed libertarians would rather whine and complain about how government sucks and no one understands them instead of trying to form a movement that has an actual chance of converting people and even winning some elections. You can't create a movement if you start by trying to exclude people from the movement!
I've blogged before about problems with libertarians, but unfortunately the first post didn't sink in.
And then two days ago,I blogged about Sitemeter, complaining about blogs that haven't gotten with the program and put an open one on their blog.
That post too has, surprisingly, received a lot of negative comments. Looking at the referrals on my Sitemeter report (which can help you find inbound links that Technorati sometimes doesn't find), I discovered another anti-me rant by a self-proclaimed libertarian who doesn't think I deserve to be part of his non-movement. And he brags about not having a Sitemeter on his blog as if it were a badge of honor. The implication is that a pure blogger doesn't care if anyone is reading his or her blog.
I am not ashamed to say that I do care if people are reading my blog. If you don't care about having any sort of influence, why bother to have a blog at all? You could just write stuff and save it on your computer. It would be easier and you could save yourelf the expense of paying $90/year for Typepad. Bloggers without Sitemeters are like the libertarians who don't care if they ever win an election or influence a single real vote.
Sitemeter provides a clue with regards to how much influence your blog has. Obviously not all hits have the same value. The Calico Cat has a post about blog traffic explaining how to identify quality vs. quantity. In addition to Sitemeter, I have also been using Technorati and the Ecosystem to check on my influence.
If you're interested in increasing your blog's influence, then examining from where your blog and other blogs get their traffic will help you to better understand the process. Which is why it's annoying when other blogs don't have Sitemeters.
Do I blog differently because of this? Yes, I put a lot of effort into making my blog interesting so people will visit, and I appreciate everyone who has visited and left comments. I even appreciate the people who write about how stupid I am, like dadahead. I know that I've at least helped to provide them with some sort of entertainment.