why i don't use analytics

Social ranking numbers are poison to my mind. Likes, views, retweets, boosts, all these things are to me a social slot machine. Put words out, see which words get the numbers highest, chase that dopamine one more time.

It’s not about respecting your privacy. I could write code to count HTTP GETs on my server just as easily as I could add a google analytics js payload for your browser to run. I care about privacy, but that is not why.

The numbers are part of what drove me away from being an “active user” of timeline-based social media. I still post to mastodon and twitter, but I don’t live in those spaces the way I once did. On mastodon I can hide those numbers, but I can still click through to get a list of everyone who interacted with a post. And I know how to count.

I enjoy discussion with people whose opinions I care about. I enjoy when people reach out because a post spoke to them somehow. Numbers are not conversation.

I don’t want my blog to fall to that. I don’t want to know how many people read my words, how many people like it or dislike it. I don’t crosspost to vote-style aggregators, not because I don’t want the exposure but because if I’m the one linking posts in those spaces I will be the one looking back to see the votes.

This is my space, for my thoughts, my interests, and my feelings. Analytics would take that away from me. It would be your space. I would write for you, and I’d do it so much that I’d stop writing for me.

I refuse to let that happen.