It’s Dan Ariely Time!

I’m quite happy that it appears that Dan’s column in the Wall Street Journal is back with some regularity because it has always been a great source of material for my blog. And this week is no exception.

Here is one of the emails Dan received:

Dear Dan,

I am obsessed with my blogging stats. I can’t stop checking what the latest numbers reveal. If I am on my laptop and trying to get some work done, I’ll talk myself into just taking a quick look, but then 30 minutes slip by before I return to my work. If I’m driving somewhere and get a traffic light, I quickly take out my phone and open up the WordPress app. And more and more often the person behind me beeps because the light is now green. When I’m sitting at home watching TV, I’ll check my stats every two minutes, knowing that likely nothing has changed. But I end up having no idea what the TV show was about.

I also realize the stats mean nothing, it’s not like I’m blogging for money (we’d be bankrupt if I was). But it’s gotten to the point where the stats are all I think about. My wife will start telling me about her day, while in my mind I’m trying to estimate how many views I’ll have by the end of the week. Is there a way I can break away from this obsession? I’m worried I might start missing work because I’ll want to stay at home all day and just look at my stats. By the way, in case you are interested, I just hit an all-time high of five views the other day, and I am now up to two followers. I would be really honored if you would follow me. Thanks, Anonymous

And here was Dan’s response:

Dear Jim Anonymous:

I would not worry about it; I am obsessed with my stats as well. That’s why I am always happy when you feature one of my posts, since I know it will lead to a significant rise in my own stats. I think what you are suffering from is a sense of guilt; what I often suggest in such situations is to set goals for yourself not related to blogging, but when you achieve them, reward yourself with some stat-checking time.

For example, if you are in the middle of doing work, set a goal of not checking your stats for 10 minutes. If you are successful, reward yourself with 60 minutes of stat-checking time. When you are stuck at a light, set a goal of no more than three beeps from the car behind you when the light turns green. Reward yourself with a coffee from Wawa and sit in the parking lot drinking your coffee and checking your stats. And while watching TV, set a goal of trying to remember at least one of the plot lines. If you can successfully tell your spouse what the plotline is, reward yourself with some stat checking time until the next commercial comes along. You don’t want to miss the commercials.

OK, I gotta go, I have to check my stats… Dan

P.S. here is the link to the real Dan Ariely’s latest column

*image from Deviant Art

68 thoughts on “It’s Dan Ariely Time!

  1. I think this Jim … er, um, Anonymous has a problem!!! Perhaps he needs a vacation on a desert island with no WiFi!!! πŸ˜‰ Would have read the real Dan’s column, but the WSJ only lets me read the first few lines without a subscription. Used to have a subscription, but I fell out with them and canceled it about a year or so ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This guy most certainly has problems, checking his stats constantly is just one of many. And I understand charging to read content, but it seems like not all of the stories in the Journal require a subscription, and it seems odd that Dan’s column would be behind the paywall…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I must admit to checking my stats multiple times a day, and to being a bit disappointed if at the end of the day I fall under 300 views. I’ve even been known to wake in the middle of the night and see what’s what. Don’t tell anybody, though. 🀫

        Yes, I thought it odd, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My sister would probably be confused! But you mean you forgot who the 4 “nameless guys” are who appear from time to time in my stories? The one who wrote that letter is one of them.
        Ooh some people’s memories are so short!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Tink is one of the characters in Carolyn’s ongoing stories about the North Pole. She’s based the character after you. I think it’s a form of voodoo, which allows her to exact revenge on “nameless” bloggers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There are worse addictions than this one. It all seems pretty harmless. You’ll have to do a post sometime about what conclusions you can draw from your stats.

    My dad used to keep stats about His gasoline purchases. He was pretty obsessive about the whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope this anonymous guy is able to keep things under control before it gets to be a serious problem.

      It would be interesting to look at your dad’s stats and see how gas prices have changed over time…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of your best posts, my friend! This made me laugh out loud! The crossed out Jim in the salutation of his response, the reward of Wawa coffee, and the five views and two followers were all priceless humor. I got sucked in thinking the was just another great article from Dan being shared, but you twisted me into a ball of laughter. This is some great writing and creativity! Hope it busts your stats! Well written, Jim!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. thanks for making us wake up with a laugh. based on your responses, i’d say if you did the stats on this, the number of us who laughed would be be quite high. but don’t figure that out now, save that for a special treat later! not a bad vice to have, enjoy it !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Beth. I always hope when I read Dan’s column that I can get a blog post out of it. But when I read his most recent one, nothing was coming to me, so I thought I’d make up my own letter to Dan…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Diana. this Anonymous guy needs to get his life together, and you must not have read too much today πŸ™‚

      and by the way, I am not sure what you go by – is it D. or Wallace, or Diana…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm . . . WordPress stats! And I thought the world ran on Dunkin’s donuts and coffee. Making a note to self . . . check my stats at least once a day. Besides, I am too busy reading posts like this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anonymous is good friends with Santa, but he likes to keep that on the down low. I doubt if he would ask Santa for help; he’s just happy when Santa lends him his sleigh every one in a while…


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