There’s no such thing as bad stats. All stats are good stats, you just need to know how to interpret them properly.
How Going Unread Is a Good Thing

What Began as a Quick Comment Became a Bit of an Essay, Replete with Infographics

Okay, “replete” is a strong word. There are two.

My hobby recently has been to put all my Medium stats onto a spreadsheet and make infographics. I like infographics. I like compiling data. It’s proved remarkably motivational and therapeutic as well, and as of today it’s yielded a bunch of numbers and one slightly interesting — not quite fascinating — result.

I experimented with which data sets to display in what ways for a while. After a while I settled on two line graphs.

One line graph displays my views and reads and recommends, and it is interesting but not remotely encouraging. It’s pretty much the same display as the analytics that Medium automatically generates.

But, me, I like ratios. So the other graph tracks percentages and ratios. Of those percentages and ratios, two are most important to my motivation:

  • My daily view/read ratio.
  • And — the most interesting data overall — my overall view/read ratio.

I’ve only been putting any work into my Medium stuff for a bit more than a month, so only the last month and a bit of data is interesting.

But it is interesting. I added trend lines to all the data sets so I can visualize my trends.

Speaking of visuals.

Boom! Visuals.

The blue line is my daily view/read ratio. The green line — the most important line for the writer in me — is my overall view/read ratio.

The cool thing I’ve been watching is that my overall view/read ratio has been trending pretty steadily up, as you can see. If I break this down then, mathematically, it’s probable that it will. Since it includes all the responses and comments I make on other people’s stuff, and those are shorter and get more exposure than my own stuff, then it’s more likely for that ratio to trend up and up.

It could, however, be possible for that line to trend down. That tangled bit starting around November 4th and going till about November 8th reflects a point when I dropped a comment on 7 Things You Should Do Before 7am by Ashley Simon. My comment got over 1200 views, but it got less than 200 reads. And that’s the most significant traffic I got for a bit, and it totally makes the numbers look wonky. See below for…

Babboom! Further visuals.

The blue line is my daily views, and the red line is my reads. Over to the left, around where the first graph looked all knotted and peculiar, is that spot where my blue line — my views — spiked to it’s highest point ever. As you can see, though, my reads didn’t reflect that.

And the math says: Any spikes in the blue line without analogous spikes in the read line will create dips in the green line in the first graph. That’s bad news. That’s regression.

As a writer, the red line is the most relevant one to me. I do care how many people know about me. I do want to be a well-read and well-read writer, so seeing as the red line indicates how many people took the time to at least glance to the end of my stuff, the red line is more interesting to me than the blue line.

As you can see, around November 10th, the red line and blue line started following a similar path. And as you can see in the first — and more relevant — graph, that’s about the same time that my daily read/ratio statistic began to pretty consistently float between 63% and 95%.

It just so happened that, around November 10th was also when I examined my writing style, my message, and what I wanted to put out there, and started to make an attempt to really write what I wanted here. I looked at my statistics, see, and I decided that I was the problem. And I made some changes, because I decided that I had a goal.

I wanted to make the green line on the first graph trend up.

So while all these numbers and so on aren’t proving that I’m famous, what they are doing is encouraging me, organizing me, and they are giving me some numbers to support this statement:

I’m working in the right direction. Statistically speaking, more people read what I have to say than they ignore me. An’ that’s progress.