When the like button arrived, things changed.
When view counts were made visible to everyone, things changed.
Now everyone had something to compare their work to.
If you created a post and it had less likes than another, it wasn’t as good.
When you search for a video, do you click the one with more or less views?
These are the kind of metrics where if you plotted them on a graph, up and to the right is better.
Of course, this graph has only two axes. If these suits your needs, it’s a good graph.
But what if all of sudden, view counts, likes and other up and to the right metrics were taken away.
How would it change your work?
What would you measure on?
What would your new set of axes be?
I ask myself this every day. It’s one of the reasons my site has no analytics. Would I still make it if I couldn’t see metrics? If the answer is yes, I keep going. If the answer is no, if I’m doing it to see the numbers go up, I try and steer clear. Note the try.
Instead of chasing up and to the right metrics, ones which can be gamed, try pretending they don’t exist. Then ask yourself, what would I make now?
I wrote this post. Reread it. Then thought. The contradicting thought here is making things which earn you money. But then I rethought it again. And money is another up and to the right metric. However, it’s required to live. And getting rich means you’ve bought value, in one way or another, to someone else (more likely alot of someone else's).
If in doubt, make art and make profits. Art to make your soul sing, profits to keep the lights on, feed you and fuel your future creations.
A third meta-thought. The more I write. The more I realise all advice adds to zero. For every intelligent thought, there’s another arguing the opposite. A wiseman adheres to both at the same time.