At 100 subscribers I was wondering if it ever gets to thousand. At 500 I noted that I am halfway there. Strangely at 1000 I barely cared enough to notice.
Amount of subscribers is typical things to obsess over, but is number worth that?
What subscriber isn't
The word subscriber itself is misleading. It brings up picture of dedicated reader, waking up with the sole idea of checking if his favorite blog wrote something.
Maybe some do. Not many.
What subscriber is
Subscriber is probability that someone's software is requesting your feed. Amount of subscribers is vague average of such feed requests.
What is perceived as person is really a decision by some person to subscribe in the past. Then it's all software.
What software brings to the table
It is curious that feed formats add very little on top of content. Bulk of actual subscription experience is formed by software.
Here is breakdown of my subscribers, according to FeedBurner:
Before you wonder – Twitter is extra, added by me. It is topic for a separate post, but technically it does get blog entries to subscribers (a little less of a statistical entity there, but only a little).
Now look at that pie.
- Google Reader is massive. When I hadn’t yet made piece with its existence and that terrible over-engineered interface I was in shock when I first saw this pie (smaller at the time, but just as round and with roughly same proportions). Many readers just pick path of least resistance – mainstream (equals casual) no strings attached service.
- Twitter is curious here. I have no remote idea why bulk of those people follows me. As for conversations I tweet most to LiquidWeb, my hosting provider. It is dump and dying idea that Twitter will replace RSS, but it seems people like to use it as such (follow and forget);
- Newsgator and Bloglines are like dead already?.. Are those slices hordes of zombie subscriptions?
- FriendFeed. I got an account there in dumb fit of I-am-geek-and-should-have-all-that-social-presence-and-stuff. 11 (eleven) visits from there this year. I do not know why people subscribe over there but that is surely not to read posts.
- Firefox (and Opera just below cut-off line) – browser are massive, feed support is not spectacular but as easy as it gets. Doesn’t seem to matter for subscriptions for some reason.
- FeedDemon. Seriously? The thing is packed with spectacular functionality and syncs with Google Reader. Barely above cut-off?
When I was writing this I wondered if I am coming as ungrateful. These are my subscribers after all, readers that made an effort and commitment.
Well, keyword is readers. I learned to care about people to whom my content is interesting and useful. And I learned to not care about numbers, that are just that – numbers.