Are we too obsessed with rankings?

This feels like a bit of a strange post for me to make, but I want to make it anyway, and don't take it the wrong way…

I've recently started following SQLBatman's blog and I was astounded that he had to post a follow-up to his list of SQL blogger rankings (disclaimer: including ours – thanks!) because he'd been getting emails from people who obviously weren't as high in his list as they thought they should be, even though they were *his* rankings of their blogs. It struck me that with the amazingly connected society we live in now, and the ubiquitousness of things like blogs, Facebook (to which we're unfortunately addicted), and Twitter (which we're sternly resisting so far) – maybe we're becoming a little too focused on how popular our blogs are or how many people are following our Twitter feeds?

I used to be like that. When I first started blogging about 3 years ago on the Storage Engine blog at Microsoft, and then when I left and switched to this one a year later, I was pretty obsessed with how many people were reading the blog posts. Was I posting interesting info? Could I get away with jokes? Would my opinions offend someone? Was anyone linking to me? Why aren't I in XYZ's blog-roll?

Then I realized that, to be honest, the obsessing was taking the fun out of blogging and now I don't pay that much attention to the stats and just post stuff I think is interesting. I wanted to do this blog post to give a piece of advice to new bloggers and those who thought they should be higher up in, or just in, SQLBatman's (or anyone else's) rankings: don't get wrapped up in the numbers and rankings, and don't complain when someone doesn't rank your blog as highly as you think they should, or list it in their blog-roll. It's very easy to get bitter when a post doesn't get the numbers you think, or no-one links to it, and then start thinking along the lines of "why am I spending all this time doing this when no-one's watching?"

People are watching – there are thousands of 'lurkers' our there who you'll never see and never hear from, but they're watching and learning from what you post. Just focus on the content and if it's good you'll be discovered and/or ranked higher. Don't think about what to post that will make your ranking higher, think about what to post that's unique, interesting. and useful to people in the community. You can't really control what people think of what you post. I'm sure some people won't like this post, but I'm going to post it anyway.

From Field of Dreams 2: "If you build it, they will come".

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