Over the past few weeks, I've been delighted to see new Followers signing up to be members of my Legion Of Whom (formerly the Band Of Brothers And Sisters, recently renamed in homage to the sad loss of Limitless from our TV schedules).
I don't see the loss of such a large portion of Followers as symbolic of the so-called 'death of blogging' but rather further evidence that people are keeping up with their blogrolls through an increasing diversity of outlets.
Take Google+, for instance, where my 'profile' (to which I auto-post every blog update) has 847 followers and has also - supposedly - been viewed almost 42 million times!!!
Then we have my blogreader of choice, Feedly, which has its own metrics for gauging the popularity of posts (well, I think that's what it's doing).
See the screengrab at the top of this article, and the number before the "by Tim Knight". This usually averages on two (meaning it has been shared to both Facebook and Google+), but, as far as I can figure out, the score goes up if it sparks a conversation on Facebook and, sometimes, if it's shared on Google+ or discussed.
It doesn't, annoyingly, factor in actual comments on the blog (which are, generally, my personal metric for gauging how popular a post is), simple - but satisfying - plus ones on Google+, or any retweets/likes on Twitter.
The very pleasing score of '25' was caused by a couple of my friends getting involved with a conversation, inspired by that post, via Facebook.
Of course, we always have basic website 'hit numbers', but then these vary wildly depending on what gadgets you are using to collate them. These days I stick purely to Blogger's own internal hit counter (which is what decides the top 10 popular posts of the week, the month, and the life of the blog).
Using this I'm pleased if an individual post gets over 100 hits, but again, it's all smoke and mirrors, as I don't know what it records if someone just visits the heropresstwo.blogspot.co.uk - rather than a specific post; does that count as a 'hit' on the top post? Does it count at all?
Measuring blogging success is a dark art and if HeroPress was somehow tied to a business I'd probably employ some technowhizz, master of SEO, to work their magic, but as it is I find myself judging my so-called sucess by two factors: (a) am I still enjoying writing/researching posts? and (b) am I getting feedback from people saying they're enjoying what I post?
Of course, I get hung up on the numbers sometimes (especially the frustrating Feedly 'score', which I'm always trying to think of clever way of boosting... even if just for my own ego!), but ultimately what makes me happiest is getting feedback from readers.
Comments are the lifeblood of blogs and food for bloggers. Waitaminute, does that make us vampires?