Metrics of my life


I am a creature of metrics.  There, I've said it, and I've shared it.

Perhaps we are all measuring creatures at one level or another; in some ways, we need to be.  We need to watch the money coming in to make sure it balances off with the money going out.  We have to watch that needle on our dashboard to make sure we have enough gas to get us to the next place.  And all of us get bombarded with little pieces of paper that remind us that other people are measuring pieces of our lives too: the amount of electricity our appliances have sucked up, the total flow through of natural gas to keep our houses warm and our water hot, the total water we have used to keep our front lawns green.

Apart from all those things, I have a number of other measurements that come into play in my life.  I diligently watch my Klout score (www.klout.com), an automatic service that evaluates how I'm doing in the social media universe.  At some point, probably a year ago, local Twitter guru Kyle Harrietha pointed out that I likely had the highest Klout score in town.  I honestly had no idea, but have been tracking myself ever since.  Since the summer and for some inexplicable reason, my score has been in steady decline.  Once flirting with 70, I am now floating around 63.  The average score is now somewhere in the 40-range (it used to be 20).

At some point, I clued into the fact that I could view statistics related to the number of people who are viewing this Middle Age Bulge blog (www.middleagebulge.com).  I think at that point I had been at it for a number of years and had written several hundred posts.  It was exciting to discover that my readership was a lot wider than the 50 or so people who were following.  And while my total page views are nowhere close to local blogging phenom Theresa Wells (www.mcmurraymusings.com), I can proudly say that I am rapidly closing in on 120K. It's fun to watch the numbers when I post something.  Almost every time the article features a strong opinion or something even slightly controversial, the visits soar.  Of course, if it wasn't for the metrics, I would be completely guessing.

Since I embarked on my middle age bulge march a number of years ago, my weight is something I measure quite regularly, to my own peril.  I've seen a steady increase in this regard in the past few weeks and began eating better the moment I returned home from two week's of being away and eating restaurant food.  I moved the needle almost immediately, but am now at that point where the easy weight loss is over and the hard work is in front of me.  Thank goodness I have some leftover packets of Ideal Protein supplements in the cupboard.

Being focused on the arts again, I'm constantly looking at the metrics of the box office - how many people are buying tickets to what show and when.  When I was the publicist at Keyano Theatre (for about 7 years), I had box office sales down to a science and could predict, based on opening day of ticket sales and with a high degree of certainty, how the show was going to do.  That was six years ago and I no longer have my finger on that particular pulse, but it's still fun to try and figure it out.

Do you struggle with email as much as I do?  At any given time, unless I dedicate four or five uninterrupted hours, I have about one thousand messages in my inbox.  The scoreboard on the bottom left corner of my Outlook reminds me of the total number of emails and the amount that remain unread.  I'm not sure there is anything that feels better than seeing the "Items" number fall below 100.  The challenge for me is that Outlook inbox is the confluence of my professional, personal, political and social media lives, and while I manage multiple email addresses, they all flow through the one program.

Admittedly, when my major metrics are heading in the wrong direction, it affects me.  I'm not fully happy when my Klout score is in steady decline or if the number of readers of my latest blog post can be counted on two hands.  It frustrated me to no end when the way my body feels matches what I'm seeing on the weight scale.

"What gets measured gets done," said Kelly Boyd, OK Radio Group General Manager - many times over the three years that I worked for him when I first came to Fort McMurray.  I think he was right.  I have metrics so that I know when to make adjustments, pull up my boot straps, cut out the carbs, pump up the advertising, change the message, reduce the spending, fill up the car with gas.

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