The Mystery of WordPress Shares

Did you see this post?

Hey, fellow WordPress bloggers—have you ever looked at the “Shares” feature on your stats page? It’s down near the bottom on the “Totals, Followers & Shares” menu.

For the longest time, my total only rose when I shared my latest posts on my Facebook page. But over the last month, the numbers increased. And I’m wondering what they mean.

At the end of August, I had all of 184 shares. Given that I had nearly 120 posts, it’s obvious most of them were my own. Maybe 60 of them came from readers. That would average to six per month. But then something happened.

Nine days later, there were 239 shares. You know I didn’t make 55 posts in nine days. Thirteen days later, 286 shares. Hmm. Four days later, 406 shares. At the end of September there were 423 shares. What the heck?! My first ten months of blogging had maybe 60 shares from readers. The next month alone more than 200?

I’ve made an exhaustive search of WordPress poked around a little, but I haven’t found an explanation for how the Mysterious Share Computator works. The shares in the stats don’t match with the share buttons on my posts. For example. I can see a certain post got shared on LinkedIn. But when I look at the share buttons for that post? No little number on the LinkedIn button. So where are these mystery shares coming from?

I am Mysterious Share Computator. Mere humans cannot understand the mysteries of my superior share computational abilities.

And what makes some posts more share-likely than others? My most-shared posts aren’t the ones that get the most views, likes, or comments. My least shared? It’s safe to say none of my posts are going viral as you can see below.

Number of Shares

I thought Meghan’s current short story in Poetic Archaeology might have generated a few, but only the second installment has had a share. According to Mysterious Share Computator, 64 of my 125 posts have been shared only by me. (But some of the share buttons on those posts show that somebody else shared them. Strange.) Most of them are early posts, so that’s understandable. But some posts that I thought were good didn’t generate much interest.

Which posts generated more shares (say 6–9 according to Mysterious Share Computator)? A number of Awards acceptance posts. Seriously. But a few posts that gathered a number of likes and comments also fall into this range, such as Will Social Media Kill My Writing? and Academic Writing Gets Its Revenge.

But my most-shared post according to Mysterious Share Computator? My recent Catching Up On Awards post. I’m as confused about that as you are. It’s received 16 shares. What’s so interesting about it? Are family and friends of my top commentators sharing that fact? And when I look at the share buttons on the post itself? There’s only my single Facebook share. Why don’t the numbers match?

Really, I don’t see any correlation between Mysterious Share Computator’s numbers and those on the posts’ share buttons. I mean, Blogs—How Do You Follow Them? has nine Facebook shares according to the buttons on the post. But Mysterious Share Computator says it has only one share, from Facebook. That would suggest only my sharing of the post counted to Mysterious Share Computator. Why not the other eight readers who shared it? Their opinions are just as important, don’t you think?

Of course, I still don’t understand the sudden jump in shares during September. Maybe my blog has achieved consciousness and is seeking out new friends for itself….

If you understands the mysteries behind these numbers, I would love to hear from you. And even if, like me, you don’t understand them, please have some fun and share your thoughts on how Mysterious Share Computator comes up with his numbers. There are some really creative minds in my audience!