Booming Stats

I really don’t understand the internet at all. After months in the doldrums the traffic to this blog suddenly went into overdrive yesterday as a result of a little post about W.K. Clifford. It’s not often that I get more than 2,000 visitors per day but so far today I have already had 2,500, and it’s not even 6pm!

I have never been able to predict which posts will  generate interest and which won’t, so I gave up trying to do that a long time ago. In any case I’ve written pieces that I thought were much more interesting only to watch them sink without trace. This time I can only assume that Clifford’s magnificent beard is responsible for the factor of ten increase in traffic.

On the subject of not really understanding the internet, I saw the other day I saw an incoming link from Phil Moriarty’s blog and followed it back to see what he disagreed with me about.

It turns out he was answering a question I have often been asked but have never really answered (because I really don’t know): why write a blog? If I ever had a reason then eleven years after I started I’ve definitely forgotten. There probably never was `a’ reason…

Part of it is that I actually quite like writing. Another is that writing about something is often quite a good way of working out what you actually think (this is basically the same as one of Phil’s points). Another is that, perhaps, it is quite useful to pass on little snippets of information that might be useful to various people. Another (that applies especially to music, poetry, etc) is that I like the idea that sharing things here might introduce someone – perhaps a total stranger – to something that they go on to enjoy.

So you see there are lots of reasons to write a blog, but none of them has anything to do with traffic statistics. It’s nice when posts prove popular, of course, but it’s not as if my livelihood depends on how many visitors I get (which is the case for people who write for commercial sites). I wouldn’t enjoy this blogging lark half as much if I felt I had to produce content that I thought would be popular!

13 Responses to “Booming Stats”

  1. “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

    Extra points if you immediately recognize the source. 🙂

  2. Maybe people are staying home because of covid-19 and are catching up on reading the blogs. 😐

  3. “I really don’t understand the internet at all. After months in the doldrums the traffic to this blog suddenly went into overdrive yesterday”

    Sysadmin: Hey, the webserver traffic just skyrocketed. Have you put up anything new?

    Scientist: Just a page about the conference proceedings.

    Sysadmin: Hhmmm, no-one else has changed anything; I wonder what could be so attractive about it? Can you bring it up?

    Scientist: Sure.

    [Scientist pulls up the page in the browser]

    [Sysadmin reads the title of the page]

    Sysadmin: “Submission in LaTeX”!

    Google is intelligent enough that for this query it gives completely different results depending on whether one searches for text or images. 😀

  4. Perhaps it is the virus, the beard, and the incompatibility with a working face mask.

  5. Thanks, Peter. I’m impressed you stuck with that rambling, Rush-infested post all the way down to the Flannery O’Connor quote! Maybe we’ll make a prog rock fan of you yet…

  6. stallphill Says:

    we all like a good read… and some particularly like to read/listen about modern physics with Monk playing in the background.

  7. Oh, yes, those mysterious days where something hits and you get a month’s worth of traffic in 24 hours … they’ll shake me out of my feeling like I’m writing for no one but myself and could save some anxiety by just staying silent.

    The only downside is a couple days later when everything is back to normal and wondering what it was you did that was right, and how it is the Internet is so much bigger than it seemed a week before.

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