Saturday, 15 October 2016

Who, Where?

OK, that's enough of that, I've put the restrictions back on comments. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that I've had to mark as "spam" in the last week. Unless, of course, it was you that sent it, which is highly unlikely.

It's been an interesting exercise. Unless there are still some extremely shy (or deeply sinister) lurkers out there, your responses have confirmed – rather to my surprise – that the stats delivered by Google Analytics actually seem pretty reliable. It seems I have a regular core of around 50 visitors, which very occasionally swells to 200-300, but never more. I'm still unclear how far the use of a service like Feedly (which quite a few of you do use) obscures your presence from Analytics, but I suspect not much. It's far from a large audience – I use several email lists which are larger  – but it is what it is. I wish there were more of you but, as my mother used to say, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

I have been impressed by how many of you chose not to be anonymous, and was encouraged by the kind and occasionally effusive words you chose to add beyond "regular reader". There were a significant number of such testimonials from regular readers who have been following this blog for many years and yet whose names were completely new to me. It was also a pleasant surprise to hear from some people I thought had drifted away long ago.

But perhaps the most impressive thing is the geographic scatter. Google Analytics can analyse users by location down to city level; here are the top 40 locations for the preceding 30 days (out of a total of 236): I presume most of my "regulars" figure in there somewhere. I've alphabetized the list to avoid creating a league table:
Auburn, Alabama USA
Bakewell, Derbyshire UK
Basingstoke, Hampshire UK
Bellingham, Washington USA
Clifton, New Jersey USA
Crawley, West Sussex UK
Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Coventry, West Midlands UK
Derry / Londonderry, N. Ireland UK
Dublin, Ireland
Ecublens, Switzerland
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Essen, Germany
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA
Geneva, Switzerland
Halmstad, Sweden
Helsinki, Finland
Innsbruck, Austria
Lausanne, Switzerland
Leeds, W. Yorkshire UK
London, UK
Ludlow, Shropshire UK
Lund, Sweden
Manchester, UK
Montclair, New Jersey USA
Montreal, Canada
New York, New York USA
Newcastle, Tyne & Wear UK
Oswestry, Shropshire UK
Parkville, Pennsylvania USA
Pasadena, California USA
Portsmouth, Hampshire UK
San Martin de los Andes, Argentina
Scarborough, N. Yorkshire UK
Seattle, Washington USA
Southampton, Hampshire UK
Sydney, Australia
Toulouse, France
Trier, Germany
Tucson, Arizona USA
Readers from those locations have clocked in at least 10 times in the last month, and many more than that in the more populous locations (e.g. London). Go just a little lower in the list, and locations in India, South Africa, and Mexico start to figure. Obviously, I have no way of knowing who you are, which is why I asked in the first place!

My conclusion is that this is still worth doing, but perhaps at a lower frequency. It is, after all, a useful exercise in itself, and one which I recommend to anyone, to get your thoughts in order, put them into suitable words, and then – crucially – make them public. If you've never tried it, you'd be amazed how radically you will revise some, if not all, of your idiotic opinions when you know 50 other people are definitely going to be reading them. And, in the case of far too few, commenting on them.

My sincere thanks to everyone who responded. Now, that's enough of this meta-stuff; let's get back to business as usual.

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