Sunday, 3 February 2013

Just for you


I looked at the squiggly blue line which represents a broad outlook on the popularity of my blog recently, and no matter what the rest of the stats say, it has been on a steady downward trend for about two months now.

When I look at the more detailed version deeper in the system, it tells me that for the last month or so, the daily page-views are hovering around the 6 or 7 mark - today for instance, it says 7 - but right next to it are the figures set in numerals, and they tell me that 57 people have looked at the last post today alone. I don't know which to believe.

Obviously, Google are going to make your blog look as popular as they possibly can, because they sell advertising through the successful ones, but I have a feeling that they are now putting a gloss on them which is not as accurate a portrayal of the truth as it used to be. For instance, they never used to count the hits which emanated from the same machine as was used to compose it, but now if you go back to edit out a spelling mistake, you get a hit for each time you do so. John evidently does not need to go back to edit his spelling mistakes to receive an inhumanly large amount of hits, and neither do the Hattatts - chintz curtains and chintz chickens are so popular that an extra three sheets of A4 are needed to cope with all their comments.

And then you have an amazing writer like Sarah Toa who sometimes gets about half the comments that I do, for a piece of beautiful prose - given for free - that puts most of us to shame. Maybe it's that sometimes comments are simply unnecessary?

There is a little band of maniacs down in Norfolk that I follow, and they like nothing better than to go from church to medieval church, commenting on the architecture and drinking tea from Thermos flasks. I don't know why I enjoy their posts so much, but I suppose it has something to do with their studied Englishness.

They obviously share the 'editing' side of the blog amongst themselves, as the contributors total about 5 or 6, and they each have a say every now and then, sometimes with photos of themselves attached. They seem to use blogging as others use Facebook, alerting each other to a forthcoming ramble, or just sharing the experience of a past one. They could - if they wanted to - make it a closed blog, in the same way that you can exclude your parents from reading how drunk you were the night before on Facebook, but they don't

For a very long time, I was the only outsider who left any comments on their posts, and they referred to me sometimes as 'our follower'. Last night I got a bit tetchy with them, because they have - after all this time without - introduced a word-verification process before you can leave a comment, and you (all) know how I feel about those. Someone must have gone down a very long street, badly photographing all the enamel house-numbers which go with the meaningless, bent words which are designed by computers to prevent other computers from leaving a comment.

Which brings us back to the age-old question, 'why do we blog'? I don't know about you, but each time I ask myself that question, my voice gets a little more tremulous, and I swear I can hear an echo in the huge aircraft hanger which is Blogland.

As I write this ramble, the uppermost thought in my mind is wondering how much of this is being skipped, speed-read or simply ignored by the 105 people (average age: 60) who purport to hang on my every word.

We all do it. I have, for instance, never heard a single word of a poem read by R.D. Stanforth, and I often take one look at a lengthy account of how well pre-packed pork is selling in the Mid-West of America, and skip it altogether to go over to see how the chickens are faring in North Wales. Round at the Welsh menagerie, it is a well-attended, 24 hour party which goes on for 7 days a week, and like everyone else, I always find myself having a great time when I get there.

They say that if you are acting or making a speech, the best thing to do is imagine that you are talking to only one person in the room, so I want to tell you right now that this post is just for you, dear reader.

45 comments:

  1. If I find a blog without any comments I always leave one as I always hope someone would do the same for me - there are a lot of conceited self-absorbed bloggers out there who don't have the decency to return the favour. Do I qualify for a bouquet?

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    1. You certainly do, Elaine. Take the one on the top - I'll go to the train station and get some more.

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  2. Aw cheers dear Tom.
    I find the blogger stats a bit ridiculous really, inaccurate and difficult to get a clear picture. Plus goggle lets through the links to your spammers (people click on them to find out who their fans are, only to be fleeced by some Russian p*rn site).
    I've had another stat counter attached to my blog for years which is much more accurate and sophisticated in its readings. Its called um Statcounter.
    Very addictive, it is.
    It's actually a relief to not get so many comments as you and John. I'd feel like it was Christmas card time, every day! That said I do really, really appreciate you dropping in and saying hello.
    I think that is why I blog. It's a nice crew out there. :~)

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    1. For me, the map of Australia is a deep green - this must be you and Brismod!

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    2. It's just occurred to me that a 'map of Australia' is British slang/euphemism for those little stains one used to find on bedsheets in the old days... no offence intended!

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  3. I love blogging because I can ramble on in my own idiotic way, comments don't worry me, happy when I find one, bit like discovering an egg the hen has just laid. Also you meet online various wonderful blogs, different views, other people's landscapes, something close to my heart.
    New here, and I did not really comment for years on other blogs but then realised it was a bit rude not to;)
    Blogs are a mishmash of commonplace book/diary entry and I suspect a need to talk to others for some...
    There again we could be all ego-ridden, self-absorbed creatures!

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    1. I tend to fall into the last category, if I'm honest.

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  4. I don't believe any of e blog stats...
    I used to
    I used to get all excited about them
    But after being told I had 1400 page views in a couple of hours..... I think the whole thing is a bucket of shit.

    I come here for a couple of reasons

    It makes me Larf
    I adore candlesticks more than I can possible explain

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    1. And I adore burnt arse and chickens too! A perfect match!

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  5. Hello Tom:
    We are real readers and not just statistics. We can always can rely upon something to rouse the little grey cells when we arrive here!!!!

    We do not own any chintz or chickens any more but we love the dialogue with those who are kind enough to leave a comment.And, of course, there are two of us and, hopefully, the join does not show!!!

    Now, if you want real results, post on kittens......or tatting!!!!!

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    1. Seamless. I know about kittens, but what is 'tatting'?!

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  6. I imagine many are like me, Tom, who read faithfully but never comment (until now!).
    I hope you do not blog for the statistics, but for the enjoyment we get from reading your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share your bit of the world with us.
    Jan in the USA

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    1. That was a lovely comment, Jan. Are you a farrier? I know a couple of lady blacksmiths over here.

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  7. I confess I often speed read, but not here. I make my mouse arrow go line by line as I work through your arguments. I admire your point to point construction. I can't do that anymore, and that frustrates me.

    Then, too, we have falcons on tall buildings here, too.

    About the antiquarians. That was rather snarky of you. As it turns out, they had reason. As they say, your loss. Their pictures are worth a look.

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    1. I've been too scared to go back to their site to see how they reacted, but I guess that they were hacked by a Norfolk Satanist, which - as I know from experience - is not much fun. I will go back and see what they said.

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    2. Well I read Anonymous's slightly hissy comment last night, and - blow me - he thanked you for your helpful suggestion and shouted at me for making the identical one. You can't win.

      Re 'point to point construction', I just start writing and stop when it has all come round in a full circle - no plans at all.

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  8. Love the flowers dear, many many thanks.
    I read you because you are direct.
    I read you because your are surly.
    I read you because you are sarcastic.
    I read you because you are hilarious.
    I read you because you keep Cro and John centered.
    I read you...because it's easier to sit here on my arse typing than it is to do actual farm work.
    Keep blogging.Damn the "statistics"

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    1. John is quite capable of centring himself - when the target is as big as a toilet seat covered in neat alkali of industrial strength. Bull's eye!

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    2. Centred! What's Centred? I just study Australia shaped bed stains, and dog turds.

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    3. That's me in the bottom left corner Cro, waving.
      (From the bed stain, that Is.)

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  9. Ah, thank you Tom. It's ages since someone gave me flowers.

    The considered comments you get here prove that people do not speed read. Don't worry about the stats. Quality is better than quantity any day.

    Jx

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    1. That is normally very true, but sometimes people just revert to 'Irish repartee' - see John's comment above for the perfect example...

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  10. I am like all those above...greatly entertained and grateful for your fun outlook on life! Continue on....and thanks for the flowers!!! :-)

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    1. Thank you Starkey - I'll have to be more introspective again in the near future.

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  11. Thanks for the flowers Tom. Don't worry about the blog stats, as Rusty says quality beats quantity. I read every post but I don't comment very often these days. I will try to do better. Really.

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  12. I love your crusty demeanor, dry wit, and direct, no-nonsense style. I read your blog regularly, and I really enjoy it.

    Oh, and I'm 37 years old...perhaps I bring the average down a bit in that regard! LOL

    And thanks for the flowers!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Please send a photo.

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  13. I enjoy your blog...though sometimes I have to catch up on two or three at a time so comment on the first has passed me by.

    Statistics? I don't really understand what the difference is between page views and visits...but since moving to Wordpress I have suddenly realised that there are bloggers seemingly obsessed by their stats...yelling and bawling for 'likes' and comments.

    They seem to exist in a different part of the blogosphere to that to which I was accustomed on Blogger....

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    1. I am not really worried about stats - I would be if I was trying to sell advertising, though.

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  14. Hello Tom, just to say that I read every blog you post up, but if I can think of nothing witty to say then I don't. Sorry about that, but everyone else seems to be able to write fantastic responses, and I often verbally wilt when I read them, hence my often silence.

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    1. Now I am feeling REALLY guilty - I promise I won't raise the subject EVER again. Please don't wilt!

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  15. Hello Tom,
    I would go with the 57, I know I read your blog daily, but am a "lurker" as I don't post much. But I do enjoy the blog!

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    1. Hello Jiller - one good thing of accusing people of lurking is that you get to meet all sorts of nice people like you. Although I am still feeling guilty about this post, I am now feeling more positive for having put it up.

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  16. I'm at the bottom of the comments as usual, so I probably won't get a personal acknowledgement, but just to say I got all excited when I saw the flowers, because I thought maybe you had read that I'd broken my ankle a week ago and they were for meeee! I read every word of your posts, and all the comments. But I'm the same as Vera... sometimes the comments are so clever I can't think of anything more to say.

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    1. They ARE for you, Katherine - I refresh them every hour. How's your ankle? Yes, there are people out there who make me feel like giving up commenting too - I am especially overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and especially when I am on the end of a huge list. Banter is the answer, in my case. This is why John and me continually insult each other.

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  17. What's that you were saying? I've just done my nails and watching The Bourne identity for the nth time while waiting for them to dry.

    I read all your posts. Sometimes I don't 'get' them but what the fuck. It makes a very pleasant change from crocheted teapots.

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    1. I watched 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' for the first time ever tonight. Moon River....

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  18. Have loved and watched that film many times but only recently read the novella/book. Very different and also rather sad - like the Moon River theme. And of course the very beautiful Audrey Hepburn is a film icon of the early 1960s.

    But these days I prefer the sound track to The Bourne series of films, "Extreme Ways" by Moby.

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    1. I might get around to watching that series in about 40 years time, if I get the opportunity.

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  19. Ok, it's time to admit that my eyes glaze over when reading politically tinted blog posts. But, other than that, I really do read everything else. I find your blog and you so very interesting (totally aiming for points here) because you are nothing like me. I don't know of anyone who has lived so much, with so many different experiences, in so many different places, has met so many different people, and has such a vast knowledge on so many different subjects.

    As far as being interesting goes, you are the gift that keeps on giving.



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    1. The gift that keeps going...
      Like herpes....

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    2. Sorry about the political tints, Iris, but sometimes I just need to rant. As far as the rest of your compliments go, I too must now admit that although almost all of my brags are more or less true, I am very selective about which ones to talk about, which makes my life seem more interesting than it actually is/was. That's showbiz. The reason I have so many to talk about is that I have had quite a long life so far, and I never learn from my mistakes.

      You can only catch herpes once, John, whereas you can burn your arse on a toilet seat as many times as you like. I've never done either - so far.

      With this post I have actually eclipsed your comment count for yesterday, but I mustn't milk it. I need to redress the balance by writing something which includes candlesticks and the current political climate in the UK.

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  20. I occillate between arrogantly scathing and incontinently gushing when judging other people's writing. The more of yours I read (having to catch up fast here) the more I'm feeling the latter of my judgments. I have been looking for a cure for my facebook addiction and now I think I might have found it.

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