Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
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.