Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

I’m not so sure about those people at WordPress who look after our blogs and make our lives easy and fun.  Did I say “fun”?

A part-time blogger like me spends more time than he’d care to admit, checking on his vital statistics.  No not those ones; the amazing graphs and detail provided by WordPress of people who visit (and, we like to think, read) our blogs.  We can tell where you come from and which pages are read.  But, of course, we don’t know who you are or who reads what.  Your personal details don’t show up anywhere (this isn’t Facebook after all).

Of course, I know, we should just be writing for the sheer joy of it, whether or not anyone reads what we write.  And we do, we do.  But, still, it’s very difficult to leave the stats alone when they are so easy to find.  Just one more look before….  Did they like that one?  I haven’t written for a few days; have they stopped coming?

Last night I sneaked a peak before going to bed.  What a shock I received.  FOUR HUNDRED views!  Ten times my normal traffic.  What happened?  What grabbed everyone’s attention and why?  Did they like the “Squiggles on a page”?  Surely I wasn’t Freshly Pressed again?  But the number of views on individual pages didn’t add up.  Then I moved the mouse over the graph with the 400 on it.  A little window, which usually shows the date and the number of views, popped up.  This time it read, “April Fools – 40 views”.

Well done WordPress, I guess.  I have to confess, I did have a good laugh, sort of.  But the rapid transition from ecstatic to…well, suffice to say, I’m going to have to call my therapist; there’s work to do.

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8 Comments

Filed under General Writing

8 responses to “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

  1. Thanks for making me smile. I’m also on WordPress.com; although I wasn’t suckered. My readership of 3 (my mom, my wife and some weirdo in TweeBuffelsMetEenSkootFontein) is really stable so when I saw the huge surge (from 3 hits a day to 30) I figured it for a coding glitch.

    Of course maybe I should visit my therapist regarding my esteem issues :).

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  2. =) They only got me for half a second or so. I had seen the total page views number under the graph just seconds before noticing the April 1 bar was way out of control. I figured it out before I saw the hover-over April fools!

    I’d like to have been a fly on the wall for the brainstorming session for that one.

    Even my seven year old son got a good laugh out of it. The idea that a “company” would play an April fools joke was very novel to him.

    I faithfully consume your blog on Google reader so I probably don’t show up either unless I comment. 🙂

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    • Yes, I’ve often wondered about one’s subscribers.
      But it’s great to have a community (OK Ray, small community) around to engage with.
      But it was a fun idea. We have a number of foreign nationals running businesses in the area who speak a variety of African and Asian languages. I emailed our sales staff a list of languages offered by the local University and told them that they were required to choose one. They would have to attend a Saturday morning class for 15 weeks in order to engage better with their clients. The response was entertaining.

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      • Oh no…you didn’t! Right now I’m trying to decide if that’s funny or a twisted abuse of your position. 🙂

        Actually, if I were an employee, I would have been more disappointed to find out it was a joke and the company wouldn’t be paying for me to take a language course after all!

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        • Only one fell for it. The rest struggled a bit. It must be a joke, but Ian Webster wouldn’t……… So my reputation has gone to pot!
          To the one who wanted to sign up I said, Terribly sorry but the lecturer, Loof Lirpa, is no longer available.

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  3. They got you! Great! I always read your blog but usually do not show up in your stats as the blog is sent to me by email so I do not need to visit the site. I am sure many others read it the same way so to make you feel a little better add 2 or 3 to your total views.

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