Thursday, October 29, 2009

Russia Hates Me

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review

I am not one to rely on statistics as a rule. Some people just love the power of numbers as support for their take, their efforts, marking their progress through this life. More than a cottage industry, the study and manipulation of statistics is one of the driving forces behind much of what we do, say, vote, consume. There is even a game show based around the use of statistics - "And the survey said....."

Rather than try to understand statistics, we (I am including my lazy ass self also) tend to take them at their face value, as long as we like the source. GDP, GNP, Batting Averages, On Base percentages, Poverty levels, Tax bracket breakdowns, opinion polls. Everywhere I look I see statistics woven into everything we do, say, or feel. Take a look at my sidebar and the almost unnoticed grip statistics has on me. Insidious and quiet, statistics underscore more of our lives than any of us really understand. Or is it care to understand?

I am sure there is a definitive history of statistics. Actually I would feel safe saying there are conflicting definitive histories of statistics. But one thing is indisputable. We humans love them. Even if we think we don't. I say I hate them, but just look at my sidebar. It tells a different story. There I have breakdowns of all my posts based on how many in a year, how many with a certain tag, and how many folks claim to be following my blog. Any claim I make now that I hate Statistics seems a tad emptier than it did a minute ago.

What has all this to do with Russia and why does it hate me you ask? Okay, you may not have not asked, but I am because I got off the point right out of the gate and went on a tangent that well, was bound to step off some edge somewhere and plunge this post to the depths of Blog Post Hell where it probably belongs.

So with my hypocritical mentality about statistics in mind, I remembered I had once signed up for Google Analytics. Signed up and basically forgot about it. Google Analytics is a statistician's wet dream come to life. Not a simple hit counter, it is a computer software analysis of website traffic. Punch up any one of the numerous "report" icons and one can tell almost anything about the people who have visited that website. There are graphs, flow charts, map charts, jeez any kind of chart you may want. Average time visiting the site, average number of pages viewed and I guess I can even backtrack from which ISP the traffic came from. Way too much information for my limited intellect or interest.

Tell me how many people visited and where they hail from and I am a happy camper. Yeah I guess I could have found a simple hit counter. There must be hundreds of them out there. But did I mention I am a lazy SOB? Analytics gives me the basics along with more information than I will ever need.

When I first hooked up this Internet tether to my blog, I checked it everyday. It was like watching grass grow. The traffic was pitiful and the visits a paltry 15 or so a day from maybe 5 or 6 countries. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on, leaving the machine to it's work without my constant supervision. Another one of those background computer things I just took for granted.

Flash forward a year or so. I just checked it out for a hoot. Seems traffic has definitely increased. From the looks of things, I am now averaging around 50 or so visits a day that last for more than a couple of minutes with slightly more than one page viewed per visit. And the kicker is I have folks from 45 countries stopping by on occasion. I am positive this is peanuts in the scheme of what the big bloggin dogs see, but nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise to me.

As I perused the countries where visitors came from, I noticed a decided snubbing from several. Immediately my feelings were hurt. Why no Russians? Why no Chinese? Why is most of Africa and Mongolia giving me the cold shoulder? I'd consider the possibility it was a Commie Conspiracy but for the fact that Russia is not considered Commie anymore and Vietnam is home to some of my most ardent and consistent fans. All two of them were there in the beginning and apparently they have not left their monitors in over a year.

So I am left with the feeling that while I have touched some folks in some odd corners of the globe, I have some serious work ahead of me if I plan on having that World Wide impact I never envisioned I would have. Time to re-group I guess.........

Nah. I 'll check back in a year and see what's up then.

Keep the rubber side down.......................

(890 / 17,228)


Cormac Brown said...

What, that Taiwanese spammer hasn't hit your site, yet?

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Once a communist, always a communist, I say. :)

Perhaps if you wrote in Russian from time to time?

Beach Bum said...

It is funny to see statistics used like silly puddy, shaping it to whatever conclusion they need. Actually its almost Orwellian but I try not to think about George too often, its gets depressing with all that "ignorance is bliss" stuff as the latest balloon boy-like escapades are reported over real news.

As for Russia, screw them.

Randal Graves said...

Do a post about vodka. Just watch out for Pooty Poot. Ex-KGB kung-fu masters with bad attitudes aren't the kind of readership you should strive for.

Demeur said...

There's a book "Lying with statistics" you might find interesting. 62% of readers liked it. :-)

BBC said...

Figures often beguile me,

Yeah, figures beguile me also, 36/24/35 works for me.

Doc said...

I check my site counter every once in a while if I need a laugh.

I'm popular from coast to coast here in the U.S. and the Canadians seem to dig me. Most of Europe has dropped by, especially England, Ireland, & Scotland. I've peppered most of Africa and have even had several Russians drop by.

The thing that weirds me out is that I get massive amounts of hits from India. 292 just this year alone, although none have left a comment that I know of.

When my writing buddy, Cap'n Ergo Jinglebollocks, used to post nude photos on my blog, I could explain this kind of traffic, but since we have banned that for quite some time now, I wonder what these people are coming to my blog for. It ain't my homespun stories I'm sure.

Perhaps it's just P.T. Barnum's qoute coming true, "There's a sucker born every minute!"


sunshine said...

I bet now that you have a post with Russia in the title you'll get some hits! :P

I need one of those stat thingys that you have. But if I did, I'd be looking at it every hour on the hour....
I'm obsessive like that. :)