On the Latest Blog Stats

You can tell I’m a baseball fan; I love statistics. I don’t always know what to do with them, I’m always reminded of Mark Twain’s “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics,” and sometimes I can get really squirrelly with stats. Numbers, hard data — these are fun things, even if they’re completely meaningless and, perhaps, absolutely pointless.

I’ve been looking at my WordPress statistics recently, to get a feel for what people are looking for. As long-time readers know, I’m all over the map when it comes to the topics I write about; a morning snowfall may hold my attention, and then I’ll follow that with a polemic about human rights abuses in China. I write what’s on my mind, basically.

To tell the truth, I like to write things that I like to read. That’s true of pretty much all of my writing. Consider my day job; today I wrote two articles that verge upon the pretentious, because I wanted to write something that excited me. Regurgitating facts and hype? I can do that in my sleep. But tell a story? That’s what’s really engaging.

Stats give me an idea of what people are looking at. It gives me an idea of what people are looking for.

I could tell you that people are looking for information on the Beatles. Either they’re looking for details on when the remastered albums are coming out (sometime in 2009) or they’re looking for “what if?” albums, albums they might have recorded had they not broken up, like Stephen Baxter‘s “God” or my “Hot As Sun.”

People want to know about LEGO Doctor Who, which is such a natural idea that it’s a shame it’s unlikely to happen. But it would be so… perfect. I’d love it. πŸ™‚

Then, there are people who want to know about incestuous symbiosis. It’s not what it sounds like. It’s really not.

And people want to know about Elbow, one of my favorite bands right now. (Indeed, as I’m writing this, I have their first album, Asleep in the Back, in the stereo.) I know, I’m a bit of an evangelist for Elbow. I loved them from their second album, Cast of Thousands (which was my first Elbow album), I thought The Seldom Seen Kid was brilliant (though it took two listens for me to recognize that), and a bootleg I heard of Elbow’s Abbey Road concert with the BBC Orchestra moved me like nothing else. They want to know about those things, or what certain lyrics mean, or even if the Abbey Road concert is coming to CD. (Which it is.) Yes, I’m an evangelist, what can I say?

Then there are the font hounds. Coldplay uses Albertus MT. I don’t know anything about the history of Palatino, but it’s my everyday, standard font, as I refuse, absolutely refuse, to work in Times New Roman.

Alan Davies’ BBC America series was Jonathan Creek. I’m hoping that the new Christmas special makes its way across the pond. Soon. πŸ™‚

To my great disappointment I was never a soccer hooligan, but I did enjoy Green Street Hooligans a great deal.

Yes, we live in a heliocentric universe. Except for when it’s not. πŸ˜‰

And, finally, people keep coming to me looking for information on someone or something named Allyn something. They couldn’t possibly be looking for me, could they?

The one thing I’ve noticed in my blog stats is how much the choice of my blog layout affects my page views. I used a succession of Brian Gardner designs, but after Christmas I decided to make a change and use the Tarski WordPress theme, which had been my theme of choice for a long time previous. I watched my page views crash within a week of the change, and after a brief recovery, they crashed again. They’ve now built back up to close to what they had been prior to the change. I’m not entirely certain what happened or why, but it did.

That’s what I’m looking at. That’s what my blog stats are telling me. The Elbow thing amuses me. Even before I wrote about the Abbey Road concert, I was getting multiple hits a day about the Mancunian band.

Finally, and apropos of nothing, do read The Dreamer, a Revolutionary War romance webcomic. I’ve read the first three issues in print from IDW Publishing, and I’ve been really entertained by them. They’re charming, quite funny, and the artwork is fantastic. Do give it a try.

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