Friday, March 29, 2013

Big in China?

Statistics don't lie, right?
As an educator, the mantra of "data, data, data" has been driven into my brain for over eighteen years now. One caveat to that dictum is that "numbers can mean almost anything you want them to." I have been blogging for almost eight (!) years now, the overwhelming majority of that time using Blogger. In those years, I have never really bothered to check the traffic to the blog as it is used as primarily a way to practice and sharpen my own writing.

From time to time, I start my high school English classes with a joke about how my blog is the most popular website in "Turkish prisons" or "Russian work camps." This, of course, is said with the full awareness that the 10-20 visitors who fumble onto this page are either 1) family members--which likely accounts for the "visits" from Mexico, as my brother lives there-- or 2) someone following some odd word sequence that has lead them to this place via an online search engine. Is it possible though that my self-effacing classroom quips are not to be that far from the truth?

Occasionally out of boredom, I will check the "Stats" page on my Blogger dashboard to see just who is stopping by and from where in the world they (or the router they're leeching off) hail from. It is unclear to me just how much merit can be given to the audience stats revealed on this page. For example, according to the March 17 chart screen captured and posted above, a slight majority of visits to this blog are from China. The next highest source (after the good ol' US of A) is the Soviet Union.

When digging more deeply into the statistics it is revealed that among the most popular posts visited during this time is a six year old post from when this blog was primarily used as an online running log. The mind reels when one considers too deeply that this may be the case due to my inclusion of the detail that I iced my shin with "Birds Eye French Cut Green Beans" or the admission that "my body is not healing as quickly as my spirits."

Though somewhat gratified by there being any visitors tracked, I am not naive. Truth is, the statistics and data that suggest I'm "Big in China" or at least in ten of the billion or so computer users who live there, are likely imaginary.  Certainly, they are not indicative of those who actually linger here long enough to read, let alone appreciate what is being written about. Despite this intellectual reality, it is kind of heart warming to realize that someone somewhere is stopping by if only to click on to the next blog. And as far as my students know, there may just be a South American bottling plant office computer regularly following my blog.

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