Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How many of you are there, anyway?

So in the comments to my last post (which were great, by the way, thank you all), jtogyer mentioned checking his server logs and seeing the same people over and over again. I’m not that literate, I do not know how to do that. What I do check is my site meter. It’s not worth it telling you how many people have visited my blog, because it looks like ninety five percent stay zero seconds. A computer literate acquaintance suggested what I also suspected, these are pings from servers belonging to people who once visited my blog, to see if I am still there. Probably a blogger dot com cookie thing, all automatic and distorting our site meter stats. There is probably a way to filter through that, but I’m up too late already. I can see I get maybe five or six visits a day, including the time I am spending now to post (I’m my best visitor), and my mom reads my blog I think daily (what can I say). So a couple of people read my blog, possibly a few different people with some new people coming in and no doubt some longer time readers dropping out. If I posted religiously every day I would probably have more readers, and if I range far and wide in the *blogosphere* (not just the Burghosphere) and commented intelligently or at least controversially I could attract a few more readers. To what end? If my infrequently posted logic is not enough to persuade you to my point of view, or at least cause you to wonder if my questions have merit, why would I want more of you? (I apologize if that question seems offensive; but I certainly read blogs based on how interesting the material is to me, and I expect my readers hold me to that standard). Chris Briem mentioned preaching to the choir in his comment, and boy does that hit home. That is a constant worry for me, because it is worse than useless, certainly for the reasons he mentions. But it also stifles debate and/or discussion. We’ve all seen boards where the dissenters can be turned on by the preached to choir, and subjected to relentless efforts to make them see the “light”. Of course, there does seem to be something about being an anonymous commenter that makes some people quite rude. And I say that as an objective judge.

Well, that’s all for me tonight. It is, after all, only ten minutes now until tomorrow morning.


Tom Lane said...

FWIW, I read you semi-regularly, but I'm just a lurker in the local blogosphere.

Don't give up in disgust ... somebody's gotta do the complaining ...

EdHeath said...

Well, thanks, Tom, I do plan to keep complaining. I just want to understand the nature of the beast, because I also like to make predictions. This blogging beast, though, can make you optomistic when it realy isn't warranted.

Anonymous said...

I use google reader to keep up on a good number of blogs. I have 10 from the "burghosphere" that I read when they post. Although yours are less frequent, your posts are among my favorites. I'm not sure if me reading through google reader shows up in your stats or not.

EdHeath said...

Hmm, I'm not aware of Google Reader, I just do things the old fashioned way. I appreciate you saying that about my posts, certainly I want to entertain as best I can. Do you get the comments through Google Reader? I hope so, they are more than half the fun. And I don't know about Google Reader's impact on the site meter, maybe those are the nine second hits I get. You would think there would be some accommodation for notification given the seemingly incestuous nature of a lot of this software.

Paul Burr said...

I hope you read my last comment.I think most people lurk. It difficult to get people to comment. My brother as well as a friend of mine both have blogs and in the case of my friend has had 2000 hits since May and only two comments. When he chats with friends via email they all admit visiting. He feels frustrated because so few people are willing to comment.Blogs are very worth while. Your views deserve hearing. I visit everyday.
I must admit that the picture of Mr. Heath totally throws me off. If your readers know who he was they may be confused trying to place his face with your views. I would change the picture.

Matt H said...

I read it!

Mark said...

There's a similar post over at Unspace.

Keep it up, whatever that means.

As you might assume from the comments, or at least one comment, some people are still reading blogs by checking in on them. Checking in on blogs makes more sense if you have something like Google Reader or Bloglines. I'm guessing that less than half of your readers use an RSS aggregator. That's going to change. YouTube has changed things. Offline meetings like Blogfest, Podcamp, and Flickr/pittsburgh's Exposure shows have changed things.

Which makes me think, there's been no off-line encounter group of political blogs. I imagine that will happen soon. I think we could all use a hug right about now.

EdHeath said...

I should state clearly, I’m in no danger of folding up shop here. Rather, I am trying to coldly and clearly look at what happens here and on other blogs. I do absolutely appreciate the expressions of support, and I acknowledge that there are probably a few lurkers out there (which is interesting). There are several fine blogs that seemed to pop up during the primary, such as the Pist-Gazette and the Three Rivers Fishing Report. I think we all get about the same amount of comments, which is often none and sometimes a few. I seem to have found the formula for getting some comments with my last couple of posts, and I feel a bit embarrassed because now it seems like I was fishing for comments.

But my real motivation was to think about the effectiveness of blogs. I am coming to the conclusion it is fairly small. As jtogyer said, the smallest newspaper in the area probably has a bigger readership than the biggest blogs. Of course, the people who read the political news and opinions are probably a small group among newspaper readers. But bloggers may want to consider organizing somewhat, like 4 bloggers getting together so they could send one letter a month to the PG (which only prints any given letter writer once a quarter). There may be other things to do as well, it might be worth exploring.

And Paul, I did read your last comment. I have had a few thousand hits in the year that I have been doing this, but as I say fully three quarters are for zero seconds, and I discount those. But I don’t mind, I am satisfied with a realistic view of my place in the internet. But I can’t give up the picture. The strange coincidence of my sharing a name with a conservative English Prime Minister from the 70’s is just too much fun. And ask anyone who knows me, I like confusing people’s expectations.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The August encounter for political bloggers is in mid August -- it is called, PodCamp Pittsburgh.

Hope to see you there.

The July encounter for political bloggers in Pgh is at the notary desk as we get signatures in order to run for office in the fall. (just joking)

Or, we could set up a meeting in our 100,000+ mile Honda that needs to be sold. How about we all pile in for a test drive. (not joking) $2,000 or best offer. Blue book is $2,900.

Stay tuned.

Mark Rauterkus said...

By the way, preaching to the choir is healthy. Who says it is not welcome and why?

One can't only preach to the choir and expect to change the world. But, it is a good place to begin, as are blogs.