Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lies, damned lies and...

Statistics. There are plenty of times when it is important for statistics to be collected: to gauge the efficacy of an advertising campaign perhaps, or to claim commission of the number of didgeridoos sold. But there are plenty of times when, I am sure, statistics are collected simply for their own sake.

I suppose collecting things fulfills some atavistic need within us as we do, after all, tend to start collecting at a very early age: toy cars, Mr Men books, Barbie dolls or whatever. We often progress to collecting stamps or train numbers or other such trivia. Some of us never seem to grow out of the need to collect something. The Old Bat, for example, is slowly building a collection of figurines of Beatrix Potter characters. They sit is a glass-fronted cabinet and are, from time to time, taken out, dusted and put back in a different arrangement but the OB never, as far as I am aware, stops and actually looks at them. Just collecting them is sufficient to fulfill her need.

But she is not alone in having this need. Just cast your eyes to the right and you will see one of my little collections - flags of countries whose residents have visited this blog. I take a certain juvenile delight in seeing new flags when they appear. I do wonder, though, just how many of the visitors from, say, Georgia (the country, not the US state) or Libya (yes - there have been one from each) understand what I have written let alone take any interest in the ramblings of my mind.

It doesn't surprise me to see that the majority of visitors by far is from the US but, given the difference in the size of the populations, it does strike me as a little surprising that the number of US visitors is only about four times the number of British. Talking - well, writing - about US visitors, I can see a breakdown of the states from which those visitors come. I expect anyone who has the interest can click on the flags and then explore further to find this breakdown, but I'll save you the bother. Here it is:
California 314
Washington 68
Ohio 53
Texas 35
Oregon 30
Michigan 22
New York 17
Florida 15
Illinois 14
Pennsylvania 10
North Carolina 8
Indiana 8
Massachusetts 8
New Jersey 7
Georgia 7
Iowa 5
Minnesota 5
Colorado 5
Louisiana 5
Arizona 4
Wisconsin 4
Kentucky 4
Nebraska 3
Missouri 3
Arkansas 3
Tennessee 2
New Hampshire 2
Maryland 2
South Carolina 2
Mississippi 2
Alabama 2
Montana 2
Kansas 1
Oklahoma 1
Nevada 1
Wyoming 1
South Dakota 1
Virginia 1
Hawaii 1
Delaware 1
New Mexico 1
Alaska 1
Utah 1
Idaho 1
West Virginia 1

Now I realise that California is a large state and is far more populous than, say, New Mexico or Arizona. But what is it, I wonder, that makes Californians so much more likely than people from Michigan or New Jersey to surf blogs?

I suppose that is just another example of life's unsolvable mysteries - like why I bother to collect the stats in the first place.


#1Nana said...

California population in 2009: 36,961,664

New Jersey: 8,707,739

Not only is California a big state, it has a huge population. And, since it has a large immigrant population, I would guess that the average age is younger than the national average.

But, I agree with you that it is pointless to track this stuff. I too enjoy seeing where the readers come from and wonder why someone in China has any interest in the ramblings of a retired educator.

Suldog said...

Does each number by a state represent unique visitors, or just plain number of visits from each state? I suspect I've been here more than eight times (I'm from Massachusetts) so I suspect it is unique visitors, but I'm curious.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Suldog: I think the figures are for unique visitors rather than page views.

Nana: By the law of averages, if the population of NJ is one quarter that of CAL, there should have been 75 visitors from NJ rather than 7.

Of course, all this matters not a whit in the overall scheme of things - but I'm curious.

Uncle Skip, said...

I'm curious about the 176 visits from the Phillipines.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Me too!