Monday, 9 January 2012

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

I wish I could give an undisputed credit to the person who coined this phrase but, to my regret, there is no agreement about the author although it seems probable that it was the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Actually, it matters not who said it originally, at least, it matters not as far as this particular post is concerned. The phrase is merely a useful title providing an introduction to what I am about to say.

(Pause for a triviality concerning the word "actually". Before the adjoining towns of Brighton and Hove were merged into one - known by the very unoriginal name of Brighton & Hove, which doesn't exactly slip off the tongue very easily - people who lived in Hove, the smaller and lesser-known of the two towns, would often say, when asked where they lived, "Brighton. Well, Hove, actually". Hove therefore became known not as plain Hove but as the double-barrelled Hove-Actually.)

But to get back to reality. I have been glancing, as one does from time to time when one has an idle moment or three or when one is vain enough to do so, at the statistics so kindly provided by Blogger. I don't place a great deal of faith in the absolute accuracy of those statistics, which quite often seem to differ from the stats provided by Flag Counter (and Flag Counter does provide those pretty little graphics in my side bar). All the same, according to Blogger, my post with the most views is the one from nearly two years ago, St David's Day. This post has received over seven times as many visits as the next most popular. I was left puzzling when I discovered this fact until I looked at the statistics page showing traffic sources. This revealed that many of the visitors to the St David's Day post had searched for pictures of daffodils - and my post had one. So all those people didn't really want to read my purple prose about the patron saint of Wales - they just wanted a picture of daffodils! Put me in my place good and proper.

And like others, I'm puzzled by the traffic coming from a weird Russian site.


Uncle Skip, said...

I'd go over to look at the St David's Day post, but that would skew the stats even more.

Stephen Hayes said...

I just read your St. David's Day post and I found it charming and informative. In my case, I've noticed that the posts I like best are not the ones that receive the most visits. I wondered about this until I started linking my stories together so visitors could easily access older blogs that were posted on days that, for one reason or another, didn't get much attention. And I also get a freakish amount of visits from Russia.