22 February 2011

Fun with Stats!

There are very few subjects I didn't enjoy studying in school. And, if I'm being frank, there were very few subjects that I wasn't good at when I studied them. I'm pretty sure there's a correlation -- I like doing things I'm good at doing, or I'm good at doing things I like doing, either way. But there was one subject in middle school that I hated so much--and I was so bad at doing--that I actively avoided taking it in high school, and then avoided all subjects that required it as a prerequisite in college: statistics. I was terrible at statistics. Probability, really. I get flipping a coin. I get rolling dice. But that's about it. And I don't even understand those very well: add in margins of error, and I'm confused all over again. Calculating that stuff is just beyond me.

But if someone gives me numbers to look at -- like, polling numbers on election day, something like that -- I do find them fascinating. The real-life application helps.

So when I tell you that Blogger is now showing me a Stats tab, you can maybe anticipate the progression of thoughts that went through my head. First was "OH GOD NO." What can I say? The reptilian fight-or-flight part of my brain is pretty quick. Then I remembered that I would not be tested on these stats, and I thought "well, it might be interesting to see what kind of things Blogger is measuring." It's number of pageviews, what kinds of browser my readers are using, where these readers live in the world, and where they came from to link to my page. I can look at stats broken down by time: stats are listed in terms of "today," "this week," "this month," "this year," and "all time." This is geeky-cool.

So now I know that people are connecting to my blog from Ravelry (which is not really a surprise), but that more people are connecting from my friend Elizabeth's blog than they are from Ravelry. Crazy! And the most-viewed page is my Snail Hat post -- so something I said there was apparently very helpful, and maybe the word has gotten out? In the last week, there have been as many as 10 people reading my blog at the same time. Ten! Who knew I even had ten readers total, much less ten at the same time?

And, not entirely surprisingly, most of my readers are from the United States... but the second-highest population of my readers are in the Netherlands. Not what I'd have thought. At all. If you'd asked me if I thought anyone from the Netherlands was reading my blog, I'd have laughed and said no. Canada, sure. UK, maybe. But the Netherlands? Not likely. (See? I have trouble with probability.)

So I'd like to give a shout out to my Dutch readers. Welcome! I'm glad to have you checking in from time to time! Also, my readers in China, and Australia, and Russia, and Brazil, and Germany, and India, and the United Arab Emirates (!?!?!??!!!!)... y'all, I had no idea you were out there. I'm grateful and humbled, and it makes me want to be a better blogger. I've got to be honest and tell you that it's not likely I'm going to get my blogging act together anytime soon (again with the probabilities... I could be wrong!), but knowing you're actually out there is pretty nice. So thanks for reading.

And if you're a reader from some non-USA country, please drop a line in the comments. I may or may not be able to respond in a timely manner, but I will appreciate knowing where you're from! And I'll try to respond eventually. I have done a bit of world travel (mostly Europe, several times) and it's great fun to learn about new places and new people. So say hello! Bonjour! Dobra dyen!

...And, um, if you are from the Netherlands, can you please tell me how to say "hello" in Dutch? This is apparently a hole in my education.

(Yes, Mom, I'll be sure to show you the stats stuff when I'm home. I know you want to see it.)

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