Interacting With the World

I’ve been blogging now for just over a year, and the main purpose (to have some sort of repository of information about my experience here) has been fulfilled. I wasn’t ever trying to change the world, or garner loads of readers, or become a famous writer. That will come later. I just wanted some way of communicating to family, and to a few friends.

Of course, having it public means that every now and then someone completely unknown will drop in, and peruse, and usually leave without a trace. Thanks to the stats on WordPress, I can see this happening from time to time. I usually have about 20 views per week, but every now and then, it’ll jump to 20 or 30. Looking closer, I’ll find that it’s all one person that has viewed about 20 posts. And then disappeared off into the night. This strikes me as just a little weird. True – sometimes I’ll find out who they are, as I run into them personally (and I’d be reilly lax not to mention one or two). They’ll be someone at the office, or a recruitment agent who saw my profile on LinkedIn, or that sort of thing.

But surely, if you stumble across someone’s blog, and like it enough to take the trouble to read 15 – 20 pages of it, you’d take the trouble to make a comment? Strangely enough, these once-off lurkers seldom do.

On the other hand, though, you sometimes get the exact opposite – those that are just a little bit too keen to comment. WordPress automatically filters most spam comments out so that I don’t even see them. But there are a few that come through which are borderline cases.  Some are those that have no relevance to the post, but link to a product or service. (Interestingly, I got quite a few after the circus post advertising classes for learning circus skills. Hmmm… tempting).

But then there are those that I just don’t know whether they’re genuine or not. They’ll say things like “I’m so glad I found your blog – your take on the subject is completely new and fresh, and I’ve never read anything like it”, or “Fantastic article – I’ve been looking for this sort of thing for ages – where do you get your information from?”. And I’m left wondering whether that’s just the way they usually talk, or whether they’re trying to get something. They don’t have blogs themselves, so they’re not trying to get readers. I just don’t know. My social skills are not great at the best of times, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I just misunderstand the intent at times.

Sometimes I approve the comments, and let them through, but usually I just leave them there in the “Probably Spam” box, and it seems that they eventually disappear.

Lastly, the stats page also shows who arrived at the blog from a search, and what they searched for. Some of these are rather funny – a recent one was “whatever happened to Zanzibar” which ended up on my Dave page (which would provide precious little information on what really happened to Zanzibar). Another was “actuarial period of life table for a domestic cat vs a feral cat” which found a lot of talk about cats, and actuarial tables, but not in the way he may have been expecting.

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4 Responses to Interacting With the World

  1. Jill says:

    I think the stats on WordPress sound like a lot of fun. It makes me want to write a blog just to look at them. I suppose there is someone out there who has done that. Anyway, keep up the blogging, Nick, stats or no stats. You are providing a valuable service to those of us who are interested in odd subjects. Hey, if I ask you about the image of Mr. Peabody behind you, do you get any hits on that?

  2. Brad Nixon says:

    Nick, congrats on a year of blogging. You’re an excellent writer, and you’ve given us a window into England from a unique point of view: someone who is both of the culture and yet a visitor. On top of that, you may be the funniest actuary writing on this planet, even if some of the more arcane gags you pull are beyond the reach of us non-actuaries. Keep it up!

  3. Karl says:

    I meant to reply to this age ago, but I don’t seem able to from my phone. As one of the lurkers mentioned that you bump into, I have to say you really should consider a 2nd career in writing. I have told many people about your ‘socialising documents’ blog, partly because I feel in some way responsible, but also because it is so spot on!
    And as a complete aside, doing the accounts for our local scout group last night, I came across another family of Tickners down here in Essex!
    Keep up the writing!

    • Nick says:

      Thanks for the compliments – indeed, it was mostly your fault:). As to the namesakes – there are quite a few of us in the South East – that’s where the family stopped after invading from Norway in the 15th century…

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