Like I suspect many of you, I enthusiastically kept a teenage diary outlining all the details about my life, my loves (or to be honest lack of them) and my record collection.
I would ramble away in my diary for hours at a time, safe in the knowledge that no one else would ever read what I had committed to paper. The day my diary actually died was when I showed my girlfriend at the time what I’d written, and realised at that point on that I could never be truly honest again because I may have to tailor my thoughts to any future possible readers.
Nowadays, however, I suspect most people don’t bother with a pen and paper diary, they blog online instead. Blogs, of course, are very public which seems to fly in the face of the privacy of a diary but as there are millions of them out there, you probably feel quite safe that the only people who are going to find your material are those that you are happy to share it with.
Or so I thought.
At the end of 2008 I set up this blog which I called Bath’s Big Ed mainly as a way for me to collate my weekly Chronicle articles in one place in cyberspace. I initially told a few people about what I was doing (many of whom probably dipped in once and never returned) and I’ve also advertised it a couple of times in my weekly paper column but, by and large, I always thought that my blog was something mainly for me but I would be happy if a few people occasionally stumbled on it.
However, a couple of weeks ago I had a shock.
My blog providers – Blogspot – have now come up with a great new system to monitor your web traffic and I can only express my amazement that in the less than three years or so I’ve been committing things to my blog, it has been viewed 10,400 times.
Now in the grand scheme of things (and when I think of how many people read our paper for example), that’s not a huge number but I’m still genuinely stunned that so many people have found their way to the blog – however inadvertently.
The amazement continued when I saw where the audience was from. More than 4,500 viewings came from this country but that immediately told me that nearly 6,000 didn’t, which is crazy when you think most of the things I write about are focused on the Bath area. The most popular countries after the UK are the US and Germany but then comes three countries about which I’ve never written a word – India, Ukraine and Russia.
Odder still, further delving into my blog stats showed that in the last week alone two viewings were from Iran and one from Finland. Eh?
What this means oh reader (whether you’re in-print in Bathwick or online in Bangladesh) is contrary to what you may think people do read blogs – even with millions of them out there.
As a tip, the really well-read pieces seem to be those that have strong key words so if you do have a blog and want to increase your readership in either Burnley or Borneo, then that is the area to concentrate on.
One thing’s for certain - I really am glad I didn’t blog my teenage diary. For those of you who do/did – beware!