Something's changing and I don't know what it means or why its happening....
Long-time readers will be aware that I don't often indulge in talking about server-reader stats. First, they're not all that accurate, secondly, they're near impossible to interpret reasonably, and third even keeping track of these things distracts the writers from the point of the blog. (Which is not circulation but the local dissemination of information.)
By far the best use of my ISP's minimal stats is to enforce a little humility. The website as a whole (including the moribund static portion) had a long-term stable "unique" visitor readership (uniques only get counted once a day no matter how often they drop by or how many pages they view) that has varied around 230 a day. Nothing to brag on by any means but enough to do the job of circulating good information on this topic to enough different local folks that the pro-fiber, pro-development, pro-technology, pro-equity, and pro-community position that I fear would otherwise go underreported has a chance to be heard and become a visible reference point in the local conversation. LPF is pretty content to be a small voice heard fairly well locally. That's all the point has ever been.
A count of the total number of page hits --an even more dubious statistic-- are more impressive with a long-term average of 1100 hits a day. That has added up to more than 600,000 page hits over the last year. Knock off the 7-8% that look like spiders crawling the web and that's still fun to look at (and hard to make sense of ).
All of which brings us to the curious changes that prompt this post: LafayetteProFiber has experienced an approximately 37% jump in the six weeks since the first of the year. That's a lot, and it's sustained and continues upward. Daily unique visits this year are in excess of 300 a day and 350 in the last week. We've had over 100,000 hits in 2006. Previous jumps have been clearly spikes -- they have been easily explicable by "big events," and less sustained. They were clearly tied to local events that sent occasional readers over to check out what our take might be.
Now, I'm not complaining--but I am confused. Two "big picture" explanations occur to me. 1) the site has become well enough know in area circles to have reached some sort of tipping point--so the jump represents a "more of the same" readership. Or 2) This change argues and augers a shift in readership. Different people have found the site and have decided for reasons of their own to hang around.
I'm inclined to think that number 2, a new group has started hanging around,--but if that is so I'd love to be clued in as to what the story is.
Back to our regularly schedule show.....