Something you have to be wary of when you engage with social media is getting hung up on stats. Of course, if you’re a Youtuber or an influencer whose income is dependent on clicks, likes, revenue, then you’re unhappily locked into this obsession and pursued by the related demons of SEO, algorithms and rankings.
But if you’re just doing your thing, hoping some people pick it up and like it; and if you would, honestly, still do it even if only your mum clicked and read – because you are driven in some way to create and make – then the stats and analytics pages aren’t something you pore over.
I do this blog because I’ve always been a scribbler and a communicator-by-writing. My over-long text messages are notorious in the family and I’d like to think that the blog outlet has saved some of them from having to scroll through my thoughts on a tiny badly-lit screen at 11pm, just in case I was going to say something important.
I’m also doing it because my big writing project has been stalled for 3 years now. In 2018, I first drafted a novel. Yeah, like so many academics, I always wanted to write beyond the academic research format. Predictable. What can I say to you, sweetie? Originality is in short supply by 2022. If we’d lived in 1422, things would have been easier and I’d have held more surprises for you.
While I wait for the massively overdue writing retreat that will open up for me the time to get the novel re-worked, I write this blog and have fun with it. After years of writing in a super-constrained set of expectations, as an academic anthropologist (see the ‘Things I did’ page) it’s great to breathe a little and let my own voice out more.
And my lifelong desire to see social changes and be part of good things in the world feels more appropriately exercised these days in my own very small locality. In my adopted hometown of Worthing, I am part of on-the-ground networks and can write about things that happen here – often using my anthropologist’s training to offer micro-analysis or links to help people dig in deeper to a topic.
But stats, baby, stats! As 2022 cranks up, I’m looking over the places where readers of this blog come in from. Not surprising that most readers are in UK. The USA, India, Italy are places where I have a few personal connections, so that’s also predictable. But from the list of 32 different states where blog readers came in from, there’s some interesting turn-ups.
I’m not reproducing the entire 32-nation list – what a time-suck for me and a bore for you – but here are highlights.
If you’re the 1 person in Colombia who reads the blog – pop onto the comments and say hi. You 3 readers in Brazil – do you live or study in the same place and know each other? Does the reader in Japan know me or know of me? Is that Ukrainian reader an ethnographer, a student, a person curious about UK life? How come there’s only 2 people from UAE, where I have a lot of connections? Is that people using VPNs (we know you do that, guys, and it’s ok – we would, too, although there’s 15 readers who show up from China, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about here).
Thanking every single reader from 2021, properly grateful to everybody who checks in. And mum, I know it’s not all you, cos you haven’t travelled this year at all. But I’m glad you’re here.