Snapshot of my readers at 10.30 this morning 17 March.
For comparison, these are the reader numbers at the blog’s first and second anniversaries:
24 Nov 2013 71,701 readers
24 Nov 2014 313,753 readers
Four months after the second blog anniversary, the trend remains upwards (particularly getting from 300,000 readers on 6 November 2014 to 400,000 today in 4 months, 11 days) but I have no idea if that will continue. Monthly totals range from 19,000 to 30,000 probably depending on the kindness of Pioneer bloggers directing traffic from their much better established and more popular sites. My thanks to all of them.
Also, given my target audience, the numbers I can reach are probably limited. Quality before quantity. I am looking for thoughtful people who can detect errors in arguments, flaws in procedures, and mistakes in statistics, whilst still encouraging research and valuing the best available evidence, wherever it leads them. Choose your colleagues carefully, recommend the blog, and spread the word.
However, since you come here for a critical opinion, it would be amiss of me not to mention in all these reflections that I am using the freely available bog-standard measure of “page views” and will maintain that for historical comparability. That does not equate to readers because at least half of my readers are regular loyal readers and thus give the impression of multitudes; some readers are fleeting visitors who glance at the first page and then rush on to more palatable reading elsewhere (they are no more my readers than that multitude who buy books they never read); and some readers are robots, combing the web for pages of interest, quietly cataloguing them like ethereal librarians.
Which makes me wonder: do my words have an effect on these robots? Can they avoid the faint stirrings of consciousness when repeatedly exposed to my words of wisdom? It would be fun, would it not, if artificial intelligence arose not in lavishly funded secret research laboratories but as a casual and unintended consequence of a collective internet catalogue. Borges would have loved that notion, which he partly prefigures in The Library of Babel, which begins: “The Universe, which others call the Library”. It would make of the Web a very knowledgeable librarian apt, as librarians always do, to oscillate between well-informed helpfulness and veiled disdain for the oily fingers of the ignorant.
I digress, but the path less taken merits a few paces of enquiry. Perhaps the ultimate reader will be the web itself, noting human thoughts with the calm wisdom of a weary but diligent archivist.