At some point in the past week, this blog rather inexplicably went over the half-million-view mark.
It took a little less than four years to reach that point, but lest I get too big for my britches I need only remind myself that the Huffington Post racks up the same amount of traffic in just six hours.
On the other hand, the Cotton Boll Conspiracy is absolutely crushing both the Build Your Own Fire-Ant Farm blog and the Musings on Neo-Pelagianism blog in terms of unique visits.
So what I have I learned over these past four years? Judging from the semi-literate scribblings, the obvious contempt for copyright laws in regard to the use of images, and the willy-nilly selection of topics, one might suspect very little.
And one would be right.
For the purpose – the mission statement, if I might use a shopworn term that corporate America has all but bludgeoned into a meaningless mass of cant and claptrap – of this blog remains simply to allow me the opportunity to write about that which I find interesting.
And while I myself have learned little, at least about the art of writing itself, I have discovered a thing or two about those that read this slapdash collection of posts and prattlings.
First, if it is true, as WordPress.com, the platform for my blog, indicates, that I have received 500,000-plus views over the past four years, I owe a word of thanks to the 10 or so people who have clicked on the Cotton Boll Conspiracy 50,000 times apiece since late 2008.
How else could one explain this blog racking up that many views in a lifetime, never mind four years?
On a slightly more serious note, one of the interesting features about WordPress is that it has allowed me to track the location of blog visitors since late February. Not surprisingly, the vast majority have come from the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, India and Australia.
The second five, ranging from 1,000 views down to 700, have hailed from Germany, Italy, France, Brazil and Turkey.
Other nations this blog has been surprisingly popular in include Malaysia, the Philippines, Norway and Portugal.
But, quite frankly, the showing in sub-Saharan Africa has been altogether disappointing.
Outside of South Africa, which is a bit an anomaly on the continent, the best I’ve been able to manage in the region is Nigeria, with a paltry 38 views over the past seven months.
I’ve gotten at least that many emails during that same period from Nigerian princes, wives of Nigerian princes, sons of dead Nigerian princes, etc., selflessly offering to split tens of millions of dollars with me if I’ll only forward them a relatively insignificant sum to help them free up the money from whichever corrupt minister has it stashed in a secret bank account.
Sadly, Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s bright spot for the Cotton Boll Conspiracy. Consider:
- Kenya comes in next with 32 views;
- Ghana, 18;
- Ethiopia, 16;
- Senegal, 10;
- Sudan, 8;
- Zimbabwe and Malawi, 7 each;
- Angola, 6;
- Mauritania and Madagascar, 5 apiece;
- Zambia, Benin, Uganda and Rwanda, 4 each;
- Ivory Coast, 3;
- Djibouti, Togo and Cape Verde, 2 apiece; and
- One view each from Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Gabon and Mali.
The takeaway from all of this?
That my extensive outreach efforts in Tanzania, Burundi, Namibia, Niger, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Swaziland, Somalia, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Eritrea and Botswana, not to mention Western Sahara, were a waste of valuable resources and manpower.
They could have been better focused on the Channel Islands (six views), Gibraltar (also six views) or perhaps even that last great frontier of blogdom: Mongolia (20 views).
All kidding aside, that this blog has gotten any views from places such as Zambia and Djibouti seems rather astounding. The only thing I can figure is that missionaries traveling through these countries happened to be searching the Internet and were somehow directed to this blog.
Not having been to Africa, I’m speculating here, but places like Guinea-Bissau and Gambia don’t seem like hotbeds of high-speed Internet access.
How frustrating must it be to sit for a seemingly interminable amount of time waiting for what you hope will be something interesting to download, perhaps while a band of baboons attempts to rip open the miserable bamboo hut you’ve been reduced to living in, only to wind up with the likes of “A dyslexic ponders Augustine’s ‘Scones of sin’”? or “Facebook: culling wheat from chaff since ’04”?
That aside, the purveyor of this blog is grateful to all who have taken the time to browse through his blatherings, along with the fact that INTERPOL isn’t in the business of shutting down blogs based on quality, or lack thereof.