Uh, Sarah – is that you?
According to my Google Analytics tracking software, Colorado recently came out of nowhere to take over second place as the state contributing the most visitors to this blog. In the past month, a hundred and sixty-two hits came from the Centennial State. This seems rather odd. Film and television production has been going on in Colorado for a long time (including a series of Perry Mason TV movies back in the 80’s), but I'm not aware of any recent surge in production that might account for a heightened interest in Industry blogs, nor had I noticed more than a handful of (very) occasional hits from Colorado up until now. Very early on in this blog, New York supplanted Texas in supplying the most readers (after my native state), but Colorado has suddenly driven New York into a distant third.
As for Texas, maybe my tales of Hollywood life just weren’t tall enough for the hardy denizens of the Lone Star State. Truth may occasionally turn out stranger than fiction, but it’s not always so entertaining.
This being but a flyspeck on the dark side of a distant moon circling a small planet lost in the far reaches of a minor star cluster amid the vast enormity of cyberspace, we’re not talking big numbers. The three-to-five hits/day I started out with back in 2007 has since grown tenfold, but many (most, I suspect) are semi-regulars who keep coming back for more. In absolute terms, I doubt more than a hundred or so people stop by every month, with the occasional newbie balancing out those who’ve grown bored with my constant bleating about the sorry state of the Industry in general, and Hollywood in particular.
Sorry about that folks, but Tinsel Town isn’t all sunshine and rainbows these days.
Puzzled by Colorado’s sudden prominence on the chart, I took a closer look at the Google numbers. Five hits came from Denver, but those people skipped away like flat stones hurled upon calm water, spending exactly zero seconds checking it out. Littleton was next with four visits at an average of forty seconds viewing time. Then came Ft. Collins, also with four visits – but these averaged a full four minutes and thirty-four seconds/visit.
My first thought? Ft. Collins – dudes, you rock!
Then came Parker and Golden (home of Coors beer, according to all those endlessly glowing slo-mo commercials on TV), who combined for another four visits. But they hated it too (zero seconds logged), instantly jumping back through the wormhole of cyber-space to greener Internet pastures.
The mother lode turned out to be Broomfield, a suburb of Denver boasting 45,116 upstanding citizens (as of 2006, according to Wikipedia) -- a hundred and forty-five of whom danced upon this blog in the past month, where they viewed 1.02 pages during visits that averaged ten seconds.
Ten seconds per visit – what the hell did THAT mean? What happened in Broomfield to bring this about – did a kitten wander across a computer keyboard out there? Were bored ADD-afflicted kids careening through cyberspace on a desperate quest for something – anything – different, or had some slave-bot malware galvanized computers in Broomfield to march in lock-step across the wide open spaces of the Internet on a quest for.... what?
Damned if I know. Baffled by these numbers, I checked the “bounce rate” – meaning the percentage of viewers who immediately bounced away rather than stay on the blog for any length of time. Here, the mystery deepened. Denver, Parker and Golden came up with a 100% bounce rate – all of those viewers were just passing through, windows rolled up, eyes fixed on the road ahead, and the cyber-pedal firmly planted to the metal. Littleton came through with a 75% bounce rate, which means three of those four viewers hit-and-ran, leaving one who stayed long enough to spend 40 seconds looking at 1.25 pages.
Ft. Collins – my erstwhile heroes – came up with the same bounce rate (and the same conclusion), except that one actual reader – God bless him/her -- spent four and a half minutes reading those same 1.25 pages.
Broomfield, however, came up with a 97.93% bounce rate. If my math is correct, that boils down to three readers of the original one-forty-five – three people who stayed for ten whole seconds...
Assuming my analysis is correct (dubious, that...), what first appeared to be a veritable tsunami of new readers turned out to be five individuals scattered through the great state of Colorado, who spent a grand total of five and a half minutes on the blog.
Then again, I flunked statistics way back when, and have no fondness for any form of numbers-based accounting. There's a reason economics (largely a study of numbers) is called “the dismal science.”
True, I have a cousin living somewhere up there in Colorado’s suburban high country, but she’s known about this blog for a long time, and never seemed particularly intrigued -- nor should she, being that she doesn’t toil in any aspect of the Industry. There’s no reason I can think of why she would start clicking my blog URL like a spastic on meth.
I suppose this will remain my own very minor mystery unless and until one of you three Broomfieldians out there chooses to enlighten me. So please, do tell.
Meanwhile, a big shout-out to Ft. Collins, for that one reader in the great state of Colorado who’s actually paying attention...