“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Google Analytics teaches me something about sociology

This will certainly be outside of my typical topic space. I've plugged in the code to use Google Analytics to see who, if anyone, has visited my little corner of cyberspace and how they might have come here. In looking at the report for the last month, the site has wandered around as usual (I'm too embarrassed to reveal the actual numbers). But yesterday (August 28, 2008) the number of visitors was down by 90%.

This is almost two sigma below the mean. It took but a minute to realize that this was likely to be because people work in the daytime and surf at night. What happened last night? Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech. I was amazed to find that the intersection between fuel economizing web surfers and members of the Obama cult of personality was so large.

I wonder how many of the set of people who would otherwise be perusing my site, or such sites as Ecomodder have actually drunk the Kool-Aid and how many were trying to get to know more about Obama so as to make up their mind?

My gut feeling is that it's more of the former and less of the latter, but the scientist in me is unhappy with leaving it at that. So instead, I've used this opportunity to try a blogger feature I haven't previously used: a poll. Take a moment and let me know, if you surfed less than usual last night, if it was because of Obama's speech and, if so, whether you went there to cheer on your man, or to learn more about a potential recipient of your vote. Clearly this is nonscientific, but it's certainly of interest.

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