No Web Analytics Here

3 minute read

File this one under #neoMythicAge — lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep well at night.

Not every day can be a day for Big Thoughts, though I seem to have done pretty well on that front this week past. A friend has taken to posting my blog links to their Facebook network (me being notoriously Facebook-averse), apparently to some favourable reception. Good, but not an unalloyed good.

It tends to light a small flame in the ego, and you begin wondering whether to implement some sort of analytics on the blog. “It’s just to see what bits of my thinking interest people…” says the ego’s inner serpent. But it’s rubbish, see. All that analytics crap: “How many hits am I getting,” “What are they looking at,” “Who’s the hell is browsing here from Utter Shitholia? They don’t even use the same alphabet as us.”

It’s all just ego spew, a dopamine hit, short lived, non-nutritive sweetener and dangerously addictive. Wanking. If I worried about how many people come to read stuff on either of my websites, I’d be forced by the facts to admit that I’m an utterly crap marketer. Seven hits a month is not going to pay the rent with mad ad money.

And if I worried about which bits of my writing people read the most, that would lead to an even worse delusion! For a start it’s a nonsense that leads to the utterly faulty assumption that what people are reading is what’s most interesting to the widest audience. (And who among us wouldn’t like to play to a larger audience. Be honest, now…) But that’s crap. It might just be that those links are the ones getting the most exposure out there for some reason. (A friend posted it to FB or twitted it. It floats to the top of some search results because you accidentally used a word. And we all know what floats to the top…) No, those analytics numbers tell us almost nothing about which bits are really our best work.

For another thing, it would lead to a horrible trap — the trap that so much of the internet has fallen in to with the results we see all around: utterly shite “content” devoid of any significant value — the trap of Writing For The Audience. Utter shit. Instead of writing about what my peculiar brain finds of interest, I’d end up trying to write some crowd-pleasing clickbait. Ugh. (Shudders.)

So, I think not.

I think I’ll stick to writing what pleases me. I’ll continue to do without the ‘analytics’.

Aside from anything else, I think it’s a bit peculiar, all this handing over of your website traffic data to athe Monster Attention Vampires (the GRAFT) in exchange for,.. almost exactly nothing.

They don’t pay us for that new oildata, except in the form of some nearly useless graphs and tables that are more easily and meaningfully extracted from our own server logfiles, if there’s truly any commercial imperative to know such stuff. In the meantime, using a tracking script seems to me to be an incredibly rude thing to do to the Kind Reader who is already doing you the favour of spending some of their infinitely valuable time to read your spurious blatherings. Shame on you.

And another thing…

It is simply not particularly interesting to me how many people read this, that or the other. It’s nice that somebody out there thinks it entertaining or interesting enough as a way to help while away a rainy Sunday afternoon, but that’s not what I’m in it for.

If I think something is worth the writing, what I’m really interested in is provoking conversation. Whether somebody agrees with me, whether I say something that triggers in another person the thought “And therefore,…” whether they disagree violently with me and want to rub my nose in how dung-headed my thinking is,… they should get in touch and start a conversation. How to reach me is right here on the site. Speak to me, whether you think I’m right or wrong, insightful or shit-headed or outright insane. Let’s talk.

It’s the only way we’re going to get out of the trap of web pages filled with nothing but empty clickbait horse-shit.