Three kinds of Statistics; White Lies, Fibs and Bullcrap

Look at these stats! Nothing but good news and a need for a taller graph! (Image from pages.uoregon.edu)

There was a quote by Mark Twain which essentially said that there are three kinds of lies; Lies, damn lies and statistics.  Fittingly enough, Twain attributed the remark to Benjamin Disreali.  I know this because I had a statistics instructor in college tell us that the first day of class.  I’m still not sure if that was the best thing to tell us as we started our study of stats, but that was his choice.  In his defense, I’ve recalled that quote, albeit somewhat incorrectly, for all these years since.  By the same token, I’ve pretty much forgotten everything else we covered after that first day.

In the spirit of lies and damn lies, I’ve assembled a few of my own statistics for your reading pleasure.  While some of the stats may be twisted or completely fabricated, the important thing is that this piece gives me a chance to put a bunch of links to other things I’ve written.  If stats are good for one thing, it’s surely self-promotion.

Number of Posts = 80

Blogging Since = February 2012

Number of times Freshly Pressed = 0 (Refer to an upcoming post on the phenomenon known to WordPressers as Freshly Pressed)

Number of times I looked at the drivel I’d posted and prayed it wouldn’t be Freshly Pressed – Oh please, not this time! = 67

Lowest hits on a post =   Gotta Start Somewhere   - My very first blog post, with a massive 17 hits.  It was tentative, weak, could well have also been my last post, but 17 people read it.  I felt obligated to my teeny fan base to write a second post.  The rest, as they say, is the reason the garage isn’t cleaned out yet.

Highest hits on a post =   Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island  - A ridiculous 471 hits and counting.  Seriously people?!  I compared the Skipper to Jerry Sandusky!  This is the post you love most?

Average time required to draw an illustration for a post = 2.9 hours.  That’s an average.  Some took much longer, and one or two were practically doodles.

Average time required to surf, copy, save, retrieve, crop and properly credit photos from the web for a given post = 2.89 hours.  Part of the reason this takes me so long is that my computer keeps taking me to porn sites and fantasy football articles.

Average time spent writing a blog post, not including illustrations/web photos = 45 minutes

Average time spent editing/re-reading/re-writing the above 45 minute post = 3.73 hours.  This statistic does not include the times when, after multiple edits I just got so sick of looking at the post that I deleted it out of spite.

Average number of times someone on Facebook utters under their breath for me to “get a life” per blog link posted on my wall = 1.3 .  Admittedly, this is only an estimate, but if my wife is any indication, I think it’s pretty close.

Average amount of time spent daily by those very same Facebookers on virtual farming, mystical quests for dragon eggs and Words With Friends = 7.3 hours.  Also an estimate, exaggerated for comedic value.  For the record, my wife does not partake in any such Facebook activities.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for my oldest brother Mike.

Number of contacts who I send a blog link to via personal email every single time I post = 83.  No exaggeration here.  These people were foolish enough to give me their email addresses and now my notifications pop up more often than spam for discounted Mexican Viagra.

Number of them who delete the email but don’t have the heart to tell me to stop sending them = 71.  This number is based on how often I see friends and colleagues (and neighbors, Bill) who never comment on my latest blog.  They’ll avert their eyes and suddenly get urgent cell phone calls if I even bring up the subject (I didn’t hear it ring.  Huh.  I guess it was on vibrate)

Monetary value of total hits of posts = $0.  Unless you count the time I found a five dollar bill in a box of colored pencils while looking for a decent eraser.

Emotional value that someone read me, even if they don’t speak English = Priceless.  This, of course, is a nod to all my fans, but especially my uber fan, Manon Kubler.  Kubler, to the best of my knowledge, speaks no English, but still insists on raving about my blog and even reblogging it, presumably to his countrymen who may or may not believe me to be some kind of “Cargo God”

60 responses

  1. Oh, now you’re feeding my soul with this one. I do loves me some good statistics. And would you believe we both share the 80 posts stat? Of course, by Monday, I will be at the 81 mark, but I’ll enjoy the symmetry while it lasts.

  2. Well, at least as a blogger you have something to show for your work! The same cannot be said for (shudder) Pinterest, unless you make a chandelier out of mason jars. Which, just to clarify, you shouldn’t ;)

    Funny post! Keep at it and you WILL get Freshly Pressed. It took me nine months but it finally happened.

      • Yes! Hurry! When I was pregnant, I joked with my hubs that if I ever did get FP’d, it would be the day I was in labor and couldn’t relish it fully. Aaaaand of course when it finally happened, it was when the baby was 4 days old. The moral of the story is to make sure you’ve got nothing else going on in your life when you release your gems. (That sounds mildly pornographic but you know what I mean.)

        • Like most of those milestones, I’m sure once it happens, it will be anticlimactic and will immediately be replaced by the next unreachable milestone.

          I’m closing in on having rowed 2 million meters on my ergometer, and instead of being excited, I’m dreading it because then I’ll have to row another million before I reach another milestone.

  3. I’m going to email WP to get this FP’d. I hear you can nominate posts and I’m going to do that…if you give me 10 percent of that $5 you found in the box of colored pencils.

  4. I’m a newcomer to your blog, 1point, but I am enjoying your posts greatly. And the FP thing seems to be pretty true—I’ve never been FPd, probably never will, but everyone I know who has says it’s never the stuff they WANT to be FP’d. The posts they spend hours crafting carefully with FP in mind, those are never the ones they choose. So you should just let ‘er rip!

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m also glad that new readers such as yourself are finding me, and some of you are sticking around to see what’s next. I didn’t mean for this post to become all about FP, (That’s actually the topic of my NEXT post!) but sometimes the comment stream finds its own path.

  5. This is funny: “2.89 hours. Part of the reason this takes me so long is that my computer keeps taking me to porn sites and fantasy football articles.”
    That’s a whole lot of hits for one post (Gilligan’s) Congratulations!
    I can always count on your sarcasm to make me smile.

  6. Yep, that’s how fresh pressed works. Just write a post implying your spouse’s grandmother was crazy, and you should be all set. And be sure to include pictures. WordPress LOVES themselves some pictures. And definitely go on vacation. (Your spouse will resent you, but you’ll get to tell everyone you were freshly pressed…)

    Alright, that’s all I got. Now I’m going to need to search out 47 Shades of Pink… Oh, and 471 hits is ridiculous! Nice job!

  7. Great post, as always, 1 Point. You need to write something really dumb that you’re embarrassed to post, and then that will surely get FPed. But you don’t need it, in all seriousness; you’ve obviously built a strong following based on your stuff. Now, I must go, because I am curious about Jerry Sandusky and the Skipper and must read that. Later!

    • There’s no better reason to sign off on a comment than to go read something else of mine! I think from now on, I’m going to find a way to refer to at least one of my earleir post in each new post I write. Even bad publicity is still publicity.

  8. Having just gone through the Freshly Pressed brouhaha, I can say this: Pros – interacting with other writers. Cons – getting sucked into the stats game. I have vigorously reminded myself about the original purpose of my blog, which was always about getting in the habit of writing work that people might see. I, too, have avoided working on my novel by “managing” my blog. Distractions, distractions…in a misquote from “The Shawshank Redemption”: Get busy writing or get busy dying, or going to a sucky office job (feels like same).

    • I fear being Freshly Pressed more than i crave it. I’m convinced it will be one of my weaker efforts when and if it ever happens.

      Stats are a double edged sword, which I try to look at with some humor, but end up getting sucked into anyway.

      On the bright side, Freshly Pressed brought you to my attention, and I’m enjoying your writing, so that’s that.

      • After the drop off in numbers, I found myself reading articles on how to get traffic, improve my blog, etc. I had to stop myself from adding 5 million widgets, picking controversial topics for the sake of controversy and messing about too much with the format. I’ve recovered my senses and am trying to focus on doing the work that I want to do and improving my writing skills. That’s the true fun of it.

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