Every February on diamond geezer I keep myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a stats-tastic 28-day feature called The Count. On the off-chance that you haven't been following my daily graphical updates on Daytum, it's now time to reveal some of the results of my month-long survey. A few today, the rest tomorrow. I know this is a bit premature because the final results won't be confirmed until midnight tomorrow, so for now the figures are best estimates. But I'll come back and update them later once the final data is known.
Count 1 (Blog visitors): Down 6000 visitors on last year? Looks rather poor, doesn't it? I appear to have tumbling visitor numbers and there's been a real comedown since 2006. But I've learned not to read too much into my visitor numbers these days because RSS feeds are making the data increasingly unrepresentative. In February's case the figures have been all over the place thanks to external linkage, knocking several years' visitor numbers completely out of kilter. But February's data is still cheery enough, and well up on 2003/4/5, so thanks! Total number of visits to this webpage in February 2009: 26048 (2003: 2141) (2004: 6917) (2005: 9636) (2006: 42277) (2007: 23082) (2008: 32006)
Count 2 (Blog comments): See, I thought so. Blog commenting has peaked. People used to comment more, and now they comment less. Either I'm more dull than I used to be, or my readers aren't as willing (or as able) to respond. My wagging finger points at RSS feeds, because an increasing percentage of my readership can't even see my comments let alone add to them. And why should they? There's chatter everywhere on the internet these days, and it no longer needs to be here. Total number of comments on this webpage in February 2009: 472 (2003: 166) (2004: 332) (2005: 463) (2006: 648) (2007: 566) (2008: 504)
Count 3 (Blog content): I'm always convinced every year that I'm writing far more than I was last year. This year, for the first time in ages, it turns out I was right. This is my most prolific February yet, having churned out 15% more words than last year. I used to be astonishingly consistent, generating about 600 words a day, but now I'm averaging more than 700. It may sound small, but that difference really adds up when you write a daily blog. More words, more research, more waffle, more time. And is this extra effort worth it? I suspect not. You probably like that fact that I write 700 words a day, but I bet you'd still come back even if I still wrote 600. Maybe I need to cut back a bit. Total number of words in diamond geezer in February 2009: 20602 (2003: 14392) (2004: 16214) (2005: 16016) (2006: 15817) (2007: 17102) (2008: 17606)
Count 4 (Work/life balance): This is a new category, comparing work rest and play, so I can't compare 2009's figures to anything previous. But I can stare at the figures and go "blimey, do I really spend that much of my time doing that?" Even better, Daytum can visualise my February as a lovely purplish pie chart, reproduced here. Really, I'd never pictured my life quite like this before, and it's fascinating. Let me run you through the details. Top left, that's sleep. I sleep about a quarter of the time. That's, erm, quite low isn't it? It's an average of only six hours a day, and quite frequently a bit less than that. Is this normal? I'm sure most people need far more than six hours or they keel over. Me, I don't even need a cup of coffee in the morning to perk me up. Just as well, because if I went to bed at ten every night I'd never get this blog written. But it's not normal, it can't be normal. Top right, that's work. I work about a quarter of the time. That may not sound much, but it's still more than I'm contracted to do. It's an average of just under six hours a day, including weekends, because I don't work weekends. And there was me thinking I spend too much of my life at work, and it turns out it's less than 25%. Good job, eh? Right hand side, that's travel. I spend only 6% of my time on the move, getting from one place to another. Most of this is getting to and from work, so it's just as well my commute's not too long. Leaves plenty of time for... Big chunk at the bottom, that's play. By which I mean it's everything that isn't sleep, work or travel. It's all the hours I have at my disposal to do with what I want. It's eating, blogging, socialising, visiting, tellying, slobbing, that sort of thing. It's me time. And blimey, it's almost half my life. Even better, it's well over half of my waking hours. Oh the joys of being footloose and offspring-less. Oh the sense of freedom, opportunity and possibility that the single life brings. But what do I do with all this spare time, these 300 hours a month? Not enough, to be honest. I keep myself occupied, I'm extremely good at that, and I'm never bored. But I'm also extremely good at dragging things out to fill the time available, and I'm rarely as productive as I could be. Perhaps I need to switch the computer off and get out and have a bit more of a life... Total number of hours spent doing stuff in February 2009: 672 (=24×28, obviously) (work: 156) (rest: 173) (play: 300) (travel: 43)
Count 5 (Nights out): Hang on, I still have two more nights to try to boost this one...