: Yesterday afternoon, just before half past four, diamond geezer received its two and a half millionth visitor. Actually that's not quite true, it was just the two and a half millionth time that a slightly ropey stats package had registered a unique visit, which isn't the same thing at all. But if you're a regular reader via Talk Talk from the Leicester area, I reckon that visitor was probably you. Two and a half million visits is not to be sniffed at! It's the equivalent of all the females in Scotland reading my blog once (or, on average, ten double deckers of readers every day). And they're coming faster. The first half million took four years, the last half million's taken fifty weeks.
What I like to do, every time one of these milestones rolls by, is to to look back and see where these visitors came from. In particular I like to draw up a league table of top linking blogs, ordered by volume of visitors clicking here from there. And that used to be quite interesting, back in the era when blogs thrived solely because other blogs linked to them. How times change. Nowadays the blogroll is dead, and any through traffic comes from elsewhere. When people like what you've written they no longer announce it via their own space, because writing blogs is too much hassle. Instead they tap a few characters into some micro-blogging portal, as if to say "Have you seen this, I like this, good grief what do you think of this?" The ability to drive traffic to blogs has shifted, it seems, away from those who generate their own content towards those who merely digest the content of others.
So I've decided to tweak my regular linking league table to include services wider than mere blogs. I've not gone as far as including Google, because that would be top of the list by a factor of 20. But I have added three services that didn't even exist when I started out, and they now dominate beyond expectation. My apologies if they've shoved your website down the top 20. And thank you all for linking (assuming you still exist).
Hasn't Twitter done well? To be honest I thought it was going to be even higher up the list, but another half million should see it hit the top. It's so easy to tweet a link - it takes almost no effort at all - then people are so willing to click through on blind faith. As for Facebook, I'm not a member so I have no idea what you lot are up to behind the password wall. But Zuckerberg's social network has become a significant generator of traffic, presumably because there's nothing meaty worth reading within. And I'm surprised to see Reddit on the list, but only because I'm not a member there either and never did quite get the hang of what Redditors talk about.
Other than that, very little has changed here since my chart at two million. Londonist continues to climb, because they still churn out stuff people want to read and they sometimes kindly mention me. Charlton-based 853 is the only proper new entry, just below its predecessor blog at number 10 (Darryl would be top 5 if only he didn't keep rebranding under a new name every few years). And the rest of the top 20 stagnates, including seven blogs that are now dormant, one that's disappeared completely, and three who deblogrolled me years back. Blogs are now so passé, it seems, it's amazing anybody still bothers to write one.
And then of course there's RSS and smartphones, which means thousands of you now read this blog without ever visiting it. As far as all you're concerned I'm no longer writing a continuous story, I'm generating atomised blogposts. My output is digested as stripped text somewhere else, wherever you think fit, which makes a complete mockery of attempting to count visitor numbers accurately anyway. I guess I must have passed the magic two and a half million many months ago, but didn't realise it. Never mind the inexactitude. I don't mind where you come from, I'm just well chuffed that you bother. Hello and thanks to all of you. And here's to many more...