Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Who reads this blog?

When I started this blog in late April, I wondered whether it would be worth my time. Of course, part of the reason for blogging is always personal, but I was interested in blogging as a means of making people think. I thought it would be informative to others if I opened my skull for a little inspection. So by the second day, I was looking for a hit counter.

Instead, I stumbled upon Google Analytics--a piece of free code that produces some incredibly detailed data about website activity. The installation was a little tedious, but once it was up and running, I found the information quite intriguing. So, here's the answer to my question:

13,200 people in 46 days. Lately, it's been about 75% returning visitors, and 25% new visitors. Weekdays have settled in right around 330 daily visits. There have been 30,779 pageviews, and an average time on site of 03:14--although that's skewed by a healthy number of very short visits. It looks like those who actually stay on the site at all generally linger for about 05:00 on average. The topic matters, and Gary got his gun permit generated the most visits, followed by Sure sign of spring.

Domain names reflect what I expected, the blog is most read by City employees, probably police employees. Aside from the commercial ISPs, like Road Runner, Cox, Windstream, AOL and so forth, the big sources include Lincoln Public Schools, the University of Nebraska, and the State of Nebraska. I am surprised, however, by the diversity--with large numbers of repeat hits from some far-flung City, County, and private domain names in some interesting geographic locations.

Nebraska accounts for 10,603 of those visits, followed by Colorado, California, Texas, and Georgia. I think this is probably a reflection of a small number of repeat visitors in those States. There is a fair following in the UK--where I have a few friends in policing.

The posted comments are few, but the off-line emails and personal comments have been numerous, and these tell me more about the specific types of people. Google Analytics can't tell me anything beyond the City and network domain. From the comments, I can tell you that the blog is being read by:

  • Lincoln police employees and their families
  • City employees, including other department directors
  • Many professional crime analysts at agencies in the U.S. and Western Europe
  • Employees at other U.S. police departments
  • Students at faculty at several colleges and Universities
  • Students, teachers, and administrators at Lincoln Public Schools
  • Ordinary citizens
  • A small but loyal core of brutal critics; some internal, some external.

A typical comment came to be from an employee who spotted me in the hallway last week. He looked right and left to make sure no one was watching, leaned in and whispered something like, "Hey Chief, I like your blog. People are talking about it. I think it's a good thing." He did not, of course, want to be seen or heard giving the chief a quasi-compliment. In police departments, that's just not politically correct, I guess.

I'll have to be more serious, I suppose, since people are apparently paying more attention than I ever expected!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

One thing that is more challenging to measure are those folks reading your blog via an RSS Feed Reader, which is what I do. I rarely actually visit the site itself.

jenn said...

I wouldn't "get more serious". Just keep writting about the local things that you have been. People seem to like it. If you get away from the local scene too much you may loose some local readers (me). I think people like your blog because, like you said in a previous one, the chief can be an ominous figure in the PD. This blog brings a certain humanism to your position. Your blog is professional and personal at the same time. If you start to get serious you may loose some of that and your blog will be just another dry and boring statistical data center. Just a thought.

Michael said...

Tom,

Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I'm the Technology Innovation Librarian at the Nebraska Library Commission here in Lincoln. The main mission of my job is to teach librarians in Nebraska how to take advantage of new technologies such as blogging. Ever since a coworker pointed out your blog to me I've been impressed and telling all of my students to be sure to read your blog. Not only for the content but as an example of how blogging should be done.

As for your last statement about needing to "be more serious" please don't change based on who you perceive your audience to be. Be yourself and blog in your own voice. Trying to change just to meet perceived needs defeats one of the main purposes blogs serve.

Michael Sauers
http://www.travelinlibrarian.info/

Anonymous said...

Chief,

I enjoy reading your blog daily and have really come to enjoy what you are saying. I mayn ot always agree, but more times than naught, I do. I then of course check back later to see what has been posted in response to what you wrote that morning! I say Thank You for taking the time out of your busy day to post on the blog. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

don't become too serious, because then it'll become boring, and force me to stay away.

Tom Casady said...

Not to worry, I can't be serious for very long. I've got a draft of stupid criminal tricks in the works. Truth is far, far stranger than fiction.

Anonymous said...

In response to your response to " I could not reply because I dont have your Email address"
I had once emailed the chief, and I have not ever got a response, three months waiting now. So I think the " I do not have your Email address is just a (pardon the pun) Cop out.

Tom Casady said...

To the person who posted a comment about an incident at 17th & Washington:

I couldn't reply, because I didn't have your email address. There was too much information in your post for publication on the blog.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the information, and particularly the license plate and description. Please feel free to call us or call Crimestoppers when and if you have any similar experiences in the future. Don't think you're bothering us.

Jenn said...

Chief,
does this mean you can trace back an entry? Is an anonymous post really just that?

Jenn/Yana said...

Another librarian (and another 2 "n" Jenn) here, who grew up in Lincoln and now is going to school in Champaign-Urbana, IL. I'm pretty sure I found your blog on yet another librarian's blog. Please count another vote towards *not* getting more serious. The informal, yet honest, touch is perfect.

Tom Casady said...

Double N Jenns are coming out of the woodwork!

Jenn 1: No, I don't think there's anyway of tracking back, and Google Analytics doesn't provide any information beyond the network location and the domain name--and that's only for all the visits on a particular date or range of dates. So, I can tell you that on such and such date, there were 3 hits from a domain called "the omega group"--but that's the end of the trail!

Jenn 2: I wasn't even serious about being more serious. See, people are taking me too seriously already!

Interested said...

I'd be curious to know if this educational blog has changed your perceptions at all? Are you looking at processes, events, scenarios in a different light and/or considering them more thoroughly, under the lens of potential subject matter to share?

Rex Danger said...

Us ordinary folk visit too Chief. :)

Angela said...

I'll come out and admit that I read your blog. I use feed demon as my news reader and I live in Omaha. I've lived in Omaha since 1995 and for a short time back in 1992. I am here for good and LOVE it.

I too think that your blog is a good thing. It's nice to know what goes on behind closed doors. Well, not totally everything but I think you get the idea.

Don't become too serious just because real people are reading your blog. Just be yourself...