There are lies, damned lies and statistics, and I'm tempted to think that internet-related statistics are among the most unreliable of all. I'm prompted to ask a question after taking a look at Blogger stats for this blog. I've read several times that it's a good thing to monitor the statistics for one's blog or website, but I must admit I'm not totally convinced. I can see that if fewer and fewer people look at the website, there may be something going wrong, but I'm rather dubious about some of the figures that appear to look very healthy, since they may be inflated by spammers or the like.
My post on Father Brown last week attracted a lot of interesting comments and when I checked the stats,it featured in my all-time top ten list of page views. But wait! I remember a couple of the figures for other posts that feature in the list - a review of Sherlock, and one about Reg Hill - from when I last looked at the stats a couple of months ago. But the number of pageviews for those posts has actually reduced. So, in one case, about 2100 all-time pageviews had reduced to about 2050. How can this be?
If anyone with a better understanding of Blogger than me can enlighten me as to how figures can actually reduce in this way, I'd be very glad, because I've become intrigued and puzzled. Mind you, it leaves me all the more dubious about statistics, and the lessons that can be learned from them.
Yet you never know - perhaps my cynicism is mistaken. The crime community includes many people with a real understanding of how to make the most effective use of technology that I only wish I could emulate. So I should also be very interested to hear from others as to whether they find statistics useful, and what lessons they think can be learned.