Andreas Templin: “as if to nothing”

I haven’t honestly planned this but another interesting way to present stats here, this time from Andreas Templin, via Vimeo. I guess this could have been tagged on to the Berlin Festival that I seem to have had on the blog recently. Anyway, there is some food for contemplation here.

Andreas Templin “as if to nothing”, 2008, computer-based single-channel videowork with sound. updated version available every year, length is defined by length of the soundtrack: 28,46 mins (looped)

The video-installation “as if to nothing” comprises of a selection of statistical data of the earth and its population. This data, created by various governmental and intergovernmental sources and displayed in a specific and subjective interdependency, is combined with the highly dramatic second move of Bruckner’s 7th symphony which is being looped for the screening. This music-piece, a tour-de-force through human emotions, is used to underline the weight of the subject-matter of this artwork. The video-installation is in fact a computer-programme which utilizes the internal clock of the computer to calculate the statistical algorithms, which are updated on a yearly basis.


Hans Rosling’s 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes

iPad – no video?

I have previously commented about my love of statistics so here is a quick plug for The Joy of Stats soon to be aired on BBC4. This video is here because Rosling is bringing the subject alive through the power of design and visuals. Look and learn.

Hans Rosling’s 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes

Hans Rosling’s famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation.

In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes.

Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

Who’s Been Looking At My Site Then?

I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a stats watcher: sad but true. So last month this blog had it’s highest readership ever, thankfully this just continues the trend which is good news indeed. We put a lot of effort into our blogging don’t we?

So who looks at the site?

I have a couple of data gathering resources, Google Analytics and the built in WordPress stats, between them they offer a fair amount of data. I can see that there is a good spread of access in to my sites. Although search engines are the major source probably not enough to win an election: referring sites and direct traffic are solid runners up.

Where in The World Are You?

Well I can see that there is a huge imbalance in my readership, most of it is from the UK, which for me is good because I am looking to trade principally within the UK at this point. That said I am heartened by my strong readership bases in California and New York as with good readership throughout Europe.

Closer to home I get a lot of hits from London as well as the South West. In the latter I can see that I have a good readership not only from Exeter but also places like Taunton, Truro and Plymouth are very well represented.

So How Much Detail do You Want?

Plymouth University Visits

Plymouth University Visits

OK, as the above image shows we can, if we choose, mine down to get a fair amount detailed info. The above graph shows that the source (The University of Plymouth) is pretty much providing a single ‘return’ reader who clearly intends to be there. The 1.28% bounce rate is extremely low. We see a slightly low (for the site) depth of readership at 2.76 pages/visit and quite a low time on site, compared to the site viewers as a whole. Clearly good strong growth in readership from this source.

Is There a Sense To Be Made of This?

In an ideal world we want our websites to have quality readership, we don’t want them to be the equivalent of the chip shop papers. How this quality is defined will of course be different for each site. I am always impressed by the growing number of site owners who analyse their data, particularly bounce rate.

Be warned, sometimes you end up with more questions than answers ; 0

Getting Your WordPress Blog Seen by Google

This is a development of the reply that I made the other day about getting a good Google response to your blog.

Search Engine Marketing is a must if you are to going to get people to view any website. Nowadays everyone seems to be an SEO specialist, at least they do in Exeter and Devon, I imagine it is the same throughout he UK.

I am more aware of the abilities of WordPress than other blogging platforms so this is what I will use as my reference point. I have to say that I am totally enamoured with WordPress, I think it is great, but first a bit of general knowledge.

WordPress comes in two distinct flavours

  1. .com Most people start with a free WordPress blog which you can start straight away and I would recommend you to go and sign up. If you blog a for a while and chose to migrate to self-hosted this can be easily done.
  2. .org If you have access to hosting then self-hosted blogs open up a world of possibilities. You will need hosting with a database which is necessary to store all of the posts, images, comments and information about the site. My hosting supplier now throws one in with even the starter hosting package. You don’t really need to understand about databases (MySQL) but it can be quite interesting looking around, seeing how all of the data and information is organised.

WordPress can be thought of as a modular entity.

  1. Core
    The site itself, everything that is needed to make it work. This includes a user friendly interface that will allow you to update the site without knowing about web deign.
  2. Themes
    There are a huge number of available themes that make the basic WP blog look different (1 column, 2 column, colours styling etc.)
  3. Plugins
    These add to the functionality of the blog, they make it do more things, (display images in galleries, add contact forms, etc. )

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All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent?

As a psychology student, the importance of being seen to be ‘scientific’ in our endeavours was regularly stressed and to a point this has affected me ever since. I often get a bit uppity when I hear non-scientific conclusions being reported on Radio Trash News.

I think it is fair to assume that if one searches for something in Google this search will be replicated if one switches browser and searches again using the exact same search string. I think it is also fair to assume that if one has a Google account the search results will be the same whether or not one is logged into that account at the time.

I will state one final assumption, that is that most people would be surprised to find that those first two assumptions are incorrect.

The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

Collect data and ask questions

As part of my own scientific endeavour I collect data and ask questions. I use Google Analytics, WordPress Stats, I have a stats package built into my website hosting and I regularly examine the raw data. I find interesting trends, sometimes I can’t explain the results, sometimes my data sources fail to correlate. By and large though I get an idea of how transparent my websites are and I get an idea about whether or not my Organic Optimisation Techniques are working. I can see fairly easily if people are using my sites but I also need to check to see if people can find them, so I Google myself, regularly. (I would like to point out that I am not alone here, lots of people do this.)

I have previously mentioned that the implications of Googling one’s own name are different for individuals and global brands. People know Starbucks but probably don’t all know Andrew Butler (yet). Further to this Andrew Butler is quite a common name.
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Statistics understand how the search engines work your website will work better

One of the more socially unacceptable things that I have ever done was be interested in stats. I did a degree in psychology and found that I was (unfashionably) reasonably good at the advanced research methods. I liked statistics, the normal distribution still holds a fascination for me. So, I enjoy the understanding that can be gleaned from ‘stats’. I too share Dara_O’Brien’s concern for poorly communicated and reported statistics. However I enjoy looking and trying to understand, even though there may be an uncomfortable truth to be found.

Andrew Butler is a surprisingly common name, there are a lot of us about. In the UK there are a number of Andrew Butlers who are involved in different forms of photography. There is another, called Andrew Butler, who runs is a company of Chartered Surveyors in the Midlands. I know because he has the domain, I wanted it. He also has the .com, but not the .net (I have that).
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