Over the months I’ve been secretly rather gratified to see traffic on this blog go up. It’s helped to think there might be souls out there interested enough in my varied maunderings to look up Mopsus and read. When, all of a sudden, the stats underwent a colossal reduction – a 75% decline in pageviews over the night of 19th-20th May – I was surprised by how personally I took it. It was a bit like the occasion when I lost my Facebook profile. Likes and pageviews are, we tell ourselves, not an index of personal worth, but their obvious quantifiability gives us a little emotional blip which kids us into thinking it’s the real thing. It’s the existential equivalent of refined sugar, a tiny but very pleasurable sensual hit which bears little relationship to proper nutrition.
My friend Karla works in the online industry and reckons the decline is simply due to a shift in Google’s search criteria. She told me with a sense of weariness, ‘keeping up with Google's search algorithms to ensure that content ranks well is the actual full time job of a number of my friends. The fact that this is a profession gives me existential angst if I think too hard about it, mind’. Ah, the gods of our new world. ‘It’s essentially just another branch of advertising - an industry which doesn't really do anything,’ commented Ms Formerly Aldgate, and we found ourselves boggling rather more at the woman who makes a living making up new hashtags for wedding couples to use on Twitter. Looking back through the stats, I observe that things really took off in October last year, curiously just when I began my couple of weeks' regular posting about my musical journey with PJ Harvey. The individual pages themselves didn’t receive unusual levels of activity, but that may belie the way people came across them.
Well, I could happily post about the Dorset songstress every day. A little while ago, for instance, an LA-based photographer snapped her outside a coffee shop, suggesting that she’s been staying at the apartment in the city she cutely refers to as her ‘holiday cottage’ before heading back to the UK for an engagement at Lancaster University which my friend there Dr PostGothic is unspeakably excited about, as well she might be. There you go. But you don’t want tittle-tattle like that, do you? No, you want self-doubt, angst, vestments, and damp holes in the ground. In so far as I care what anyone wants, he says unconvincingly.