Samuel Johnson was both a great writer and a great character; according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography “..arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history“. With his dictionary doing so much to define the English language you would expect the 300th anniversary of his birth (last Friday) to have made a bit of an impact online. Unfortunately, despite some great programmes on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, the public failed to be overly moved.
In fact according to Google Trends, whilst September has caused a slight blip, interest in “Samuel Johnson” has been falling over the years.
The blogosphere shows no more interest than usual, and far less than the announcing of the Samuel Johnson prize.
Obviously some historical figures stand the test of time better than others. The graph below shows the leap in interest for the mere 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth (the red line at the bottom provides a comparison with Samuel Johnson).
The two men have very different legacies, but nonetheless I can’t help feeling that Samuel Johnson has been unfairly overlooked online.
Despite knowing the meaninglessness of many the simple web metrics that can be calculated online and the inaccuracies that are inherent in the different tools available, for some reason I find that I am compelled to look at them.
The lack of inlinks or comments is not very surprising for a new blog. Many of the early posts are feeling one’s way, determining what sort of areas are going to be discussed; ‘finding one’s voice’ as the more pretenscious may say. Nonetheless there are already things of note for the addicted webometrician, albeit mostly about the tools themselves:
-Why does Blogpulse claim that I enthusiastically posted 16 posts on the 10th of September when looking at the blog I see I posted twice?
-Why has Technorati failed to index my post on Facebook metrics whilst seemingly indexing every other post?
And most importantly:
-Who is the lone Alexa user who visited three of my pages?
Although Alexa statistics are notoriously hit or miss, as relatively few web users have the software installed and once installed is often labelled spyware, it does allow comparisons between web sites. As an addicted webometrician the ability to compare my own blog with a fellow webometrician’s is too hard to turn down. Webometrics.fi:
Unfortunately I lose this time, but it is still early days….and surely this is the smallest margin possible?