I had an email last night from Dmitri Kossyrev asking me if my blog was down. He’d been trying repeatedly to see it, without success. I replied that my blog was alive and well. There was no problem at this end. Perhaps, I suggested, I’d been designated as a Despicable Enemy of Healthiness and Right Living by the Russian branch of Tobacco Control?
He came back a bit later to say that he’d now gone about it a different way. He’d googled me, and found a bad Russian translation of my blog, and then opted to view the original English. And bingo, there it was.
Bit of a roundabout way to reach a blog, but it worked.
It reminded me that Scott Adams has been complaining that his tweets were being blocked:
As many others have documented, Twitter throttles back the tweets of people who hold political views they don’t like.
Most of you have freedom of speech. I have it too, in a Constitutional sense. But in terms of social media – the dominant form of political communication in our culture – I have about 5-10% as much freedom of speech as other people.
Alex Jones has been making similar complaints about Facebook blocking Infowars.com
It set me wondering whether my little blog might be being blocked or hampered. I am an enemy of Tobacco Control. So much so that they even have a webpage devoted to me. They’d probably like to shut me up, if they could. And also shut up anyone else who poses any resistance to the Tobacco Control imperium. They want, like Mika Brzezinski, “to control exactly what people think” about tobacco and smoking. And Tobacco Control is a global superpower. They probably have able and willing friends and contacts in the online world whom they can ask for assistance in fighting the “global epidemic” of smoking and smokers.
I have some reason to suspect that something along these lines just might be happening. In the first few years of blogging, my hit counts gradually rose year after year. But in recent years they’ve levelled off. And now they’re in slow decline:
Two years ago I was getting over 30,000 views per month, which was slightly over 1000 per day. But for the past year it’s been slowly tailing off. This past week or two (right) has been one of the worst for a long time.
It could all be perfectly natural. People’s interests are constantly changing. Last year I was deeply interested in the US presidential election, and was regularly visiting Infowars.com and other right wing US websites for the latest news and gossip. Since the election I’ve lost interest, and so don’t visit those sites so much. Same with Global Warming. Same with the EU. Same with lots of other things.
And writing a smoker’s blog, it could also be that quite a few of my readers have quit smoking, and lost interest in smoking and tobacco. After all, we’re regularly told that 70% of smokers want to stop smoking, aren’t we? And since we’re also regularly being told that Smoking Kills, it could be that my readers are gradually dying off. And indeed some have, like the late Lysistrata. Many of my readers belong to the older rather than younger generation.
But what’s puzzling me is that this: I get notified every time anyone signs up to be emailed whenever I post up something. In the past, I’d get such notifications maybe once a month. Now I get them about once a week. Sometimes I get several notifications on the same day. So more and more people are signing up to read me, but fewer and fewer actually are.
I hardly ever use email notifications to tell me when somebody’s written something. Nor do I keep a favourites list of people I read. I surf the web from memory. And type in characters: D will autofill to Dick Puddlecote’s blog, U will autofill to Legiron’s blog, V to Chris Snowdon’s, and so on. And when I’m not going to websites whose names I remember, I’ll pick them out from my blogroll, or from somebody else’s blogroll.
Anyway, I have powerful enemies out there, much like Scott Adams and Alex Jones. Perhaps they’re able to reduce my traffic? Perhaps I’ve been added to some obstruction list? So I’ll do a couple of polls: