Counting for the Sake of Counting

On July 21, 2009 · 4 Comments

People count everything. We love to record our achievements and accomplishment however mundane others may consider them. I am reminded of birders who trek to remote wetlands or woodlands to add to their life lists. I also recognize one of my favorite blogs that counts visits to each museum in Connecticut. I myself count all sorts of things including breweries, lighthouses, and my own family.

I figure if I’m going to be somewhat obsessive in my pursuits then I might as well focus on things that are relatively harmless. It’s further enhanced when I can find a way to combine my relentless need to count with my geo-curiosity. More than anything that may be an underlying philosophy of the Twelve Mile Circle.

Google Analytics has always been a favorite toy and I’ve enjoyed using it for about the last year-and-a-half. I don’t track individual readers (nor do I want to) but it’s fun to follow the site’s trends in aggregate. The mapping tools are particularly delightful and – here come the counting compulsion – I’m mildly obsessed with recording at least one visitor from each of the recognized Internet country domains. It’s been awhile since I presented my tally. In fact it was all the way back in January 2008 and a lot has changed since then.

Here’s my coverage map today, my little version of a life list of nations that have sent visitors in my direction since December 2007.

Countries Represented by Website Visitors

Google Analytics believes that visitors have arrived from 163 different countries or territories. That’s pretty good. Every once in awhile now I still get a new one, and when that happens I have a little mental celebration. Unfortunately it gets harder and harder as I register each new country, leaving ever more obscure locales uncounted. It used to happen daily but now it’s fairly rare.

Most Visitors

You’ll find no surprises here. North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand compose the top tier. However, and perhaps a little more unexpected, I get lots of visitors from India, Japan and Brazil, too.

Biggest Disappointment

Africa. I receive very few visitors from Africa. Part of that may be due to the general economic conditions of the continent. Perhaps an English-only blog holds little appeal to those who speak a myriad of different languages. I need to make a better effort to find topics of interest to people on the African continent.

Most Effective Pandering

Greenland wins the prize. I got tired of looking at that big white space on the Google Analytics map so I wrote an article begging for visitors from Greenland. The next day I got two hits. I haven’t received any since but the space on the map is colored green! I feel no guilt whatsoever.

This brings up an interesting point. Oftentimes I’ll write about a specific country and invariably I’ll get a visitor or two in the following days. They’ve probably set up an alert on an RSS feed-fetching service, and up pops an alert whenever the country is mentioned on a blog. I call that unintentional pandering. I’m not actively begging and pleading like I did with Greenland but I do know there’s a decent chance I’ll snag that country in the coming days. It happened with Paraguay right after I mentioned the Triple Frontier and American Samoa when I discussed Swains Island.

I experienced similar effects with Nepal and Mongolia, but I’d already had visitors from those countries so it simply added to their existing totals.

Most Unexpected

I can’t think of any reason why the visitor from Mayotte came to this site. It’s a tiny outpost of islands, a collectivity of France in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the African continent. Less than two hundred thousand people live in Mayotte and English isn’t their native language. Even French is spoken by maybe half the population. I’m trying to consider a likely scenario that would have led someone from Mayotte onto my shores and nothing makes sense. Maybe they hit the wrong key. I’m not complaining, just perplexed.

I also find it odd that six different visitors have arrived from the Faroe Island. These remote outcrops sit in the North Atlantic about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. All visits were fairly evenly spaced so this was something other than the unintentional pandering I mentioned above.

Finally I find it unusual that I’ve received 170 different visitors from Poland. That seems like a lot.

Probably Hosted Visitors but not Recorded

I am almost positive that I’ve had visitors from Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the small French islands off the coast of Canada. I wrote an article about these islands and I know at least one website catering to residents of the island linked to me. However, all the hits recorded to neighboring towns in Canada. I suspect somehow that their Internet access must have been provisioned through a node in Canada but I can’t prove it.

The Wish List and Next Round of Pandering

I’d really love a visitor from Antarctica. That would be my favorite of the moment. I’d also like the remaining small states of Europe, you know, Andorra, San Marino and Vatican City. Won’t someone going through any of those places on their summer travels give me a hit? Of course, I’d also appreciate visitors from the many areas of Africa currently under-served by the Twelve Mile Circle.

I’m not picky. I’d also get a smile from any of the countries not yet represented by a single visitor.(1)

Will you be the first?

(1) As of today, I have not yet received a visitor from the following places: Åland Islands, Andorra, Antarctica, Ascension Island, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Comoros, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Southern Territories, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Kiribati, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Suriname, , Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Wallis and Futuna, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

On July 21, 2009 · 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Counting for the Sake of Counting”

  1. Greg says:

    Matter of fact, a friend of mine was recently at the Vatican visiting a family member, and I know he visited your site while he was there, because he emailed me about your post on the Wakhan Salient, which was published at the time. Maybe his internet, however it was set up, went through a .it ISP?

    • Twelve Mile Circle says:


      Oh, Google Analytics why did you fail me? I’m sure wishing the tracker had recorded the hit as .va. Vatican City is such a tiny place. Perhaps you friend picked up a stray wifi signal just across the border in Italy. Or maybe the Vatican City network accesses the Internet through a point of presence across the border. It could be one of those instances where .va exists only for incoming traffic (e.g., I hope that’s not the case. Has anyone out there recorded a hit from .va? I’ll continue to hold out hope and until then console myself with with the anecdotal evidence, that in my heart I know I really did get a hit from the Holy See.

  2. Matthias says:

    Is there anyone else here coming from France? If there’s just one other, that’s also me, via my sister’s computer 😀

    I’m going to visit the North-East of the USA this September (from Pennsylvania to Maine). Any oddities to see there?

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