Sherri Vogt and â€˜Disillusionedâ€? both rightly questioned the level of visitation to the CafÃ© after seeing the low number of responses to the polls that we have set up. This is a reasonable question to ask. In fact we ask this question everyday. All blogs have a stat counter that reports the number of unique visitors based on the recognition of â€œinternet protocolâ€? or IP address (four sets of numbers separated by dots that are assigned by the host server). If you activate the â€˜headersâ€™ in your email box you can see these IP codes. For the most part these are anonymous IP codes but we have noticed that they rarely change for users of certain types of servers. Thereâ€™s a whole science to understanding this phenomenon that is not the point of this article. The fact is that blog sites record the numbers of clicks for page turns and the number of unique visitors based upon unique IP addresses as a measure of activity. This is how these polls limit voting to one time over a certain time range.
At this minute our poll on how many visitors attend Town meetings has a measly 36 votes but the poll has only been up for a week. I took a look at CT Local Politics (see link in the right column of links), a statewide blog that has been heavily promoted by the Hartford Courant and WTIC. At the same time the Villager doesn’t acknowledge the CafÃ©, even though they visit us a lot, and Woodstock citizens only whisper about us in Town meetings.
CT Local Politics is reputedly the most successful political blog in the state and maybe in New England, although there are intelligent blogs with very few visitors and porn sites that have millions of visitors in a day. I mentioned to â€˜disillusionedâ€™ that CT Local Politics probably had â€œthousands of visitorsâ€? each day. In their most successful poll up for 2 weeks their maximum vote number as of a few minutes ago was 197 for the poll on age group visiting CT Local Politics. After I commented to â€˜disillusionedâ€™ I started to question what I had said because I was certain that they had thousands of visitors and maybe 10â€™s of thousands. I wanted to determine the percentage of visitors that actually voted in the polls at CTLP to compare with our polls.
CTLP has a poll that asks visitors to identify the county of the visitor. In this poll 182 responded and 73% of the respondents came from Hartford, New Haven, and Fairfield Counties. Only 6 respondents came from Windham County. In another poll 172 respondents said that they were either male or female at a 3:1 ratio, respectively. The median respondentâ€™s age was 35. Since the total population of Connecticut is about 3,500,000 and the population of Woodstock about 7800, CTLP has a 449-fold larger population to draw from. We, at the CafÃ©, have always prided ourselves in the uniquely local character of the CafÃ©. We have done little to expand our readership outside Woodstock and the surrounding areas unless the subject matter has a direct impact on Woodstock. And frankly, there is little interest in Woodstock out there. They are the elitists and we are the Swamp Yankees. Colin McEnroe actually chided me for cooking possum so I have exploited that persona at CTLP.
To get to the point, I struggled to find CTLPâ€™s site stats. Finally I found them. Over the last two months they have reported an average of 853 visitors per day and an average total of 2988 page turns per day. I was surprised that they donâ€™t have thousands of visitors each day, but frankly I have not been impressed with their writing, or the commentary at their site (you can check it out for yourself). At CTLP a small group of people are basically speaking to themselves polarized as left-wing liberals (see their polls). Most of the substance of that site is in the form of links to regular news articles; there are very few creative essays and little original humor (nothing wonderful like â€œGiant Fartâ€? or â€œWoodstock Should Go Nuclearâ€? both of which deserve a Pewlitzer). Those of you that are repelled by our off-color humor should register at CTLP and stay there.
To try once more to get to the point, the CafÃ©â€™s average visitation for the last 2 months has been 173 visitors per day and 486 average page turns per day, 20.3% and 16.3% of CTLP, respectively, but our page turns do not involve clicking on ads and other stupid stuff. The visitation has varied from a low of 96 on January 20th to a high of 382 on February 7th. And we are in the dullest time of the year for Woodstock. The CafÃ© will rise again after the sap is collected. With 20.3% of the visitation of CTLP, our highest respondent poll thus far is 18.3% of the highest respondent poll at CTLP (whose polls have been up one week longer), so the ratio of voter respondents for the two sites is essentially the same…and we have completely different demographics. But this is not what itâ€™s all about. Itâ€™s about substanceâ€¦ but unfortunately substance breeds abrasiveness and conflict in a politically charged environment … but, we are tougher than the ninnyhammer geeks at CTLP. The substance and the quality of the articles and commentary at the CafÃ© have been impressive. Letâ€™s continue to grow our thick skins and sustain the dialogue. We donâ€™t want the other 3,391,200 Yankees unless they want to talk about Woodstock Connecticut.
Oh â€¦ by the way, contribute your opinions to the polls and suggest other polls that we can run. Polls will be harbored under the heading at the top of the front page with little fanfare.