The sheer repetitiveness of it all is numbing: Every year (here, here and here) I say, "this blog has run its course", I feel spent, tired, sick of my own voice and my petty, self-absorbed concerns. Dr. Johnson, in a not uncommon fit of pique at Boswell, once remarked, "You have but two subjects, yourself and me. I am sick of both." I know the feeling...
Two trends were evident in the traffic logs of the site in 2008. One trend was that as I felt an increasing sense of fatigue, exhaustion and a general lack of creativity, and consequently little of the new content attracted even a small audience. Instead, a significant portion of traffic to the site was drawn to old posts on the subject of my Redline Monocog, doping scandals, and go-go dancers in Thamel. I wish that Tyler Hamilton's ex-wife (image on right) did not haunt my blog, searches on her maiden name were very common in drawing visitors here in 2008, however, I don't think that any of these visitors clicked around, read any of the more recent cycling posts, or checked out my video or photo hosting sites, this behavior was quite discouraging. Similarly, I don't think many of the visitors who wound up here looking for information on tawdry sex acts in Thamel delved into any of the various posts describing my trekking experience.
The other trend I have observed, is that traffic to this site has really collapsed, and that this collapse parallels the economic crisis that reached something of a climax in the autumn of 2008. It's interesting -- and perhaps not entirely coincidental -- that the fall-off in traffic to the site, closely matches the downward track of Google's once stratospheric stock price:
Is the fall-off in traffic a reflection of the lack of quality and originality of this site and the fatigue of the author? Or is it tied in some way to the greater problems of the world at large? Could Google be changing its search algorithms to steer visitors to more profitable web properties than this sorry little excuse of a blog? Or is traffic being sopped up by sites like Facebook and twitter? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I'll be curious to see if any reports of marked changes in web traffic start to surface in 2009.
Going forward, there's lots of stress and uncertainty in my life right now, largely driven by economic troubles, so as always, I don't know what I'll be doing with "Midnight Modern Conversation" in the future. I'd like to rework the layout the site, which hasn't changed since I launched it on Memorial Day 2006. But part of me wants to just put this project aside and move onto other, more productive things.