Hello to our readers in Utah, Tasmania and Santa Catarina
EARLIER this year I relayed how the world-famous Ham&High had at last gone genuinely global, thanks to the magic of the internet. It was exciting to report that www.hamhigh.co.uk was attracting more readers than ever, and from so many far-flung corners o
EARLIER this year I relayed how the world-famous Ham&High had at last gone genuinely global, thanks to the magic of the internet.
It was exciting to report that www.hamhigh.co.uk was attracting more readers than ever, and from so many far-flung corners of the planet.
This being the electronic age, there are all kinds of tricks and devices available to keep editors up to date with 'traffic' on our websites and so on Monday, someone in a bunker in Utah pressed a button and hey presto! - a message popped up on my computer screen in Hampstead telling me that all previous records had been shattered during the month of May, with more than 50,000 people logging on.
I discovered that the upsurge in visitor numbers had started on the very first day of the month as a direct result of our live election coverage, with thousands of people tracking our regular website updates of the Assembly elections, alongside the epic Ken v Boris contest to be mayor.
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Interestingly, it was the story about Brian Coleman's hissy fit - after he had retained his seat - which attracted most attention. What would it have been like had he lost?
There's nothing the public likes as much as a good political row, even though surveys often conclude that people aren't interested in reading about politics. The interest in our website election coverage was phenomenal and that was a reward in itself for the Ham&High team which worked all day and into the wee small hours to be first with the news of any significant developments.
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At the same time, the Ham&High was also breaking a front-page story about plans to install military-style spy cameras on Hampstead Heath. When it appeared on our website, the story was read by more than 8,000 people in the space of a couple of days.
As if to prove that interest in the Heath - and the modern obsession with surveillance - is on a worldwide scale, the story was viewed by people logging on from places as far apart as Tasmania and Ontario.
I don't know who that person is, but I do know that we have an ardent reader in a place called Etobicoke, not to mention one in Santa Catarina, Brazil who spends an inordinate amount of time reading about life in Hampstead and Highgate (whoever you are, own up!).
Another mind-boggling stat to reach me from the Utah bunker inhabited by our website traffic gurus - a company called Omniture - is that during the month, our total worldwide audience spent well over a quarter of a million minutes scanning our pages.
That's the equivalent of someone logging on every second of the day, for more than six months.
I wouldn't want to be paying the phone bill.