“Recreational outrage” is annoying

Maybe it was the phase of the Moon yesterday, but two different people were unhappy with discussions here and launched personal attacks. Google says I’m not the first to coin the term recreational outrage, but it’s certainly a perfect description.

If you read my every word — and I know you do, Gentle Reader — you’ll remember that my compulsory 9/11 post from 2006 mentioned “recreational grief”, a term I picked up from Encyclopaedia of Death and Dying:

The degree of public mourning following the deaths of Lady Diana and John F Kennedy Jr led social observers to wonder if grief is an ever-present latent feeling just waiting to be exploited by the political elite, if people‚Äôs lives are so empty that they engage in recreational grief… Perhaps individuals are emotive puppets manipulated by the mass media and/or political elite, and people cry because they are shown other people crying for a celebrity.

Perhaps outrage is also an ever-present latent feeling. If people’s lives are so comfortable that there’s nothing serious to get angry about, they’ll find somewhere to vent their outrage — going to considerable effort to find it.

Yesterday’s incidents could well illustrate this.

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Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 9

Traffic Graph for 2008-02-01 showing traffic starting to steadily decline

Well unless Heath Ledger is in the news again for some reason, apart from the routine news about his funeral etc, I think the steady decline seen in the traffic over the last three days will continue.

As with the Steve Irwin jokes, though, the traffic will never fade away completely. There’ll always be some level of searching for “heath ledger jokes”, and occasional surges as he enters the news.

There’s today’s graph for now. More detailed analysis and reflection later.

Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 8

Traffic Graph for 2008-01-31 showing traffic relatively steady

Given that there’s quite a bit of fluctuation in web traffic from day to day anyway — for all manner of reasons — I’m going to say that it’s been relatively steady through the week so far.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Heath Ledger jokes page is now sustaining itself on Google search results. I think I’ll do a more detailed end-of week analysis tomorrow. I just wanted to publish something about this Experiment today because I know every single reader is awaiting my every word on this important global issue.

Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 6

Traffic Graph for 2008-01-29 showing traffic decline slightly reversed yesterday

Yesterday I reported that traffic for The Heath Ledger Experiment had declined across the weekend. Today I can tell you that the decline has been reversed and we’re slightly up again. Across 6 days, we’ve seen a total of 6,407 unique human visitors to the jokes page.

I have no real explanation for this yet, and it may just be statistical noise. Still, my gut feeling is that we’re moving past the initial feeding-frenzy. Perhaps the early visitors are people who actively seek out a forum for this sort of thing, because that’s how they gain the attention they seek. Later, others stumble across the site once those early visitors have seeded it with content.

Continue reading “Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 6”