"The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off."

Gloria Steinem

Friday, January 15, 2016

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania And Ukraine? It’s A Puzzlement!

I am dedicating the first two posts of 2016 to my international audience, and the questions that arise from their patronage.  The first post dealt with the steady, but mysterious, number of pageviews my posts receive from Norway.  In only one year, Norway has move to a solid number two in the rankings by country.  The lousy metrics on my blog site don’t allow me to process the numbers exactly, and it appears that while the largest number view my most recent post first, a substantial number of pageviews are spread through my previous posts, steadily raising their totals.  As always, I asked the question “why?”  At this point, I’m still hoping for some insight.

I was sorely tempted to write about Phoenixville for my first post of 2016, considering that it marked exactly one year since I began my “Why Phoenixville?” series.  I didn’t, but here is my second post, and I’m back to Phoenixville.  Specifically, I want to inquire into another foreign connection, this time between Phoenixville and Ukraine, a country a long way away.  The facts surrounding this more specific connection are far more complex and puzzling, but here’s what I know so far.

The Phoenixville/Ukraine connection appears on only two of my seven posts about Phoenixville, both guest posts, but it has made itself felt in a big way.  I published the first guest post on August 7.  It exploded, almost entirely from overseas.  It garnered a huge number of pageviews from Russia, then seemed to spread almost geographically, to Ukraine, and then the Middle East.  It even received an appreciable number of pageviews from Iraq, of all places.  It is my number one post for pageviews, by a considerable margin.

My second guest post on Phoenixville was published on November 27.  It pageview stats reveal that it bypassed Russia entirely but began immediately to post large numbers from Ukraine.  Those numbers have continued to build, but there was no geographic spread as with the first guest post; just Ukraine.  It very quickly rose to become the second most-viewed post of all.  What was curious is why an overwhelming number of those pageviews came from Ukraine, but not Russia or any of the other countries that viewed the first post.

What little I know suggests that there is a connection between what happened to these two posts, and that Ukraine’s Internet interest in Phoenixville stemmed from the first guest post, to appear fully in the second.  That’s why I posted a question on several Phoenixville Facebook pages: why should my blog’s second guest post have received so many pageviews from Ukraine?  Several people replied, most mentioning the Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Borough.  I have decided to follow that lead.  The Ukranian Church connection between my occasional posts and Internet users in Ukraine is quite plausible, and will serve as a working thesis for further research.  So far, so good, but while you can outline “why” in a thesis, you have to demonstrate the “how” to prove your thesis.  I’m still in the dark about that.  The connection is logical, but cannot be demonstrated.  Logic is sufficient proof for many, but not for me.  That’s why I call this a thesis, not a conclusion, or even an opinion.

Consider these additional, complicating, facts:
1.  Neither post title gave a hint as to what was inside; both titles began, as to all my Phoenixville missives, with “Why Phoenxville?”  The only thing they shared was the words “guest post.”

2.  Both guest posts are not just ranked number one and two overall for pageviews, but have received hugely more of them than the other posts about Phoenixville.  I have published a total of seven posts entitled “Why Phoenixville?” since January, 2015.  The first and second guest posts are numbers one and two respectively, on my all-time list of pageviews.  The gap between them however, is substantial.  That’s because Russia has largely ignored the second one while Ukraine loved it, causing it to displace Russia from third place on my all-time pageviews-by-country list (Norway is second, by the way).  The gap between them and the other Phoenixville posts is, however, even larger.  My two Phoenixville guest posts stand head, shoulders and torso above all other posts in pageviews.  The greater numbers for those two stem almost entirely from overseas views.  The two guest posts clearly tell a different story; I just don’t know what that story might be.

3.  Where is the religious connection?
Religion barely figures in any of the seven posts.  There is a brief reference to religious diversity in my September 17th post, but no mention of any Ukrainian church, in that post or any other, including the two guest posts.  In fact, there is no mention of any church by name, anywhere.  So where is the religious connection, the trigger that generates interest?

On a final note, what will happen with this post?  It’s the only one that mentions Ukraine in the title.  How will it play there, or Russia, not to mention Iraq?  To date, my most promising thought is that someone (or something) functions as a “gatekeeper.”  The connection simply can’t be direct between two posts on an obscure blog about America and thousands of Internet users in Russia and Ukraine. 

And so I ask you, my readers, regardless of your nation of residence, to enlighten me about what is happening.  Is there actually a connection between Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and Ukraine?  If so, what could it be?

It’s a puzzlement.  Any thoughts?