It’s that time again, July 4th, a date that, for me, has multiple life events bound to it. The key one here is my blog’s anniversary. Now it’s seven!
I started it on July 4, 2011, a date I deliberately selected to — I hoped — add a positive life event to the mix (which most recently was my wedding anniversary for a marriage that lasted only four years). And, pretty much without qualification, it’s definitely been a positive experience! I’ve enjoyed the writing, and I hope it’s been entertaining, educational, and thoughtful. I’d like to think it has been. I’ve also met some great other bloggers along the way.
Oddly (and this wasn’t planned), it turns out I’ve written 700 posts here (this is #701). So there’s kind of a sevens thing going. Which is lucky, unlucky, or completely meaningless, depending on how you look at it.
That averages out to 100 posts per year, which is roughly two posts a week. It’s actually higher, since I didn’t post at all in 2017 (I was too depressed about the election to have much to say).
I thought I’d write more often — I certainly have stacks of notes for possible posts — but somehow there’s a whole catalog of things that seem to get in the way of posting more often.
(I’ve always been a little “bipolar” in my moods, so I go through phases of writing a lot and being utterly mute. And I hate when I feel like I’m pushing myself to blog. It’s supposed to be fun, not a chore!)
One thing that fascinates me is how some of those 700 posts have gained a small (very small) level of popularity compared to the almost complete lack of attention most posts get. To wit: 200 posts have fewer than two-dozen hits, only 129 have more than 100, and only 12 have more than 1000.
It’s those 12 that fascinate me. What grabbed people about those? In some cases, it’s obvious, but a few make me wonder why those rather than others?
In any event, here’s the top twelve:
Santa: Man or Woman? (Dec. 2012; 2860) This post was Freshly Pressed by WordPress, so it got a lot of hits (1400+) because of that. It’s continued to attract readers — 532 last year. Only 56 so far this year, most of the interest comes around Christmas time, obviously.
What bums me about this being my all-time top post is that I only wrote the intro and exit text. The body goes way back, at least as far back as fax machines, which is how it got into my hands. By fax.
Sideband #17: Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille (July 2011; 2298) A continually popular post that gets about 400 hits a year starting in 2015, and about 300 in the years prior. It’s my version of the old joke with the punchline reflected in the post’s title.
Again, an all-time top post that isn’t completely original with me. Aggravating. At least I wrote the version of the joke.
Rick O’Shay (March 2013; 2199) This one is about a newspaper comic I loved long ago: Rick O’Shay, written by Stan Lynde. It’s one of my favorite posts, and absolutely one of my most meaningful.
I was blessed in having the chance to correspond with Mr. Lynde by email while writing the post. He died not long after, so I was very lucky to have written the post when I did.
Deflection and Projection (Oct. 2013; 2102) This was about ways to separate valid arguments from bullshit, and, in the current sociopolitical climate, I can certainly see why it’s popular.
Despite being published in 2013, traffic didn’t spike until 2016 — going from 330 to 555 (with only 96 in 2014). In 2017 it saw 796 reads, but with only 267 halfway through this year, traffic is down.
I am kind of curious why people found this post compelling, but never check out the many other posts I’ve written along the same line.
Bushido Code (2032) This isn’t a post, it’s a page, and it’s not original material, but something I’ve had for a long time. (I did write the exit text.)
God is an Iron (July 2011; 1172) This one is an oldie; my seventh post! It’s mostly about irony with some tie-ins to other things. It got almost no traffic the first four years, but then it picked up a bit with a spike (710) last year.
I’m glad to see it get the traffic, because it’s exactly the post I most enjoy writing, and I like how it turned out.
Madam Secretary & Scorpion (Oct. 2014; 1168) Of all the posts that could be popular, this review of two CBS TV shows puzzles me the (second) most.
Its ranking mostly comes from the 521 hits in 2015, with half that the next year, and half again the year after that. This year trends to look like last year, so the post still attracts low-level attention (a bit over 100 per year).
(FWIW, I’m still a fan of Madam Secretary.)
BB #27 – Far Less (July 2013; 1145) This one is (mostly) about “Toyota Jan” (Laurel Coppock). It’s also about bacon, but I’m pretty sure the draw here is Jan.
Lots of traffic the first three years with a big decline since. Jan is still selling Toyotas, though!
Elephant Story (May 2013; 1140) This is another post built around a joke, an elephant joke, plus it has a cute poem, an elephant poem, (by Laura Richards).
Also, take a look at the picture at the bottom. The “elephant crossing” sign isn’t really there. I “photoshopped” it in. (Also also, hmmm, I never did write that serious post about elephants.)
From the Far Side (Sept. 2015; 1034) A post containing (most) of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons along with why they’re my favorites.
I’m assuming the draw here is the images…
Here Today; Pi Tomorrow (March 2015; 1032) The only reason this one is here is that it’s my other Freshly Pressed post. Nearly all the traffic (1012 hits in 2012) came from that. It’s gotten fewer than ten hits since.
It’s about why pi is so cool.
My Grandfather’s Axe (March 2016; 1017) This one, about identity, seems increasingly popular. It had only 61 hits in 2016, but 369 the year following, and 587 already this year.
Well! I finally wrote something people seem to really like. I wonder how!
Here are two runners-up, because they’re two of my favorite posts, and I’m glad to see they have some popularity:
Why I Hated The Holodeck (Aug. 2011; 996) Another oldie, but an old personal favorite, and the first of many, many Star Trek posts.
It got under 100 hits the first four years, but much more since with an apparent peak (309) in 2016. This year looks to be only 150.
Hawkeye & Margaret (Sept. 2012; 944) This post about M*A*S*H averages roughly 100+ hits per year. I do love this one, too, and am delighted to see it gets readers.
It’s interesting (to me, I mean; it probably isn’t that interesting to you) to look at what’s popular (such as it is around here) just this year. The traffic pattern matches the seven-year pattern quite a bit:
- My Grandfather’s Axe (587) Guess I got me a “bullet!”
- Deflection and Projection (267) Up from fourth place. Again, given the current climate, it’s not at all surprising this is number one right now.
- From the Far Side (230) Up from tenth place. We need smiles, too!
- Sideband #17: Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille (207) Down from second place. Maybe everyone who cared has finally seen it.
- Rick O’Shay (206) Down from third place, but fourth is cool, too. I’d bet this one continues to rise while the DeMille joke declines.
- Movies: Grand Canyon (Aug. 2016; 136) The popularity of this one surprised me. It’s already #55 on the overall list. It’s a review of the movie, but taken from an email I wrote long ago for a friend. Not my best writing by any stretch, but I’m gratified by the interest in what is one of my all-time favorite five movies.
- Bushido Code (95) Ever popular!
- God is an Iron (90) Still right behind.
- CNN Is Dead To Me (July 2016; 89) #73 overall. A short post expressing my distaste for certain aspects of CNN. And my distaste for the station in general has grown. It’s still dead to me.
- Why I Hated The Holodeck (75) And still do! 🙂
- Madam Secretary & Scorpion (72) Why are people reading this post? (I’d open up comments hoping to find out, but nearly all comments come from spammers.)
- Death: The Sandbar (July 2011; 71) #28 overall. A post about death with a cool quote about a metaphor for life (the “sandbar”). My sixth post on this blog. The 71 hits this year put it above any previous year (59, in 2017, was the max).
- Barrel of Wine; Barrel of Sewage (July 2011; 66) #16 overall. Another oldie, my eighth post. Traffic this year is down from previous years, but this is another personal favorite.
- “No Serviceable Parts Inside” (Oct. 2014; 63) #44 overall. A post about the growing complexity of life and what its effects on us seem (to me) to be. Traffic on this one seems to be picking up; it got 76 hits in 2017.
- To Bury a Dog (61) #33 overall. A very popular page. Text by Ben Hur Lampman from a 1925 Portland newspaper.
- Secret Code (Oct. 2015; 58) #38 overall. A post about (simple) secret codes with a little about the German Enigma machine.
- Santa: Man or Woman? (56) Yeah, whatever.
- Reflections: Work & Change (Aug. 2012; 51) Also #17 overall. I don’t understand this one. It’s a personal reflection back on my career at The Company. I wonder if the title sucks people in. Only one person, a regular at the time, ever commented.
- Assassin Movies (44) #15 overall. My (increasingly out-of-date) list of movies about assassins. (Oh, the pointlessness of these lists that so quickly get obsolete and which are nearly impossible to make as inclusive as you’d hoped, anyway.)
- Elephant Story (44) #9 overall. And falling.
- BB #27 — Far Less (40) #8 overall. And falling faster! Sorry Jan!
- Hawkeye & Margaret (39) #14 overall. Still in the running!
Considering this covers a six-month period, I suppose I’m really just showing how little traffic I get. Ah, well, so it goes.
Perhaps I should redo the bottom menus with better lists. (And I’ve long wondered if the menu bar at the top is too involved, especially in this day of mobile access.)
On the other hand, I’ve never been in this for the traffic. It would be nice to be found and recognized by others like me, which I always sorta thought would happen, but maybe I’m more of a freak than I realize. Or more unpalatable.
As to the future, who knows. After seven years, it appears it’s a thing with me. I stopped completely in 2017, but here I am again. I’m not saying I’m here to stay, but… well, I’m here for now.
Readers be damned. 🙂
I have been thinking of doing another round of Follower purge. I’ve been deleting the obvious sellers — don’t fucking use me to sell your shit. I’m not at all convinced any of these Follows reflect actual interest.
Introduce yourself, for fuck’s sake. I’m thinking of booting anyone I haven’t actually met.
And on that charming note, off we go into year eight…
- 2011: Hello World!
- 2013: Two Years!
- 2014: 7-4, 2014, 2011, 1998, 1992, 1776
- 2015: Continuing Continuing
- 2016: What The Followers?
(There was no post in 2017, because I didn’t post at all that year.)
July 17th, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Meh…I’m definitely a blogging bipolar too. If it makes you feel better, I think my most popular posts are on Halloween costumes. They are by no means popular, though.
Sorry I haven’t been on top of reading your blog. I haven’t been reading Westworld posts mainly because I’m not watching that show anymore. Too much gratuitous violence for me. Anyway, I have plans to come back to reading posts after I cook dinner…so brb.
July 18th, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Yeah, ironic how it goes… the more popular posts don’t reflect the blog’s main topic or aren’t even really my writing. I guess we have to try to not take it personally…
No worries about the Westworld posts. (Those really are more for me to vent and record.) Seems like a lot of folks have given up on the show, although I haven’t heard many do so on account of the violence. (That is part of why I stopped watching Game of Thrones after two seasons.) For a lot of people (myself included), the second season just wasn’t very good compared to the first. Sophomore Slump, perhaps.