It’s that time for a reflective reviewing the previous year. On a personal level, it’s been an interesting year, a year of some changes with more ahead. I may (or may not) talk about that more down the road. I’ve already shared some of the more mundane ones. I’m still chewing on some of the more personal ones.
As a blog post, it makes sense to do a blog review, as self-indulgent as they are. This is more a milepost for me; a sort of year-end report to the board — see if it’s worth funding another year. (Technically, the Blog Year starts on July 4, with year zero being 2011. The blog is now seven-and-a-half; 741 posts tall. Plus it just grew one more.)
Stick around if you want, but it’s gonna be long, dry, and narcissistic…
I’ve long enjoyed playing with data and making charts, so naturally I’ve been mucking about with blog stats.
One thing I like about computer programming is how it opens up the world of data processing for me. That said, I have to believe tools exist allowing bloggers to do everything here and much more. To be honest, what I’m doing is a little crude.
The flip side is total control over the process and the results. No wishing you could customize or change something. Perhaps more important is the transparency. The box is glass, not black, so there’s no question what’s going on under the hood.
OTOH, any bugs are also yours. But bugs can exist in the best professional tools, too, and at least you can kill your own bugs.
I digress, but speaking of charts:These are page hits for the twenty posts I started tracking back in 2016 (some of which date back to the earliest days). The chart shows the entire life of the blog (since July 4, 2011).
I designed it to be pretty more than useful (that’s okay with charts). I thought it was fun to see the rare spikes (the first two due to being “Freshly Pressed”) and general trends.
Also: obviously not a popular blog; those get hundreds (or thousands) of hits per day! Ah, well, popularity was never the intent, so yay? 😀
I wondered what that data looked like combined:
Based on those twenty posts, traffic has grown!
But that growth is fairly slow — almost flat the last three years. I added some rolling average lines to help visualize the actual growth.
The two times I was “Freshly Pressed” really stand out on this chart — the two big spikes, left and center. They even affect the rolling averages. (The two spikes on the right are actually “echos” of the first FP spike on the left, although the right-most turns out to have a contributor.)
Increase in certain pages aside, blog traffic in general isn’t trending upwards at all:
Seems my best year so far was 2015. As shown next, I did post a bit more that year. Of course, 2016 the world got weird, so maybe it has nothing to do with me.
It is interesting 2017, with no posts at all, didn’t kill traffic all that much.
I also wondered what my posting activity looked like:
It appears my enthusiasm for posting waned over time. I found myself speechless in 2017 — obvious social political fallout from 2016, plus the Minnesota Twins had their worst season ever (losing 103 games) in 2016.
The gap early on, December 2011 through April 2012, is interesting. I’m guessing work either got interesting or depressing around then. Not sure which.
It seems 2018 is my lowest active year considering that 2011 was a half-year. A combination of existential ennui and a general weariness with the dreariness of it all.
If you were iffy on reading this post, now’s a good time to bail. The rest is just a review of those twenty key posts.
The elephant in the room, oddly, isn’t the Elephant post (see below), but the seasonal favorite, Santa: Man or Woman?
As you see, this spikes my page hits every December. It is down this year, 429 compared to 532 (both spiking “off the chart”), so maybe its popularity is finally fading. It was only number four in 2018.
This one got “Freshly Pressed” which explains the huge spike when I published it. Sadly, the Santa post I like better didn’t get the attention. But I suppose gender is way more a thing that fantasy.
(This one, and the next, come with the annual grouse about how these are From My Collection, and not 100% original material. Yet they’re my top posts. Damn it.)
The aforementioned next is, Sideband #17: Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille, my telling of an old joke with a well-known punchline.
At least this one was in my own words. It was number six in 2018.
I’m very happy about number three, Rick O’Shay, it was a labor of love.
That it continues to attract attention is great, and I’m pleased people seem to be clicking the link to his site. Stan Lynde died shortly after I wrote the post, so I’m especially glad about the timing.
It’s third overall and fifth in 2018!
I’m also happy with Deflection and Projection seeing so much traffic (it was number three in 2018).
I’m proud of the post (one of my fairly okay ones), but I think the content is important, and I’m glad it’s being passed around.
It seems to have gotten a lot of traffic during the first year of POTUS45, with an increase during the election. Wonder why it dropped off in 2018? Fatigue?
But it’s a fine thing to share. That’s why it’s there (along with Gibb’s Rules).
No idea why it spiked in January of 2015.
Number six is a new kid on the block, My Grandfather’s Axe.
I’m delighted! I love this post!
It was top post of 2018 by almost double the runner-up. It already has 13 hits this month.
No one comments, so I don’t know why it’s taken off.
(A complaint I have with a number of these posts. They’re being passed around, apparently, but no one ever bothers to toss a Like my way, let alone a Comment.)
Number seven, number two in 2018, is also somewhat new, From the Far Side.
It’s a collection of some of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons and why they’re my favorites. Apparently they are other people’s’ favorites, too.
Here’s an oldie from my first month, God is an Iron, that simmered for a long time and then got noticed.
Since it’s one of my favorite posts from the “old days” of the blog, seeing it at number eight is sweet. It’s also number eight in 2018!
Wonder why it spiked in 2017 when I wasn’t even around!
This one, Madam Secretary & Scorpion, is a bit of a puzzle.
No idea why it weighs in at number nine or why anyone still reads it. I liked the former show (still do) and disliked the latter. A lot, in both cases.
(The only reason this post is on the Key Posts list is that heavy traffic when it first came out. Which is when I created the list. I should remove it now. It was number fifteen in 2018)
This one, BB #27 – Far Less, should probably also be removed (it was only number twenty-five in 2018).
It’s mainly about “Toyota Jan” (Laurel Coppock) with a side riff on bacon (no connection).
Toyota Jan is still going strong, so it was a good gig for her!
I mentioned the Elephant Story…
This is yet another post that really shouldn’t be in the Key 20 anymore. Had a big spike early on and some traffic since, but only 60 hits last year.
(No one has caught on that the elephant crossing sign is photo-shopped in. And I never did write that serious post about elephants.)
This is a piece, Why I Hated The Holodeck, pre-dates the blog.
It’s just one of many, many Star Trek posts here. Nice to see it pick up some traffic in the last few years. It was number eleven in 2018.
OTOH, see It’s Dead, Jim. I’m kinda over Trek these days.
I really wish Here Today; Pi Tomorrow deserved to be number thirteen.
As you can see, it’s traffic amounts to that one spike, when it was Freshly Pressed. It’s gotten pretty much zilch since then (single digits).
I wish it did better, because (A) it’s a very nice pi post, if I do say so, but more importantly (B) it kicks off the Special Relativity series I worked so hard on.
(At least some posts of that series do get some traffic.)
Coming in at #14 (#18 in 2018), one of my all-time favorite posts, Hawkeye & Margaret.
People find this with the search string, “hawkeye margaret mash” a lot. I guess that relationship was as engaging to others as it was to me.
M*A*S*H is still a favorite TV show of mine. (From back when CBS made really good sitcoms. Now, from where I sit in front of the TV, not so much. See Reboots.)
Another golden oldie, Barrel of Wine; Barrel of Sewage.
This is yet another personal favorite, so Santa posts aside, I’m pleased to see these posts getting traffic. It was number twelve in 2018. (If only they got Likes or Comments.)
The post is a rumination on entropy along with some observations on life.
Number 16 is another page, Assassin Movies.
The list is pretty good for the time span it covers, but I stopped maintaining it. (In part because I think movies have gone downhill, in part because I don’t care anymore, and in part because maintaining any list is a pain in the ass.)
Interest in the list is obviously dropping off for readers, too. Could be for any combination of the reasons just given.
(My favorite at the moment is a Japanese anime TV series, Assassination Classroom!)
I don’t really understand why Reflections: Work & Change gets hits.
It’s a personal reflection about my own time at the company. I have a feeling people are attracted to the title, but I wonder how many actually read the piece?
And, of course, no one ever says anything, so I have no idea…
Speaking weird page hits I can’t explain, Beams of Steel.
It’s part three of a three-part post about 9/11 focused on debunking conspiracy theories attached to the event.
But parts one and two never get any hits, so what’s going on? Drives me (very mildly) crazy.
Again, I suspect it’s the post title or maybe an image people are seeking. I’ve left a comment — the only comment there — asking someone to say something…
As it turns out, two other posts made the Key 20 list due to high activity recently. One is gratifying, the other kinda funny.
The gratifying one, number seven in 2018, is, Movies: Grand Canyon.
As reviews go, I’m not super thrilled with it; it was an email. I did touch it up a little, but it’s my writing style (and mental style) from the mid-1980s.
But it’s neat people seem to like it. (Just wish someone would speak up. I have gotten a few personal emails expressing appreciation for various posts, but no one comments. A bit point of a blog is discussion.)
The funny one, number nine in 2018, number thirty-eight overall, is CNN Is Dead To Me.
I’m pretty sure this is about Erin Burnett. I see “erin burnett cleavage” as a common search string. Sorry to disappoint.
And that is the annual report for 2018. Now we’ll see if the board isn’t bored and funds us for another year!
Stay blogging (and commenting), my friends.