Sunday, May 3, 2015

42nd Post Spectacular!: Six things I've learned from the blog so far

Thanks to Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the number 42 is an auspicious number for science fiction fans that concerns the philosophical question of life, the universe, and everything.  In light of this being my 42nd post on a blog about philosophy and science fiction, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post engaging in every blogger’s two favorite pastimes: navel gazing and self promotion! 

Here are six things I've learned in the several months since I started this blog.

A profound Venn diagram

Why six?  Because 4 + 2 = 6 and 42 things would be too many.

1. Blogging is fun! In high school, college, and even for a bit in grad school, I wrote opinion columns in my respective student newspapers.  I always enjoyed the chance to collect and organize my thoughts on a variety of topics and to share those thoughts with others.  Blogging is a continuation of this activity by other means, although it's more geographically dispersed than a student newspaper (see #6 below).

2. Posts on current events, recent movies, and/or controversial topics get the most views. Assuming the statistics function on Blogger is accurate, so far a typical post on this blog (for example, this one on Sci-Fi Music) gets somewhere in the range of 30-50 views. My most visited post on The Dress and skepticism currently has 157 views. My post on Sad Puppies and Good Old Boys has 142, while my post on Leonard Nimoy has 132 and my post on moral relativism has 138.

I made my post defending the movie, Jupiter Ascending, right after it came out, and that has 94 views.  I made my posts on Interstellar (parts one and two and then a video of my talk based on these posts) several months after the movie came out, and they have 63, 51, and 59 views respectively.  A post of mini-reviews of several unpopular movies with release dates ranging from the 1994 to 2015 has 46 views.

Posts of a more general social, ethical, and political nature don't necessarily do much better than others, such as my posts on nonviolence and Eurocentrism with 54 and 47 views respectively.  I also tried a few posts of a more academic nature on classical Indian epistemology, the first of which got 54 views while the second got 31 (these were also cross-posted to the Indian Philosophy Blog).  One of my favorite posts, "Is the study of ancient philosophy like science fiction?" has 84 views, maybe because it's inherently interesting or maybe because I link back to it all the time!

There are also "plus one" stats from Google+, which don't necessarily correlate with the total number of views (for instance, the moral relativism post has +3 with 138 views while my review of Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks has +10 with 48 views).  I suspect another factor is what time of day and day of the week I post links to social media.

I have no idea if these numbers are good for a blog by a non-famous person with no promotion other than what I initiate myself through social media and Goodreads.  Since I do this more for my own enjoyment than anything else, I guess it doesn't matter that much.  But since part of the fun is sharing my ideas with others I'm glad you're out there!

3. Traffic on other posts, especially book reviews, varies quite a bit.  My review of Matter by Iain M. Banks is one of my most viewed book reviews with 65 views (perhaps because I linked to it on a Facebook group focused on Banks's Culture series).  My review of The Just City by Jo Walton has 62 views, probably because it was published in the last few months, which makes it newer than most books I've reviewed.  Most reviews of older books, such as my reviews of Kindred by Octavia E. Butler or Nova by Samuel R. Delany, published in 1979 and 1968 respectively, tend to have views in the 30's and 40's.  My guess is that people tend to look for reviews of newer books, since they're less likely to have read them and maybe are more likely to be looking for them.  I tend to read a lot of old stuff myself (which is partly a result of my love of used book stores), but I guess the notion that newer is better works in the book world, too.

4. If I don't promote a post, very few people will find it. For example, my review of Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress has only been viewed six times.  It was an experiment to see what would happen if I didn't promote a review of an older book.  Now that I've mentioned it here, I suppose the experiment is over.  The only remaining mystery is how it was even viewed six times...
Douglas Adams

5. Plagiarism?  It has also occurred to me that writing about philosophy online and the fact that college finals are happening around now in many places means that it's possible that some students may be plagiarizing this blog.  I have discovered plagiarism from other blogs in my own courses.  If you are a student plagiarizing this blog, stop it!  Think for yourself!

6. Blogging is friendly and international.  My friends in the US and around the world are awesome for reading this blog and for sharing my posts among their friends.  Thank you!  I also thank people who don't know me for reading this!  While the large majority of views have been from the US, I have gotten views from India, China, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Australia, and other places.  I haven't noticed many views from places in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Africa yet.

So there you have it.  I'm having fun doing this, and I hope the handful of you out there reading it are having fun, too.  Here's hoping for at least 42 more posts in the future!

1 comment:

  1. A most auspicious occasion: the number of views on this post just hit 42!