Blogwanking 2020

I’m not doing a saleswanking post this year– I had no new releases, and went to no cons, and didn’t really market my books at all or, really, do anything to make people remember I occasionally write fiction other than a handful of haiku and short stories on Patreon, so I’m not even looking up how many books I sold this year. I would be surprised if it ended up being more than a couple dozen.

But the blog?

You’re not going to see these words in this order very often, but: 2020 was a very good year, if only in this one minor respect. The blog, no doubt because everyone was home all the goddamned time, had the best year it’s had since the Great Virality of 2015-16. Check the stats:

68000 page views and 40K visitors are both up from last year, and in fact are both up from any year since 2016, which still benefited from the Syria post; it’s possible that without the big bump from that post this would have been the best year since 2014, which continues to make no mathematical sense. Comments are also up, although Likes are down a bit, which is frankly the least important to me of the various metrics I’m looking at.

Why? Well, to start, I wrote a lot:

Highest total posts since 2016, more than one a day, and there were only a handful of days this year where I didn’t post. More words than any year since 2015, and the second-highest words per post of all time. Ultimately the only gripe I can come up with looking at this is that I’d still like to see a lot more engagement and comments, but I keep hearing about how blogs are dead, so maybe that’s why I don’t get as many comments as I used to, and that 5.8 comments number in 2014 isn’t exactly a hotbed of competing opinions.

Total word count over seven and some change years: 1,181,069, not counting this post. That’s … a lot.

Let’s talk posts next. No secret, because this has been the case for years: a lot of site traffic is driven by my perennial posts, and none of the top 10 posts on the site were written this year. This is just an image, but here’s the overall top 10 posts and the number of hits they got:

None of this makes any sense to me, particularly the fact that the fucking Snowpiercer post is still my second-highest yearly views.

This year’s top 10 posts, in order from highest to lowest traffic, are:

Nothing completely inexplicable in there except maybe for that one Monthly Reads post; I’m not sure why that one post would have done so much better than all the rest of them, and the Christmas Abortion Story post was only written five days ago and is on the list already, which is either a sign that the top 10 posts of this year are really weak or that it’s maybe heading toward blowing up. We’ll see if it keeps showing up next week or not.

Geography? Let’s talk geography. This is this year:

And this is over the life of the blog:

And I gotta be honest, y’all: I look at that and I’m proud of it. My stupid little website isn’t making me any money and it isn’t making me famous, but people from damn near every country on Earth have visited it. I mean, what’s left? North Korea and Turkmenistan, both of which are dictatorships; Svalbard Island, where less than 3,000 people live, and several countries in Africa where I suspect reading Western blogs is not a high priority.

Basically, I feel like I have a chance to land a lucky hit from Svalbard at some point, and the rest of them are probably never happening.

I thought about finishing this post with some goals for next year, and … honestly, I’m dialing back on the entire concept of “goals” right now. My one social media goal is to have more followers on TikTok than on Twitter by the end of next year, and I bet that’ll be the case by the end of this school year. For the blog? I’m going to keep writing; this place has been part of my daily life for over seven years and that’s not changing any time soon. I’d like to see those higher numbers become a trend and not a blip, but I’m not going to break my neck over it.

Seriously, though, if one of you ends up heading to the far north or North Korea at some point, make sure to hit the blog up.

Blogwanking, 2019

The short version of this entire post: basically everything is down slightly from last year, but not shockingly so; I’m still getting far more eyeballs on this site than actually makes any sense to me at all, so I can’t really complain about it, because Jesus, people are actually paying attention to my nonsense?

Yeah, turns out they are.

Posting frequency was up from last year, which was up from the year before it, but engagement is continuing to drop. I’d like to find a way to drive more comments, definitely, and more likes would always be nice, but I’m not sure what the best way to do that is. I keep hearing that blogs are dead; needless to say, this one ain’t going anywhere; while I’d like to more engagement, I’m not gonna shut up or anything if my numbers keep falling.

Geography’s always fun. This is 2019 specifically:

And this is the entire life of the blog:

Basically at this point I only have a few types of countries left: totalitarian dictatorships (North Korea), a few tiny islands, and places where there is either very little infrastructure or very few people or both. I keep hoping to get a hit from Svalbard Island and so far it hasn’t happened yet. That little hole in Europe is still Kosovo; I refuse to believe I have never had traffic from Kosovo in six years and am blaming something wonky about the way WordPress handles geography.

The overall top 10 posts are the same ones they always are, basically; I’m at the point where my “back catalogue,” so to speak, is definitely driving most of the site’s traffic. This is an image, and isn’t clickable:

The Snowpiercer post just refuses to die, although it did have one (1) day this year where it got zero hits, which very well might be the first time that has ever happened. Supposedly the TV show is launching soon, so this will never, ever end. I feel bad about the weird popularity of that Tana French post, too; it’s literally the only thing she ever wrote that I didn’t like and I reviewed a bunch of her other books, so it sort of feels unfair to me. I love you, Tana! I swear!

Top 10 posts written in 2019, and these are clickable if you like:

Most of those make some sense, I suppose; the “dress for success” post is a bit inexplicable but the rest of them are either all hashtagged, of inherent interest to a substantial group of other people, promoted by outside sources (the two book reviews were both posts where publicists sent me the book) or, well, kind of important (the last post).

How did your blog do last year? (If you don’t have one, start, dammit!)

I had nothing, but now I have this

I didn’t post yesterday on account of having nothing to say, and I very nearly didn’t post today, but then I took a look at where my traffic was coming from today (as one does) and found the list of countries rather interesting:

Mozambique, Tanzania, Nepal and the EU (which I think means Kosovo, as every other EU country comes through as the actual country) all in the same day, in a day where I haven’t managed 100 hits yet? That’s something.

In which I remember your life better than you do

I haven’t done an education post in a good long while; let’s see if I’ve still got the chops.  Seen this lately?  It’s making the rounds on DevilBook:

31483742_10209939830931981_3036515949554434048_nI succumbed to my baser urges and replied to it on one person’s page, and let me make it clear that I’m not holding her responsible for this, as the notion “Americans should be better educated” is one that I’m gonna hold to and agree with pretty much no matter what the circumstances.  However, what I’m not gonna be okay with is the idea that most of these concepts (and others like them; there are several variants of this little meme picture) aren’t taught in school.

They are.  In damn near every high school in America and most of the middle schools too.  I have personally taught about at least half of these things.  You just didn’t pay attention, because you were a dumbass kid and this was adult stuff and it was boring.  The problem is no one ever writes a meme post about “Shit I should have paid better attention to in school.”  It’s always the teachers’ fault.

You took an econ class in high school, right?  It’s mandatory in Indiana.  That class covered accounting, money management, taxes, and credit all by its damn self.  I covered all of those things, excepting only “good credit,” with my middle school classes in a required class you might be familiar with; it was called math.

Nutrition?  I bet you took a Health class at some point.  Required in Indiana in both middle and high school.  Job and careers?  I actually taught a class called Careers to middle school kids.  Pretty sure something similar exists in high school too.  Self-defense, okay, I’ll give you that one, but the rest of them?  Give me a damn break.  If you weren’t paying attention, I don’t even blame you, because expecting little kids to be intimately curious about shit that won’t affect their lives for ten or fifteen years is a little unreasonable, but the idea that the subjects were never covered is nonsense.  They were mandatory.  You just blew them off.  And that’s on you.


A moment, then, on the last part, about being “forced” to be “fluent” in at least one other language.  I am actually pro-foreign language education.  I just think that goddamn near everyone in America should be taking Spanish.  A solid majority of American citizens, especially anyone who works in a job facing the public, could do with, if not fluency, at least a passable working knowledge of Spanish, enough to get through a basic conversation.  I’ve had some furniture sales that were conducted damn near entirely in Spanish and I’m not remotely fluent.  But I can get by if I need to.  That level.

The notion that Americans, as a whole, require something called “fluency” in any language other than English is fucking ridiculous, though.  Is it good?  Sure.  Is it necessary?  Crazy talk.  Go ahead, bring up Europe.  Europe has 300 languages because when Europe was growing up you were going to be born, live, and die within fifteen miles or so of the same goddamn spot and it’s easy for languages to bifurcate and split during a couple of millennia of that type of social evolution.  Africa, Asia, same thing.

America?  America used to have lots of languages until the white folk moved in and killed everybody who spoke them.  Now?  English, party of 350 million.  If I’m in Germany, I can get in my car and drive for eight hours and I’ll for damn sure be somewhere where people speak a language other than German.  If I’m in America and drive for eight hours I may not even be out of my state.  Are there localized pockets of people who speak other languages than English and Spanish?  Sure, tons of ’em, there’s lots of Poles and Pennsylvania Dutch around here, for example.  Are there jobs where knowing another language is useful?  Sure.  Does every American need to “be fluent” in a foreign language?  Come the hell on.


Apropos of nothing, I just looked up and saw this from the window next to my desk:

unnamedThe walls aren’t that yellow, but I haven’t altered the color balance in this picture at all.  In the last ten minutes the temperature has dropped from ninety to sixty, rain has started, and apparently outdoors is in black and white now.  

Weird.

Geography #blogwanking, March 2015 edition

French Guiana!  French Guiana!  French Guiana!

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 6.01.27 PM

I have finally filled in a continent other than North America and Australia, as French Guiana shows up today and gives me the last little bit I’m missing.  Kosovo, at this point, has got to just not show up on WordPress’ scanners at all, because it remains the stubborn hole in Europe, and the -stans are screwing Asia all up since I’ve decided North Korea doesn’t count.

But South America!  Done!  Woohoo!