I don’t like summarizing a year. Every time I try to do it, I struggle with what details to include and what to leave out. Who wants to read a summary [of my life] anyway, a loose rehashing of events cobbled together so that friends and strangers don’t forget that, “Goshdarnit, I’m an interesting person who does interesting things!”
Last year I looked through all my posts and picked one in each month that I thought was particularly meaningful, funny, or representative of me. I probably should have just done that again.
Instead I was curious to see which posts you thought were the most important. In February I set up a system to track page requests so I could follow who was linking to my site. Using that information, I was able to rank the most requested posts I wrote in 2005.
The most popular post, though interesting, was popular only because of an image I linked to that showed up at the top of Google’s image search results when someone searched for “google”. The second most popular post was due to a link from Joel Spolsky during Etech.
After that, the most popular posts were requested because someone was trying to figure out how to do something, like how to move posts from Blogger to WordPress or how to fix a broken LCD screen. I managed to siphon some popularity off of the Web 2.0 circle jerk (and get a good jab in at the same time), but the most unexpectedly popular post, just in time for apple chill, was popular due to people searching Google for “chevy caprice”, “pimped out cars”, and “20 inch rims”. Cuz I roll like that, beotch.
- google makes it hard to ask questions (of people) 100,048
- etech day three 7,341
- moving from blogger to wordpress 6,163
- replacing a laptop lcd screen 6,139
- roll your own multiple select listbox 5,047
- pure google 3,997
- just in time for apple chill 3,520
- The Web 2.0 Drinking Game 2,142
- monthchunks plugin for WordPress 1,599
- importing haloscan comments into wordpress 1,431
Yeah, that’s my audience in a nutshell. Or is it?
What I don’t like about those results is that they’re really skewed towards the head of the long tail (*Justin finishes his drink*), as opposed to the community of people who regularly stop by to catch up with me and sometimes leave a note.
So maybe the best way to look at the most important posts (as judged by the community) are those posts that ellicited the greatest number of comments. Surprisingly 6 of the 10 most commented-on posts (highlighted in yellow) overlap with the most requested posts above. Oh well.
- importing haloscan comments into wordpress 45
- monthchunks plugin for WordPress 40
- replacing a laptop lcd screen 33
- Random Image Plugin for WordPress 26
- The Web 2.0 Drinking Game 25
- pure google 22
- moving from blogger to wordpress 20
- The grossest thing about poison-oak 20
- Happy Indeed 20
- html generator 19
In fact really only two of the posts above are non-technical, the post about my poision oak experience, and the post with just a single picture from my birthday dinner. Which is funny because the most common compliment/complaint about my blog usually follows the form, “Yeah, I like your blog, I mean, I don’t understand (or I skim over) the computery posts, but yeah it’s pretty good.”
So I suppose all I’ve managed to gather is that if I arbitrarily limit popularity to top-ten type results, the information I get back is not going to be that representative or interesting. It also implies that popularity in the blogosphere can be improved by structuring posts so that they provide an effective answer to a single question. In order to create profitable business models (*Justin takes a shot*) within such an ecosystem, one would need to be good at predicting what questions are soon to be asked, in order to be established with the best market position when the information demand comes.
Oh my god, I’ve just sucked all of the passion out of blogging, sitting here thinking about monetizing information (*Justin takes a drink*). Time to sign off. Happy New Year’s Eve.