2016 Top Ten Whatever Posts + Social Media Stats

Time for my annual nerdery about the most visited posts here, and the state of my social media presence. Ready? Sure you are, that’s why you’re here! This and cat pictures.

First, here are the top ten posts on Whatever f0r 2016, ranked by visits. Posts with asterisks were originally posted in years other than 2016.

1. The Cinemax Theory of Racism
2. Trump, the GOP, and the Fall
3. Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is*
4. Thoughts and Prayers
5. You Never Know Just How You Look Through Other People’s Eyes*
6. Apologies: What, When and How*
7. Clinton and Sanders and the End of the Road
8. My Endorsement for President, 2016: Hillary Clinton
9. Being Poor*
10. 10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing*

This year’s top posts are half current and half from the archives, which is actually about normal around here — as I’ve noted before, Whatever is fairly unusual in terms of blogs in how many “evergreen” posts the site has. Given previous trends in this area, I wouldn’t be surprised if “The Cinemax Theory of Racism” becomes a similar evergreen; it’s the most visited post on the site since “Straight White Male,” and barring some event, Trump will be president for four years.

If you remove archived posts from the top ten, here are the five other pieces from 2016 that would have made the cut:

It’s fair to say that the top posts of 2016, written in 2016, were about politics and guns. It was that kind of year, alas.

In terms of daily visits to the site proper, Whatever saw a bit of a drop this year, which doesn’t surprise me: I spent several months in a “semi-hiatus,” in which I was posting fewer daily posts than I have in previous years. So as of today, there were 5,164,500 visits to the site for 2016, down from 5.8 million last year. This averages about to about 14,266 visits a day. Nothing to complain about! But still down.

Interestingly, however, the number of unique visitors is up — the highest it’s been since 2013 — and the visits to individual posts are pretty much where they were over the last few years. This suggests to me three things. One, that “event” posts like “The Cinemax Theory of Racism” brought new readers to the site as they linked in from other places (a similar thing happened in 2012 with “Straight White Male”); Two, that post-for-post, visitorship to Whatever has been pretty stable for a while now; Three, if I want to get visit numbers up next year, I should, you know, post more entries on a daily basis.

(Will I? Maybe, maybe not. As it happens I have three books due next year (a topic for a separate post) and will be doing a lot of travel. I’d like to post more; I think in 2017 I’m likely to have plenty to say. But then there my actual paid writing schedule to consider. So: We’ll see.)

As with last year, most people coming to the site came here by three ways: Google, Facebook and Twitter, those three arranged in descending order of importance. This is the Internet as it exists now, folks. The one individually-owned site that sent the most people here (Daring Fireball) sent maybe 1.5% of the traffic Facebook did over the year. Which, actually, is pretty impressive if you think about relative sizes.

Aside from people physically visiting Whatever, people read the site by “following” on WordPress, which serves a copy of entries to a reading queue (basically like an RSS feed). Those aren’t counted as part of the site’s recorded daily visits. As of this second, Whatever has 26,567 followers, up almost 5,000 from last year. So that’s nice. Hello, WordPress followers! Thanks for reading. Added to that, the non-Wordpress areas of Scalzi.com (which include previous non-Wordpress versions of Whatever) racked up 1.16 million visits, a testament to old, old links on the Internet (which is why in point of fact I keep up those previous versions of the site). Update: In the comments, NeilN notes that Feedly also logs 12,000 people following Whatever through that RSS service.

So: In sum, Whatever seems to be doing just fine, and maybe I should post more entries in 2017.

Leaving Whatever, my largest presence online, as it has been for the last couple of years, is on Twitter. As of right this second I have 111,329 followers, up 17.8K from this day last year, and tweeted a frankly ridiculous 19,712 times as of right now (which is still off last year’s pace — man, what was I doing with my life last year?). Those tweets garnered 177.54 million impressions, up substantially from last year, with the following being my most popular tweet of 2016 in terms of impressions, with more than 780,000:

(Pro tip: If you want a tweet to be seen by a lot of people, get retweeted by JK Rowling.)

My public Facebook page is up for the year as well, from 14k likes to 18k, while both Google Plus and Ello have remained basically perfectly still in terms of number of followers, which given their basically dormant state at this point, is entirely not surprising.

So, in sum: Whatever down in visits but up in visitors and followers; Twitter up in followers and individual tweets got more impressions on average; Facebook followers up; everything else, meh.

On to 2017.