How People Get to Whatever, 2017 Midyear Report

This is going to be a blog stats nerdery report, so you can skip it entirely if this sort of thing bores you.

At the halfway point of 2017, Whatever is on track to have the lowest number of direct site visits of any year since 2008, which is the year the site started being hosted by WordPress VIP. If current visitorship levels continue, the site will end up with around 4 million visits for the year. That number is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also considerably off the eight million visits the site got in 2012, the highest-traffic year of the site.

So what’s going on this year that’s bringing the traffic down? I think there are a number of things going on.

The first chunk of things has to do with me. I’ve written comparatively less here this year than in other years, and there’s a pretty direct correlation between the number of posts and the number of visits. Write fewer posts and you’ll get fewer visits. This year there are have been 230 posts to date (231 with this one); in 2012 I posted 848 posts total, which means probably twice as many posts that year at this point than this.

Also this year I’ve had no post really “break out” yet — the massively-shared post that boosts readership at the site. Again, in 2012, I had a stack of those: the “Straight White Male” post, but also “A Fan Letter to Conservative Politicians,” “A Self-Made Man Looks at How He Made It” and “Who Gets to Be a Geek?” and a few others. Those are things you can’t plan for — you can try to make something viral, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work — and you just take them as they come. This year has had some widely shared posts, but nothing on that sort of scale.

Finally in this category, and largely explaining the first two, this year my focus has been elsewhere a lot of the year to date. Offline, I’ve been touring and traveling heavily, primarily to promote The Collapsing Empire, and working on writing Head On and doing a few other projects. All of those leave less time for writing longer-form thoughts here. This factor also means Twitter is in many ways more congenial to my schedule — it’s easier to dip in and out of when I have a snarky thought, which as most of you know is pretty often. Plus there is some stuff that I would write here that I now write over at the Los Angeles Times, because they pay me money for that, and I like money, and also the larger audience a major newspaper provides, online and off.

Basically that last point is: Hey, I got busy with paid and promotional work! Which was and is always the goal. But it also means longer posts here are often the first to get cut in the list of “things to do today.” Not always — sometimes I just have to say something — but usually.

So those are the reasons relating to me directly. Now for some of the things not relating to me directly:

First up, the general collapse of blogs, which has been happening for a couple of years now, really seems to have accelerated in the last year. I notice this anecdotally, first in that the number of personal blogs referring visitors to the site has dropped significantly, and secondly in that when I do the occasional Google search on “Scalzi,” filtering for the last 24 hours of references, very very few blogs show up anymore; its mostly book reviews and sites masquerading as pirate media servers in order to give the unwary a virus.

Now, if I’m writing fewer posts (and fewer long-term posts), there’ll be a drop because of that anyway, but I have a more stable metric for this stuff as well: The Big Idea posts, which I post regularly even when I don’t otherwise post, and which have stable (and nice!) visitor stats. Two years ago, a good number of personal blogs would link into Whatever to note Big Idea posts; this year, again, very few. Basically Twitter and Facebook have largely completed their digestion of the blogosphere at this point. This is also reflected in my stats: The two largest referrers to the site are these two. But there’s no way to parse out in my site stats where on either site the links originate. From a site stats point of view, they’re both black boxes.

(Which, incidentally, makes me sad. Back in my day, you could find a lot of interesting people and sites just by combing through your site stats and seeing who was linking to you, or by doing the occasional ego search. These days, again, the results are either opaque or just plain junk. There’s not a lot of there there anymore.)

So basically fewer people are getting to Whatever through the ways they used to. But — and here’s an salient point — I don’t think the content of the site is overall getting fewer readers, because there are other ways they read it now without directly visiting the site. For example, Whatever has (as of this very moment) 28,342 people who follow the site via WordPress, which means they see the posts not on the site, but through an RSS-like feed which they can scroll through. Whatever has another 12K or so subscribers via Feedly last I checked, and a couple thousand at least who get posts emailed to them. So that’s 40K+ people who get whatever I write here without ever having to come to the site unless they want to comment.

Then there’s stuff like Google’s AMP initiative, which, if you click a Whatever result on Google while you’re on a mobile device, presents you with an alternate “streamlined” mobile-friendly version of the post rather than taking you directly to the site (which, I will note, already presents a mobile-friendly version of the site). Those readers aren’t captured on my site stats either, as far as I can tell.

What this means, basically, is that for 2017, there’s something like 9+ million potential visits to writing on Whatever that aren’t being registered in the site stats (I say “potential” since not every post sent out via WordPress or Feedly is going to be read by an individual subscriber). Which is significant! And also suggests, again, that the issue is not fewer people having access to the writing on Whatever, but me not having access to the full numbers (or, more accurately, meaningful numbers). This is another example of how the Web has changed substantially, even in just a few years.

What does this mean for Whatever? Honestly, not too much. I don’t rely on Whatever for income, so the visitor stats, while they’re interesting for me (I mean, obviously), don’t have on effect on how I run the site. I don’t have to post clickbait-y pieces to drive traffic, and depending on my whim, I can post six pieces a day or none. Once again, “Whatever” exactly describes what the site is about; it’s whatever I have on my mind, how I wish to present it, when I have the time to do so.

On a personal level, I admit that this diffusion of Whatever readership is annoying to me; I liked it better when I had a better idea just how many people were reading my stuff at any one time, rather than having to guess. I’m kind of a stats nerd, it seems. I suppose if I wanted to splash out a lot of money and time I could probably find a stats program out there that could interface with everything and give me a more accurate picture, but: Money and time. I don’t really want to spend either.

And anyway, as much as I enjoy Twitter and other social media, sometimes I just want to write at length, and this is the place for that. The occasional tweetstorm (i.e., chaining multiple tweets on a subject together) is fine, but honestly if you’re going to write at length, just write a friggin’ blog post and link people into it. Also, and again, I own this site. Long after Twitter or Facebook is a memory, as long as I pay for this site, it’s here to stay.

So: However you’re reading this, thanks. I’m glad you are. Let’s keep going through 2017.

74 thoughts on “How People Get to Whatever, 2017 Midyear Report

  1. I’m one of those cranky oldsters that still uses RSS, and that’s how I read your thinky bits.

  2. It’s a mixed bag, isn’t it? I discover a lot of amazing people and blogs via Twitter because people on Twitter share things. (Same goes with Facebook.) However, I’m less likely to engage directly with those blog posts if I’m not sitting at a computer because my phone opens those posts in a browser and not WordPress, and I tend to not feel like dealing with the hassle of logging in to leave a comment when I’m battling my phone’s enthusiastic autocorrect.

    I’m still really annoyed about the loss of Google Reader. It was a great RSS feed, and when I tried to migrate to Feedly, my list of blogs didn’t transfer over, and I lost a lot of sites because I couldn’t remember everything I followed.

  3. “However you’re reading this, thanks. I’m glad you are. Let’s keep going through 2017”
    Yes, you are welcome, so am I and yes please (maybe beyond 2017?)

  4. I’m curious now these trends will go long term. AMP is getting a fair amount of backlash as publishers see the same stats drop off and how AMP uses your content to boost Google’s brand, but Facebook shows no sign of disappearing.

    I still find RSS the most rewarding experience, partly because NewsBlur.com has surpassed Google Reader in every way except the size of the community and it has the business model which Google never deigned to consider before destroying the first wave of companies.

  5. I’m one who connects via Feedly, and I regret in general the downturn in blog activity.
    Twitter, Facebook and whatever social network iterations are currently claiming bandwidth are all well and good as far as they go, but I find them generally annoying as a reading process. Blog typography is typically far more reader-friendly, and for long-form pieces I really want to peruse, I’ll print out via a print-friendly web extension, since a lot of reading on screen is exhausting visually. Sure, I may have to locate the URL of the piece again if I want to link to it, but it’s a small price to pay.

    Hope the Antioch Writers Workshop gig goes well (although I’m one that’s disappointed at the change of venue).

  6. Interesting. I get the email version. When I want to comment I get the WordPress version on my tablet, so both of those probably slide under your radar. The only time I visit the actual webpage is if I want to follow up on the conversation.

    Last week, Chuck Wendig commented on the dying off of his “terrible minds” blog viewership also. He didn’t mention any of those factors. I wonder if he realizes.

    Anyway, love you both and will keep tuning in. You two are my regular blog fixes, though David Brin is making a strong case to get added to my regular list. Thanks for all your thinky bits!

  7. I’ve been reading you via RSS on Dreamwidth. So, that’s another one for catching it without going directly to the blog. It’s nice to have all of my reading in one place. :)

  8. Another RSS users – Feedly (refugee from Google Reader goddamnit I am still pissed at that). I am also a blogger! I write about classical music and opera, including coverage of the business side of the music world and reviews. I haven’t looked at my real Analytics in a long time and probably should; the stats you get from Blogger are obviously crap and full of spam hits to the blog.

    I also don’t make or expect to make any money from my blog, although it does make a nice pile of unedited words to point to if I’m trying to pitch to a new writing outlet. (I make a comparatively small amount of money as a freelance music reviewer, but the vast bulk of my income is from being a full-time tech writer.)

  9. /in which a software engineer pulls back the curtain on web stats secrets

    If you want to know everyone who’s reading your site, what you do is embed an image in the post. This image will have a special name, and link to a special place on your server. Then, you server will record every time that image is loaded.

    “But what if I don’t have an image I want to put in my post?”

    This image is usually invisible. A 1px x 1px square with opacity set to 0%. The point is not that the picture is visible; the point is that it’s requested by the reader.

    If you want to get really fancy with it, you can have different image links for different outputs. RSS gets one link, email gets another, website gets another. Then, you can see not only that people are reading, but _how_ they’re reading and split out the stats that way.

    This will definitely capture readers who subscribe via RSS and email. It will _likely_ capture the Google “mobile friendly” thing as well, unless they’re caching the whole page–images included (seems a little unlikely).

  10. How many people (like me) get your blog sent directly to my inbox? I suspect you’re reaching as many people as before, but if the mountain comes to Mohammed, there’s no need for Mohammed to go to the mountain. Or something like that.

  11. I used to visit your blog daily to read your posts but now I mostly do it in my e-mail. I only visit the blog now to comment, except if I see you linked a new post on Twitter.

  12. John – You say “…But there’s no way to parse out in my site stats where on either site the links originate. From a site stats point of view, they’re both black boxes….”

    I’m not sure if this is what you’re after but if you have Google Analytics go to Acquisition and under All Traffic, find Referrers. Make sure Source is chosen (it’s the default) and then do two things:

    1) On the right corner of the table (below the chart), click the word Advanced and set a rule to include Source containing twitter. Make sure you choose ‘containing’ and just do twitter so it capture s the mobile.twitter subdomain etc. Click Apply and let it filter.

    2) In the upper left, there’s a primary dimension which is Source and an option to choose a secondary dimension. Click that and in the select box, type “Referral” which should come up with Referral Path. You can also use Full Referral Path. That will show you all referring traffic for a period from Twitter along with the specific link from which visits came.

    Hope that helps.

  13. I am also someone who reads via the email I get when you post and I don’t always click through. Put a +1 in that column!

  14. Another Feedly, ex Google Reader… I consume ‘Whatever’ either on my Android phone using Press. If I’m on my Surface Pro then I use NextGen Reader, again using Feedly.
    I also feel that good blogs are dying out and I’m personally really pleased that two of my fave authors (Stross and Scalzi) are still producing longer thought pieces. Long may you continue as I would miss them terribly. Long may the snark continue!

  15. I always read your posts on email, so I guess I fly under your radar too. Maybe try Sam’s suggestion above, and embed an invisible scamperbeast as a tracker!

  16. I notice my personal reading habits in regard to blogs specifically have changed in 2017, and I think it’s because I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the political stuff. I feel obligated to read some of that, and then often don’t the energy or the will go go read someone’s blog. Perhaps I need to reverse the order and read at least one of the blogs I enjoy first.

    I have always loved, and continue to love, The Big Idea, since it introduces me to new books. Even when it’s not a new book to me, and even when/if we’ve interviewed the author over at Fantasy Literature, the author always has something new and interesting to say.

    I second Cyranetta’s point about typography on blog platforms. It’s just easier.

    Scamperbeast pics are always appreciated.

  17. I too receive your email notifications but I probably click through to read/post comments less than half the time, and rarely if ever for The Big Idea. As for the dwindling number of bloggers out there I think some of it can be attributed to podcasts. Used to be everyone was blogging, but now it seems everyone is podcasting.

  18. I read Whatever only on an iMac, via an ordinary browser.

    “Long after Twitter or Facebook is a memory…” Let it be soon, please, that they both fall out of fashion.

  19. I have to say that I still don’t know how RSS works, and a whole bunch of other stuff and places you mentioned are also question marks to me. I go to your blog every day, sometimes more than once. I only joined twitter to see the scamperbeasts and wow Twitter is intense! I love you, your family, and your books so I’ll keep clicking on Whatever as long as you have it. I have gone back to older technology posts to see what to buy and programs for writing. And I use your posts to communicate to the males in my life. Thank you for doing what you do. You are a drink of water on a hot day.

  20. Another email reader. I wonder if there is a way there could be a link we could click indicating that we have read it!

  21. I have been looking at the old Whatever entries and even without seeing the stats, I can tell you posted more often back then. But it’s a difficult choice- more books or more Whatever posts? I think I vote for the books.

  22. I still read you directly on the website because I like the type, the feeling of “going” somewhere, and the sidebar stuff.

    But then, I am a fossil.

    Thank you for the reassurance that your blog isn’t going anywhere. And thanks for all the words.

  23. If you want more actual visitors via RSS or email, set options to only put excerpts there. People will have to click on the link to read the rest of your thinky bits.

    Or not. depends on whether you are going for ‘numbers’ or ‘readers’. Although hard to tell (as you note) to determine total readers if you can’t count non-site-visitors.

    I suppose you could include a little unique invisible image in your RSS/emails, and track that image via Analytics. If that effort is worth it to you.

  24. John, I click into here every couple of days, so …

    Now, cue the “Scalzi is DYING!” barking from You Know Who in 3, 2, 1 ….

  25. I’m one of the readers who pops by every day or so just to see what thoughts you’ve posted. I love the “Whatever” style of the blog– I never know whether the post will be about cats or books or politics or publishing, but I know it will be interesting! My own blog is all kids’ books all the time (when I have the time), which speaks to how I think and write, but how I like to read is a little bit of everything, and you really provide that.

  26. I just check the website every day or so. Does that make me an internet dinosaur?

    If you’re too busy doing stuff you get paid for like the Novels or the LA times articles, rather than blogging, which doesn’t directly pay, no one can blame you for it. We’ve all got mortgages and bills to pay (OK, you’ve already paid your mortgage off, but Athena’s college bills aren’t going to pay themselves). So then what’s the root cause of why you are worried about dropping numbers? If it’s the ability to reach out to your audience, work out what your increase in twitter followers has been since 2012. Does that equate to the “drop” in whatever subscribers?

  27. I am a cranky old Luddite who doesn’t own a cell phone or tablet, who doesn’t twitter or face-book, and I honestly wouldn’t know what an RSS is if one came up and bit me on the hinder parts.

    But I am also an omnivorous reader who particularly loves a well-written essay, and hence I stop by Whatever at least a couple times a day to see if you’ve posted anything new. Yes, I’ve seen that you’ve posted fewer long thinky pieces here in the recent past than was the case a couple of years ago, but you are most assuredly NOT my personal trained monkey, cranking out words for my enjoyment. So I enjoy the posts you do make and wait (with varying levels of patience) for the next one to appear.

    Thank you for all the good reading, sir, both here and between the covers of your books.

  28. Sure John, the day after I start a blog I have put off for a while you post this. Good thing I am not easily discouraged (sulks off to the couch to veg)

  29. It arrives in my email, and, depending on my time and your content, I may simply read the email or wander to the site to read other people’s comments before either commenting myself or deciding that it’s been covered.

    The fact that I value reading other’s comments here is what distinguishes Whatever from most other blogs…

  30. Dang. I’m so old school I still use a stand alone RSS application on my computer. Familiar with all the newer options since I’m a tech guy in my day job, but … I’m comfortable with the way I have things organized. I generally only visit your site when I want to comment.

  31. Again, another feedly reader here, (also ex-google reader and still bitter about it)!

    I click through on occasion, to read the comments, but that’s pretty rare. I use a feed reader because it’s easier than opening the several hundred blogs I read individually and looking for new posts :)

  32. As a newly-published author, I have been tasked by my publisher with drumming up a following. It’s a bit daunting, to say the least, and disheartening to know the blogosphere might be dying just as I’m getting started. I’ve been trying to get a handle on all this for the past year–creating my first author Facebook page, WordPress site, and (shudder) a Twitter account–and the whole effort feels like yelling into a crowded stadium at a bunch of people who are only there to see the game.

    If you told me it gets easier, I would know you’re lying, but it wouldn’t hurt…

  33. I too get your content emailed to me & genetically am incapable of not reading an email (well maybe not genetically, but military training). I don’t always go to the blog unless I want to add my thinky bits like now. Please keep writing.

  34. Come on John, admit it; your liberal, SJW, Trump-hatin’ ways have finally caught up to you. This is the beginning of your long predicted failure the alt-right have been crowing about.

    You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder. You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older, and in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south, hide your head in the sand. Just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer.

    or not, maybe your explanation is right…who knows ;-)

  35. FWIW, I almost entirely read Whatever posts via the emails I get sent. I only ever come to the site itself if I want to comment (like this) or if I want to read the comments of others.

    So, I suspect I don’t show up in the stats at all.

  36. I get here via the WordPress version of things, but rather than reading on their feed page, I’ll open up a link from the WordPress feed page and read each page separately. This is mainly because at least half the fun of the site for me is the commentariat – I read your blog for the comments you generate!

    Can you tell I got my start on the internet reading newsgroups? I like watching people discuss things and interact online, and really, blog comments can be fascinating places for just that. Twitter doesn’t quite do it – you have to be following a lot of people in order to make sense of a conversation, and if you aren’t following the right person, you might miss an important sub-thread and so on. (Facebook might, but I have other objections to the Boke of the Face, mostly around the whole notion of my demographic information being apparently interesting enough to someone else for TBoTF to sell me to them, but not interesting enough for TBoTF to pay me for it in the first place. If I wanted to be a set of eyeballs in an anonymous mass, I’d still be watching TV on a regular basis.)

  37. I will read your blog however long you wish to post to it. I enjoy reading your thoughts on whatever and I appreciate that you share them whenever.

  38. I use binoculars to read Whatever on my neighbor’s computer.  When he moved up to the fourth floor, I had to add a couple of sleeves to my periscope — since then, have been able to follow you again.  So where do I count in your stats?  (Comments I dictate to a trained cockroach who scuttles up the periscope to enter them on the neighbor’s computer.)  Please don’t kill cockroaches [stenographic addendum]

  39. I’m another person who reads via Dreamwidth’s RSS feed, though sometimes I click through to read the article on-site.

  40. I continue to appreciate blogs, and make a point of checking yours daily (unless you specifically say that you won’t be posting). I’m hopeful that you’ll continue to post for the foreseeable future, if only for those old fogey X-ers like you.

  41. @Dana Lynne who posts here, I do the same and go directly to the website “whatever.scalzi.com” in my web browser – and your post name “Dana Lynne” is my name also. So there’s 2 of us, I guess :)

  42. I am an old-fart. although a techie type based upon 30 odd years (very odd!!) developing software starting with IBM COBOL mainframes and ending with Javascript, ColdFusion, Windows, and Oracle DB. I read you as a blog, along with 3 or 4 other sites. Balloon-Juice, Lawyers, Guns and Money, some others.

    If you publish a piece for money, shouldn’t you be linking to those pieces just from love of your commercial customers? I would go there, mostly. I can’t describe how I feel about Facebook and Twitter here on a family site, or I won’t out of being old-fashioned.

    Please do keep up the blog, just for us old guys.

  43. Another old fogey who prefers to read email, and click on it if there’s discussiony stuff going on, but I very seldom click through the “View from a hotel” or “stack of ARCs” or “Here’s a pic of Krissy/Athena/Cats/Sunsets” unless you’ve said something along with it that’s looking for replies. You’ve been doing these a lot lately, because, as you say, you’ve been working.

    (I forget if my email client is currently set to not fetch 1×1 pixel gifs and similar trackers, or if that’s one of the other browsers, but it does fetch larger pics from trusted people, which you’re one of.)

  44. I hit this site 1000-1200 times per year at a loose guess. I’m happy to do my part.

  45. I just type in the URL because after Google Reader died, so did most of the blogs I followed, so its simple enough to just type the url into the search bar for the three or so blogs I still bother reading on a regular basis.

    Also, I hate Google AMP because I just want the damn site, but my phone google searches always pop up the AMP version. UGH.

    I don’t have a personal Facebook anymore, either. And it’s both depressing and unsurprising how much that cripples your social life when you’re my age. I still have my pseudonymous Facebook, but I never really use that much, except to occasionally link to posts on my blog and goof around with my internet acquaintances. Why do I not use a personal Facebook anymore? I love a lot of the features, but Ive never been a fan of walled gardens, and I don’t have the patience for following conversations across a dozen social media platforms, various parts of which are inaccessible to me due to people’s privacy settings. I’ve loved the old-school blogging aesthetic and communication style ever since I started blogging. Even though most of the mid-list blogs by people far more well-known and talented than me have died off, I still blog because of how much more useful I find the mostly-permanent style of communication compared to the snap-chat-esque churn of social media discussion.

    I do appreciate tumblr for the a comparatively massive amount of consistent traffic I get from it, based on honestly one of my more banal blog posts getting added to a masterlist of posts on writing that still gets passed around there frequently. Twitter’s not awful traffic-wise, either. But I miss the days of getting dozens of referrals from a pingback on some obscure writing blog I may or may not once have commented on or linked to.

    Whatever will forever and always be my favorite “website” because even through all the changes going on across the internet in the past 10 years, it’s the one where I can get a experience not inconsistent with the one I got from it five years ago. Some people might call that overly-nostalgic or backward-looking, or dinosaurish. But I think of it as a recommendation of the quality of the source material, and honestly, I refuse to be peer-pressured into hopping on the latest-shiny-tech train just because everyone else is doing it when it doesn’t create any real engagement for me.

    Keep on keepin’ on and all that, John.

  46. I still use an old school standalone RSS application on my computer.

    I think I’m old.

  47. Greetings John! Just out of curiosity, do you keep track of the number of comments made on Whatever from year to year? Even though you are making fewer blog posts, has the level of engagement with your posts remained the same or increased/decreased?

  48. I hit the site a few times a day as a break from my routine and I use it as a gateway to your twitter comments. Yours is the only blog I follow and the only twitter account I (indirectly) see. Yea, I miss the attention you used to pour into the site but ya takes the bad with the good and yours is often good so it’s worth being patient.

    Tip of the hat to you sir.

  49. I am also a stats nerd, John, so I join you in this nerdery. On my own blog, I perform the same analysis of stats. I have linked to your blogs multiple time and always given credit for entries and shares as you are one of the authors I follow closely. You keep us posted on your schedule, so I know why you are not posting blog material as often. But hey, only you can finish Head On. BTW, met you at Penguicon and appreciated getting my book signed and a photo even though you were not officially signing and posting at your reading. Thank you so much. Highlight of my trip. Keep up the good work, sir. I’ll be reading.

  50. Johndaum:

    There are fewer comments now than there used to be, but I attribute that more to the fact that I turn off comment threads after two days than anything else (I used to leave them indefinitely open, but spam message administration put an end to that). Highly contentious and/or participatory threads still get pretty high numbers of comments, however.

  51. I get here through e-mail, always push through because as others have said your comments section is Almost as good as the original posts. Originally came here because of “Straight White Male” and have been here ever since. I don’t care when you do it, but whenever you post to this site I will read it because it is invariably the most interesting read of the day. Reading “Whatever” and watching Judy Woodruff on The PBS Newshour are usually the highlights of any given day.

  52. No, no, no! We all know you inflate your site numbers! You’re lying, because, obviously, The Voice of God gets *far* more traffic than you do!

  53. I just go to your blog through my browser- I usually check you (and half a dozen others) at least once per day. I’m not much of a commenter- usually, what I might say has been said by someone else, so I don’t see the need to say it too.

  54. I read your blog mainly via Feedly, although clearly I clicked through to comment on this post. In my own life, I find fewer people commenting directly on my blog; however, I have my blog linked to Twitter and Facebook so that the post title (and, on FB, the first ~100 word) appear as a tweet and on FB. You might consider that.

  55. You might just make a public facebook page. I dont really use social media, but I think they have public figure pages or pages for businesses that only you can post to. Then people can follow and go to posts that show up in their feed. Alot of authors seem to migrate their blogs there.

    The #1 reason is your lack of blog posts. When you do post its often a conversation woth yourself about Trump. I used to check your site alot more often. Not criticising you have stuff to do.

    Twitter is more driveby posts. Hey look I ate a burrito. I know its standard PR to do stuff like that.

  56. @Guess, do people read those annoying fan/professional pages on Facebook? In my experience, they’re mostly spammy shite cluttering up my feed, so even if I “like” a page, I don’t follow the timeline. Personal-ish author profiles I do friend and read a lot from, but those are usually less spammy.

  57. I wonder/hope if the internet won’t revert back to individual blogs at some point. I remember joining listservs back in Ye Olde Internet, mostly to follow bands and band news. Those pretty much all went defunct when the bands went to Twitter and Facebook to post tour news (I arguably never would have signed up for either platform if my other ways of getting tour dates hadn’t dried up). But I’m noticing a swing back to email lists, with Mail Chimp and Patreon–notably John Hodgman’s “lifestyle newsletter.” Maybe the post-twitter thing that happens is we all go back to individually hosted blogs.

  58. I have Whatever linked to from my sftv.org web page, which is primarily what I use for sites I regularly visit. And yes, it looks like it was originally set up in the 90’s.

  59. Guess:

    “You might just make a public facebook page.”

    I have one. But ultimately I don’t control that page. Facebook does, and among other things it doesn’t show the page to everyone who follows it when I post, because it wants to make me pay money to reach the people who follow it. Which I am not inclined to do.

  60. Thank you for the report. As mainly a spectator, and one who remembers Search Engine Digest, it’s fun to be able to see the data bytes and changes that you’ve shared. Also, I never knew that about facebook.

  61. My guess is a lot of people may be burned out on Trump and politics. Of course coming in many probably know you are uber-liberal which is why they visit, but even more have had enough. No year has probably had the amount of politics that 2016 had… certainly not 2012.

  62. By any chance, did the whole Sad Puppy wave begin in 2012? I’d suspect that people turned to Whatever for your reactions and insight into the industry. Now that they’re no longer getting so much attention, perhaps fans aren’t looking for your reactions and insight.

  63. I sincerely hope you won’t do this:

    > If you want more actual visitors via RSS or email, set options to only put excerpts there. People will > have to click on the link to read the rest of your thinky bits.

    There are several blogs I’d read a lot more often if they didn’t use this tactic. One of them almost NEVER grabs me in that first couple of sentence, the others do….sometimes.

    It’s clear that a fourth blog is administered by someone who doesn’t know where the “publish full post” setting is, and unless I have her log in before my eyes and change this myself, it’ll never happen, so I click through.

  64. Not that you need my permission, but keep posting about what you want to keep posting about when you feel like posting. Obviously people appreciate the self-conversation political posts given how many comments they generate. (I know I do.)

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