It was an interesting year on Whatever, in terms of visitorship. As I noted in early July, visitorship to Whatever — as in people actually clicking through to the front page of the site — has undergone a collapse this year. I speculated as to why at the link, so if you’re interested in that, check it out there, but the relevant bit now is that I estimated in July I would end up with about 4 million visits to the site in 2017. As of right this minute (6:18 am, 12/28/17), Whatever’s visitorship for the year is: 4,110,902. Right in line with my expectations (also, to be pedantically clear, “visits” here means page views, not unique vistors).
Am I worried? Well, no. One, four million visits in a year to a personal site is still nothing to sneeze at. Two, many of the people who would have visited the site directly are now having the content being served to them via other means, including 28,500 who follow me on WordPress, 12K or so on Feedly, and so on. The reach of the site’s content still appears to be chugging along nicely — how people get it seems to be changing considerably, here in these late days of 2017.
The drop in direct visitors to the site also means that the most visited pieces on the site were not new pieces, but archived posts; only one of the top ten most visited pieces from 2017 was from this year: “2017, Word Counts and Writing Process.” This is very unusual. Usually the top ten is roughly half new stuff, half archives.
With that said, here are the top ten pieces written in 2017:
- 2017, Word Counts and Writing Process
- A Fortnight of Trump
- The Moral Shambles That is Our President
- A Q&A For the Post-Weinstein Era
- The New Year and the Bend of the Arc
- My Personal Feminism, 2017
- Withdrawing From the Dragon Awards
- Spoiler-Free Observations on The Last Jedi
- And Now, The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For: My Review of Coke Zero Sugar
- So, Healthcare, 7/28/17
I will note that there is a very high correlation between the most visited pieces on the site this year and my linking to it on other social media, most notably Twitter. Twitter and Facebook are also consistently the top non-search-related sites (by far) for referrals to my site. This strongly suggests something I’ve long suspected, which is that Twitter and Facebook have at this point largely consumed and digested the former blogosphere, enough so that at this point, I wonder if I should even call Whatever a “blog” anymore. The name is beginning to get a fusty smell to it. There’s irony here, as I for many years resisted calling Whatever a “blog” at all. I would be okay with simply calling it my “site.”
(I still strongly believe creative people should keep their own sites as a way of controlling their own content, and to have a place online that’s not directly predicated on someone else mining it just to sell things to you and everyone else. But no need to get into that in detail right now.)
Speaking of Twitter, while Whatever is and will always be my home, Twitter is currently where I have the largest reach. I have 133,760 followers, up 22,431 from this time last year, and my tweets there garnered 268.9 million impressions, which is up rather substantially from last year’s 177.5 million (I tweeted 17,059 times, some two thousand fewer tweets than last year). I will miss it when it is gone and sold for parts, which at the rate it is going should be sometime in 2018. My Facebook fan page is also up, to 20.5k (from 18k), so that’s nice too. But really, for me, Twitter is where it’s at, social media-wise.
My goals for 2018? For Twitter, it’s mostly to keep doing what I’m doing over there; it seems to be working for me just fine. For Whatever, my plan here is to post maybe a little more. I posted 452 entries here this year, but a lot of them were Big Idea and “New Books” posts, which while popular and informative, aren’t really precisely from me. Personal pieces were fewer this year, I think mostly because I was in a bit of a writing funk (part of being in a general funk, of which I will speak more in a later post). Being in a bit of a writing funk wasn’t a good thing for me in general. Writing more usually improves my mood. So maybe writing more here will be a thing I do. I like Whatever having more whatever. We’ll see.