2017 Top Ten Whatever Posts + Social Media Stats

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:

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.

24 thoughts on “2017 Top Ten Whatever Posts + Social Media Stats

  1. 4,000,000 visitors is a COLLAPSE!? Okay, I see you got twice as many in 2012, but 4 MILLION! Bravo! And Happy Holidays!

  2. I would see the links on twitter if I didn’t visit from email notifications first. I don’t do book of face.
    Sure hope things improve to the point they no longer drag you down into a writing funk, because reading your writing usually improves my mood.

    Of course if things don’t improve you are likely to be one of the first dragged off to the reeducation camps.

  3. I still go right to the front page of the website, because I don’t have a Facebook (I missed the bandwagon and now it just seems SO DIFFICULT and would take time I prefer to spend on other things) and I absolutely loathe Twitter.

    So I am a fossil in internet terms. Wow, things change fast nowadays.

    I agree with your observation that people are now using Facebook for blogging, full stop. I, however, actually like blogging in the old style, particularly the way it’s been carried on by the people at Dreamwidth. So I have been sad to see everyone just using Facebook for all that.

    So I’m one of the shrinking number of holdouts who read Whatever on the actual site.

    I have a feeling a lot of this change you are noting is also because of how people use their phones to read on the internet now. I still much prefer a laptop for reading the internet, which makes me another outlier. I also hate getting email on my phone because I would much, much rather type on a keyboard than on a phone. So I don’t sign up for email notifications for anything.

    For all these reasons I am very happy that you have that commitment to controlling your own platform!

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading your new books.

  4. I read mainly on email on my phone too, only coming to the site when I’m interested in the comment feed or to see better photos. But I never miss a post. Keep doing “whatever” you’re doing. I appreciate it greatly. blog, site, who cares what you call it. But I think it is the more important way to connect with your readers. I discovered your work from another blog that linked to your infamous “lowest difficulty setting” post and then have read nearly every book you’ve written. I follow you on twitter too but I miss most of the twitter feed, it blows by too fast to see but a small part.

  5. I love that you’re a data junkie like me. My surprise is that none of The Big Idea’s made it to the top 10 since you had some real heavy hitters this year. As for medium, I will continue to follow your ramblings on whatever platform suits you.

  6. I always love these end of year stats posts. It feeds the data geek in me. :)

    For what it’s worth, I feed several hundred blogs through Feedly, of which Whatever is one. I always look to see if there’s a new post here and most of the time I read it in Feedly (on my tablet) but for particularly interesting posts I’ll often pop over to the site to read the comments. I suppose I could add the comments feed to Feedly as well, but then they come out of context and I don’t always need to see them.

    And while I totally understand the lack of writing on Whatever especially in the 2nd half of the year with deadlines and whatnot, I have missed your commentary and thoughts (snarky and otherwise) on all kinds of topics. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your personal Whatever writing in 2018.

  7. I have Whatever on my igHome start page: iGoogle’s lookalike. So I can see daily if you have posted something new. I am not a fan of Twitter or FaceBook and do most of my reading on my tablet. The igHome start page works well on tablets – and it does lead me directly to the Whatever site.

  8. Just for your data-tracking purposes, John- I consume “Whatever” on the site itself, but I do so when the email notification that you’ve published something new here drops into my email inbox.

    I occasionally check your Twitter feed, also, but that’s usually precipitated by a blog post saying “here’s a Twitter thread I was in.” Which, again, first appears as a notification that you’ve published something here, in my email inbox.

    I subscribe to very, very few sites/blogs that do regular email notifications. But I’m always glad to get yours.

  9. I started reading Whatever in 2017 (you were recommended by feedly, probably because I use it to read terribleminds.com) I usually don’t come over to the main site unless i want to see the comments. I use twitter as an alternative to facebook and keep it tightly controlled. I only follow 43 people, including you and Mr. Wendig. Keep doing whatever you are doing and I will see you next year.

  10. Tal Klein:

    The Big Idea posts do pretty well, but I generally haven’t linked to them on Twitter (I usually wait until the author themselves notes it and RT them).

    That said, I happen to know yours was the most visited Big Idea piece for the year by a considerable margin. SO THERE.

  11. Your posts arrive in the mail, where I read them; coming to Whatever depends on the topic, and my time. I value your writing, whether it’s fiction or commentary, and this year I’ve particularly wanted to read it. You have Trump, we have Brexit; this is pretty dire…

  12. Ye gods, I’m *still* using Bookmarks in Firefox to get to my “must visit” daily sites. “Whatever” is at the top of the list in my Favorite Sites folder. I consume almost no web content via mobile apps, but prefer my MacBook, happily sitting in our living room.
    This is the end of my tenth year of blogging on my WordPress site, once a week (for a few years twice) unless I was traveling. I’ve also watched a steady downward trend in eyeballs over the past four years no matter what the topic is and, based on what you’ve posted here and in the past, that’s obviously not going to change. My most popular post is from, I think, five years ago. I just changed the name on my nav bar from “Blog” to “Journal” and will still post, but am going off the weekly schedule since I’m launching a Patreon site in January where, with luck, I’ll actually get a direct revenue stream for writing about my art, travels to Mongolia, etc.
    Thank you for all the great information and entertainment you take the time to give us (and those books!) and have a great 2018!

  13. “[Deleted for almost comically being a comment intended to be deleted, so why disappoint the author – JS]”

    Case in point. Good grief.

  14. I’m not sure what you mean about fault. Your comment policy simply amounts to: your blog, you decide what to delete and what not to delete. No one is disputing that.

    Regarding the deletion of my comment, I’m not concerned, nor surprised. It was an honest message meant in good will to be constructive. If I had mailed it to you in person and you had crumpled the paper and thrown it away then the point of the message would still have been accomplished, which was to be read, to be consumed. The impact of that consumption is whatever it will be. Perhaps nothing, perhaps something. I can only do the best I can do, offer honest feedback, and wish you well.

  15. Well, dang, I am sitting here, munching on my popcorn and being vaguely entertained…
    And I don’t have the damndest idea why!

  16. Foxstudio, I have Whatever and a handful of others right on Firefox’s Bookmarks Toolbar. You can put folders on it, and/or a few ‘priority’ sites like this one. Easy access.

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