No, a 200th post is not nearly so dramatic as putting a man on the moon, perhaps not even as dramatic as baking a souffle that doesn't fall. But. Let's keep it in context, shall we? This is a blog, not NASA, and not Le Cordon Bleu. It's also the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, which gives one license to turn to matters that are ... less than earthshattering.
Though you can probably peg it short of earthshattering, it's hard to gauge a blog's impact. Who's reading? How carefully? With what result? Bottom line, does anybody really care? For better or worse, the answers to these questions are often a mystery.
Coming in at #1, says the most informative of my unimpeachable sources, is Drafting vs. Editing, posted on 18 Nov 2010, a meditation on how a writer (this one) approaches drafting new material as opposed to editing work-in-progress.
You wouldn't think a post like this would attract a lot of attention. I mean, I'm not Stephen King, or a ghost writer for Strunk & White. So what gives? Maybe it's the image included in the post one of Michelangelo's "Prisoners" from the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence. In fact, when I look at search terms in Google Analytics, variants of searches for Michelangelo's sculptures, unfinished sculptures, and prisoners account for some of this blog's highest positions in Google Search results. How many of those click-through to read my work (or see images shamelessly appropriated in my post)? More than a few, apparently. On average, visitors spend enough time on the page to suggest most are reading the post, and the bounce rate is respectably low. Hmmmmmm....
Shakespeare, power, theme in literature also finishes in the top-five. There are a lot of people searching for Shakespeare out there on the intertubes, and sometimes they find me. Why is that? When I saw this post's recently-read rate spike as the semester came to a close at the university where I work, the lightbulb clicked. Readers spend more time on this page than on Drafting vs. Editing, and the bounce rate is higher. That could suggest readers on a focused mission. Students. Term papers. Cut and paste. And a content source who doesn't have the brains to charge for his literary musings!
O brave new world...
Here's the thing, though. Between impossible-to-gauge impact and vagaries of page-hit trackers, I'm less inclined to dwell on statistical analysis and wacko theories to explain the numbers; and more interested in reflecting back on a couple of hundred essays that, in better moods, strike me as decently written and, for the most part, better considered than your average Tweet.
(Is that an oxymoron? To call a Tweet well-considered? I suppose if brevity is the soul of wit ....... but, then, Polonius wasn't exactly deep.)
So never mind the numbers, here are a few posts from this blog's first two hundred that make some of my 'best of' lists:
- For a post that came closest to saying something that matters: Making a world where queer kids thrive (Nov 2010)
- Perhaps my broadest meditation on art, politics, and power: Property: thoughts on Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (Oct 2010)
- My only blog about Justin Bieber, and I have been made to promise it will be my last: Take a sad song (Sep 2010)
- Most irresistible hit piece on the blogger's own employer: Moral turpitude at the University of California (Jan 2011)
- My most ambitious attempt to explain the politics of everything: Facing things we'd rather weren't so (Mar 2011)
- The post that garnered best comments & most "recommends" when cross-posted on Daily Kos: Paying what things cost (Dec 2011)
- The technology post most likely to make a blogger question the utility of blogging: Rock, Paper, Digital Preservation (March 2010)
If you're a regular reader: thanks for your time and attention. And please feel free to leave more comments. Lots more comments!
If you're just stopping by: welcome, and I hope you enjoy some of the posts linked above. And do leave a comment ...
If you're a search engine bot, cut me a break, okay?