A Decade of Blogging in Review

I guess everyone is doing year’s and decade’s end lists (even if there is a good bit of confusion whether decades should start with the “0” or with the “1”). I was really flattered to be included on Neville Morley’s “Blogs of the Year” list at his Sphinx Blog

One of the general feelings over the past year (and Morley prompted some reflection on my part) is that interests in blogs have declined over the past few years. While my blog has tended to hang pretty steady in terms of page views over the past year — with as many months showing increases over the past year as declines — I can’t help but think that web reading habits have changed a good bit over the past decade and academic bloggers could do more to change with the times.

One idea that I floated was a monthly newsletter highlighting archaeology, Classics, and Ancient History blogs. I even, in a moment of weakness, volunteered to coordinate these efforts. As someone how spends as much time reading the dozen or so newsletters and accessing a good bit of academic and literary content via email, I wondered if a newsletter would bring attention not only to individual blog posts, but also to individual bloggers. As the long-time veteran David Meadow of Rogue Classicism noted, it would be like a blog carnival for the 21st century. 

This is a new project for the new year, I think. I’ll put out a general solicitation via social media and the blog in January.

I also reflected a bit on my own blog over the past decade. I don’t usually pay much attention to statistics, but when I do, they always tell a story. For example, over the past decade I have written somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2 million words on my blog. The average post length is about 600 words for slightly over 2200 posts. 

Earlier this year, a colleague suggested a formula in our department that awarded 2 points for every 20 blog posts. For context, an article in this formula was worth 10 points. Whatever the merits of such quantification, my blog would have been worth 22 articles over the past decade.  Needless to say, our department did not adopt this policy.

In terms of the most frequently viewed posts, the maths are slightly more difficult when reckoned over the duration of a decade. The longer a post is up on the internets, the greater a chance that people might click on it, find it via a search engine, or find it linked in an academic citation. As a result, there’s reason to suspect that total page views might not reflect the prominence of a blog post. 

The following graph shows the number of views per day on the vertical axis and the number of overall views on the horizontal axis for the top 100 posts per total views from my blog. As you can see, the very general trend is that top performing posts overall, also tend to be the top performing posts per day with a few notable exceptions forming the periodic spikes.


Of the top ten performing posts per day, only 7 garnered more than 1 view per day. Of the top ten, only 5 are from more recent than 2016. 

Here’s the list, in case you’re interested. Stars mark posts from 2019:

1. Joel Jonientz.
2. Punk Archaeology: The Book.
3. SCS, SAA, CAMWS, and the End of the Big Tent Professional Organization.*
4. Transumanism and Archaeology.
5. Teaching Graduate Historiography: A Final Syllabus.
6. Roman Temples and Christian Churches.
7. Five Notes on Classics.*
8. An Archaeology of Care.
9. Man Camps in May: Some More Observations.
10. My University is Dying.

Have a great holidays and all the best in the new year. And, as always, thanks for reading my blog.

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