The Mystery of Popularity

Tuesday, 18th September 2007 at 17:18 UTC Leave a comment

Why are some things more popular than others? Hmmm. Not going to answer that, but instead, put together the list of my 10 most popular blog posts to date (those which have been viewed the most times). We just slipped over the 8000 views line, so thanks to everyone who’s been reading and commenting and reminding me that, for whatever reason, someone gives a damn about what I have to say. Here goes…

The posts in this list have been affected by various different factors, including timeliness, random selection for profiling and focusing on popular search terms. They aren’t necessarily my best or my favourite postings, but there are a few in here worth noting. I’ve actually realised just how many posts I made in the earliest days (particularly March and April) which have only been viewed 10-15 times, despite other later posts being viewed most of 100 times.

  1. Monday Action: Oppose the BNP. At 231 views this was inflated by its being featured as Post of the Minute or something on WordPress.com. Really wasn’t my best post ever, but sometimes popularity comes through random luck, and I’m not complaining about this decision.
  2. If at first you don’t succeed: Celebrating the sticking power of Russia’s small but vociferous pro-democracy movement, this was also picked up by some or other web tool that profiled it and got me lots of hits.
  3. You’re never too old to Facebook: At 121 views, this post had no help from outside, merely its relevance to today. With Social Networking redefining our social lives, and with older people taking advantage of it more and more, this post is perhaps rightfully this high on the list.
  4. This City will be in a state of Worship Carnival: At 99 views, the post I most enjoyed writing out of any on this list. I’m glad so many people seem to agree. It has also been printed elsewhere.
  5. Virgin hate cyclists. Nothing like a good old flaming rant, and probably worth a few quid in PR-damage.
  6. Celebrating other people’s festivals. Controversial to say the least.
  7. Give us a break, any kind of break. Smoking was topical at the time, and so its no surprise that this has over 80 views. Some agreed, others didn’t.
  8. The Self-Loathing Argument. I nearly didn’t publish this post because of its references to Israel/Palestine and the worries that it would draw lots of angry comments from Zionist trolls, which it didn’t, though it did get lots of reads.
  9. 5 Reasons Real Ale is Political. This was only a few weeks ago, and yet its drawn 71 viewings and several comments.
  10. Election Results: York Now In. This is the only one-the-minute political posting that has made it, and because I got the result up before the local paper, it got plenty of hits for timeliness of information. Just below this are two posts on the Scottish Parliament election that same day.

I can’t say why some of these posts were so popular, but its interesting to see what the trends say. 4 had immediate relevance, 3 have ongoing relevance and the remaining 2 concerned religious issues. They cut across pretty much every category people are reading about: Technology and Social Trends (Facebook), Religion (Worship-Carnival), Leisure (Real Ale and Smoking), as well as the obvious (Politics). Anyhow, I’ll do the 10 most commented when the blog trips over the 9,000 mark, and then decide what to do on the big 10,000 should I actually make it there.

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