Stats 101: an update on readership
August 4, 2013 4 Comments
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title. This is the hundred and first post on TheEGG blog and I wanted to use the opportunity to update those curious about viewership stats. This is also a way for me to record milestones for the blog and proselytize people to blogging. Read on only if you want to learn about the behind the scenes of this blog.
As I’ve mentioned previously, the primary goal of this blog us to maintain web presence and foster collaboration. I am glad to report, that is has been successful in this regard over the last few months. Over the last six months, we had five new contributors join the blog:
- Eric Bolo picked up a project on how to think about inclusive fitness and group selection in the context of plasmid endosymbiosis.
- Forrest Barnum contributed his history expertise to introduce us to cliodynamics — a mathematical perspective of history.
- Keven Poulin is thinking with me about perception and deception, how it related to intelligence and cooperation; and — more importantly — how it fits into the broader framework of conditional strategies. His first post, had a particularly insightful comment thread.
- Max Hartshorn provided an executive summary of our recent paper on ethnocentrism and explained how to use our code.
- Yunjun Yang offered his finance insights by reviewing a recent model of individual versus systemic risk in asset allocation.
Marcel and Tom have continued their contribution to the blog, with Marcel writing about quasi-magical thinking for our ongoing subjective-objective rationality project and Tom reported on his poster presentation of our work at the Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium conference. Unfortunately, Julian has been too busy finishing his thesis, revising our joint paper, and being a medical-doctor-in-training to blog. I hope that he returns to writing during the next 100 posts!
I have integrated blogging more closely into my research activities, and provided a seven post summary of a great workshop on natural algorithms that I attended in late May; I was happy that they linked back to TheEGG. My post on distributed computing in ants from the workshop was featured on the WordPress front page. This did not produce that many views (compared to reddit) but a large increase in subscribers; TheEGG now has a 390 person community!
Another post from the natural algorithms workshop about historicity and seperation of scales was an editor’s pick at ScienceSeeker. This is a scientific blog aggregator that this blog appear on alongside ResearchBlogging and MathBlogging (although I don’t seem to have control of my account on the latter). The editors at ScienceSeeker were also kind enough to feature my post on cells as quantum computers in their banner for several days.
Unfortunately, I only wrote a quick self-advertising post for Swarmfest — the other conference I attended this summer. However, during that trip I got to visit David Basanta and Jacob Scott at Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department of the Moffit Cancer Research Center in Tampa, FL. During my 4 day visit (and then 11 more days online), we were able to write a new paper with posts on this blog as one of our collaborative tools. Jacob wrote a nice overview of the story behind the paper and how we all met on Twitter over at his blog, and we will be contributing a joint post to the WriteLatex blog (the tool we used to help us quickly write the paper) about our experience.
These qualitative experiences are by far the most important to the blog over the last six months, but I can’t help trying to quantify. Hence, the viewership:
This means that the last 3 months were in the 15-20k range, which is a huge rise over the less than 250 views per month that the blog had for the first 9 months, or the previous peak of 4,628 views last August. Since March, I have done much better at maintaining a regular schedule, averaging 2.3 posts/week, but in burst (for instance, this is the only post for this preceding week, and it isn’t even substantial). I am still curious as to how the popular bloggers maintain their regular 3+ posts every week regimes. I still have a lot of catch up to popular academic blogs that have shared their viewrship statistics (like Embedded in Academia and Daniel Lemire’s blog).
The top 10 posts (with 8 of them from the last 50) are:
- Hunger Games themed semi-iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournament (7,200)
- Machine learning and prediction without understanding (5,137)
- Micro-vs-macro evolution is a purely methodological distinction (4,562)
- Toward an algorithmic theory of biology (4,504)
- Monoids, weighted automata and algorithmic philosophy of science (3,157)
- Programming playground: A whole-cell computational model (3,031)
- Is Chaitin proving Darwin with metabiology? (2,896)
- Mathematical Turing test: Readable proofs from your computer (2,516)
- Four color problem, odd Goldbach conjecture, and the curse of computing (2,474)
- Computer science on prediction and the edge of chaos (1,633)
Since the blog has a total of 79,722 views (with 7,501 to the front page, which we shouldn’t count as an independent post; so 72,221 views to posts), it means that the top 1% of posts has 9.97% of the viewership, and the top 10% has 51.4%.
A recommendation from Kate Zen and the experience with blogging and advertising on reddit that this blog granted, gave me an opportunity to make a little money by blogging for a for-profit start-up blog — Truth is Cool. I’ve mostly contributed very short and news-type pieces there, but the two on the old Goldbach conjecture and MIT’s Open Relativity dwarfed my posts here with over 15k views each in around two days. Apparently you can make money by occasionally writing short posts about stuff you find cool. I was surprised, but I’m not giving up my research job anytime soon.
Dear reader, I am looking forward to the next 100 posts with you!