WordPress sent me a synopsis of my blog’s stats (where are readers coming from, what do they read, etc.) for the year 2011. So, I thought I would look at what posts got the most attention this year. Surprisingly, of the top 12 posts, only one was written this year! Despite having an all-time readership number this year, it appears that older posts get the most attention. I can interpret this in two ways: my writing used to be better (or had more appealing titles? ) or, my writing has staying power.
Hmm. which interpretation is psychologically more appealing to me?
Anyway, here are the 12 top clicked posts in descending order (and their year first posted) of 2011. Each title is a hotlink to the post. [It doesn’t count those posts read through social networks or my homepage. Mostly this counts those posts read by clicking the right hand “top posts” list or by search engine results]
Top Posts for 365 days ending 2011-12-31
2010-12-31 to Today
Blogs are great forums for folks to share their true thoughts and feelings…but also easy opportunities to make enemies! Not too long ago, a local high school teacher got herself in trouble when she revealed her true feelings about some of her students. While she didn’t name names, she did levy some pretty serious put downs about kids in her school and as a result is no longer in the classroom.
Not too long ago, someone read my blog and took offense at something they thought I was saying. While I wasn’t saying what they thought I was saying, the truth is I left the door wide open by not being all that clear–leaving something unsaid when discussing a controversial topic can get you into trouble as well as what you do say.
For those of you who blog your feelings and opinions (isn’t that what blogs are for?) and/or comments on other people’s blogs…do you have any criteria by which you evaluate what you are willing to write?
Here are a couple of mine that I try to keep (though I admit I haven’t always done so):
1. Don’t write to instigate conflict just because you can. We academic types sometimes like to stir of “intellectual” controversy for the fun of it. This doesn’t meet the standard of saying only that which is constructive (Eph 4:29f) for others. Constructive doesn’t mean noncontroversial. But, I need to ask whether what I want to talk about is wholesome and for the benefit of those who listen. If not, I shouldn’t open my mouth.
2. Avoid gossip. This should be obvious. But, I also think it isn’t necessary to jump on public figures who screw up unless there is something I think we can all learn. For example, do we need to discuss the latest actor who is destroying his or her life with drugs? What benefit do we get by musing about the lurid details of the person’s life?
3. Re-read what you write from the perspective of those who might disagree with you. Did you accurately portray the opinions of others? For example, portraying Republicans as not caring a bit about the poor or Democrats as only interested in taxing you to death isn’t accurate.
4. Just because you think or feel it doesn’t make it worthy of sharing. One sign of narcissism is the willingness to share any and every thought or feeling. And yes, I realize I am incriminating myself since I write a blog.
The truth is, search engine searches are how people find us bloggers. But some of the searches used most frequently to find my site give me a chuckle. Especially the 4th most frequently used search:
“Where is my wallet?”
Now, who is looking on the internet for their wallet? Do they think that there is going to be a clue on the web? Do they think I took it? Do they think psychologists have special finding tools (well, we do know what you are thinking).
There is a simple reason why people come to me looking for their wallet. I wrote of my travails since I lose mine regularly. I guess they want some comfort…
Some years ago a bible study leader (and grad school professor) made this response to a comment I made suggesting he should read some new book: “Phil, I’m sure its an interesting book but I have limited time for reading and I so I’ve already picked what I can read for this year.” I was floored at the time. Picked? How can you know what you will read for the year? What about all the interesting things that might get published? I think I thought it a bit arrogant at the time. At any rate, it didn’t make sense, especially since I love to read up on all sorts of things. I kind of pride myself of being “up” on many topics.
That conversation happened before the explosion of social networking and before my access to high speed Internet. I now understand a bit of what he was speaking about. Mind pollution: the filling of my mind of diverse and interesting tidbits that have little lasting value. News, social networking, even blog entries by great writers, etc.
Of course, if I thought this was a serious problem, I’d probably need to help by reducing mind pollution and posting things only when absolutely necessary. But, since I like thinking out loud, I’ll continue to do so, but endeavor to eliminate posts just like this one. 🙂
This blog runs on WordPress. WordPress gives me certain data about my blog. I get to see how many people come each day, what posts get the most activity, and who refers people to this site (e.g., if someone puts up a link to me on their own site and then someone clicks it). There is one other interesting piece of data that gives me pause: entries that people type into search engines like Google that result in their clicking a link to this site. Here are some searches that people (I do not know who) search who then decide to come here:
These make sense: “wordpress psychologist”, “Ed Welch”, “Christianity Bi-polar disorder”, “Mindfulness Bible”, “Phil Monroe”
But what should I make of this? “Reformed theology + oral sex”
I guess someone wanted to know whether Calvin thought oral sex was okay. I have to admit I ran the same search in Google just to see why I cam up. And there I was on the first page. I wrote about Reformed and sex (not oral) in a blog posting and voila, Google finds me and puts me up front an center.
There are other doozies in this wordpress data on searches that end up here but I can’t print them here…