This is the five hundredth post on this blog. The first 21 posts were published randomly between July 11th, 2012, and January 4th, 2013; and the weekly posts only started on January 7th, 2013, so I have another 48 posts to publish before I can claim a decade of weekly posts. Nevertheless, I feel it is worth shouting about 500 posts.
I am a little surprised to realise that I have written five hundred posts and it has made me pause to think about why I write them. A number of answers came to mind, including because I enjoy writing – it empties my mind and allows me to move on to new thoughts or, on other occasions, it allows me to arrange my thoughts into some sort of order. I also write posts to communicate ideas, to disseminate research, to entertain and to fulfill a commitment, initially to funding bodies (I started the blog as part of commitment to Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award) but increasingly to readers of the blog. I am amazed that for the last five years the blog has been read in more 140 countries. While I have a handful of statistics about the readership, beyond the small handful of readers who correspond with me or who I meet in person, I have no idea who reads the blog. Most of time I do not give much thought to who is reading my posts and my intended reader is a rather vague fuzzy figure who barely exists in my mind.
The map shows the distribution of all readers over the 500 posts with the darker colour indicating more readers per country.
I wrote this short annual report in anticipation of being on vacation this week. However, as my editor commented, it is ‘a bit of a non-blog’ and so I have written a second post for today that will be published a few minutes later.
The painting in the thumbnail is by Peter Curran and shows a view of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral that is almost the same as the view from the seat at which I usually sit to write this blog. The blog is read world-wide as shown by the distribution of visitors to the blog during 2018 in the temperature map in the graphic below. The weekly readership dropped by 60% at the beginning of April 2018 after I deleted my Facebook page and cut the link between Facebook and this blog (see ‘Some changes to Realize Engineering‘ on March 28th, 2018). However, I am pleased say that the visitor numbers have recovered; and last month’s visitor numbers were only 4% lower than the corresponding month in 2017. So many thanks to those readers that stayed with me, or found the blog again without using Facebook. While, I enjoy writing ‘to make life more fruitful’ to quote Sylvain Tesson (see ‘Thinking more clearly by writing weekly‘), it is also encouraging to know that people are reading the blog.
For those of you that enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing, there have been more than 330 posts since the first one in July 2012 – that’s a huge archive for you to browse, if you have nothing else to do. Happy New Year!
Sylvain Tesson, Consolations of the forest: alone in a cabin in the middle Taiga, London: Penguin Books, 2014.