Catch-up Week Has Arrived!

It’s been a rough six weeks, but I’m almost back on track. It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. on Thursday, and I have a couple of hard days to get through at the day job before I take the holiday on Wednesday. You won’t see a lot of blogging from me here this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on blogstuff. Our weekend features will run as normal. Here’s where we are, and what I am up to this week for those of you who are interested.

1. My email inbox is full of  unanswered messages from bloggers. I’m planning to get those caught up on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. If you are waiting on a response from  me about anything at all, please be patient with me. I haven’t forgotten about you, and I suck at email.

I've mastered the "social" part. Still learning the "media" part. Hear me out and give it a chance!

Just a photo of me to break up all this text.

2. Aside from a couple of quick posts and a few retweets, you won’t see me on the social media on Wednesday or Thursday. I’ve set aside Wednesday to deal with my out-of-control photo stock. I have enough original photos to post an image per day on two blogs for a year at this point. But most of them aren’t sized for sharing and they aren’t organized. I need to go ahead and get this done so I can start blogging photos again without it taking an inordinate amount of my blogging time every week. And Thursday is a family day, all day.

3. I’ve settled on a redesign plan for Sourcerer. More on that over the weekend. I’ll mock up the design on a blog I’m using for development and will invite comments before I make it live.

4. Next week I plan to begin the process of figuring out whether or not we should try and do the April A to Z Challenge with Sourcerer. If you are a contributor here, or if I have invited you to guest post here in April, you’ll be hearing from me next week or the week after. December is almost here, and registration opens in January, so we need to make this decision before Christmas. The schedule as it stands right now is here. If I’ve told you you have a day reserved, it is reserved. If your name isn’t listed, it’s because we’ve not talked about this since I invited you, and I don’t want to put people on the spot.

5. Unless I hear differently, I am guest-hosting the #SundayBlogShare link party on Twitter this coming Sunday so Suzie can take the day off. If you enjoy #SundayBlogShare and would like to help me out with that by popping in and retweeting from that hashtag, you’re welcome. This isn’t the announcement, just a heads up for those of you who routinely help me out.

Orange Rose with Bumblebee by Gene'O

photo by Gene’O, 2014.

6. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I’ve realigned my Facebook presence and set it up to interact specifically with bloggers. That’s paying dividends already. If you’ve joined me as a Facebook friend recently, welcome, and I am happy to chat with you over there any time. I’ve got to spend a little more time on Facebook than usual over the next couple of weeks getting some things set up. This is all under-the-radar stuff that takes time away from the blogging, but it is absolutely necessary because it will allow me to get to know a LOT more bloggers and figure out ways of supporting them.

7. We have the support we need to proceed with planning for another round of Feminist Friday discussions in 2015. If you missed it over the weekend, you can find the planning post here. Thanks to everyone who’s helping to keep this project going. If you’ve expressed interest and haven’t received a response, you will hear from me on Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the U.S. If not, happy blogging!

The Belated One-Year Anniversary Post

This blog was a year old on Nov. 7, but at that point I was too sick to think about an anniversary post. I do need to mark the milestone, though. I pulled a few stats from here, Part Time Monster, and my personal blogs yesterday, and I’ll share them today. As always with these types of posts, I’m neither bragging nor whining. Just sharing the info because I find it helpful when other bloggers share theirs. If you don’t care about stats, it’s all good. We do an awful lot of pop culture blogging here, and I do hope we can still be friends 🙂 Here’s the kickoff post from last November, if you’re interested in reading it.

batmanbday

First I will do a breakdown of various stats, then I will total them up and discuss them.

Sourcerer

Blog Followers: 954

Page Views: 27,535

Contributors Published: 9

Number of posts: 625, including this one.

Comments Generated: 4,126

Best Day: 391 page views

Best Month: June (3,434 page views)

Top Post: Is Batman a Marvel Character Trapped in the DC Universe? by Jeremy. 1,293 views. No other single post here has broken 300 views.

Top Referrers: We’re at 6,400 search engine views. The WordPress reader, Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon are the only other referrers that have gotten us more than 1,000 views.

Part Time Monster

Blog Followers: 1,955

Page Views:  28,432

Contributors Published: 7

Number of posts: 460

Comments Generated: 4,945

Best Day: 266 views

Best Month: May (3,307 views)

Top Post: Finnick Odair: Hooker/Gladiator with a Heart of Gold and Feminine Masculinity (666 views; the Monster has three other posts that have more than 500 views, as does Diana’s about page).

Top Referrers: Search engines have been good for 6,188 views. The WordPress reader, Facebook, and Twitter are all worth about 1,200 views; next is Sourcerer (400 views). No other referrers have gained the Monster more than 200 views.

My Former Blog/Just Gene’O (adding the stats for these two blogs together, because they are really one blog; the follower and page view numbers in parentheses are the breakdown)pirateflag

Blog Followers: 640 (435/205)

Page Views: 7,750 (4,955/2,795)

Number of posts: 281

Comments Generated: 1,571

Best Day: 322 views

Best Month: April (1,171 views at My Former Blog, because I did the A to Z Challenge as the Writing Catalog there). Just Gene’O generated 990 views in August.

Top Post: My Saturday Coffee linkup post (301 views; this one post accounts for a third of my traffic from August).

Top Referrers: My Former blog has 380 search engine views and 275 from Twitter. Just Gene’O isn’t up to 200 views from any source yet.

Totals for all the Blogs:

Blog Followers: 3,190

Page Views: 63,717

Number of posts: 1,366

Contributors Published: 13 (this number doesn’t total because Jeremy, Diana, and I are only counted once, even though we contribute both here and at the Monster).

Comments Generated: 10,624

Discussion

One thing you can’t see from these stats is that Sourcerer and Part Time Monster are neck-in-neck for 2014. As of yesterday, we’re generating the same number of average daily views (82) and the Monster is only ahead by 100 views for the year. The difference of 900 views happened in November and December of 2013, when the Monster was running as an everyday blog with my help. At that point, I was mostly posting music videos here and only doing two or three quality pieces a week at my personal blog. And keep in mind that 400 of the Monster’s views are direct referrals from Sourcerer.

There’s a lot of follower overlap here. I have no idea how much, but we don’t actually have 3K+ unique blog followers. Our total social media following is around 10K, and almost three quarters of that is on Twitter. I put our engaged, regular following at somewhere between three dozen and sixty. But that is totally a guess. It’s hard to gauge because everyone doesn’t come around every day, and some people only visit weekly or twice a month, but I still count them as regulars because they’re consistent and sometimes they comment.

These numbers tell me that without question, Part Time Monster is our most successful blog. It’s generated the same number of views as Sourcerer, and done it with almost 200 fewer posts. And the traffic over there is more consistent. Sourcerer has higher peaks, but it also has lower valleys. This is not surprising. When we started these blogs, I set them up to work this way. The real surprise to me is that Sourcerer is keeping up and doing it with fewer than 1K followers. A year ago I did not expect Sourcerer to be this successful, nor did I expect to see the amount of engagement we’ve gotten on all three blogs, which is, I think, exceptional given the size of our overall network.

Reasons why Part Time Monster is more successful:

1. Content. Diana’s just plain better at writing to entertain than I am. You can see this clearly when we post at one another’s blogs. The Monster loves my photos, but only tolerates my written stuff. Sourcerer, on the other hand, loves Diana. In fact, if you look at the numbers, I am the least entertaining blogger we have. Our relative strengths and weaknesses are something I understood very well going in, so I am neither surprised nor dismayed by it. This is why I say that if I didn’t have a group to blog with, I’d just do it as a hobby and post a couple of times a week. I’m a fine writer with a good eye for art, but there’s a lot more to blogging than the writing. I’ll never be the guy who produces the sort of content that turns casual browsers into fans. I’m the grease in the wheels, and that is ok by me. I am good at it, and it is a role I enjoy.

2. Diana is better at maintaining relationships, she started with a better network than I had, and she’s used Twitter-icon-the-birdWordPress a lot more than I have in the last year. I spent most of last winter and the entire spring exploring nine different networks and learning to do Twitter growth. So my network on WordPress is smaller. And since we privilege network depth over breadth, which means we care more about engagement than the size of our following, dividing my time among all those networks means I’ve suffered on WordPress. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up in the next year because I’m focusing now on only the networks that work for me: WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. If I add any other network to my game this year, it will be Tumblr, because Tumblr seems to like my photos, and I know quite a few people with accounts over there.

3. Part Time Monster developed its content focus and a clean look fairly quickly. Sourcerer has taken longer, and it’s still very much a work in progress. Now that we’ve settled on pop culture all the time here and I’ve committed to a redesign, we should be able to stabilize Sourcerer in the next year as long as we can keep the contributions coming.

4. If you discover either of my blogs, it is impossible to not also discover Part Time Monster if you take even a second to explore. But if you go and look at Part Time Monster, you will see that my blogs are just two more links on the blogroll. And the Monster shares a lot of my social media, but I don’t share Diana’s. At some point we may reorganize a bit and see what the Monster can do for Sourcerer, but as long as we’re neck-in-neck, it’s not worth the effort. One of us has to break out before we can do more than we are already doing to help each other.

The question I am asking myself now is this. If we’d just started one blog and posted there three times per day for a year, would we be further along in terms of traffic and network right now? I go back and forth on it, and it would take a whole other post to unpack the reasons we might or might not be.

Everyone who has contributed, read, and commented here has had a part in making this a rewarding and memorable year in the blogosphere for me. I hope this post is helpful, or at least interesting. I’m not the most successful blogger you’ll ever meet, but I am happy with the progress I’ve made since last November. This has been by far my most successful attempt at blogging, and I’ve failed many times. Thanks for making it worthwhile for me!

Randy Newman, Collaboration Among Bloggers, International Relations Geekery, and other things.

Video

Hannah Givens and Therefore I Geek have collaborated on an editorial about technology and the future of International Relations. They published it yesterday. “Does Geek Culture Hold the Answers to National Security?

Need I say more?

There’s already a fascinating discussion going on the thread between the three of us. You could join in and make us all even more happy than we already are. If what you need to make your social media life complete is to geek out on some IR with other smart people, today is your day!

That post is getting reblogged this weekend for those of you who don’t read during the week. Those of you who do read during the week are getting the early heads up. I am seeing just how many people I can interest in this discussion over the next few days, because I would really love to hook up with a few other bloggers who enjoy the IR chatter.

Other things:

  1. My last Doctor Who post for series 8 is finally up at Part Time Monster.
  2. I am inviting a discussion at the Monster this weekend about how to organize next year’s Feminist Friday project. Diana won’t be around very much this weekend, but I assuredly will be.
  3. It will be several hours before this happens, but I have set aside time tonight to re-establish contact with all of you who were talking to me by email before I went on vacation and came back sick. Check your email tomorrow morning.
  4. In an unfollowing cycle with the ol’ Twitter account at the moment, but hoping to start a push this weekend to get @Sourcererblog‘s following stable above 5K. If you know any bloggers who don’t tweet with me but might like to, the next few days are a good time to make intros.
  5. Probably a reblog tomorrow for comics day, but I am reading The Killing Joke right this minute, and I plan to post about it fairly soon.
  6. Keep blogging, and have a fabulous week!

Comics Fans, if you didn’t see this the first time around, you want to read it now!

David is on vacation for the next three or so weeks. Here’s an awesome post he published last week, “Can we Be too Old for a Genre?” in which he takes on two comics creators who say that adults who continue to read comics need to grow up. Or at least they are saying something, and that’s how both David and I interpret them. You should read this post, especially if you are a mature adult who loves comics.

Genius comics creator Alan Moore. The first guy I think of when I'm looking for someone to tell me whether or not I am a real "grown-up" based on my taste in entertainment.

Genius comics creator Alan Moore. The first guy I think of when I’m looking for someone to tell me whether or not I am a real “grown-up” based on my taste in entertainment.

David touches on a lot of issues that Diana and I talk about incessantly in private, though we generally discuss them through the lens of education, fantasy/young adult literature, class, or gender. Perhaps when I am truly feeling better, I’ll write a response. It’s definitely one for the archives, and there is plenty more to say about it. As I read David’s post, it’s really a post about how we judge art and how we judge people.

When we started planning for David’s absence six weeks ago, I assumed we’d get through November with a combination of reblogs from Comparative Geeks and comics posts written by me (I have a word or two to say about The Killing Joke and a big pile of 90s’ comics to review at some point). I didn’t count on coming home from my own vacation with the flu, then having that flu turn into pneumonia and fog my brain to the point that I was unable to blog or tweet for two solid weeks. But here we are. I’ll be getting the flu vaccine next year, I promise you that.

I’m behind with my long-term planning. I’d intended to have a discussion to plan next year’s Feminist Fridays this week, but I don’t think that’s realistic at this point. I’ve got conversations with contributors to pick back up. And I really must say something about that Doctor Who finale before we get too far removed from it. I’m really not one to blog ten weeks of a tv show and then drop the ball on the finale. Just been sleeping 18 hours a day and in general finding it hard to care about anything but breathing for the last couple of weeks.

Anyway, I think I am actually starting to get better now. I picked up a course of medications yesterday that seem to be helping. But blogging is a bit of a sport, and I’ve lost some stamina. I’m going to try and do some blogging every day for the next little while and get the long-term planning back on track. Then start with some redesign, new page rollouts, and work up to finishing the social media blogging that I mostly drafted before I went on vacation.

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Oh. And Twitter. I’m definitely back over there, and still got plenty of time to make my goal of 5K @Sourcererblog followers by New Years’ Day.