Monday, October 3, 2011

State of the Blog, Q3 2011

I've been making it a practice to briefly discuss the state of the blog at the end of each quarter, and it's that time again (I actually forgot last quarter so this report can cover Q2 as well).

Overall blog stats are as above according to SiteMeter - these are individual visits/month since I started this blog in November 2009.  Current readership level probably corresponds to something like 800-1000 people on a weekday and about half that on a weekend.  You can see that the Arab Spring was very kind to me with readership more than doubling from late 2010 to a peak in May.  Since those heady days things have been more discouraging! It's always a littler harder to see the stats sliding than growing. However, between my time at the Oil Drum and this blog I've been around long enough to know that the key factor is this:

Note that the peaks and valleys in my readership coincide quite well with the peaks and valleys of oil prices.  Clearly people still see me primarily as a peak oil blogger.  I have intentionally set the frame of this blog broader because I think peak oil is only one of several very important challenges that humanity faces.  Still peak oil is a perfectly good place to start, and will hopefully lead to a broader conversation over time as my expertise and knowledge-base and blog-authority continue to grow.

My trick for motivating myself to get out of bed and blog when stats are sliding is still the same: I visualize my audience physically assembled in the cafe to hear what I have to say.  Then it's easy.  It's a privilege to have anyone pay attention to my thoughts and I'm deeply grateful to all of you.  It also seems to me that there's still an overall upward trend underlying the oil-price driven peaks and valleys.

Of course oil prices (and thus my stats) could go lower still if the situation in Europe evolves into a full-blown financial crisis.  Still, I think the Saudis can and will set a floor on Brent not too far below where it is now so hopefully the next trough in readership will at least be above the last trough!


Phil Plasma said...

I'm an avid reader and appreciate all of your posts, the peak-oil ones and otherwise. Keep up the good work!

Seth said...

Don't sweat the readership. I drop by regularly for the interesting data you dig up and the straightforward way you present it. You'll get the readership -- quantity and/or quality you deserve given time.

kjmclark said...

FWIW, your blog is one of three blog/news pages that start up with Firefox everyday. You're right up there with Calculated Risk and the Economist. (Actually, yours is better than CR most of the time, but CR has links to four or five other blogs I like to follow, like Krugman's.)

Thanks for taking the time to write. One of these days I'll have to swing by the Finger Lakes and find that coffee shop!

Anonymous said...

I find your blog to be incredibly helpful in getting an all-round view of many of the problems facing us. I've enjoyed your writing since the TOD, and consider this blog to be one of my favorites, not because it always agrees with my views, but because it doesn't ... and in interesting and well-argued ways.

So, FWIW, I hope you continue to blog on these topics (and any others of your choosing) for a long time to come.

Thanks for what I'm sure is a lot of hard work.

Don said...

Hi Stuart,
I'm a regular and very much appreciate your good work.

I'm not sure if you are looking for suggestions... I'll offer one anyways : ) Sometimes posters ask you pertinent questions yet do not get a response. Often I would have liked to get your take on their queries. I understand your time is limited (and that blogging is not a path to riches : ) but perhaps being more vigilant in this regard would help bind your readers a little closer?

RobM said...

I have many RSS feeds but I usually read yours first. Opinions are cheap. Everyone has one. You are one of a very few that begin by finding and analyzing data before expressing an opinion. Thank you.

Stephen B. said...

It also seems to me that there's still an overall upward trend underlying the oil-price driven peaks and valleys.

Absolutely there is an upward trend in your readership.

I greatly appreciate the insight nearly every one of your posts provides.

Thank you very much for sharing it all!

Stuart Staniford said...

Thanks to all for the kind words!

Don: you undoubtedly have a point. The day job has been heating up more and more of late and that's making it harder to contribute much in the comment discussion during the day. But I hear you and will try to do a bit better.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Rob. Thanks for all the hard work getting stuck into the data rather than just spraying opinion. Society places far too little value on science these days, and far too much on political and economic rhetoric. Your blog is often a refreshing dose of reality.

Not sure if you're aware of it but here is another great blog specialising in reality: Do The Math. Tom is also a physicist and has some very lucid posts, especially the recent Limits to growth and the opening posts on physical and economic growth.

Big Gav said...

After 6+ years of watching the stats at my various blogs I can confidently say that traffic always drops significantly during July and August and doesn't recover until October (with a briefer drop around the holiday season as well).

I put this down to northern hemisphere types taking summer holidays and generally spending less time online.

So don't worry about it - do a year on year comparison of your stats if you want to see the real trend...

Seth said...


You posted recently on the general topic of the "singularity" -- or in slightly less apocalyptic language, the likelihood of structural disemployment from rapid technological changes. I thought you would be interested in reading/commenting on W. Brian Arthur's recent essay (registration required) for McKinsey on "The Second Economy".