Last week, One Thing after Another, the Saint Anselm College History Department blog, published its 101st post. “Why celebrate 101 posts?” you might ask. “Why not 100”? First, 101 has a certain symmetry that 100 does not. Second, 101 has been a “thing” since 101 Dalmatians. Third, we forgot to write something after the 100th post was published. We cover up our mistakes with specious rationalizations (see the first two reasons); that is the way we roll.
In any event, we at One Thing after Another thought that you might like to see the stats behind the blog in the same manner that, say, Toto exposed the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. How many people read the blog, who are they, and what are they interested in?
Our very first post, which announced the launching the blog, was published on March 21, 2014. It featured an old newsreel that showed the launching of the battleship USS Missouri back in 1944 (as an analogy to the launching of our blog, you see). That video, which we found on YouTube, has since been taken down, so we suppose a little maintenance is required there.
That post obtained all of 20 views. At the time of writing (August 28, 2016), the blog has been viewed 16,628 times by 11,098 distinct visitors. That’s roughly 160 views and 110 viewers per post, on average.
These averages conceal wild fluctuations from post to post. The “Very Short Reviews” series is, apparently, not widely read. The record for the least popular post is shared by a review of Andrew Roberts’ Napoleon: A Life and one of Geoffrey Wawro’s A Mad Catastrophe (both with a paltry 6 views).
We’re sorry to say, however, that Very Short Reviews will remain with us because Professor Dubrulle finds that writing them is the only way he can remember what he read over the summer.
Fortunately for Professor Dubrulle, he is also the author of the most popular post on the blog as well. “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: Slavery and the 1.6%” has been viewed 1,811 times since it was published on February 5, 2016. That day witnessed the heaviest traffic on the blog ever, with 509 views.
One Thing after Another’s most popular post about a person was published back in May 2014, and featured Justin Eckilson ’14, who had just graduated and won the History Department Award, the Fr. Stephen E. Parent, OSB Award, Delta Epsilon Sigma, Tau Chapter, and the Chancellor’s Medal for highest GPA in the graduating class. That post earned 815 views.
Who reads One Thing after Another? The short answer is Americans. They account for 13,963 of the 16,628 views. Not surprisingly, English speaking -nations are well represented among the countries with the most views on the blog: the United Kingdom (633), Canada (252), Brazil (143), Germany (179), Australia (163), and France (163). We don’t know why New Zealand is not more fascinated with One Thing after Another.
We do know who is not fascinated with the blog—at least in 2016. In South America, no one from Paraguay, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana has visited. Nobody from any Central American country between Mexico and Costa Rica has visited. Somebody from every European country has looked at least at one page on One Thing or Another—except for Belarus and Macedonia. In East Asia, only the Cambodians, Laotians, and Mongolians have refused to visit. In Micronesia, it’s the folks from Papua New Guinea who are missing out. The blog does not have a good track record in the Middle East and Central Asia: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbajian, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen are all missing from the visit column. Africa is very underrepresented—in this case, it is easier to list the countries that had visitors than to single out countries where one has visited: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.
But who is reading what on the blog? The statistics are not as helpful here, but we think we can make some educated guesses. Alumni, students, parents, and friends of the college tend to read our pieces about professors, students, and alums. It is probably for this reason that posts on people are not as popular as our essays on history. The Britons, Canadians, Brazilians, Germans, Australians, and French (as well as most Americans for that matter) who read our blog do not have any connection to the college and can’t be expected to show much interest in the people there, illustrious as they may be. But we are happy to see that this large audience is interested in the historical questions that this blog takes on from week to week.
What One Thing after Another finds most exciting and intriguing is that the blog has a substantial amount of traffic day in and day out, even when it has not published anything new for some time. For example, on August 28, 2016, 20 people from 3 countries (the United States, Australia, and, yes, New Zealand) visited the blog and notched 25 views. These visitors looked at 7 different pages. As long as people keeping coming, we’ll keep publishing.