SoCS — The Year in Review

B6DE1368-B4DA-43CC-9E2C-752AF907A35ALinda G. Hill gave us the word “year” for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Even though, including today, there are still four days left to this year, I decided to take this opportunity to offer up my top 10 posts of 2019. I’m doing this now because I’ve got surgery scheduled for Monday, December 30th and I don’t know, assuming I survive the surgery, when I’ll be recuperated enough to get back to my blog.

But, surgery aside, this list is not a qualitative one. It’s strictly quantitative, listing my 10 posts that received the most views in 2019, exclusive of any of my prompt posts (e.g., FOWC with Fandango). So here we go with the top 10:

#1. Remember last summer when a website called Tygpress was harvesting our posts and, without our permission, was publishing them on its own site? Well, my post, Tygpress.com, garnered 669 views this year.

#2. I guess a lot of people wanted to know more about Fandango because my Who Am I page got 566 views.

#3. When I created a badge for people to put on their posts so it would show up on posts harvested by Tygpress, my Feel Free to Use This Badge post was viewed 547 times.

#4. My post, Thoughts and Prayers My Ass, was a screed about mass shootings in the U.S. and how having politicians sending out their thoughts and prayers while refusing to enact common sense gun laws is totally useless. That post received 333 views.

#5. Another post related to mass shootings was Do People Really Believe This Shit? This post was about a state senator in Ohio who blamed the breakdown of the traditional American family, recreational marijuana, homosexual marriage, drag queen advocates, violent video games, open borders, kneeling athletes, and ignoring the importance of God and the church for gun violence in America. 244 people read it.

#6. Donald Trump, in a tweet, accused two freshman U.S. congressional representatives, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, of hating Israel and all Jewish people. 239 people read my post They Hate All Jews.

#7. This post, We Did It! — Maybe, was yet another post about Tygpress, but this was one to announce that our efforts to stop that site from harvesting the posts of WordPress bloggers had paid off when Tygpress shut down its site. Yay! The post received 196 views.

#8. Remember when WordPress used to have its daily word prompts? Well, my post, Snidely Whiplash, which was originally posted in 2018 but got more views (187) this year than in 2018, was written in response to the prompt word “cur.”

#9. A few of the on-air personalities at Fox News reported that liberals “want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving.” So of course when Donald Trump, who always watches Fox News, saw the story, he started tweeting about this bogus assertion. 166 people wanted to learn more about this so-called War on Thanksgiving.

#10. In my post WTF Blogger? I complained (or some might say whined) about the fact that I was unable to “like” the posts of Blogger bloggers who read, liked, and/or commented on my posts on WordPress. I also pointed out how difficult, if not impossible, it was for a non-Blogger blogger (i.e., a WordPress blogger), to leave a comment on a Blogger blogger’s posts. This post received 160 views.

There you have it: Fandango’s 10 most viewed posts in 2019 through midnight last night.

How about all of you? I’d love to learn about your 10 most popular posts for this year. Publish your own top 10 list and link back to this post.

Blogging Insights — Burnout

Blogging insights

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about blogger burnout.

Here are her three questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is “blogger burnout”?

0D7E35C2-D78B-4F90-9322-1C824617CB1DI think blogger burnout occurs when you lose your motivation to blog, when the joy of blogging disappears, and it becomes a chore. It’s different, I think, from writer’s block, where you still have the desire to write, but are drawing a blank. In burnout, that desire to write has left you, temporarily, at least.

I suffered blogger burnout in 2015 on my previous blog, which , I abruptly shut down. I had become obsessed with my blog. I was always thinking about it, talking about it, and even dreaming about it. I was still working at the time and my work was starting to suffer because I was more focused on my blog than I was on my job. I was even more focused on my blog than on my family, and it was putting my marriage in jeopardy. I finally decided that I needed to regain control — and balance — in my life, so I just stopped blogging. I don’t know whether or not that technically was a case of blogger burnout. But I do know that I was having a life flameout and I needed to stop blogging in order to get my real world life back on track.

2. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress?

I suppose what I just confessed about why I shut down my previous blog was an example of blog related stress. I think another stress inducing factor in a blogger’s life is stats. I look at my stats on a daily basis and, even though I realize that they vary significantly from one day to the next, if my stats are down for a stretch of two or three days in a row, it does cause me stress.

For example, I was looking at my monthly stats today and, much to my chagrin, November was the third month in a row where my views dropped. In fact, I had fewer views in November than I had for any other month this year except for February, which had only 28 days. And my blog had more than 1,500 fewer views this November than it had in November 2018! So yes, when I saw this chart of monthly views, I felt stress.e2ab2a6a-6e75-4197-87b1-15f5d9ca3c69.jpeg

3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

For me, the answer is simple. Stop looking at, being concerned with, or worrying about stats. I love to write. I rarely run out of opinions to express, perspective to share, or stories to tell. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me to hone my imagination and creativity and to keep my mind active and sharp. So I need to do my thing and not worry about how many views, likes, or comments my posts get.

Blogging is not a contest or a competition. It’s an outlet for creative self-expression and to be happy with what I create. It’s the act of writing and publishing what I’ve written on my blog that provides me with a sense of accomplishment. If people read what I write, like it, and comment on it, great. But if not, I shouldn’t let that stress me out. At least not so much that it will result in blogger burnout!

Another Stats Anomaly?

You may remember that almost a week ago I wrote this post in which I noted that there was an unusually high number of views on my blog when I first woke up that morning. By the end of that day, my blog had received 935 views, almost twice the number of daily views my blog normally gets. I figured it was some glitch in the WordPress stats counter, especially since the next day my views were back in my normal range.

Well damned if it didn’t happen again yesterday.8C596E21-68D4-4680-AAD5-2691454BE143By the end of the day yesterday, my blog had received 1,556 views, or more than three times my average number of views.

I decided to do some digging to find out what might be behind these unusual spikes in my blog’s views. I noticed a strange anomaly deep within my stats. I saw that on May 5th, the day my views spiked to 935, almost half — 456 of them — came from Germany. And of my 1,556 views yesterday, more than 60% — 952 — were from Germany. Huh?

I went back and checked my stats for the first four months of this year and saw that from January through April, my blog had received a total of 440 views from Germany. And for the entire year of 2018, there were just 722 views from Germany.

But so far this month, my blog has had 1,453 views from Germany, 1,408 of which were on just two days, May 5th and yesterday.

So my blog has gotten 1,013 more views from Germany in just ten days in May than in the previous four full months. And more than double the number of German views during all of 2018!

What the hell is going on? Why Germany? I don’t know anyone who lives in Germany or who is even, to the best of my knowledge, visiting Germany.

This is just weird.

While I Was Sleeping

When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is go to my WordPress app and check my stats to see how many views my blog got while I was sleeping. Typically, that number is between 85 and 120. But this morning I saw this.B301FCED-E6AC-494F-A483-E19788820D71Yes, that’s right. Almost 600 views, a number of views that is higher than what I usually get in total on an average day!

And then I saw this in my Reader.66F58CDC-9742-493F-98B5-3BBD1634C608464 hourly views when my normal hourly average is more like 22! What?

Of the 599 views when I awoke this morning, 306 were “Home Page/Archives,” and I noticed that a lot of the posts viewed were older ones. Only 60 of the views were of the three posts that I had scheduled to be published overnight.

I checked my Spam and Trash folder and there were a few posts in each, which all appeared to be legitimate spam and trash comments.

So either my blog has been hacked or there is yet another glitch in WordPress, this one dealing with how it tracks blog visits.

Is anyone else having an unusually high number of views showing up in your stats page today?

I’m a Man Of Many Words

67557C99-854A-4E95-B81E-93E7122DDDD8How man words? Well, according to the highly reliable and completely accurate WordPress stats, I wrote 385,508 words on my blog in 2018. Those 385,508 words were spread across 1,644 post during the year, for an average of 235 words per post. That’s not a lot of words per post compared to a lot of other bloggers, but many of the prompts I respond to have word limits of, say, 100, 150, or 200.

I posted an average of 4.5 post per day last year. My blog was visited by 27,770 visitors, an average of 76 per day. My posts received 117,582 views, an average of 322 per day and 72.5 per post.

My 1,644 posts received 41,262 likes (113 per day and 25 per post). Also, 24,916 comments, (68 per day and 15 per post).

And as of midnight, December 31, 2018, there were 1,607 people following my blog.

Excluding my daily one-word prompt, FOWC with Fandango, here were my most viewed posts each month:

January: Couples Counseling

February: Perspective

March: A tie: Warning Signs and Top of the World

April: Bloggers Beware

May: Househunters International

June: The Way You Write

July: All Dressed Up and No Place To Go

August: Better Than Sex

September: To Prompt or Not to Prompt

October: Missing the Point

November: Weird Words

December: I’ve Never Skied Naked

Yes, I know that this post has been one big brag about me and my blog. But were it not for all of you, who read and respond to my posts, there would be nothing for me to brag about.

The interactions you provide, your likes and comments, are what makes blogging worthwhile. You have embraced my FOWC With Fandango prompt more than I could have anticipated, and I owe a great big thank you to those of you who post regularly in response to that prompt.

And I want to thank the others of you who post your own prompts. Your words, photos, and challenges provide us bloggers with the inspiration we need to write such creative, entertaining, informative, fascinating, and sometime silly posts.

So in what I consider to have been an otherwise crazy, chaotic year, thank you for providing something to look forward to each day, for a way to cope with the nonsense swirling all around us. Thank you for reading my blog and for being my inspiration.

Happy 2019.