.
The Colossal Battle of Pageviews: xkcd vs. Reddit
desktop background image of moss on a snow-covered stone lantern, at Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠), Kyoto Japan  --  Alien Landscape moss on a snow-covered stone lantern  --  Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Alien Landscape
moss on a snow-covered stone lantern
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800

I'm adamant about keeping my blog content what  I  want to share; I hope others will happen to like it, of course, but I don't “pander for pageviews”,* despite having been called an attention whore by a random Internet anonymous coward the other day. :-)  So, I don't often pay much attention to my blog's pageview statistics, and I often go months without even seeing them, but I've looked at them this past week, and the results are interesting.

The photos on today's post, by the way, have nothing to do with the text; I just wanted to include some pictures, so I'm including a few shots I took in the light snow yesterday at Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠) in north-east Kyoto Japan.

From Above  --  Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
From Above

Most regular readers of my blog don't actually visit my blog directly; rather, they read the full-text feed via Google Reader or the like, so I get no pageviews at all from them. Instead, the biggest driver of my blog traffic is the collection of outside links to specific posts that has developed organically over time, such as (for example) the many links to my camera autofocus test chart that have appeared on camera forums around the world in the years since I wrote it. Lots of article views come via random web searches as well. Overall, I've been running a steady 300,000 article views a month for years.

But occasionally a specific post garners special short-term attention, such as when last week's “Disappointed in Fstoppers.com: Wholesale Copyright Infringement as a Business Model” was mentioned on reddit.com. This caused a huge spike in article pageviews for a few days. I don't use reddit.com, but it calls itself “the front page of the internet”, so it's not surprising to see a jump in traffic from them.

From The Side though a different kind of moss  --  Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
From The Side
though a different kind of moss

So it makes for an interesting comparison to see the effect of having the subject of a six-year-old blog post tangentially referenced by Randall Munroe's xkcd.com, in his “Perl Problems” cartoon yesterday. If you don't know xkcd.com, its tagline is “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” That doesn't quite sound as sweeping and impressive and popular as “front page of the internet”, does it?

The jump in traffic? 30× that of the reddit jump from last week. Not thirty percent... thirty times.

Keep in mind that my blog is not even referenced in the cartoon, where there are no links at all. Merely, the cartoon makes an indirect, obscure reference to a subject that I covered in an article in 2006, itself related to a book I wrote.

So, folks discussing the cartoon at places like this and this make reference to that blog post, and here we are.

(Muddying the comparison a bit is the fact that my old article has surfaced at reddit here, here, and here, but as of this writing, the resulting pageviews from them are not material.)

I have been a regular reader of xkcd for years, and often find it brilliant, insightful, and downright awe-inspiring amazing, but for me this particular cartoon was a dud because I didn't understand the other obscure reference the cartoon played upon (which, I find out later, turns out to be related to some modern rap singer). Of course, I immediately recognized the connection to my six-year-old blog post, “Source of the famous “Now you have two problems” quote”, but lacking a pedigree in American rap music, I didn't understand the cartoon.

That's how it is with Randall's cartoons: they make absolutely no sense if you don't understand the often obscure references, but tend to be brilliant when you do.

desktop background image of moss on a snow-covered stone lantern, at Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠), Kyoto Japan  --  Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560

* but I'm totally pandering with today's article title. :-)


Comments so far....

Did you have permission to use those photographs? :-)

— comment by Steve Friedl on February 9th, 2013 at 2:33pm JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Haha, I indeed thought about your article when I saw the XKCD joke. :D

— comment by Damien on February 9th, 2013 at 2:53pm JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink

That was just plain MEAN of you to put a link to xkcd.com at a time in which I have so friggen much stuff to do.

— comment by Marcina (Bellingham, WA) on February 10th, 2013 at 11:39am JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Ok, update – now I really loath you for this. After paging backwards and reading each cartoon from your link to http://www.xkcd.com/1052/, I just now realized that mousing over the cartoon brings up a caption with something (usually) witty on it.

#$%@$#@#!!!! And now, back to /1171/

Best to read in proper chronological order… there are often sequences. —Jeffy

— comment by Marcina (Bellingham, WA) on February 10th, 2013 at 12:56pm JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

More or less plain text — see below for allowed markup

You can use the following tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting