…other, larger bloggers. At least, that’s what my site statistics tell me. I suppose my original response to a Bayblab post about the moral perfidy of ScienceBloggers wasn’t serious enough, although, in light of the revelations that the Bayblab post was an experiment (in what, I’m not exactly sure), I gave the Bayblab post exactly the response it deserved.
Nonetheless, the whole affair de Bayblab did lead me to ask what posts actually received the most hits over the last year.
After looking at the top ten posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), one common thread emerged: every one of these posts received links from other, much larger, bloggers. The number one post, far and away, got hit by AOL and Boing Boing, and was recommended repeatedly on blog aggregators. The ridiculous thing is that this was what I consider a ‘throwaway’ post: I needed to put something in the Bloggerator 9000 cue while I was away on vacation, and this was quick and easy. For Intelligent Designer’s sake, read the post. Other than a goofy headline and a silly concluding sentence, I didn’t actually do anything.
Then there was this post about tea drinking and urbanization that was picked up by Andrew Sullivan (and then other blogs), and gave me lots of hits. Granted, it’s not a bad post, but I’ve written much better posts about microbiology. A couple of other posts were picked up by widely read health and microbiology sites–people like to use the internets to find out about MRSA if they don’t know any microbiology.
Also, Amanda and Melissa (aka Madame Wev/Shakes) are also good for spikes in visits. Interestingly, when I’ve been invited to crosspost at Majikthise, I haven’t received a lot of traffic back to the site even when the post appears to be heavily read over there (“What happens in Majikthise, stays in Majikthise?”).
The point is that, if I were truly a money-grubbing, science-hating douchebag, I would try to write posts that other bloggers with larger audiences would link. Not read, but link. I once asked Shakes (and perhaps Amanda too–I can’t remember) if she read the science posts. She did, along with many readers when I asked them the same thing. But, as generations of philosophers have asked, if you write a post, and no one links to it, does it have a broad readership? Answer: no.
Now, I don’t say this with bitterness. The reason I raise the science topics (microbial evolution; public health microbiology, focused on bacteria; antibiotic resistance) that I do is because few others do (one exception is ScienceBlogling Tara–and if you do, and you’re not on my blogroll, email me). I don’t really expect political blogs to discuss these things, although I was amused that a couple of weeks ago, Kevin Drum breathlessly discovered the health and economic burden of hospital-acquired infections. Bravo.
But what this means is that a lot of my science posts, especially those that focus on a scientific subspeciality, will never get lots of links, and, consequently, relatively few hits.
Now, I’m going to get back to disemboweling the science internets…