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2011: Site Facts

Here’s my annual breakdown of site visitors and readership (read my roundup for previous years here).

Most traffic apparently originates from search engines and social media, with other referring sites including various blogs, Capitalism Magazine, Huffington Post, Salon.com, the Los Angeles Times, Wikipedia (which cites several of my articles) and the New York Times, which linked to my 2000 interview with Korean War Marine and writer Martin Russ in its obituary when he died last winter.

Top site categories (not to be confused with the blog’s sub-categories) are About, Contact, Services, and Movies. My blog is the most widely read page. The most popular interview this year is my exclusive interview with former Gov. Gary Johnson about his presidential candidacy, followed by my exclusive interview with Duke University history Professor John David Lewis about war and my exclusive interview with composer Alexandre Desplat about his score for The King’s Speech. Other top-ranked interviews are my 2009 conversations with director Thomas Carter and Seton Hall University philosophy Professor Robert Mayhew about We the Living by Ayn Rand.

Major educational domains that bring traffic here include: Harvard, Indiana, Columbia, Clemson, Penn State, University of Kentucky, and Ohio State, also Texas A & M, University of Montana, University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Yale and NYU. The top three military domains are Navy, Army and Air Force. Readers from tech businesses include Microsoft, Amazon.com and Apple. Apple’s devices dominate the top machines for mobile readers. The top searched keywords (besides my name) that brought readers to the site: ‘freelance writer’. Most readers live in the United States, Canada, Australia, the U.K., and Norway.

The number one major movie review was for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which I called the worst movie of the year (it still is). Other popular reviews were my recommendations for Marvel’s Captain America and Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The top ranked blog post was Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand. Among widely read posts: Conservatives and the Tea Party, Why I Like Apple’s Logo, The Suicide of Leanita McClain, Death of a Terrorist and The Vancouver Kiss. I’m happy to report that the blog is rated five stars by Facebook’s Networked Blogs app readers and it ranks in the top 50 for blogs about ideas, movies and the culture. 2011 is the first year in which I posted during all 12 months.

Merry Christmas 2011

Allow me to wish you, dear reader, an early Merry Christmas. Thank you for the support, encouragement and readership this year, my first with a full 12 months of posts since starting the blog in 2008. May the cheerful spirit of the season last these next 20 days and well into the new year. Joy to the world.

New Functions & Features on Site

When I created this blog, I decided to keep it simple by making my posts free, accessible, and closed to advertising. The only income I earned directly from the blog recently ended when Amazon.com rightly terminated its partnership program in California, due to the state’s new dictate to tax online purchases. As you can see from the Archives, posts are fairly regular. I enjoy writing in this relaxed forum, which I started in 2008 as an outlet for my thoughts. The cost of living has gone up, as you know, and, while people hire me to write, edit, and produce, and I have partners and patrons on certain works in progress, every dollar helps.

So, a PayPal ‘Donate’ box has been added to the blog for those who gain value from what I write. Readers who like a post and/or want to help may choose to click on the ‘Donate’ button on the right to make a safe, secure gift transaction through PayPal. I don’t expect to make much money from the feature, which I view as a simple trade with those who value my writings, so feel free to read and enjoy without worry and know that I appreciate your consideration in advance. I’ve also added the ability to ‘Like’ a post on Facebook and, through a WordPress plug-in called Add This, which insists on describing its cross-posting function as ‘Share’, post one of my pieces on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, or you can e-mail or print the blog post by clicking on corresponding icons. These add-ons are hardly new or cutting edge, but I prefer a slow, deliberative approach to integrating my work with technology and social media.

My book review of Joe Camp’s The Soul of a Horse elicited a nice response from the author, and thanks for the plug to tutor, horseman and blogger Michael Gold, who linked to the review on his blog. I appreciate everyone’s links to my posts. Incidentally, one of my interviews with the writers of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is cited by the editors of the Horizons of Cinema series published by State University of New York (SUNY) in Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel (2010).

Social Media

For some time, since I was convinced by friends at a conference I attended a few years ago, I have been using so-called social media. I am connected with work prospects, colleagues, and partners on LinkedIn, I use Twitter on occasion, and I regard my Facebook account as a work in progress that encompasses my activism, my blog posts, and my personal life, including staying in touch with friends. I am refining how I use Facebook, so I recently started a professional page which will make it easier for me to communicate about my projects. I am a writer, not a programmer, so I have a lot to learn about using the page. The page is up and live and you’re welcome to “like” me on Facebook as a matter of convenience. Though I may post items there that don’t merit attention here, my e-mail newsletter remains the best way to consume what I produce.

Site Facts and Stats

For those interested, top education-based domain visitors to my site for the past couple of years are from Duke, Brown, Oxford, Harvard, and the New York City public schools. Others include Columbia, USC, NYU, Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Unified, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and Clemson. Top categories are Movies, Interviews, Services, News & Ideas, and Books.

Though my blog is the most widely read page on the site, the most popular interview during the past two years was my 2001 conversation with talk radio’s Dr. Dean Edell, who recently announced his retirement, about his book Eat, Drink and Be Merry (though readers spent more time reading my interview with Seton Hall University Professor Robert Mayhew about Ayn Rand’s We the Living last fall). The top ranked movie review was my review of the 2009 Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Avatar, which was also posted on Capitalism Magazine. Number one book article: my commentary on We the Living, which was also published in several newspapers including the Korea Times (my review of David Halberstam’s book about Michael Jordan and my profile of the “Chinese Cinderella” author Adeline Yen-Mah were the runners-up). The top War-themed article was my roundup of informative DVDs about 9/11.

The top-ranked blog posts concerned Disney’s train tour to promote A Christmas Carol, Susan Boyle, cable television comedian and host Jon Stewart, Chicago teacher Marva Collins, and my review of The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, which I enjoyed and recommend. Widely searched terms on the site were Iraq, Iran, Illusionist, Gran Torino, Milk, and Kinsey, and readers may be confused by the fact that the search field at the top of each page covers the site, not the blog, where I post many movie reviews, while the blog search field exclusively searches the blog (sorry for any inconvenience). Top keywords searched that brought readers to the site: ‘Scott Holleran’, ‘Martin Russ’, and ‘Susan Boyle YouTube’. Some of the more amusing movie review terms: ‘land of the lost cher’, ‘jungle book john wayne’ (he had nothing to do with the Disney movie, so maybe this is an urban myth), ‘slumdog objectivist’ and my personal favorite: ‘initiate the binary commands’, a line from District 9 that I favorably referenced in my blog review.