How December 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog


And a happy new year, at last, to all. I’ll take this chance first to look at my readership figures from December. Later I’ll look at the whole year, and what things I would learn from that if I were capable of learning from this self-examination.

I had 13 posts here in December, which is my lowest count since June. For the twelve months from December 2019 through November 2020, I’d posted a mean of 15.3 and a median of 15 posts. So that’s relatively quiet. My blog overall got 2,366 page views from 1,751 unique visitors. That’s a decline from October and November. But it’s still above the running averages, which had a mean of 1,957.8 and median of 1,974 page views. And a mean of 1,335.7 and median of 1,290.5 unique visitors.

There were 51 likes given to posts in December. That’s barely below the twelve-month running averages, which had a mean of 54.6 and a median of 52 likes. The number of comments collapsed to a mere 4 and while it’s been worse, it’s still dire. There were a mean of 15.3 and median of 15 comments through the twelve months before that.

Bar chart of about two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. There's a huge spike in October 2019. More recently was a rise leading up to October 2020, with two months of steady decline after that.
Yeah, being at home at 7 pm New Year’s Eve was far better than what I’d be doing in a normal year, being off at the New Year’s Eve pinball tournament playing with the cool confidence and expertise that follows knowing nothing I did could affect my standings for the state finals. After two strong hours of play I would fall completely apart and finish in 12th place.

If it’s disappointing to see numbers drop, and it is, there’s some evidence that it’s all my own fault. Even beyond that this is my blog and I’m the only one writing for it. That is in the per-posting statistics. There were 182.0 views per posting, which is well above the averages (132.0 mean, 132.6 median). It’s also near the averages in November (191.5) and October (169.1). Likes per posting were even better: 3.9, compared to a running average mean of 3.5 and running average median of 3.4. The per-posting likes had been 4.0 and 4.4 the previous months. Comments per posting — 0.3 — is still a dire number, though. The running-average mean was 1.1 per posting and median of 1.0 per posting.

It suggests that the best thing I can do for my statistics is post more. Most of December’s posts were little but links to even earlier posts. This feels like cheating to me, to do too often. On the other hand, I’ve had 1,580 posts over the past decade; why have that if I’m not going to reuse them? And, yes, it’s a bit staggering to imagine that I could repost one entry a day for four and a third years before I ran out. (Granting that lot of those would be references to earlier posts. Or things like monthly statistics recaps that make not a lick of sense to repeat.)


What were popular posts from November or December 2020? It turns out the five most popular posts from that stretch were all December ones:

It feels weird that How Many Of This Weird Prime Are There? was so popular since that was posted the 30th of December. (And late, at that, as I didn’t schedule it right.) So in 30 hours it attracted more readers than posts that had all of November and December to collect readers. I guess there’s something about weird primes that people want to read about. Although not to comment on with their answers to the third prime of the form 10^n + 1 … well, maybe they’re leaving it for other people to find, unspoiled. I also always find it weird that these How-A-Month-Treated-My-Blog posts are so popular. I think other insecure bloggers like to see someone else suffering.


According to WordPress I published 7,758 words in December. This is only my fourth-most-laconic month in 2020. This put me also at an average of 596.8 words per posting in December. My average for all 2020 was 672 words per posting, so all those recaps were in theory saving me time.

Also according to WordPress, I started January 2021 with a total of 1,581 posts ever. (There’s one secret post, created to test some things out; there’s no sense revealing or deleting it.) These have drawn a total 122,051 views from 69,848 logged unique visitors. It’s not a bad record for a blog entering its tenth year of publication without ever getting a clear identity.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, you can follow the RSS feed for my essays without ever showing up in my statistics. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can get one by signing up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Then add this, or any RSS feed you like, to your reading page at https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/ or at https://www.livejournal.com/syn. Or for the easier way about you can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” on this page to add to your WordPress reading.

My Twitter account has gone feral. While it’s still posting announcements, I don’t read it, because I don’t have the energy to figure out why it sometimes won’t load. If you want to social-media thing with me try me on the Mastodon account @nebusj@mathstodon.xyz. Mathstodon is a mathematics-themed instance of that microblogging network you remember hearing something about somewhere but not what anybody said about it.

And, yeah, I hope to have my closing thoughts about the 2020 A-To-Z later this week. Thank you all for reading.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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