How All Of 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog


Oh, you know, how did 2021 treat anybody? I always do one of these surveys for the end of each month. It’s only fair to do one for the end of the year also.

2021 was my tenth full year blogging around here. I might have made more of that if the actual anniversary in late September hadn’t coincided with a lot of personal hardships. 2021 was a quiet year around these parts with only 94 things posted. That’s the fewest of any full year. (I posted only 41 things in 2011, but I only started posting at all in late September of that year.) That seems not to have done my readership any harm. There were 28,832 pages viewed in 2021, up from 24,474 in 2020 and a fair bit above the 24,662 given in my previously best-viewed year of 2019. Eleven data points (the partial year 2011, and the full years 2012 through 2021) aren’t many, so there’s no real drawing patterns here. But it does seem like I have a year of sharp increases and then a year of slight declines in page views. I suppose we’ll check in in 2023 and see if that pattern holds.

Bar chart of annual views and unique visitors from 2012 to the present. After nearly level view counts in 2019 and 2020 there was a good-size rise for 2021.
The number of unique visitors for 2012 is so tiny because they started recording that (so far as they let us know) in, like, late December so that figure is meaningless. The rest seem all right, though.

One thing not declining? The number of unique visitors. WordPress recorded 20,339 unique visitors in 2021, a comfortable bit above 2020’s 16,870 and 2019s 16,718. So far I haven’t seen a year-over-year decline in unique visitors. That’s gratifying.

Less gratifying: the number of likes continues its decline. It hasn’t increased, around here, since 2015 when a seemingly impossible 3,273 likes were given by readers. In 2021 there were only 481 likes, the fewest since 2013. The dropping-off of likes has looked so resembled a Poisson distribution that I’m tempted to see whether it actually fits that.

Bar chart of the annual likes from 2013 to the present. It rose sharply from 2013 to 2015 and has declined in a not-quite-exponential pattern since then.
I know, my first thought was that it looked like an overdamped system receiving a shock, but I don’t think the decline is consistent enough to support that.

The number of comments dropped a slight bit. There were 188 given around here in 2021, but that’s only ten fewer than were given in 2020. It’s seven more than were given in 2019, so if there’s any pattern there I don’t know it.

WordPress lists 483 posts around here as having gotten four or more page views in the year. It won’t tell me everything that got even a single view, though. I’m not willing to do the work of stitching together the monthly page view data to learn everything that was of interest however passing. I’ll settle with knowing what was most popular. And what were my most popular posts of the year mercifully ended? These posts from 2021 got more views than all the others:

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Pacific Rim Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink. The Philippines and India are in an intermediately dark red.
Hey look, it’s a naturally occurring International Telecommunication Union zonal map! And at this point may I point out that besides being a lower-tier pop-mathematics writer I am also a lower-tier humor blogger?

There were 143 countries, or country-like entities, sending me any page views in 2021. I don’t know how that compares to earlier years. But here’s the roster of where page views came from:

Country Readers
United States 13,723
Philippines 3,994
India 2,507
Canada 1,393
United Kingdom 865
Australia 659
Germany 442
Brazil 347
South Africa 296
European Union 273
Sweden 230
Singapore 210
Italy 204
Austria 178
France 143
Finland 141
Malaysia 135
South Korea 135
Hong Kong SAR China 132
Ireland 131
Netherlands 117
Turkey 117
Spain 107
Pakistan 105
Thailand 102
Mexico 101
United Arab Emirates 100
Indonesia 97
Switzerland 95
Norway 87
New Zealand 86
Belgium 76
Nigeria 76
Russia 74
Japan 64
Taiwan 62
Bangladesh 58
Poland 55
Greece 54
Denmark 52
Colombia 51
Israel 49
Ghana 46
Portugal 44
Czech Republic 40
Vietnam 38
Saudi Arabia 33
Argentina 30
Lebanon 30
Ecuador 28
Nepal 28
Egypt 25
Kuwait 23
Serbia 22
Chile 21
Croatia 21
Jamaica 20
Peru 20
Tanzania 20
Costa Rica 19
Romania 17
Trinidad & Tobago 17
Sri Lanka 16
Ukraine 15
Hungary 13
Jordan 13
Bulgaria 12
China 12
Albania 11
Bahrain 11
Morocco 11
Estonia 10
Qatar 10
Slovakia 10
Cyprus 9
Kenya 9
Zimbabwe 9
Algeria 8
Oman 8
Belarus 7
Georgia 7
Honduras 7
Lithuania 7
Puerto Rico 7
Venezuela 7
Bosnia & Herzegovina 6
Ethiopia 6
Iraq 6
Belize 5
Bhutan 5
Moldova 5
Uruguay 5
Dominican Republic 4
Guam 4
Kazakhstan 4
Macedonia 4
Mauritius 4
Zambia 4
Åland Islands 3
Antigua & Barbuda 3
Bahamas 3
Cambodia 3
El Salvador 3
Gambia 3
Guatemala 3
Slovenia 3
Suriname 3
American Samoa 2
Azerbaijan 2
Bolivia 2
Cameroon 2
Guernsey 2
Malta 2
Papua New Guinea 2
Réunion 2
Rwanda 2
Sudan 2
Uganda 2
Afghanistan 1
Andorra 1
Armenia 1
Fiji 1
Grenada 1
Iceland 1
Isle of Man 1
Latvia 1
Liberia 1
Liechtenstein 1
Luxembourg 1
Maldives 1
Marshall Islands 1
Mongolia 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Namibia 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Panama 1
Paraguay 1
Senegal 1
St. Lucia 1
St. Vincent & Grenadines 1
Togo 1
Tunisia 1
Vatican City 1

I don’t know that I’ve gotten a reader from Vatican City before. I hope it’s not about the essay figuring what dates are most and least likely for Easter. I’d expect them to know that already.

My plan is to spend a bit more time republishing posts from old A-to-Z’s. And then I hope to finish off the Little 2021 Mathematics A-to-Z, late and battered but still carrying on. I intend to post something at least once a week after that, although I don’t have a clear idea what that will be. Perhaps I’ll finally work out the algorithm for Compute!’s New Automatic Proofreader. Perhaps I’ll fill in with A-to-Z style essays for topics I had skipped before. Or I might get back to reading the comics for their mathematics topics. I’m open to suggestions.

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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