Thursday, February 15, 2024

albertnet 15th Anniversary + My Favorite Posts!


I almost missed a big milestone this week: the fifteenth anniversary of albertnet! 

I well remember the day I decided to start this blog. It was a blustery afternoon in early February of 2009, and I was having a late lunch at a Russian tea room in San Francisco, south of Market, with some long lost UCSB friends. We got to talking about writing, and S—, who had seen some of my freelance articles in the Daily Peloton, suggested I take a crack at blogging. He had a blog about travel gadgets at the time (though I cannot find it now).

So, on that cold February day I decided to take up S—’s suggestion, and fifteen years on I’m still at it. Should I be? Is albertnet a success? Well, as a former boss once told me, “Metrics are important in this space.” He was talking about a different space, but let’s look at some numbers anyway.

albertnet metrics

  • $0 – how much money I’ve made from albertnet
  • 714 – number of posts so far
  • 2.2 million – estimated number of total words
  • 3.7 – times the size of War & Peace
  • 144 – estimated hours it would take to read it
  • 3,500 – estimated hours I’ve spent writing it
  • 1.9 – estimated years writing it, if a full-time job
  • 26.5 – months it would take to read it, at 1 post/day
  • 5.7 – estimated # of reams of paper to print it out
  • 46 – number of followers
  • 921,373 – number of total page views to date
  • 186,000 – estimated cumulative hours readers have spent here*
  • 1 – *Number of very big ifs regarding that last metric

In a previous post I defined a successful blog as “one that shows up for work.” By that measure, I’d say albertnet is doing fine. My goal has been to blog four times a month, and I’ve averaged 3.97. Moreover, irrespective of what others think of it (e.g., followers, readers, skimmers, randos who stumble in here and quickly leave, haters, and bots), this blog has amused me all the way along … and as I’ve recently explained, that’s pretty much the whole point. See how easy success can be when you narrow the definition this way? It reminds me of this motivational poster:

(If that looks familiar, it’s because it’s from this very blog.)

Other measures of success

Okay, great, I consider albertnet a success because it’s been a good hobby for me. But has it contributed to the world in any way? Well, I do think it’s made something of a mark, based on certain posts that have been popular enough to climb to the top of Google’s search results. Here are ten search phrases that produce an albertnet post on the first page of results:

  • spelling of kindergartner (second result listed, right after dictionary definition)
  • cowboy sam review (second result)
  • bicycle “corn cob” poem (first image result, second text result)
  • inner tubes fascinating (first non-video result)
  • tire chains seething (my East Bay Times story is the first result; my blog post is second)
  • velominati “BS” (second result)
  • missy giove acne (second result)
  • lance eminem (third non-video result)
  • cycling world record Berkeley
  • “how to write a sonnet”

Google searches used to be a more helpful measure of my blog’s impact, back when merit alone determined placement in a search. For example, for at least five years my vasectomy post was the very first result when you googled “California vasectomy law.” But those were the olden days. There’s money to be made on search results, and over time companies have learned how to use SEO, content marketing, and various other techniques to get themselves featured higher, confounding the “organic” search results of yesteryear. The fact that some albertnet posts still perform well in Google searches tells me I really am touching a nerve here and there.

Which brings us to reader comments. Candidly, I don’t get a lot of comments on this blog, but sometimes the quality of a reader’s feedback is so heartwarming, it fuels my resolve to keep going. I’ll give you a couple of examples. I blogged about a favorite children’s book, Cowboy Sam, and as you can see here, the granddaughter of the author left this comment:

Dana, I have to say that I enjoyed your post about the Cowboy Sam series. Very entertaining, well written and definitely brought a smile to my face! Edna Walker Chandler was my Grandmother and passed away in 1982. Her son (my father) passed in 2014 and I inherited copies of most of her books. Would you mind if I copied your post to my family history book for personal purposes only? Thank you! --Celeste Chandler

And below my post “Farewell, La Fiesta” about a favorite restaurant that closed, you can see this gem of a comment:

This made me cry.

They called me “Cinco Verde, Budweiser” for many years. A #5 is a Chile Relleno, an Enchilada and Rice and Beans.

I’m bawling. 

How am I celebrating?

So … you may be wondering if I’m doing anything to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of this arguably successful blog. Will I be buying a new car for every one of my readers? Or throwing an amazing party with a free taco truck and a live band? Alas, I don’t really have that kind of budget. So, along the lines of the the albertnet index that accompanied my fifth anniversary, I’ll provide something here that should interest my loyal readers: a list of my very favorite posts.

You may wonder how this would be more useful than the list of most popular posts that I already provided. Well, popularity is not necessarily the best indicator of quality. Sometimes a post goes viral (at least, in a modest, albertnet way) because it gets referenced in some other place that gives it inordinate traction. This was the case with “No Mo’ NoDoz,” which was cited in a scientific journal for some reason. Not a bad post, but for about 18 months it was insanely popular and until I chased down that source, I couldn’t figure out why.

So, I’m reasoning that if you like my blog, you must like my style, and would naturally respect my literary taste, and it’s pretty likely you’ve missed a few great posts over the years. So, with no further ado, here is my list. It was really hard choosing my favorites so I didn’t narrow it down too much: I came up with my top 35. That might seem like a lot, but it’s only the top 5% of all posts. I couldn’t possibly decide which are my very favorites among these, so I present the list chronologically, with the most recent at the top:

Dana’s favorite albertnet posts:

I’ll update the above list over time, like I’ve done with the index. Check back often! Tell your friends!

Well, I guess that’s about it. Thanks for fifteen great years, unless you just got here, in which case it’s about time! ;-)

Email me here. For a complete index of albertnet posts, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment