10 July 2014

I Do Blog Math (Hell Froze Over)

I don't do math unless absolutely forced to.  Maybe not at gunpoint -- that's so melodramatic -- but certainly under threat of ruining my GPA.  And occasionally, to stave off boredom.

You know when you get so bored sometimes that you're willing to do things you absolutely hate?  Pluck your eyebrows, watch the news, or thumb through Twilight?  Well, in order to break a particularly disastrous bout of monotony, I decided to do some math on my blog.

I got a little crazy with it, once I broke through the how of the math problem.  (Give me a formula and I'm all yours, but asking me to figure something out on my own is like asking me to repaint my nails with molten lava.)  I actually came out of it with graphs.  Graphs.  But at least they're very pretty graphs and rather interesting to look at.

But interesting in a "I'm sure this means something but I haven't the faintest idea what yet the colors are all shiny" kind of way.  Imagine being dragged into an art museum and being asked to try and appreciate a piece of art that consists of three lines, one red, one black, one yellow.

It's kind of like that.

What I'm actually getting to in all of this is blog analyses.

I am going to show you a succession of graphs and then I will explain what they mean, and how they can be useful to you.  (You can have your own pretty graphs!  And feel really smart because you did math without the threat of losing your 4.0 GPA!)

posts per month
posts per month
What you're looking at is a graph rendered from a table.  (Oh, look at me, I'm giving myself shivers.)  What I wanted to know was what my posting consistency looked like per month over the entire time I've been blogging.

As you can see, it's very erratic, even dropping off for the entire summer of 2013.  (Summer 2013 was a rough one for my family, because my uncle had just passed away from a 10-month battle with cancer.)

But this wasn't entirely what I wanted.  Yeah, I thought, knowing how often I post over the months is good to know I reckon, but then I realized something interesting.

When I went back in my archives searching for how often I posted per month, I realized something.  In my very first month of blogging, I posted fifteen times.  Of those fifteen posts, fourteen of them were reviews.  Pretty impressive.  But what's more -- how often I posted reviews went down over the months/years, being replaced as they were with memes and updates and interviews and giveaways.

So I thought: I wonder what my ratio of reviews versus posts is.

I finally figured out what to call this: concentration of reviews.

review concentration per month
review concentration per month
These two graphs are what came of that.

The percentages came from the number of reviews per month divided by the number of posts.

So who cares, right?  What am I supposed to even do with this information?

I am a book review blogger, and while I average 60ish reviews a year, I want to up my reviews per month.  But I don't want to return to the 93% concentration that I had in my first month of blogging, because that would mean almost matching every non-review post (memes, giveaways, etc) with a review and I don't read that much!

So, an appropriate ratio, I think, given how many non-review posts I have now, is 30% or better.  My average over the last almost-five years of blogging is 33% review concentration.  I would like to keep that average as much as possible.

That means, for the month of July, if I post every day, then 10 of those posts should be reviews.

In reality, none of this really matters.  It's good to know because it helps in making an intelligent decision on what you're capable of doing.  For example, when I first start school, I only average 16 posts a month and 5 reviews.  That means that, if I break average posts/reviews, I'll get my 30% review concentration.

It's actually very interesting what my average is per month.  Towards the end of the school year (April/May) my post count dramatically goes down, but then rockets up in June and July and the end of the calendar year is just generally erratic.  See?!  Hell.  Frozen.  I'm suggesting math is interesting!

Since this doesn't help in reality except for establishing what you're capable of, which is in turn helpful to setting goals, I can't tell you what this is useful for other than for having something to do.

So, next time you're bored, start throwing some numbers together from your blog and make your own pretty graphs!  I promise it'll make you seem super, duper smart.

Note: It really, really helps if you set your archive list up in your sidebar (in Blogger) so that you can see each individual post.  (To distinguish between review and regular post.)

Note 2: And also, make sure that you're counting a review as a post.  So when you're determining how many posts you have for a month, include your reviews in that number.

what do you think?