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My first year by the numbers: Putin on the Ritz

I started out as a writer, and in my experience the two most important measures of a person’s writing are:

  1. How the writer feels about it
  2. How the reader feels about it

There’s also how your mom feels about it, but that’s really a subset of #2 so I went for simple-is-better.

Then when you give up writing and instead pick a profession that kinda-sorta has writing in it, you learn quickly that there are other metrics that must be satisfied, and this is not always easy. For example, the world’s most brilliant, edgy, breakthrough creative advertising campaign is a brick if no one sees it.

So today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. (Insert favorite party noises here.) I began writing it pretty much for myself but quickly became infatuated with the idea that people were reading it. Accordingly, my process over the last 12 months has been unscripted and influenced dually by what was going on with me, and consideration of my readers, both actual and potential. Some things I wrote because thought they would be received well. But most of the time I decided not to write, or not to publish, items that were too “inside baseball” (in which scenario I’m baseball) and/or that I knew would inflame certain important people I knew were reading regularly.

Just so you know, I’m still in that place: I’m still figuring out what this is, what I want to do with it, and how much of it is for me, versus how much for you.

All that said, as a middle-aged professional white guy who stumbled clumsily through life decisions and thus far has done pretty okay for himself, it occurred to me something I could do to celebrate my one-year anniversary was to look back at the year, document the experience in the most objective means possible, and see if it teaches me anything. I hope you find this interesting, but if not, at least it will be short!

***

By The Numbers:

  • 365 days
  • 69 posts published (not counting this one)
  • 15,026 individual views
  • Most views in a day: January 31, 2021 – the day after my birthday, weird! 1,575 views
  • Most viewed posts:

Hmm… nothing terribly interesting there in my opinion. Guess this was a lame exercise.

But WAIT – what’s this?

***

According to Google analytics, only 44% (6,680) of my views originate in the United States. That makes the US the number one origination point by far, but number two, with 2,110 views, is RUSSIA. And Ukraine is number 3, with almost 950 views.

Scroll down the list and there are 382 from Turkey, 149 from Bulgaria, 62 from Turkmenistan (I’ve never even heard of Turkmenistan! Is that a real country? Isn’t that where Borat is from?!). And 45 from Moldova.

So more than 24%, one out of every four views, originates in eastern Europe or central Asia.


I want to make a joke about how I should brush up on my language skills, but the reality is pretty grim and messed up; my substantial comedic skills fail me. I narrowed the date field to only the last six months, to capture the Presidential election and its aftermath. This is objectively when my posts drifted to fairly angry and political. Sure enough, I find that Russian and Ukrainian views are a little more than half the US-based views. For every two friends, neighbors and colleagues clicking on the post, at least one Eastern Bloc internet troll is monitoring me!

Which means they are reading this right now. They know that I know!

The emotions are mixed, but I think the one that lingers is…Hey Mom! I made it!

***

Postscript: I had to find out what the hell a Turkmenistan was, so I Googled it and found this very short video from a YouTuber who basically said the place is crazy AF. Take a look, you won’t be sorry!

 

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