16 December 2009

daveslandslideblog is two years old today!

Posted by Dave Petley

Very kindly AGU decided to hold a birthday lunch to celebrate the second anniversary of daveslandslideblog (actually the geobloggers lunch, but who’s counting?). I started the blog two years ago as a bit of an experiment to see what would happen, and have really enjoyed putting it together (and I have learnt a huge amount too). During this time I have made 437 posts. I put a web counter on the site in early April 2008, since when the site has had >236,000 page requests from >125,000 visitors. In 2009 to date there have been visitors from 177 distinct countries. Unfortunately, like almost all blog sites Blogspot/Blogger is currently blocked in China, which is the world’s most landslide-prone country. This is a real regret, and may mean that I need to set up a satellite site on a dedicated website at some point.

The pattern of visitors through time is quite interesting too. I track this data on a daily basis (I am such a nerd!), and the long term graph looks like this (this is smoothed with a seven day filter):

The huge peak early on is the Wenchuan earthquake and then Tangjiashan. The subsequent peaks can all be traced to specific large landslide events that have attracted lots of page searches. The overall trend is strongly upwards through time, but is also very seasonal. The key factor appears to be university term/semester dates (especially in the US and Europe), with visitor numbers picking up when term/semester starts (see this autumn for example), and then declining towards the end of the semester/term. Finally, the recent drop off may look alarming, but is just part of the normal cycle – there were lots of landslides in the autumn this year, hence the big peak, which was inevitably followed by a decline, plus numbers have dropped off as the university semesters have finished.

So what is the future of the blog? For now I anticipate keeping it going, although at times it can be a struggle. I notice that the other landslide blog, the strangely-named Landslides under Microscope, appears to have ceased (last post in October), which is a shame. I don’t anticipate any major changes (and I am continuing to resist putting adverts onto the site), not least due to time constraints, but we’ll see. The most bizarre aspect of this has been the recognition over the last year that I am far better known for my blog than for my research – and I have really appreciated all of the positive comments that I have received from people I have met around the world.

Comments and feedback welcome – in particular, how can I make it better?