My most popular posts in 2021 and other lists
11.34, Thursday 23 Dec 2021 Link to this post
I wrote 127 posts this year. I’m pleased with my most popular posts, but they don’t include my personal favourites (skip down for those).
According to Google Analytics, my 5 most popular posts in 2021 were (in descending order):
- What wipes in Star Wars teach us about the brain and also interface design (4 Apr)
- Computers should expose their internal workings as a 6th sense (27 Aug)
- On the impending deletion of Charlie Bit My Finger (27 May)
- Social Attention: a modest prototype in shared presence (22 Mar)
- Salads, shipping containers, and subtle signs of a supply chain reset (16 Apr)
Here’s a longer list: My 20 most popular posts in 2021.
I’ve also collected my favourite, most speculative posts, on topics such as
- A dolphin pope
- Brian Eno
- Frozen heads
Here you go: 16 speculative posts in 2021.
(I’ve added tags to a few of those posts. It’s fun to go exploring if a topic catches your eye.)
Two in that list are legit my fave posts of the year, 50% for the ideas, but 50% because I viscerally remember the way my fingers worked their way to the words. Reading is not writing; I’m not sure how much that feeling transmits. Anyway, somehow there are new turns of phrase and particular ways of connecting concepts that I wish I could get to every time I write.
- The ASMR version of Bee Movie, and other neuro-divergent media (16 Mar)
- Horsehistory study and the automated discovery of new areas of thought (16 June)
I continue to be a terrible judge of predicting which posts will get the numbers, but was gratified whenever I saw my personal faves pop up on the blogs and newsletters of friends and others whose perspectives I really respect. Thank you.
(Dear reader: if you have a particular favourite post from 2021 which isn’t in these lists then I would love to know! It would be interesting feedback.)
Last year: My most popular posts in 2020 and other lists.
- 2017: 22 posts (17,007 words, 244 links)
- 2018: 15 posts (16,786 words, 123 links)
- 2019: 8 posts (7,268 words, 78 links)
- 2020: 116 posts (94,348 words, 712 links)
- 2021, to year end: 128 posts (103,460 words, 765 links)
People often ask me: how do you write so much? Here’s my list of 15 personal rules for blogging from September 2020 which is about evading my own mental traps.
(I wish I could write more.)
I recommend blogging whenever I talk to people with interesting ideas, which is frequently. Start by writing down what you know, I say, in public. Writing things down (a) gives you stepping stones for thought so you can move past your ideas and reach for bigger ones; and (b) fizzes out brand new ideas because the shearing between a thought in your head and your thought in words makes a kind of generative static electricity.
With email newsletters you can get obsessed with “audience” and making each edition “worth” hitting your readers’ inboxes… but with blogging you can let the idea lead. There’s just enough open air to keep you honest. Only do write regularly, otherwise each post becomes an event.
And I realise (looking back on my 2021) that this last one is a trap I’ve fallen into. I wrote approx 3 times/week till the end of September and only weekly since then. My posts have become less playful, which I regret, so I’ll think about that.
Update 31 Dec, 2021: Finalised 2021 stats, above.