Welcome to my, now definitely traditional, review of the past year.
Enjoying the summer sunshine at our house in Vinca, France
Impact and reach
I have continued to post at about ten-day intervals; this is my 187th post. The more I write the easier it seems to become, and I seem to have no huge problems in coming up with ideas to write about. As happened last year, some of my blogs have made it, in slightly modified forms, into print. My most satisfying outcome was a joint effort, arising from my desire for comparative blog statistics as reported in last year’s review. Some of my favourite bloggers and I got together and we produced a paper all about blogging!
I was also invited to give two talks about my blogging and tweeting, one at ENTO17 in Newcastle, the other, much more scary, was a keynote address at the National Biodiversity Network Conference in Cardiff, where I was filmed live on Facebook. For those of you who remain lukewarm about the idea that social media has a place in science, I feel that this is pretty convincing evidence that science communication via social media is a very worthwhile use of our time.
My blog had visitors from 165 countries (164 last year and 150 in 2015), so it looks like my international reach has probably peaked but as there are only 195 countries in total, I guess reaching 85% of them is a bit of an achievement. My blog received 40 853 views (34 036 last year; 29 385 in 2015). This year, for the first time, the majority of my readers came from the USA, with views from India moving from 8th to 5th place.
Top ten countries for views
My top post (excluding my home page) in 2017 was one of my aphid posts, A Winter’s Tale – Aphid Overwintering, which came second last year. although my all-time winner is still Not All Aphids are Vegans with over 6 000 views. My top ten posts tend to be either about aphids or entomological techniques/equipment which I guess means that I am filling an entomological niche.
Top Ten Reads 2017
There still seems to be no signs of the number of people viewing my site reaching an asymptote, or, for that matter, taking off exponentially; just a straightforward linear relationship.
My top commenters, were the same as last year, Emma Maund, Emily Scott, Emma Bridges, Jeff Ollerton, Amelia from A French Garden and Philip Strange. Many thanks to all my readers and especially to those who take the time to comment as well as pressing the like button. I look forward to interacting with you all in 2018.
I continue to tweet prolifically and find my interactions on Twitter very rewarding. I have this year become somewhat more political; Brexit and Trump, need I say more? The majority of my tweets are, however, still entomological and ecological and the increase in political comment has not stopped my followers from growing. I finished 2016 with 4960 followers and begin 2018 with almost a thousand more, 5860. It would have been to hit the 6 000-follower milestone before the end of the year.
This coming year is also marks a change in circumstances for me as I have partially retired, the idea being that I will spend more time doing the things I enjoy and perhaps finally get some of my book projects off the ground. I have a number of projects planned ranging from a field course handbook to a popular science aphid book, if you can imagine such a thing 😊 The idea is that I will spend a significant proportion of my time in France where I hope that the wine and superb scenery will inspire me to great things.
And if anyone is worried that this means that the entomological provision at Harper Adams University will be diminished, rest assured. My reduced contract means that we have been able to appoint a very talented junior member of faculty, Heather Campbell (@ScienceHeather) whom I am sure will be a great success. Additionally, as I will be doing pretty much the same teaching as I have always done, our entomology provision will actually increase. A win-win as far as I am concerned.
Contemplating new horizons?
A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all.