25 Mar 2016

Eight years of aguanomics!

Done. Never again.
As is the tradition (praise be praise be), I am here with the annual report on the blog: where it's been and where it's going (last year's report).

Why I do this
I started blogging in 2007 because I wanted to write in an immediate manner for an engaged audience. Academic publications take far too long to write and publish, and they are hardly good for debates (see this recent disaster of where authors "decline to respond" to my critique of their flawed paper). Newspapers are slightly better but overly local in their focus. Blogging was (and still is) superior to those outlets as well as Facebook, Twitter and other social media that are limited in their access, terrible in their archiving, and anti-conversation in their formatting.

Over the years, I have written about 5,300 posts (there are 400 guest posts), mostly about water, and this process (writing, responding to comments, revising my opinions as I learned from readers, reading and thinking) has done so much for me. That's why I do it, and I hope that readers (just over 500,000, of which 60% came only once) have gotten something from my ideas and suggestions. Indeed, they seem to, if you think about the 10,000+ comments (probably 40 percent me responding to someone).

So, yes, I do it to please myself, but your participation has doubled or tripled that pleasure. Thanks!

Last June, I announced a change in tempo, where I would put out fewer posts per week in an attempt to save you time from reading too many posts (that's what you do, right?) and save me from a constant need to keep the posts appearing regulaly. Back in 2008-9, I was doing about 100 posts/month. Now, I am doing about 30 posts/month -- including the all-important Monday Funnies and Friday Party! This change in pattern has been helpful (especially in the crazed teaching period just completed), but it's dropped visitor activity (comparing the recent month to one year ago) by about 50 percent. On the positive side, people are spending about 10 percent more time on the site when they do visit. I'm not fussed about these numbers because I do not make advertising revenue. I merely hope that visitors find what they are looking for -- and perhaps something extra and useful.

Here's a short overview of the statistics [pdf], which shows that most readers are still coming from the US, and here (for the first time!) is a list of the all-time most popular posts (views in right column):

Jan 23, 2013, 55 comments

Jan 9, 2009, 3 comments
Nov 8, 2010, 13 comments

The guest post on "old guys, young girls" has amazing traffic (and comments) based on a huge disagreement on (mutual?) exploitation. The golf courses post was popular years ago while the posts on pricing tap water and happy birthday (the one where I announce that Living with Water Scarcity could be downloaded for free) are those that reflect an ongoing interest in water (go to this page for a summary of my publications, organized by water use).

Daylight savings? Man, I hate it.

The road river ahead
Although I am definitely busy with teaching and research, I will continue to blog here first, because there's no end of water stories and second, because water is such a huge and important issue for people today (e.g., drinking water) and in the future (climate change, the environment, etc.)

If you have ideas or questions suitable for blogging (or that are just bugging you), then please email me. (You can also follow me on twitter or via newsletter, where there's different material on a daily and monthly basis, respectively.)

Bottom Line Blogging is fun and informative enough to keep me going :)