Blogging retro 2019

Another year of me wittering on

Hello Christmas, you’re here! That’s a surprise. I know you come at this time every year but although my body is screaming “I am so ready for this!” my brain is yet to catch up.

So, at 7am on a Saturday I’m thinking of ways I can start to close off this year and mentally take a break.

One thing I did last year is to write a blogging retro and take stock. Here’s last years’ retro…

I have a feeling I haven’t hit the goals I set for myself this year, but I think there are reasons for that which are beyond my control, namely elections.

So in this blog you’ll find:

  • some publishing stats
  • some weeknotes stats
  • some thoughts about those things and how they relate to the goals I set last year
  • some thoughts about what I do next year

Publishing stats

I published a total of 50 blog posts in 2019 (not including this one).

Of which:

Weeknotes = 25 (10 episodes for series 6 and 7, 5 episodes for series 8)

Pre-election notes or catchup/ wrap ups = 4

Weeknotes retro = 1 (oops)

Other = 20 (4 of these were bloggrolls for One Team Gov, 4 were published on behalf of other people after their attendance at Well-being Camp, 4 were written about One Team Gov by me and the others were other things I wrote).

Last year I published 60 posts of which 35 were weeknotes. In my retro I said I’d like to replicate a similar number, and set myself a target of 45 posts. I’m amazed that I hit that to be honest, but if you take off the 8 One Team Gov bloggrolls and posts published for other people that’s 42 posts that are truly “mine” which feels about right and shows the disparity against last year more clearly.

Weeknotes stats

Series 6 had an average of 164 views, 43 reads and 13 fans per episode.

The most popular episode was episode 8 with 277 views. That was a bonus double feature that covered the SDinGov conference, with lots of notes, a link to my presentation and more, so it’s likely to have been boosted by people looking for content about that, and because there was more “useful stuff” in it.

Series 7 had an average of 151 views, 37 reads and 11 fans get episode.

The most popular episode was episode 4 with 230 views. I’m not entirely sure of why other than that it included a bit about One Team Gov Well-being Camp and Radical Visions work.

Series 8 was only 5 episodes and had an average of 144 views, 38 reads and 8 fans per episode.

The most popular episode was episode 2 with 256 views. Again, I would classify that as a fairly standard weeknote so no sure about why that would spike, but it does include some info about One Green Gov, local digital fund sift and more, so perhaps that’s why (or perhaps I used a particularly good content tag that week randomly – that is a level of detail I can’t get into right now though).

Plus, it doesn’t really matter when great people like Dyfrig say lovely things like this:

As always the numbers decrease per series, I wonder if this is “Sam-fatigue” or just that there are more people writing and it becomes harder to keep up with everything.

I also wonder if my two long hiatus’ for pre-election periods (and one for the school summer holidays) have decreased my visibility or if the subsequent “intimidatingly epic” catch ups (as David would say) put people off.

I’m not sure that’s true as my summer catch up had 47 reads, so maybe it really is fatigue – eek.

Other stats

My most successful other posts of the year look like this:

1. One Team Gov Radical Visions brief, a post I put together to help people understand how to get involved received 1.2k views and 439 reads.

It’s not hugely surprising as I really pushed the boat out on getting people involved with this, sharing the link widely to our global network and beyond. It got shared a lot on Twitter and LinkedIn, so it shows what a difference it makes to really promote and push content.

2. What has One Team Gov actually achieved? A post I wrote about all of the things going on in One Team Gov has had 517 views and 206 reads to date.

I’m glad I wrote this because I think it’s really important to record and remember this stuff.

3. My Work Well-being Wall, a post about how I record my achievements to try and beat impostor syndrome has had 436 views and 148 reads to date.

I’m really surprised that this was so popular as I really didn’t think much of it at the time, in fact I though people would probably find it a bit inane and boring. Jonathan mentioned that it was picked up and shared on the GDS mental health network slack channel which probably boosted it.

It also got a lot of love from people on twitter, which goes to show that sometimes you just don’t know how something will land.

This below tweet isn’t about me but it’s just a useful reminder…

4. Weeknotes for personal and professional development. A post write up I did for my presentation at the Ada’s List conference has had 318 views and 67 reads to date. I’m pleased about this as this post was read by a lot of new people outside of my usual readership and I’m glad I got it published so that people could interact with it on the day.

5. Apolitical Crash Course in Network building for Public Servants. This was a write up of the presentation I gave with Miki and Nour. It has had 296 views and 47 reads to date. I think this disparity might be because of the length of the post, it was a lot, and looks very long, as such people might dip in and out, skewing the analytics slightly.

My main reflection is that for the first time I really feel ownership of all of this work, it was mine, I did it. I got those thoughts out in the open and shared some great conversations about them. I’m proud of that.

My next most popular posts were:

6. One Team Gov Radical Visions intro, 267 views.

7. Purdah notes, a post covering 5 weeks of missing weeknotes, 220 views.

8. Weeknotes summer catch up, a post covering work over the summer holidays (essentially a long weeknote) 177 views.

9. A post for World Mental Health Day 2019, 157 views.

10. Want to write for One Team Gov? 148 views (this needs pushing some more but is a useful resource when we need it).

11. A spotters guide to staff networks: Don’t squash the cake, 146 views. I’m not sure about this, I wrote it a long time after the event so it’s possible I didn’t manage to explain the insights well. A lesson in writing things up as you go.

12. The Community Leadership Summit at TechFestival Copenhagen, 72 views. A disappointing one but I guess not surprising. Disappointing because this felt like a huge thing for me, travelling for work, living the dream, and a load of new people interested in One Team Gov, but I guess not everything will land. Just because something feels important to me doesn’t mean anyone else will care.

Goals for 2019

After my 2018 retro I said I would retro after each series. In reality I only managed 1 series retro for series 6, that’s not really good enough and here I am again at the and of the year working out if I was on track – must improve this!

I wanted to write more “useful blogs” and aimed for 10. I think of what I’ve written there are probably 8 “useful” things there. I’m ok with that.

I also wanted to write more collaborative blogs and I’ve achieved that through publishing for One Team Gov and by helping Arfah via the #10moreblogposts initiative.

I also said I wanted to do more video or podcast stuff this year. The radical visions piece was all about video and I loved that, I even recorded my own short entry. And I really loved talking with James, Imran, Trilly, and Jess after our day at the Community Leadership Summit, which I think makes an interesting starter for something resembling a podcast (another reason I guess why it was disappointing that nobody read it!)

And goals for 2020?

Keep going! I want to set myself some goals to cover off my time in the National Leadership Centre and talk more openly about what I’m learning.

I’d like to do even more collaborative stuff and I’ve offered my support to Muslamic Makers and Arfa to help anyone who wants to publish after their event next year, I hope something comes of that.

I’d like to write about 4 series next year and aim for 10 “useful” posts again. I’m dropping my ambition for #NaBloPoMo because, no, just no way I can manage that, especially as half term holiday is immediately before it!

And that’s it, goodbye 2019 – hello 2020!

See you on the other side!

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