Fine posts for 2009

Since the most popular posts for 2009 were pretty disappointing, I reckon, here’s my personal selection of my thirteen best, more timeless posts for 2009. Happy reading!

[Update 29 December 2009: In case it isn’t obvious, these are in order of writing through the year, not of merit or anything else.]

  1. Jim Wallace’s pro-censorship lies and distortions (26 January) It disgusts me that someone claiming to speak on behalf of “moral” Christianity deliberately distorts the evidence and misrepresents his opponents. It’s the most appalling hypocrisy. While this piece relates to specific events in the news, the explanation of his dirty tricks stands the test of time, methinks.
  2. “Clive Hamilton, you’re really starting to shit me!” (16 February) Wallace’s compatriot Clive Hamilton is equally guilty of dodgy rhetoric and straight-up misrepresentation. Again, some useful lessons about political messaging.
  3. Fisting Twitter and the birth of “trend fisting” (1 March) This was the most popular post too. Perhaps this is my true legacy from 2009?
  4. Pia Waugh: An interview for Ada Lovelace Day 2009 (24 March) This video interview was recorded before Pia started working for Senator Kate Lundy. An interesting backgrounder.
  5. Anzac Day 2009: Sacrifice (25 April) Anzac Day always brings out my reflective nature — though perhaps only I would start an Anzac piece with cat vomit.
  6. Look, about that damn topless gnome… (27 May) I’m annoyed that a tangential discussion about a $3.50 garden gnome soaked up so much time which should have been spent on the real purpose of Project TOTO. Nevertheless, it gave me a chance to make some points about independence and how organisations can get trapped in their own worldview.
  7. The Poverty Web (3 July) The only lengthy Project TOTO piece to be written while I was actually in Tanzania, and still perhaps the best — though more will emerge. Eventually.
  8. The really real revolutionary revolution of the Internet (23 July) I posit that things like the many Government 2.0 initiatives are still only nibbling around the edges.
  9. Conversations are not markets, people! (26 July) This one was popular. I’ve noticed that this year I’ve been increasingly concerned about the focus on markets and business at the neglect of other aspects of our society.
  10. Risk, Fear and Paranoia: Perspective, People! (27 September) Penny Sharpe MLC asked me to say something controversial at her NSW Sphere event on 4 September. Here it is. The full video and transcript of my somewhat rambling discussion of the challenges facing the Government 2.0 revolution.
  11. Letter from Newcastle (8 October) I wrote so very few “observational essays” in 2009. This is the best, I reckon.
  12. Media140: What do journos do better, exactly? (5 November) My presentation to Media140 Sydney was widely misunderstood. I was posing a question, a challenge, not saying that journalists have no purpose. What I was trying to say was that in a rapidly-changing media landscape, employee-journalists need to be able to answer this question.
  13. Virgin Blue’s mistake reveals countless selfish whingers (15 November) Apart from all my writing about Internet censorship, the other prominent theme does seem to be a certain dissatisfaction with selfishness and consumerism. What struck me most about the comments on this piece was that those who disagreed took it all so very personally.

One thing this list doesn’t reflect is that so much of my writing was elsewhere this year. My plan to do more paid media work and less geek-for-hire did actually unfold reasonably well.

I’ve been very happy with some of the pieces I wrote for Crikey, newmatilda.com, ZDNet.com.au and ABC Online, and the work I did on the podcasts A Series of Tubes and Patch Monday, and even the various radio and TV interviews that were linked to as the year progressed.

Most of the written material is linked from my Media Output page. I encourage you to explore — if only for your children’s sake.

You might also like to check out my personal favourites from 2008.

Most popular posts of 2009

As the first of my end-of-year posts, here’s a list of the most-read posts from (most of) 2009.

  1. Fisting Twitter and the birth of “trend fisting” (1 March) I daresay that for many visitors this piece wasn’t what they were really looking for. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting Twitter case study. For some value of “interesting”.
  2. So what is Stilgherrian, exactly? (12 April) Almost as popular as the official About Stilgherrian, which isn’t listed here because technically it’s not a “post”.
  3. Virgin Blue’s mistake reveals countless selfish whingers (15 November) A combination of a good headline and being listed at mUmBRELLA helps boost traffic.
  4. Live Blog: Politics & Technology Forum 2009 (22 February) Again, proof that a slow, steady audience over time can be of great value.
  5. Jim Wallace’s pro-censorship lies and distortions (26 January) Wallace speaks for the Australian Christian Lobby about Internet censorship, using the “extreme libertarian” straw man and other fallacious debating tricks.
  6. Special Melon Pepperoni Edition now online! (28 March) It’s probably less that this post is about an edition of Stilgherrian Live, more that it includes Andrew Bolt’s astoundingly tasteless slur on those who oppose Internet censorship.
  7. What now for Senator Conroy and the Magic Filter? (30 March) Again, not what I’d have picked from my many writings about Internet censorship, but there you go.
  8. Conversations are not markets, people! (26 July) A long ranty piece that seems to have struck a chord.
  9. Project TOTO: the #secretmission has begun! (19 May) Interesting that the post announcing this project was the most popular, and then interest declined. Why? My guess is that visits to this post were inflated by so many people commenting on The Gnome Incident rather than the substance of the project. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
  10. Live Blog: ALIA Information Online 2009, Day 1 (20 January) This is a big surprise. However we’ve now moved well out of the long head of very popular content and all sorts of factors could come into play. I suspect that traffic to this page was a short, sharp spike around the time of the conference and then virtually nothing since.

Many older posts also continued to be popular.

Indeed, 5 of the top 10 posts of all time are not from this year, and it took longer to work down the list to find a Top 10 for 2009 than it did to find the Top 10 of all time — yet more proof that the more material you have on your website the more visits you’ll get. Don’t delete your old material, people!

This could also explain why the Top 10 above is mostly from the first half of the year.

OK, the Top 10 posts of 2009 that weren’t written in 2009.

  1. So this is human sexuality? July (2008) Little more that a collection of the popular words from sex-related spam, it continues to attract 2000-odd visits a month.
  2. Julie, I want to make you a star (in a Samantha Fox kind of way) (September 2007) My ode to Julie Bishop, popular because of its photograph of Samantha Fox.
  3. Live Blog: Internet censorship forum (November 2008) Can anyone tell me why this post is the most popular of the many I wrote about Internet censorship prior to this year?
  4. Hello Kitty, you’re dead, and other surprise products (October 2007) People link to the (fake) photo of the Hello Kitty AK-47. Few seem to realise it’s a joke.
  5. Film Review: “Joy Division” (February 2008) I think most people link here for the classic photo of Joy Division by Kevin Cummins.
  6. Heath Ledger dead: jokes here please (January 2008) My tasteless experiment in Googlebaiting continues to attract visitors.
  7. More Steve Irwin jokes (September 2006) Another lesson: Providing a forum for the lowest common denominator of society generates hits — but are they of lasting value?
  8. The Madness of Corey Worthington Delaney (January 2008) And speaking of lowest common denominator… 😉
  9. What’s wrong with used knickers? (December 2007) Well, it’s a fair question, isn’t it?
  10. Used knickers, revisited (January 2008) I detect a theme developing here. Thank goodness we’ve reached #10.

You might also like to check out my own selection for what I think was best, plus the lists for previous years:

“Clive Hamilton, you’re really starting to shit me!”

Photograph of Clive Hamilton

Well, he is! As part of The Australian‘s “super blog” on Senator Conroy’s Rabbit-Proof Firewall plans, Clive Hamilton has remixed his favourite old party piece. This time his rant is entitled Web doesn’t belong to net libertarians. Have a look. It’s a giggle.

OK, back? Cool.

Now I’ve dismantled most of Hamilton’s logical fallacies, baseless slurs and misinformation before, here and over at Crikey. Still, if Clive wants to sing the same old tune I’m happy to hum along one more time…

Clive, you started by saying, “Here is the kind of situation the Government’s proposed internet filter is aimed at,” and then provide a detailed description of an unsupervised schoolboy looking for porn.

Is it?

Continue reading ““Clive Hamilton, you’re really starting to shit me!””

Two more articles on Internet Censorship

Crikey logo

Two more articles from me about Internet censorship today. And it’s only Monday. I wonder what the rest of the week will produce?

  1. Google Takes a Slash and the world ends in Crikey, which riffs off the weekend’s glitch at Google and yesterday’s Internet outage in Melbourne and concludes that a glitch in ISP-level filters could cause massive problems.
  2. Christian Lobby: The New Lions Of Clean Feed in New Matilda, which looks at the dodgy arguments being deployed by the latest pro-censorship warrior, Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby.

Hey New Matilda, I know I haven’t included your logo, just Crikey‘s. But I couldn’t be arsed doing pixel-pushing just now. You’ll cope.