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.]
- 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.
- “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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Letter from Newcastle (8 October) I wrote so very few “observational essays” in 2009. This is the best, I reckon.
- 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.
- 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.
As the first of my end-of-year posts, here’s a list of the most-read posts from (most of) 2009.
- 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”.
- 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”.
- Virgin Blue’s mistake reveals countless selfish whingers (15 November) A combination of a good headline and being listed at mUmBRELLA helps boost traffic.
- Live Blog: Politics & Technology Forum 2009 (22 February) Again, proof that a slow, steady audience over time can be of great value.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Conversations are not markets, people! (26 July) A long ranty piece that seems to have struck a chord.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Film Review: “Joy Division” (February 2008) I think most people link here for the classic photo of Joy Division by Kevin Cummins.
- Heath Ledger dead: jokes here please (January 2008) My tasteless experiment in Googlebaiting continues to attract visitors.
- 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?
- The Madness of Corey Worthington Delaney (January 2008) And speaking of lowest common denominator… 😉
- What’s wrong with used knickers? (December 2007) Well, it’s a fair question, isn’t it?
- 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:
Here are the web links I’ve found for 22 May 2009 to 27 May 2009, posted automatically.
- The Age of the Essay | Paul Graham: This essay dates from 2004, but it’s still valid. The essay, the kind that’s about exploring an issue, is a natural form of writing online. Plus I like his comments about disobedience and creativity.
- GLAM | Wikimedia Australia: One for your diaries! A little conference called “Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums & Wikimedia: Finding the common ground” at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 6-7 August 2009. Hosted by Wikimedia Australia, with discussions on four themes: Education, Technology, Business, Law. To be opened by Senator Kate Lundy, Senator for the ACT.
- That 180ms is the bane of my life: Network engineer Glen Turner explains why the 180 milliseconds it takes for Internet data to cross the Pacific causes problems. “You’ve got to realise that Australia is almost unique in being a long way from the centre of gravity of its language. Broadly, almost all German-speakers live in Germany, whereas a tiny proportion of English-speakers live in Australia. That has an effect on Internet traffic. Most Internet traffic in Germany stays within Germany. Most Internet traffic in Australia goes offshore.”
- One thing PC users can do that Mac users can’t…: Crude but effective.
- Media and Brand Supremacy: Why the New Media Brand Could Be Nike | The Huffington Post: Heidi Sinclair notes that individual journalists and commentators are sometimes bigger news brands than the outlets they work for. There’s plenty here which meshes with my complains that some folks don’t separate the content (“news”) from the container (“newspapers”).
- texts from last night: A scarily funny collection of people’s (allegedly) drunken text messages. Don’t click through unless you’ve got plenty of time to spare.
- Death in Birth – Where Life’s Start Is a Deadly Risk | NYTimes.com: The first of three articles on efforts to lower the death rate in Tanzania. Excellent timing, given Project TOTO. Challenging to read, however
- The Angelina Factor | Bitchy Jones’ Diary: A ranty article which, in language which may be confronting for some, explores the social and psycho-sexual issues around the idea that Angelina Jolie is universally sexually attractive. Just for the record, I do not find her the least bit attractive.
- Rethinking the Global Money Supply: Scientific American: China has proposed that the world move to a more symmetrical monetary system, in which nations peg their currencies to a representative basket of others rather than to the US dollar alone. The article includes a little history, too.
- “We did not know that child abuse was a crime,”says retired Catholic archbishop | the freethinker: The retired Catholic Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert G Weakland, says “We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature… [I] Accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it’.” WTF?
- Comedy Thrives in Times of Despair | Spiegel Online: Monty Python’s Michael Palin on what the financial crisis is a boon for comics, and the perils of political correctness.
- Hello Africa | Vimeo: A 42-minute documentary about mobile phone culture in Africa.
- Shell On Trial | newmatilda.com: Next week, Shell will appear before a US federal court on charges of torture, extra-judicial killing and crimes against humanity for incidents which took place in the Niger Delta. Will it be the first multinational found guilty of human rights abuses?
- Genital warts take Shoaib out of Twenty20 World Cup | ABC News: There was a time when someone’s medical history was considered private, even if they played sports professionally. Personally, I reckon the specific of Shoaib’s medical problem are none of anyone else’s business.
- PlugComputer Community: The developer community for Marvell’s Plug Computer.
- Plugging In $40 Computers | NYTimes.com: Marvell Technology Group has created a “plug computer”. A tiny plastic box you plug into an electric outlet. No display, but Gigabit Ethernet and a USB. Inside is a 1.2GHz processor running Linux, 512MB RAM and 512MB Flash memory. US$99 today, probably under US$40 in two years.
- Misguided middle-class moaners | BusinessDay: Ross Gittins explodes a few myths about Australia, class, taxation and social welfare.
Yes, Stilgherrian Live episode 44 is now online for your viewing pleasure.
For some reason, I think it’s actually one of the best programs I’ve done. But maybe that’s just my reaction to the opening monologue. You be the judge.
You were the judge, of course, in choosing our “Cnut of the Week”. Senator Penny Wong, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change, and Tom Koutsantonis, South Australia’s disgraced ex-Minister for Road Safety — who I consistently called Tony Koutsantonis for some reason — drew for third place (17%). And in equal first place were neocon robot Karl Rove for his comments about torture and person-on-television Oprah Winfrey for something about Twitter I forget (33%). Which is weird, because I’m sure that as I closed the poll Oprah was in the lead. I blame the bees.
Bees can be blamed for most of the world’s ills.
I also spoke about Ashton Kutcher while showing a picture of Zac Efron, which actually proves my point that they’re all interchangeable muppets anyway.
As the Snarky Platypus says, “They all feel the same in the dark”.
There was a song at the end. And a duck. A duck and a dog, in fact.