In the year of our blog 2019

4 min read
Sign that says eat, drink and post, for tomorrow we die
Eat Drink Post by Cory Doctrow CC-BY-SA

Thought I would join in the year end fun with Tannis, Martin, Tony and others and put together a year end review kinda blog post. Funny. I’ve been blogging about edtech since 2007, and I don’t think I have ever done a year in review retrospective kind of post about my blog.

By the numbers

I don’t rake up near the numbers that Martin or Tony do, with just under 10,000 views by 6300 people this year. Not sure if I should find it gratifying or upsetting that my eponymous blog, where I haven’t written a relevant post for almost 2 years, still gets more traffic than this EdTechFactotum site does, with 12,000 page views and 7450 visitors in 2019.

In terms of posts, I wrote 22 this year, the least I have written in a year since I started blogging in 2007 and far below the output of Martin and Tony who, in “retirement”, seems to put out more in a month than I do in a year. But still a decent output as it is almost 2 posts a month. And my posts are getting longer, averaging 722 words this year compared to 522 last year. Yeah, I’m getting more verbose as time goes on. Not always a good thing.

My most popular post

My most popular post was Digital Literacy vs Digital Fluency published in February. This post was republished by Connections, the journal of Schools Catalogue Information Services (SCIS), which is the organization responsible for catalogue records in Australian libraries. To my surprise, it was pointed out to me that, if you Google “Digital Fluency” my post shows up in the Google “People also ask…” snippets recommendation box, which likely accounts for why that blog post is so popular.

Where people come from

In terms of traffic, Google sent the vast majority of traffic my way (see last paragraph). After that, the social media trifecta of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn were next. 80% of traffic to my site came from those places.

The long tail of referral traffic reveals something interesting, although I don’t know if it significant. I do get a sizeable amount of traffic from other EdTech bloggers who are either referring to my posts, or represent people coming to my blog from theirs, perhaps via a comment I left on one of their posts. The old school way. What is telling is the list of blogs that have refereed traffic to my blog are all written by men. I am not sure what – or if – there is anything to make out of that fact, but anytime I see a list of people that is exclusively male it does make me pause and go hmmmm.

Your say

There is a bit better gender representation among the people who left comments here this year, with 6 of the 15 people who left comments being women, although in general comments were way down compared to the past, with each post averaging 1.4 comments compared to 2013 (8.5 comments per post) or 2017 (7.8 comments per post) back on my old blog. Most of the convo, if any, seems to happen on the socials vs comments left on the blog these days.

2019 themes

Even though I didn’t write as many posts this year as I have in the past, I can see a great deal of variety in what I wrote about. Sure, all centered around edtech in a broad sense, but sometimes diving into specific issues like accessibility, privacy, open education, open source software and (because of my latest project) open homework systems. I also wrote a few posts about teaching & learning in the context of my faculty role at Royal Roads University. And I wrote quite a few posts about the role of the educational technologist in our institutions and the organizations & communities that support educational technologists, like ETUG, ALT and EDUCAUSE, which reflects a growing interest I have in seeing the role of educational technologist grow in importance and influence within our institutions.

What will 2020 bring?

Hopefully, more blogging. Even thought the numbers are down this year and the posts don’t seem to flow like they used to, I still find blogging one of the most professionally satisfying things I do. It is a powerful thing to feel like you have a voice.

2020 will also bring a more concerted effort on my part to both amplify the women in my network who blog, and both comment and refer back to their blogs. To use what they write as a starting off point for my own posts more.

In 2020 I would also like to blog more about one the passion projects I have been working on for years now that I don’t write nearly enough about, the OpenETC. Expect a few more posts about that work. And I am planning on cutting back on my personal use of social media (easier said than done) and want to try to return to using my blog more than Twitter for sharing. Hopefully by the time I do this next year I’ll be able to match the output of some of my contemporaries in terms of quantity. Can’t promise anything about quality.

Oh look, I’m at 882 words. Ending the year even more verbose than I began. Be happy it wasn’t a decade in review post :).


Christina Hendricks December 19, 2019

Thanks for the reflections, which helped spur in my own mind a re-dedication to blogging more. I have virtually stopped recently because most of my evenings and weekends are taken up by my own passion project, a series of intro to philosophy open textbooks. So blogging has ended up pushed way to the margins, and I really miss it!

I get your blog through an email subscription; if I just read it in my email inbox and don’t click through to the site I wonder if that “counts” in the number of views/visitors? I’m guessing maybe not.

I’m looking forward to more about Open ETC, which is something I use fairly frequently and am soooooo thankful for!

Clint Lalonde December 19, 2019

So glad to hear you are finding the OpenETC useful. After working on the project for a few years now, I loved being able to use some of the tools in an actual teaching & learning context myself this year with my RRU students.

I do see email referrals in my stats. They generally show up as,, or whatever email service the person uses. I also get some traffic from the actual WordPress reader app, which I didn’t include in the stats otherwise I would have been pushing 1000 words 🙂

D'Arcy Norman December 19, 2019

I reference OpenETC almost daily here – this morning at our Learning Technologies Advisory Committee as a viable way to provide a managed environment that supports nuance and exploration. Great stuff. What a year!

Clint Lalonde December 20, 2019

Thanks D’arcy. We’re all pretty pumped about the OpenETC and think we’ve got a big year coming up. Have to say, too, it has been great seeing your increased presence in these virtual spaces this year. Looking forward to a great 2020.

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