2016 was a year for the books. I read a lot more this year, and listened to a lot of good music, so that’s a good thing. On the other hand, as demographics and biology would decree, our Greatest Generation and Baby Boomer heroes passed away at a seemingly increasing rate—time even started catching up with my Gen X peers. I endorsed people younger than myself for President of the United States, even though we ended up with a choice between an old corrupt white guy and an old corrupt white woman, electing a neo-Nazi to the White House. God bless the Republic, if we can keep it. I also continued my relaxed publishing schedule, working too much and not playing enough. I don’t do New Years Resolutions, but playing more and working just work hours would be a good one.
#1 post of 2016: Cheyenne-Laramie County, Wyoming, Historical Timeline: I worked for 2 years on this keyword-rich listing of major events from 1833-1992, published before I left the Cowboy State in 2014, when it was my 2nd most popular post. With 640 page views in 2016, this post returns as #1 this year by far. (I knew I should have been a historian.)
#2 Diary of Orrin Brown—Dec 15, 1864: The Battle of Nashville. Orrin Brown was laying siege to Savannah, Georgia, while Sherman’s Union rear guard held off Confederate John Bell Hood. With 126 hits, the #2 post from 2015 returns in the same slot this year (historian…).
#3 Behind the Bakken Boom #4 Where the Well Things Are #13 Bittersweet in the Bakken: These posts are the most popular thing I’ve written that’s remotely work-related. There’s Oil in them there Bakken hills (and in the Denver-Julesburg, and in the San Juan Basin…) and Natural Gas if you want it. The 2013 Well Things post was #3 last year with 128 hits, while the 2012 Bakken Boom post from the annual Western Planner Conference rebounded from just 37 hits in 2015. Bittersweet in the Bakken is a late 2013 re-post from a high school friend and North Dakota native who had returned to work the oil fields—he has since moved his business back East. Given the severe pullback in Oil & Gas, these posts deserve a follow-up in the new year (another Resolution, perhaps?).
#5 Little (Lego) House on the Prairie (Style): Perennially popular post from 2009, where Lego goes all Frank Lloyd Wright, down one spot from last year.
#6 All Things Shepard: History meets genealogy. Down one spot, this page is due for some TLC.
#7 Main Street Spearfish: Flashback from my preview of the Western Planner Conference of 2009 in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Western Planner went digital-only, subscription-free starting today. Not all change is good change, but we adapt or die.
#8 Diary of Orrin Brown—Dec 31, 1864: A keyword-rich review of the timeline of the Civil War, from 15 April 1861 to the end of 1864. Up from #10 last year.
#9 / #1 new post of 2015 Diary of Orrin Brown—March 20, 1865: Pvt. Brown joins the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, as far as I could figure the only sure time he picked up arms, and just two days before he was put on permanent disability. The 14th Michigan Infantry held their own. Down from #6 overall last year.
#10 Back to the Buffalo Commons: March 2013 post on population change and migration in the Great Plains states, back when oil & gas were creating jobs and attracting new residents. Also due for a follow-up (pesky Resolutions).
The next dozen most popular posts include several of Orrin Brown’s diary entries in 1864 and 1865, my About page (?), and a couple music posts (Ten Albums for 2015 / 10 More Albums for 2015 / The Day the Music Died).
#1 NEW post of 2016 / #24 overall: #NeverTrump: Not only did I publish less, but I published shorter (less keyword-rich) posts. The theme of the election year, however, was clearly the Presidential race, and for me my participation in (and then alienation from) the Republican primary and general election. In September, I endorsed independent candidate Evan McMullin for President of the United States. McMullin continues to serve as an independent Conservative voice in loyal opposition. As Thomas Jefferson is said to have said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.
#2 NEW post of 2016 / #26 overall: Dori Freeman, Cactus Blossoms and Loretta Lynn—Winter’s Promise for Spring to Come: May post highlighting some favorite new Americana albums released early in the year. Dori ended up with my favorite single of the year (post to be polished and published). Year-end followup of my favorite Americana Albums for 2016 published just yesterday.
Quality, not Quantity
Traffic definitely reflects my new posts activity. I published my fewest number of posts last year since I started the blog. When I was posting Orrin Brown’s Civil War Diary every day, my traffic went up substantially. So did my Spam traffic; don’t miss that. Most of my readers are in the United States, with a few with computers in Germany and Brazil (or would those be the Spambots?).
Yet, dear reader, this blog is mostly a repository of my work and play, shared with the Interwebs in case it might help folks out. That might be reflecting on community and economic development, politics and public policy, or popular culture and the random Pursuit of Happiness. Whatever your interest, thanks for taking time to visit.