Every year I look back over the content I have written and look to see which posts grab the most attention. Thanks to Google Analytics for making this an easy task. Last year was a banner year for thomascwaters.com with readership way up and the blog selected as a finalist for a 2012 Beacons of Equality Award. In the past 12 months, I have had 73,484 page views- an increase of 172% over 2011, and 12,724 unique visitors- and increase of 40% over 2011. Visitors average 5 pages per visit- an increase of 90% over 2011, and visit duration is down 14%. This may be due to my attempt to write shorter posts.
I’d like to mention the 12 posts that received the most number of hits. These numbers are not very conclusive because hits to the home page are higher than to any specific story page. But the numbers are still interesting. I want to mention a few odd ball posts and then then will count down to the top viewed posts.
Posts from the past.
There are three or so posts that were written prior to 2012, but which still get huge number of hits. Either they are just damn good content or something? The highest hit post falls in the category of “something'” because I doubt the way it is written has anything to do with the traffic. High School Wrestling Includes Gay Sex? was written in December 2010 but still gets massive traffic. This is SEO gone a bit nuts. I think any post with key words like “High School Wrestling,””Gay,” and “Sex” are bound to end up on lots of Google Search results. I do think the post is a good one though, so if you never read it, give it a look. Ranking as the 3rd most hit, was a post about gay and straight sex, also written in 2010. This is SEO gone awry as well. Ranking at 6th is an example of really great use of keywords. A post about EM Forster’s career is still read a bunch. If I could always choose such specific key words, I’d be such a success!
Ranking 10th, was a 2011 post about Quiltbag, an ad hoc group started by as local trans activist, which I believed was a great start to “grow a grassroots activist community here in Pittsburgh. While there has been little Quiltbag progress in 2012, I hope we haven’t seen the last of this effort.
Not really a post.
The “About” page of the blog also ranked pretty high. This makes me happy. It says people are interested in knowing about who I am and why I write what I write. Additionally, the category page “general” ranked as a high hit getter.
In March, I wrote about Stacey Gray running for PA’s 3rd congressional district. I met Stacey via community organizing, and she is a wonderful person. I found this story very inspiring, and also educational. I think if you are going to run for office, it is best to have a veery seasoned campaign manager and plenty of money. We can all want to make a difference, but making a difference by getting elected, is very hard work!
An open letter to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl from January made the top 12 posts. In addition to posted on the blog, the letter was mailed via snail mail to the Mayor, but no response was ever received. I have no problems saying I am not a fan of Mayor Luke. In my opinion, he only acts on LGBT issues when pressed to by Gary Van Horn of the Delta Foundation, and he only does it if he thinks it will get him votes, instead of doing it because he believes in it. I’ve had city officials tell me that he is really fairly homophobic, but I have no idea if that is really true or not. He has done good for Pittsburgh’s LGBT community, such as forming the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory board.
This post was in response to the actions of several PA mayors who signed onto a letter supporting same-sex marriage. Mayor Luke was neither signing on, nor saying why he wasn’t, and I believed it was his responsibility to tell the city’s LGBT community if he would sign or not, and why he made the choice that he made. It took him almost six months to come out in favor and sign on to this project! He did so at Pittsburgh Pride, which looks very much like an example of what I have said about his motives.
In April, a Ravenstahl spokesperson was quoted by the Post Gazette as saying the mayor was opposed to same-sex marriage because of his religious beliefs. Later, his administrated claimed this was in error.
Mayor Luke will remain in the spotlight given next year’s mayoral election. There are 3 LGBTQ supportive candidates counting Luke. Who will the community support?
While the local organization that deserves the most kudos for placing Gay Pittsburgh on the map is the Delta Foundation, a local entertainer made it big last year by winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, a TV show broadcast on Logo. I was rooting for Sharon Needles from the get-go even though she was quite controversial. And she still is… and, she is really fantastic. He reign will soon come to an end as a new RuPaul winner will be selected, but I hope Sharon’s future remains bright. She is talented, and when you combine that with controversial, you have the makings of success.
Posts about trans issues show up in 3 of the top 12 spots for 2012, and writing about trans issues has been a major part of the blog for the past few years. Of the L, G, B and T parts of the collective communities, the T’s and B’s are very misunderstood especially by the L’s and G’s. At #8, is a post about trans pronouns by local activist and my friend, Rayden, and #5 and #2 deal with an issue at the University of Pittsburgh surrounding trans issues that I’ll write about in a separate post tomorrow.
One of the saddest local posts I wrote this year surrounded the death of a local gay leader, Joe Christopher/ Joe Cecchini was president and publisher of Cue Magazine. I did not know Joe well, but I expected him to become a real leader within our community as he was a real doer and had great drive and vision. Joe, you are very missed!
Back in the 90’s it wasn’t unusual for young gay men to die, but today it isn’t that way. All in all our community has a new generation of talented, creative individuals who will help shape tomorrow’s LGBTQ community. Joe won’t be among them anymore and I hope it reminds everyone how important precious each life is.
Pitt Trans Controversy
Tomorrow, I’ll write about the single most important local story of the year which appeared twice in my top 12 posts.