One Million Readers (and Counting)

December 30, 2005 | 33 comments
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Times and Seasons’s received its 1,000,000th visitor yesterday, at approximately 7:19pm. (The server used was cox.net, based in Tustin, CA; the page viewed was this one. Was it you? If so, our thanks, and our congratulations.) T&S has been around for just a little over two years, and we’ve had plenty of ups and downs over that time. But what has always been a constant is readers–whether curious or angry or excited or bored, the readers keep coming by, keep clicking, keep commenting, keep prompting us to do a little bit more and to do what we do a little bit better. For all that, we are more gratified and grateful than we could ever say. All in all, what we wrote on the occasion of our first anniversary still holds:

Blogging takes a lot of time, but we give our time because we like to. We like talking about our thoughts, and hearing others’ thoughts, and (most of all) reading all the thinking and talking and agreeing and disagreeing which invariably follows afterward. Some of you come here for theological speculation, some come for scripture study helps, some come for practical advice, some come for a sounding board regarding new ideas and old complaints. Some come with serious issues, some come to blow off steam. It’s all good. Times and Seasons may be a product of our time, as well as a reflection of our times, but the goal is to provide us all–especially you, our readership–with some seasons to sprinkle on your daily stew. This blog doesn’t aspire to be the salt of anyone’s, much less everyone’s, earth; the work of salting is done person to person, ward by ward, prayer by prayer. We can’t, and don’t want to, take the place of all that. But there are more seasons out there than just salt (some are spicy, some are subtle, some bitter, some sweet). It is our belief that such a seasoning, that all such seasoning, can only add savor to our and your salt; perhaps, sometimes, it can even help preserve it. Not the most direct or vital work in the world, perhaps, but a pleasing and productive and good one, nonetheless.

So, from our times, we bring you seasons to stock your intellectual and spiritual and personal shelves. Thanks for coming, for trying and testing and improving our wares. And please: keep coming back for more.

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33 Responses to One Million Readers (and Counting)

  1. Wilfried on December 30, 2005 at 9:42 am

    I am happy to be allowed to be part of this endeavor, Russell. I congratulate the Founding Bloggers.

    Also congratulations to the One Millionth visitor (his/her time of visiting was 9:19 PM MST). I just happened to be on the lookout when the counter changed to 7 figures!

  2. danithew on December 30, 2005 at 11:13 am

    Congratulations to T&S! I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of hits only increases.

    I have to think that this is the first time any ‘Nacle blog has hit a million visits. Any chance that is wrong? Just out of curiosity …

  3. danithew on December 30, 2005 at 11:14 am

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of hits only increases.”

    I meant to say that I think the speed with which T&S gets its next million visits would be quicker. Not sure why I said it that way.

  4. Ronan on December 30, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    Nice one, T&S. You remain the dogz bolx. Kudos, guys.

  5. Kim Siever on December 30, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    “We like talking about our thoughts”

    Yeah, right.

  6. Kim Siever on December 30, 2005 at 12:28 pm

    Just to clarify, was that the one millionth visitor or the one millionth visit?

  7. Dave on December 30, 2005 at 12:45 pm

    Nice work, T&S. Perhaps you should replace the “most X, yet Y, onymous Mormon group blog” sign with a simpler “One million served.”

  8. Kaimi Wenger on December 30, 2005 at 1:15 pm

    Those are visitors, Kim. Total page views, as of right now, are 2,923,614.

  9. Don on December 30, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    congratulations…you deserve it! But it does show again that I’m just “one in a million”.

  10. Ronan on December 30, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    BTW, my head is hurting thinking about the implications of all this. A million visitors? OK, some will be fleeting visits, but still…. How many people subscribe to the Ensign?

    Oh, the power (and the responsibility!)

  11. Jack on December 30, 2005 at 3:03 pm

    I hope Kim doesn’t mind me unveiling his pun in comment #5–

    But for those who may not know–Kim’s blogspot is called “Our Thoughts.” A fun and fast-growing Canadian site with threads now exceeding a hundred comments.

  12. Nathan on December 30, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    That is a million visits, not a million different visitors, right?

    So if I log off and get back on, I have visited it twice, right?

    If I get on and look at three different posts, I see four total page views, right?

    Let’s say that readership of the Ensign (and other church publications) are at a measley 10% of church membership. That is currently then at 1.2 million a month. That is assuming they pick it up only once a month. This may indeed be true, but let’s say that half of those that receive it, pick it up and read at least two times per month. So each month there are 1.8 million “visits” to the Ensign each month. I don’t know how long T&S has been around, but the archives go back to November 2003 (but looking back at those archives I would assume it has been around longer). That would be 25 months ago. Take the 25 months times the 1.8 million readers of the Ensign and you have 45 million visits in the same time.

    I think the number is relatively conservative and is probably closer to 25% readership (I’d be interested if anybody has figures on this). If this is the case this takes the number from 45 million to 112 million “visits” to the church publications.

    Sorry to bust your notion, Ronan, but T&S has a long way to go to even consider themselves a remote powerhouse as compared to the mighty Ensign.

    But hey, dare to dream big.

  13. Kevin Barney on December 30, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    Nathan, I think your first guess of 1.2 million subscribers of the Ensign is pretty close to the mark.

    I base this on the following snippet from Kieth Merrill’s article in today’s Meridian Magazine on Mr. Krueger’s Christmas:

    “The 25-year anniversary edition of Mr. Krueger’s Christmas — re-mastered, re-recorded, digitally enhanced and sent on DVD with the Ensign Magazine to more than a million members of the Church far and wide — has brought back some of my most marvelous moviemaking memories.”

    “More than a million” sounds pretty close to your 1.2 million guess.

  14. Nathan on December 30, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    I would agree, but I also think that the DVD wasn’t sent with every Liahona (Non-English Equivalent). That is why I am thinking it is higher.

  15. Kaimi Wenger on December 30, 2005 at 4:45 pm

    Site meter is quirky. Basically, any number of visits from the same IP address during a half-hour period will count as one visit. If more than a half hour lapses, the cookie resets.

    So:

    Visit from same IP address, at 1 pm, 1:20, 1:40, 1:50, 2 pm = 1 visit. (never more than 1/2 hour between).

    Visit from same IP address at 1 pm and later that day at 3 pm = 2 visits.

    Hit T&S once while at work, and once while at home = 2 visits (different IPs).

    Various people all hit T&S from the same IP (i.e., a BYU computer lab) = 1 visit.

    It undercounts and overcounts. It is all but certain that the overcounting is more than the undercounting.

    Also, the numbers are deceptive if we are counting “regular” readers. About a quarter of our traffic comes from search engines, and most of these are never heard from again.

    As best I can tell, we have between 1500 and 2000 regular readers.

  16. Nathan on December 30, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    So how long has T&S been around?

  17. Paul on December 30, 2005 at 4:52 pm

    Following up on Nathan’s post, and just to be clear, we are talking about 1M visits from an unknown number of unique persons, correct? Not 1M separate individuals, which would be impossible to track, right? Which is not to diminish the milestone, but just to clarify. Nonetheless, a hearty congrats.

    I must say, over the last two years I have posted on and read from this board at work, at home, at my parent’s, and at my sibling’s. I have used several pseudonyms and have even been banned under one pseudonym. I wonder how much of what transpires on this board comes solely from the bloggers and a few frequent visitors. 90/10? 80/20? 60/40?

    On balance, the nacle in general and T&S in particular are good things. But like all good things, sometimes they stand in the way of great things.

  18. Paul on December 30, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    I should have waited for Kaimi’s post. Thanks for the clarification.

  19. Ronan on December 30, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    Er, well, congrats anyway…. :)

    And I think J. Stapley posited a 1500-2000 regular user base for ldsblogs.org/Mormon Archipelago :)

  20. Nate Oman on December 30, 2005 at 5:54 pm

    re #17: I would like to apologize for standing in the way of greatness…

  21. Kim Siever on December 31, 2005 at 12:16 am

    “Visit from same IP address at 1 pm and later that day at 3 pm = 2 visits.”

    “Hit T&S once while at work, and once while at home = 2 visits (different IPs).”

    Two visits, but one visitor.

    Kaimi, (re: #8), I am aware of the difference between page views and unique visitors. I am also aware of the difference between page views and visits.

    I can come to your website on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On each day, I visit five pages. That is one visitor, three visits and fifteen page views.

    I am not saying that you haven’t had one million visitors. It just that I have never come across analytics software that records separate visits and visitors, and I wanted to clarify whether it was actually one million visitors or one million visits.

  22. Kim Siever on December 31, 2005 at 12:17 am

    Either way, it’s a milestone. Congrats.

  23. Paul on January 3, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    re #17: I would like to apologize for standing in the way of greatness…

    It is your greatness, not mine, so please do not apologize to me. Apologize to your wife, kid(s), employer, community, or other things that blogging displaces.

  24. Jim F. on January 3, 2006 at 6:34 pm

    Every activity displaces some other possible activity. Why single out blogging? Like anything else, it can interfere with a whole, good life. But it isn’t necessary that it do that. Knowing a number of the bloggers her personally, I don’t know of any for whom it does.

  25. danithew on January 3, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    Perhaps with a history of 1 million hits, T&S should seriously consider sponsoring Adsense. All proceeds to go to the Perpetual Education Fund of course …

  26. Paul on January 4, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Perhaps, Jim, it’s simply transference on my part. Did not intend to single out Nate, but his snarky retort provoked me. But isn’t blogging really the equivalent of playing video games?

  27. Nathan on January 4, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Paul,

    No, I actually get some sort of education in blogging – perhaps in trivial knowledge, but even more in the power of the written word. I have learned better ways at expressing myself through the typed letter than the time prior to my blogging. This translates to more concise explanations in my professional writings, of which I have found to be a great stumbling block to many who lack in the skills of the scribe.

    Additionally, I have the opportunity to create debate, rhetoric, thesis, and retorts, all of which have a place in the world outside of blogging. These and others can help one gain confidence as they get to combat in a very non-confrontational matter, learning to hone ones skills in defending their position from others opposing views. Perhaps, to some, maybe yourself, have many of the skills described and many that have not been, to which blogging can assist to strengthen. But no matter how much hand-eye cordination one needs in life, there is nothing that can elevate gaming addictions to the lofty height of those that blog continuously.

    But in the sense that it takes time – you, my good friend, are correct – (shoot, now I am late on the report I have been working on for the bossman, sorry, need to get back to work.)

  28. Nathan on January 4, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    (but I have a lot or work to get to where many of the permabloggers are – at least in my writing skills)

  29. Jim F. on January 4, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Paul (#26): No, for me blogging isn’t the equivalent of a video game. I post questions to help people think about the scriptures for the Sunday School lessons. I get a chance to publish and discuss ideas that I couldn’t do professionally. As I said, blogging can certainly interfere with a whole, good life, as can many other hobbies and activities. But it doesn’t have to do that.

  30. Wilfried on January 4, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Nathan and Jim have well expressed what blogging means. I concur. Having published a fair amount of things in my professional life, I find writing posts an experience of a different kind and very much educational. You submit your short writings to a shifting, mostly unknown audience. The directness of the interaction and the totally unexpected character of each comment (praising, confirming, helping, humorous, nuancing, ironical, snarky, aggressive…), plus the threadjacks, oblige the blogger in his responses to adapt, to adjust, to soothe, and sometimes to snap. In that sense there is, technically, a comparison possible with playing video games. But the intellectual and social investment is of a vastly different order. Above all, as Jim has mentioned in his post on meanness, blogging can be a great school for the improvement of human relations, if we are willing to work on that. I haven’t seen a video game yet that aims at such objectives.

  31. annegb on January 5, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Well said.

    I started blogging about a year ago when I got put in as visiting teaching supervisor. I had no clue there was anything out there like this type of forum. Times and Seasons was the first blog I stumbled onto and truly blogging has blessed my life, in many ways.

    First and foremost, I realized I was not alone in asking tough questions; also, no offense, but I wasn’t the only sort of crazy person in the church.

    I don’t equate blogging with video games at all. What video game teaches and uplifts so well?

  32. cje on January 6, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    What video game teaches and uplifts so well?

    Halo2

    cje

  33. annegb on January 6, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    For reals? Or are you playing with my head? It’s pretty easy to do.

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