Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 2


In my article about blogging 5 years (part 1), I emphasize quantities of articles over the last five years. This time, I emphasize numbers of words for articles. The images indicate distribution in scatter plots, a line chart, and a box-and-whiskers chart.

The scatter plot for the third year indicates a narrower stream of word counts than the other years. However, it's also the year with the fewest articles. The spread between high and low for word count is as follows:

Sep 2009 to Aug 2010
1323
Sep 2010 to Aug 2011
895
Sep 2011 to Aug 2012
613
Sep 2012 to Aug 2013
1277
Sep 2013 to Aug 2014
852

The line chart shows data points for high, average (mean), median, and low word counts. The box-and-whiskers chart displays the bunching of data. The "whiskers" in the box-and-whiskers graph display the end points to the "box". For each unit:
  • The box represents the middle 50% of the word-count range.
  • The whiskers each depict the other 50%—25% at each end.
  • The line inside the box depicts the median of the word count (spreadsheet-sort of word counts by article and establishing the midpoint).
For each year's period, the line chart numbers for most words, fewest words, and medians coincide with end points and medians in the box-and-whiskers chart. Note that the fifth year "box" (smallest of the five year periods) shows that half the articles fall between approximately 400 and 600 words, with the median around 450.

Some handy resources on graphing, with the first two being the most helpful for me:
Excerpt from Box plot that summarizes "whiskers":
lines extending vertically from the boxes (whiskers) indicating variability outside the upper and lower quartiles
For "5 Years Continuous Blogging, Part 3", I will go into more detail about the road I traveled in obtaining and processing my data.

October 31, 2014: Links to the series
  1. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 1
    Focus on single- and five-year views for total articles, articles with images, and recipe articles.
  2. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 2
    Focus on numbers of words in articles and graphical representations.
  3. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 3
    More details on collecting the data.
  4. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 4
    Emphasis on data sorting and distribution of word count groupings.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 1

I initially started blogging to create writing samples in addition to samples I have for my technical writing portfolio. Every month for the past 5 years, starting in September 2009, I have published something. My monthly count has been as few as one and as many as five. I know the quantity does not come anywhere close to many prolific bloggers, but I know of many bloggers who were sporadic or stopped.

For me, a motivator for publishing was imposing a schedule for myself. Initially,I posted three times a month. During one contract writing/editing job, I cut the posting to once a month throughout 2011. Since then, except for a 16-episode of weekly century plant posts in 2013, I have posted twice a month.

Not sure I'd return to more often if and when I again exit the working world. In any case, when I publish, the motions remind me of the clock reset (countdown timer) in the Lost TV show.

My graphs reflect the stats for the 5 periods for September through August (2009 through 2014). Wanting to generate stats, formulas, and graphs sent me scurrying to some Excel how-to Google searches. (I hardly ever use Excel.) Was I rusty! Couldn't remember how to assign repeating rows, create a formula, or generate a graph! Conveniently, during my research over my 130 articles, I ran across my SurveyMonkey article, which I had foresight to list some Excel formulas.

A couple of handy Excel-info webpages:
The images show 5 years for total posts, posts with images, and recipe posts. Although the 3D graph is cute for the depth looks, I feel the line graph actually shows better contrasts among year-to-year and also type-to-type trends.

I had a bit of fun playing with Excel in creating the tables and graphs, then playing with them in my ancient PaintShopPro 7.04. In Excel, I became reacquainted with inserting some basic formulas and creating graphs. I rediscovered graphing options for type (bar, line), inserting numbers and titles, and moving numbers. In PSP, I further played with moving pieces, cropping areas, and combining the charts.

Related posts, besides the one about SurveyMonkey and using Excel:
For "5 Years Continuous Blogging, Part 2", I will focus on word counts and number spreads.

October 31, 2014: Links to the series
  1. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 1
    Focus on single- and five-year views for total articles, articles with images, and recipe articles.
  2. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 2
    Focus on numbers of words in articles and graphical representations.
  3. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 3
    More details on collecting the data.
  4. 5 Years of Continuous Blogging, Part 4
    Emphasis on data sorting and distribution of word count groupings.
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