Rounding up the best posts of the year is a good habit to get into, but one that I’ve failed to acquire. In 2014 – the ten year anniversary of this site – I rounded up the year’s best performing posts, which does give you a flavour of what was happening that year — but I forgot to repeat it for 2015.
Here, then, are some reflections on the 10 pieces which did best in 2016 (there were 100 posts across the year), plus the older posts which keep on giving, and a comparison of some pieces which did far better on Medium than on OJB.
Curation is the new obituary and local Twitter search tips
2016 was a year marked by celebrity deaths, and the death of David Bowie in January highlighted the new role that UGC and curation was playing in the way we now write obituaries.
The death of Bowie also prompted another widely-read post. As my students looked for local reaction, I wrote
Platform proliferation — and that Snapchat book
The best-performing post of April was a simple list of guides for different social media platforms.was just that.
At the time I was writing my own guide to Snapchat, which became so large I decided to turn it into a short ebook. Published in May, was the first installment in a series of extracts from the book and one of the most-read posts of the year.
One of the challenges of Snapchat was using vertical video filmed using the app in other platforms.explained some useful techniques in using vertical video in articles.
Linked data and structured journalism at the BBC
In June Basile Simon from BBC News Labs (who has since moved to The Times) wrote a guest post on , specifically ongoing work to avoid repetitive work in journalism. “There is a fundamental programming principle,” he noted, “from Hunt and Thomas’ bible: The Pragmatic Programmer: DRY – don’t repeat yourself”:
“And when I see how much we repeat ourselves in news, I cringe.
“The costs multiply and add up every time you repeat yourself.
“Worse, this is not even beneficial to our cherished audiences. The accumulation of articles and pieces about a topic offers to a new reader only the contemplation of an unstructured chaos.”
July: Snapchat changes again
Barely two months after publishing my book on Snapchat I had to update it, when the platform announced that it was launching a crucial new feature.outlined how Memories now allowed users to add footage from their camera roll, opening up a number of new opportunities for journalists on the platform.
September: Google’s AI chat app Allo
outlined how Allo’s AI assistant listened in to your chat conversations and could be used to respond more quickly, or add extra information, while explored some of the ways that it learned information, including using IP addresses to try to locate you even when you have location services turned off.
2 people, 5 datavis tips
On Medium, some posts do better
Occasionally I will cross-post some pieces on my Medium account, largely out of curiosity to see which ones do better over there (sometimes I will edit it a little differently for that platform). The metrics seem to support this: the three most-read posts on Medium did not make the top ten on OJB, and analysis and opinion feature more strongly.
What next? How the news media can respond to losing falls into that category, receiving four times as many views on Medium than it did on this blog.
That came second to an extract from my Snapchat book — Snapchat stories: how to share, how to store, and how to measure — which had a whopping 26 times as many views on Medium (you can compare the OJB version here).
And the third most-read post over there was It’s your filter bubble — not Facebook’s, a reflection in the wake of the UK referendum vote (the OJB version was headlined )
The 8 year old posts which are still being read
Most of the top-performing posts on OJB are from previous years, including some from as long ago as 2008. The most widely read post, for example —
Here are the older posts which had the most views in 2016:
Remind me to do this again in a year’s time…