Welcome to the next post in our Pencil Blog Stats series. This time we’re adding what is probably the second oldest English-language pencil blog into the mix: Pencil Talk.
The other Pencil Talk
The official address is http://www.penciltalk.org/. I am mentioning this because for many years there was also http://www.penciltalk.com, which I think belongs or belonged to a school teacher. At some stage visitors got a warning about malicious code on that web site when trying to load the web site in their browser, but these days you just get a 403 and 404 error.
OK, let’s look at the number of blog posts over time.
The horizontal axis shows time (the more left, the longer ago), the vertical axis shows blog posts (starting with 0 at the bottom, reaching more than 600 blog posts near the top).
Pencil Talk’s first blog post was end of 2005. If we look at the blog posts over time there seem to be five distinct phases.
Phase A – Off to a good Start
At the end of 2005 Pencil Talk is off to a good and consistent start. The number of blog posts grows steadily.
Phase B – The Spurt
Then, in the Summer of 2007, we have the beginning of Pencil Talk’s spurt. We’ll see later that this spurt is matched in strength by the blog we looked at previously, but that the length of Pencil Talk’s spurt, from the Summer of 2007 to the end of 2010 / beginning of 2011 is unmatched.
Phase C – The Slow Down
Between the beginning of 2011 and Autumn 2014, we have the slow down where new blog posts became more and more scarce.
Phase D – The Big Empty
The blog was then taken offline in Autumn 2014 and was only put back online two years later. I was running a mirror for a day, but took it offline at the request of Pencil Talk, so access to the Pencil Talk content was only possible via the archive.org web site.
Phase E – A New Hope
Yay, Pencil Talk is back online. We’re all so happy.
Throw the Talk in the Mix
When comparing Pencil Talk with Pencil Revolution it’s becoming clear how enormous Pencil Talk’s spurt (Phase B) actually was. The gradient is similar to Pencil Revolution’s most productive periods, but it lasted more than three years. During this spurt, in Spring of 2008 Pencil Talk overtook Pencil Revolution in terms of the number of blog posts.
Awards, Awards, Awards…
I am happy to announce that
Pencil Revolution deserves the Golden Pencil Case for being the oldest pencil blog and that
Pencil Talk deserves the Golden Pencil for having most posts.
In case you wonder. Both awards are purely virtual. (Bleistift.blog is a free blog without advertising, after all).
Coming soon: How does the word count compare?
As always in this series: if the blog owner contacts me and objects I will take this post about their pencil blog offline, so there is a chance that some of these stats posts won’t stay.
To simplify the data collection the cut off point for this blog post was the end of the first quarter 2018.
Let’s have a look at the word count plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the blog posts. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the word counts of the blog posts.
Each dot represents a blog post. Early posts are on the left, recent posts are on the right. Short posts are near the bottom, long posts are higher up.
The black line is a straight linear regression line. The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first years, posts got longer and longer, while in recent years posts got shorter and shorter.
Cumulative Word Count
Looking at the cumulative word count we see that all Pencil Revolution blog posts together reached a word count of nearly 170,000 by now.
In this chart, the solid line shows the number of cumulative blog posts, as seen in the previous blog post, while the dotted line shows the cumulative word count. The average word count per post is 266, both lines are aligned accordingly. You can see that up to 2011 the posts were longer than the current word count average, while the posts since 2016 have been shorter than the current word count average.
That’s it for now like I said – just a quick blog post to show I’m still here. I hope to post more once work is less busy.
No, I’m not talking about the song by Schradinova.
A New Series
I’m talking about Johnny’s pencil blog – because this is another one of those R / statistics blog posts – as threatened previously. I actually started to work on this in 2015. Originally I wanted to present all the data in one blog post, but because there are old pencil blogs disappearing and new ones appearing regularly this somehow hasn’t worked out yet.
That’s why I’ve now decided to switch to looking at the pencil blogs one by one, always adding to the previous stats and since I haven’t yet figured out a better way of ordering them I decided to start chronologically. The thing is, though, if pencil shops have been around for decades, there may be older pencil blogs I’m not aware of. If you know of any pencil blogs please let me know in the comments, so that I can add it to my list of blogs to be covered. At the moment I have around 30 pencil blogs on my list. Some of the next blogs to be covered will be Pencil Talk, Dave’s Mechanical Pencils and Lexikaliker.
I decided to stick with pencil related blogs, but if there is any interest (usually there isn’t much interest in the statistics related blog posts here) I’m happy to expand to more general stationery blogs.
Also, if the blog owner contacts me to object I will take the blog post about their blog offline, so there is a chance that these stats posts won’t stay.
Here’s the first plot about the oldest pencil blog I know: Pencil Revolution. If there are no objections from Johnny other stats about Pencil Revolution will follow soon.
So far there have been 635 blog posts on Pencil Revolution. Congratulations!
The plot above shows the blog posts over time. Horizontal lines are an indication for periods of inactivity while ‘more vertical’ lines show periods with many blog posts. In the case of Pencil Revolution, you can see that Johnny stopped revolutionising between the Summer of 2006 and the Summer 2010 and between Spring 2011 and Spring 2012 before picking up again. The latest spurt started in the Summer of 2017. I won’t comment further as the graph is fairly straightforward.
Congratulations on more than ten years and more than 600 blog posts.
Oh, no. Another one of those blog posts about numbers 😜
The Pen Addict Podcast is 299. Episodes old, that is. I happily remember back, listening to the first episode in 2012.
When the first episode came out I put it on a memory card so that could listen to it in my car stereo on a longer drive. I was driving to visit one of my students who was on a placement at the time. On the way there I thought to myself “This is great, but I doubt more than a handful of people would want to listen to this. I can’t see this lasting very long.”. (#myfirsttpa 😋)
Well, how wrong I was! Of course, I am referring to the second part of my sentence.
Back then, before the podcast, to me, Brad Dowdy was ‘the friendly blogger who puts his pictures on Flickr’. Every time I had contact with him he was extremely friendly and not many bloggers had their photos on Flickr. These days I think of him as the most influential stationery blogger who helped to make liking stationery a bit more mainstream. I didn’t know Myke Hurley at all before episode one.
I felt quite honoured when Bleistift was the Pen Blog of the Week in episode 94. Funnily enough, this was because of an ink related blog post, but it still meant that pencils became one of the topics of this episode. The way I know this story (please correct me if you know better) is that a pencil blog being discussed on this episode made Tim Wasem think of starting a pencil podcast and he then talked (or chatted) to Andy Welfle. Together they then approached Johnny Gamber and within a few weeks, the Erasable Podcast was born.
In time for episode 300 I thought I have a closer look at some ‘statistics’. This information is based on the The Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki, which is basically a query of the semantic data held in the wiki. Please feel free to contribute to the wiki. Everyone’s welcome there.
Let’s have a look at the plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the episodes. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the episode length in minutes.
Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are on the bottom, long episodes are on the top.
The black line is a straight linear regression line. Looking at this line it seems that every year the episodes get around five minutes longer. If you like long episodes you can look forward to episode 1000. By that time episodes should be more than two hours long 😃.
The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first two years, until the middle of 2014, episodes gained quite a bit in duration. Growth in duration then slowed down but picked up again since 2017.
Top tip: Why not celebrate the 300th episode when it comes out next week by sharpening a brand new pencil? ..or let others know about your first TPA episode (#myfirsttpa).
If you have just discovered the Pen Addict Podcast recently: there are 295 hours to listen to so far. That’s more than 12 solid days.