Poll: How often would you like to receive e-mail updates? Also, quantifying my blog posting history

I’ve been posting practically every day for the past 3.5 years, and I write about a variety of topics. I’ve been thinking of ways to make it easier for people to keep in touch without E-mail newsletters seem to be a Thing. Right now, the e-mail subscription form on my blog is the default provided by WordPress, so people get daily updates (which is probably a bit much). I’ve been thinking of making it easier to subscribe to weekly or monthly updates. Would you find something like that useful? I’d really appreciate it if you could answer this poll!

[poll id="1"]

(Don’t see the poll? Try viewing this post on my website.)

Aside: I was curious about just how long I’ve been keeping up with this ~1 post a day thing, so I graphed my blog posting history. It turns out that I’ve been pretty consistent, although there were days when I didn’t have anything new posted. I schedule my blog posts using Editorial Calendar and I sometimes send people sneak previews of upcoming posts using the Share a Draft plugin. This lets me smooth out the spikiness of my writing habit into a more predictable publishing schedule.

blog-posting-history

To generate this graph, I extracted the timestamps of all my published posts with the following SQL query:

SELECT UNIX_TIMESTAMP(post_date) FROM wp_posts WHERE post_type='post' AND post_status='publish' 
INTO OUTFILE '/tmp/timestamps.txt';

… and then I graphed it with cal-heatmap, removed in-between labels in GIMP, and used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to hand-write new labels. =)

  • http://twitter.com/RaymondZeitler Raymond Zeitler

    I like it the way it is, but weekly would be fine, too. About 25% of your content interests me, so that translates into opening your e-mail once or twice each week. I do like how the e-mail subject is your blog post title. I can tell at a glance if it’s something I’m interested in. A weekly digest would be less convenient in that regard.

    I really like the graph! I just copy / yank text into emacs and use a macro to get at the dates of my posts. The macro formats it all as CSV, and then the dates serve as the independent axis of an Excel scatterplot.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Mmm, yes, that would be less convenient then. Maybe I can start my weekly review titles with some keywords to give people a sense of what’s included, but there’s only so much space of course. =)

      Cal-heatmap turns out to be a handy way to see time data. I found it sometimes difficult to fight with Excel about what I wanted to have as the axes of my scatterplots, but I use Excel for lots of other charts (and pivot tables! =) ). I should probably write a blog post on how to use it and other Javascript graphing tools.

  • http://twitter.com/rodmorehead Rod Morehead

    Really enjoy your Technology (especially Emacs) and productivity related posts.

    I prefer and use RSS rather than E-mail newsletters for keeping track of new posts.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m looking forward to learning and sharing more about those topics. =)

      I’ve added weekly and monthly RSS/email options, in addition to the daily one that’s already there. =D Hope people find them useful!

  • Pat Thomasson

    I like seeing every post in my email and then I just decide which ones I want to read which has been all of them since I started following :) I’m not a programmer but I like learning about different tech topics and your approach to continuous learning. The heat map is very cool. I recently wrote a blog post about heat maps of word clouds like what we use where I work and what you can get from the “facebook report’ on wolframalpha.com

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  • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com/ Nomad Capitalist

    I didn’t see the actual results, except for individual comments below?

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      There’s a small View Results link under the poll. =)

      By the way, I’ve changed the default mailing list subscription to weekly (that’s the widget in the right sidebar) with daily and monthly as other options. Probably a good compromise given how frequently I post! <laugh>

      • http://www.nomadcapitalist.com/ Nomad Capitalist

        Thanks, although it just refreshses away.

        That was quick! Normally when I get Disqus emails- which I’d prefer not to – it’s someone from Glenn Beck’s site calling me an “un-patriot” or something.