Five years of weblog data to rip apart as you please…

10/28/2004

This weblog – originally located at barbelith.com but which subsequently moved to its current location at plasticbag.org – will hit its fifth birthday on Monday. That’s five full years of random plasticbag.org posts – 4175 of them in fact, plus 1517 links in the linklog (before I moved over to using delicious to manage them in the last couple of weeks). In terms of the non-linklog posts alone that works out at over two posts a day, each and every day of each and every week, of each and every month, of each and every year since November 1999.

In terms of words written it’s difficult to be precise. I’ve exported all the posts from my site, worked out the number of words in a given header, multiplied that by the number of posts and removed that from the total number of words that BBEdit tells me are in the exported dump. Clearly this is not going to be a terribly accurate way of measuring word count (God knows what HTML does to these things) but if you believe what BBEdit tells you, I’ve written in excess of 1.1 million words over the last five years. To put that in perspective, English versions of the Bible have only around 750,000 words in them. I’ve written a bible and a full third of a sequel.

Which brings me to why I’m mentioning all this stuff. I’m not sure I believe those figures. Hell, I’m not sure I want to believe those figures. But one thing is clear to me – there’s a lot of data here in one form or another – and there must be any number of ways to visualise that data or explore it or rip it apart or whatever. So I thought maybe what I should do is just open it all up – stick up a big MT export of everything I’ve done to date – and see if anyone out there can think of any interesting visualisations or ways of processing or graphing it. Obviously, I have no expectations – it could easily be that no one finds this the slightest bit interesting. But if you do, let me know (normal e-mail address tom [at] plasticbag [dot] org) and of course if you want me to post what you’ve done, or link to it in any way, then I’d be more than delighted to do so. It would be great to be able to stick something up that I’ve got from you guys on the fifth anniversary itself…

So here’s the dump: Every full post made to plasticbag.org over the last five years including – in an intriguing self-reflexive twist – this one. Have fun with it!