Blog is AAA’s Fourth Most Digitally Viewed Publication or Is It?

Posted on July 1, 2013

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To continue with an examination of the impact of blogs I would like to share some numbers that were kindly shared with me by the AAA. Here (at the end of this post) is the table of downloads (for blog it is views) of articles from the AAA publications in 2012. The first thing that should jump out at you is the number of downloads of their flagship journals. For everyone who complains that academic journals are insular and not well read, 1.8 millions downloads for American Anthropologist is numbers I wish I had for any publication. It will be very interesting to see how Cultural Anthropology’s downloads change next year with their new Open Access policy.

The second important number that should jump out at you is that the AAA blog is the fourth most digitally viewed publication of the AAA’s. I briefly discussed how digital downloads make up around 85% of routes to view research publications. I say routes as a common practice, by readers of journal articles, is to digitally search and skim articles online to read but download and print them off to actually read in hard copy. There is of course variation in this with society publications, like the AAA’s, receiving a higher readership from hard copy e.g. people read them when they come in the mail. This means while counting digital views/downloads the AAA blog is fourth but in total views, including hard copy, you might think it could be fifth? or sixth? However, the blog has 11,981 followers (July 1st, 2013) on WordPress which excludes RSS feeds from other services. This is of course a bit inflated as some people follow on WordPress which is an RSS reader they may or may not actually read. Also, some receive these updates in emails they more or may not open. However, in all likelihood each post in the AAA blog is read by several thousand anthropologists or people interested in anthropology through the WordPress follow system. These numbers do not get counted in the official WordPress stats listed below so the AAA blog could potentially have two? three? four? ten? times as many views as are currently recorded. While I don’t think these shadow views are enough to make the blog the #1 most read AAA publication it could make it #2, thus the ‘?’ in the title. (It all depends on how many shadow views there are X the number of yearly posts)

When you consider where to publish there might be a variety of factors that go into the decision e.g. prestige, journal subject, impact factor, etc. If one of those factors is visibility, in the sense lots of people with an interest in your field will see it, than you may want to considered the AAA blog.  It has some of the highest views of the AAA’s publications AND it has been around for significantly less time than the AAA’s other publications, at least most of them. I also make the caveat that ‘people with an interest in your field’ because one could just publish in newspapers or news websites to reach even more people. Though if you are looking to reach/write to a more specific group of people, but still reaching a wider audience, than the AAA blog appears to be very good venue, maybe one of the best, offered by the AAA.

If I have not convinced you to blog maybe I can interest you in a podcast? Maybe another social media venue? The AAA has been kind enough to share some of their social media stats:

  • 104,822 downloads to the AAA podcasts.
  • Facebook-7,470 page likes between two pages.
  •  Twitter- 9,631 followers
  •  5,591 group members in LinkedIn.


Clearly, the AAA has impressive social media reach and tapping into those resources could greatly improve your visibility.

Publication stats:

Title 2012
AMAN 1,826,752
AMET 228,376
CUAN 137,440
Blog 95,093
MAQ 89,222
ETHO 70,175
ANNE 69,773
AEQ 67,716
JOLA 51,751
PLAR 36,455
JLCA 32,338
VAR 32,229
ANHU 27,108
ANOC 26,930
CISO 26,670
MUAN 26,032
NAPA 23,149
APAA 22,089
TRAA 21,349
CUAG 18,117
AWR 15,259
NAD 5,022
GENA 4,231
JSAE 3,953
EPIC 3,019
CIAN 2,178
NUAN 2,145
TEAN 1,042
VOIC 788
CSAS 304
SOLG 300
ELME 97
NASA 65
TOTAL 2,872,074