24 May 2013 | As an occasional author for The Conversation , I get a monthly report on its “social impacts metrics”, which roughly translates as “what was hot” in the preceding month or what Twitter says “trended” (at least I think that’s what Twitter says). Here’s what impacted, was hot (“heated” ?) and/or trended in April:
- Six myths about vaccination – and why they’re wrong by UTS Post-doctoral fellow Rachael Dunlop (24,284 views)
- Sweet news: No evidence that artificial sweetener aspartame’s bad for you by Chris Forbes-Ewan of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (14,186 views)
- Penis size may be driven by women (oh, and it matters) by Professor Rob Brooks of UNSW (11,934 views)
- A tale of two NBNs: the Coalition’s broadband policy explained by Karl Schaffarczyk of University of Canberra (11,902 views)
- The Boomer housing bust: coming to Australia? by University of Sydney Associate Professor, Nicole Gurran (11,145 views).
I don’t know what leapt out at you but number three – on the male appendage – certainly caught my eye. One can only suppose that it “impacted” so heavily because
- It’s inherently interesting, which it would be to most people, with the possible exception of gay women (although they might indulge in the “hoot” factor).
- Female readers were amused by the fragility of male esteem in such matters (again, the hoot factor) – and then enjoyed the possibility that they can dictate certain terms in these matters.
- Male readers were nonplussed to learn that it does matter, after all.
There’s some way I would like to declare that I don’t “concede a centimetre in this debate” but it doesn’t measure up to our usual standards.
The Australian Financial Review gossip columnist Joe Aston recently observed that the human condition involves a “curiosity for all matters of sex” and that “to the bedroom fascinate people” ( he was in the midst of defending himself against allegations of salacious – and sometimes not quite true – “gossip mongering”).
Well, The Scan certainly doesn’t indulge in gossip mongering and matters of the human condition involving matters sexual don’t feature prominently (out of 1200 odd posts over the past year, this may well be the first). But a quick check of our stats reveal that secrets and scandal rate well (although we don’t do a lot of that either). The highest rating post of all time was Vic TAFE Transition Plans – the leaked Cabinet paper, which got more traffic in a day than most weeks. The graphic helped.
Reprehensible elegy concerning the despatch by UNE of an honorary scholar and teacher of French who wrote a satirical poem to cheer up a sacked colleague upset a few colleagues who considered his poetic reflections defamatory did very well, as did Monash stands down staffer over Twitter exchange (the staffer was subsequently cleared of any
A surprisingly high rating post is The Scan of 22 March 2012, which took a while to figure out: one of the items has a graphic of a brickwall, people Google “brickwall” and end up there. Likewise, people Google the word “nothing” and arrive at Much ado about the sounds of silence, which is about “nothing”. I initially thought it a bit silly to be Googling “nothing” until I realised that’s exactly what I did in researching the post.