Each week, we get from Google Analytics a report of which individual posts resulted in the most visitors to RBC. Our archive holds over 12,000 posts, but the leaders are almost always posts from the current or prior week (note that post-based entries are a rarity, people usually enter by the main page or from links by other bloggers).
However, three old posts are there every week, and it is interesting to speculate why.
The most remarkable performance is The Elixir Broccoli of Life, which James wrote 10 months ago. Yet it has lead 100-200 people to RBC every week since.
The second most steady performer is Drinking Alone Does Not Necessarily Mean You Have a Drinking Problem, which funnily enough was posted only a week after the broccoli post. It’s been there almost every week since, and caused 103 people to come to RBC last week.
I have heard that seeking health advice is one of the most common reasons people first start using the Internet, and that may be why these pieces have such a long tail (They differ from most of our health posts in providing individual advice versus, say, analyzing a new health care law). Or maybe there is a website in China that links to these posts and we are just riding the wave along with whatever else they pick up as a gazillion people a day there get Internet access.
However, the health explanation breaks down for the post with the third longest tail. The 60 or so film recommendations I have written unsurprisingly almost never show up except in the week I wrote them. With one appropriately mysterious exception: My review four months ago of Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has never been out of the top post list since it appeared. It’s not as if reviews of a 90 year old classic film are in short supply so this is hard to explain…maybe A.O. Scott gave it some love at some point but didn’t wire me to let me know, which would be just like him.