Monday, December 21, 2009

Year End Review

It seems that as the end of the year quickly approaches everyone in the news business is doing pieces about the year’s ‘most popular stories’. While this blog isn’t strictly a news outlet, I thought I would join that band wagon and look at this year as seen by this blog. Most Visited Postings This is my first full year of using Google Analytics® to keep track of what my readers are reading. It allows me to look at how many people are visiting the blog (my daily readership has about tripled over the last twelve months) and it tells me a little bit about them. About half of the people coming to the blog each day were repeat visitor. The remainder came to the site via search engines or other site referrals looking for specific comments. Looking at the individual posting pages that people visit, either via search engines, referrals or on-the-blog searches we can do a list of the ‘Most Popular Postings’. Here is that top ten listing: 1 Rand Beer’s Confirmation Hearing 2 Fatal Ammonia Incident 3 Chemical Security Academy 4 DHS NPPD Under Secretary Appointment Announced 5 Site Security Plan Template 6 Video Escorts 7 CFATS Inspector Finds Damaged HF Tank 8 CFATS Inspectors 9 CSX SecureNow 10 Pending TSA Security Regulations It is interesting that all three postings that I have done on the chemical facility inspectors have made the Top Ten list. Of course, high-risk chemical facilities are expecting to receive their first visit of these inspectors in the coming year, and it will be a first time thing for most of them. People appear to be trying to get a handle on what to expect when these inspectors show up at their door. Long time readers of this blog will remember that I used to do a lot more reporting on individual chemical incidents. This year I cut that reporting back, reporting just on those incidents that could teach us the most about security issues including emergency response. This makes it especially surprising that a relatively unnoticed ammonia release made the top 10 list at #2. From blog comments and emails that I received, a number of the readers of this story were locals looking for authorative information on the incident. The number six story provides a cautionary tale to people who like to analyze numbers out of context. The posting was about the use of video cameras at a port facility to fulfill the escort requirements of the MTSA regulations. What people have to remember is that the term ‘video escort’ shows up in searches not related to security issues. I have had to reject a number of blog responses from ‘readers’ wanting to get a link to their escort-service web sites (services that obviously have nothing to do with security) posted on this site. Popular Topics The individual page top-ten list does not provide the best look at what the readers are looking at. This is rather obvious from seeing only one posting about actual CFATS issues making it to the list, the site security plan template story. So I went through the list of the top 200 postings (almost 10% of the pages from the last year) looking for story topics. From that list I was able to compile a Top Three list of popular topics. Those topics were:
1 Site Security Plan 2 HR 2868 3 Risk-Based Performance Standards
It is rather obvious that I have written a significant number of postings about these three topics over the last year. But, since this tracking of page ‘hits’ only looks at those pages that people are specifically coming to (rather than just looking at in their daily reading) I think that it is fairly obvious that these are topics in which my readers are interested. Site Recognition I continue to get personal expressions of support for this blog from a wide range of individuals in the chemical security community. Those are always appreciated. This year I started receiving some semi-official acknowledgements of support. I have been asked to take part in a number of blogger roundtables and have been interviewed as a chemical-security legislation ‘expert’ by editors at two industry sites. A reader recommended me to a magazine editor based upon my writing here and I now write regular pieces on chemical security issues (among other things) for the Journal of Hazmat Transportation. This blog will never make the list of top 100 blogs because of the limited potential audience. The chemical security community is just not that large. The encouragement and recognition that the site receives are an important incentive to continue this blog. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into making this blog appear on the web every day. It is a labor of love that I hope to be able to continue for a long time to come

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