Finally, Raymond Chen Gives the Answer

by Krishna on February 27, 2009

Two years ago, I posted about Raymond Chen’s posts, which Yuvi Panda had analyzed to find that 77% of them were posted at 7 am. Louis Gray also took up the issue, wondering if 7 am was the best time to post for optimal readership. One possibility I raised was that Raymond wrote his posts at other times and posted them at 7 am daily.

Well, I didn’t know exactly how early he wrote his posts. Today (well, actually NOT today – read on), Raymond provides the stunning answer, which seems to be anywhere from 12 months to 18 months. Amazing!

To give you an idea of how far in advance I write my blog entries, I wrote this particular entry on February 13, 2008. Generally, the articles are published in the order I wrote them; this particular entry ended up on February 27, 2009 because that was the next available open day. If the big news topic of February 27th, 2009 happens to be related to this entry, it’s just a coincidence. […]

Oh, and right now, the queue is full up through the beginning of June 2010.

whirlpoolAnd here I was thinking Raymond Chen probably wrote his posts once a week or so. This blogging behavior is obviously impossible to imitate for most blogs, especially if the blog author is expanding on the latest news item. Nor does it even sound human especially in the age of Twitter and real-time virtual conversations among masses.

It all seems so surreal. Taking an example from physics, it is like Raymond Chen is on a planet one light year away (and further receding from Earth) and he is posting an article right now. So he wrote his article one year ago, I respond today and if he ever reads this post and bothers to reply, it will take me at least 1.5 years to know if he cared. Spacetime in action in the blogosphere.

Because of this revelation, I don’t think Raymond considered readership as a criteria for his 7 am timing. If all your posts are evergreen topics not affected by current topics, there is hardly anything to be gained by a specific timing such as being the first person to show up in the blog reader.

As for my posts, I have never scheduled (never been able to schedule) anything more than 2 days in advance. When I get too much time to burn, I tend to write longer posts. So I can never write more than 3 posts at a stretch. Usually the first post would be posted immediately (as this will be) and the rest on the subsequent days. Windows Live Writer has made it much easier to schedule posts in recent releases.

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