Today is the last day of May. That means that it is time for our month-in-review post, a tradition dating back to August 2020. May was an eventful month at The New Leaf Journal featuring a record number of new posts and a pair of appearances on the vaunted first page of Hacker News. Without further ado, let us cover the month that was and look ahead to June 2022.
I published at least one article for every day of May – the first month that we posted a daily article since September 2020. With two two-article days on May 26 and today, we published 33 new articles in May 2022, breaking the record 31 articles that we posted in September 2020. You can find our full list of May articles in our May 2022 archive. Below, I will list articles by different categories and briefly summarize the content.
Arts, Literature, and Games
- Takaki’s Memories in 5 Centimeters Per Second (May 2)
- Searching for School Days’ Nice Boat (May 6)
- Our Town: “Pretty Enough For All Normal Purposes” (May 11)
- Perspectives From Japan On Watching Movie Credits (May 13)
- Excerpts From “A Weaver’s Reverie” (May 16)
- Video Game Visuals That Age Well (May 22)
- Instant Death! Panda Samurai Review (May 27)
- Visual Novel Review: May Sky (May 31)
My favorite articles of the month came from this broad category that I created. I wrote pieces analyzing scenes from my favorite movie (5 Centimeters Per Second) and from one of my favorite plays (Thornton Wilder’s Our Town). My piece on movie credits was the spiritual follow-up to one of my favorite early New Leaf Journal articles. On May 16, I covered a beautiful early 1840s essay by a factory girl. I concluded the month with two visual novel reviews; the latter of the two reviews, May Sky, was of a compelling game.
Justin & Justina
Law & History
- 1923 Ad For The Nonpareil Laundry Co. (May 9)
- Aliens vs Noncitizens – The Anatomy of a Debate (May 26)
- The Golden Eagles on Constantine XI’s Shoes (May 29)
Photography & Anecdotes
- Black Squirrel in a Tree in Brooklyn (May 5)
- Squirrel With Walnut at Brooklyn Bridge Park (May 8)
- Blue Paint Memories and Hypotheticals (May 17)
- Baby Geese in Brooklyn Bridge Park (May 20)
- The Unfortunate Car in Carroll Gardens (May 21)
- Dangers of Eating Red Hook Fish and Eels (May 28)
- “Lines to a Mosquito” – 1895 Poem (May 1)
- A School Poem By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr (May 7)
- Blue Violets – An 1880 Children’s Poem (May 18)
- An 1882 Poem on Apple Blossoms (May 23)
- Memorial Flowers – 1880 Memorial Day Poem (May 24, 2022)
- “Memorial Day” by Helen Leah Reed (May 30)
While I did not call my own poetry number in May, I reprinted six poems throughout the month. I will note that my May 18th post on Blue Violets contains links to other spring content published at The New Leaf Journal that references violets.
- How Minds Social Gets Hashtags Right (May 3)
- Reviewing the Mastodon Twitter Crossposter (May 10)
- EnBizCard Review – FOSS Digital Business Cards (May 12)
- A Look at ProxiTok, a TikTok Frontend (May 14)
- A Writer’s Case for Markdown (May 15)
- Fixing a WP Custom Post Type Permalink Error (May 26)
I published 37 Leaflet microposts during May 2022 in addition to 33 full articles. I will reference some of the posts in discussing changes made to The New Leaf Journal in May 2022. Below, I will list a select-few microposts with notable content.
- Finishing Sound! Euphonium 5 Years Late (May 4) – Possible preview of summer New Leaf Journal content.
- A Quote on Childhood Friends (May 6) – A good complement to my May 2 5 Centimeters Per Second article.
- Counting Back From John Adams’ Birthday (May 7) – An addendum to my end-of-April post on presidential birthdays.
- Man Uploads 2,000,000 YouTube Videos (May 8) – Long-story short, meet the unexpected most-read “article” of May 2022.
- A Look at BlogDB (May 9) – A miniature review.
- Another Ladybug Rescue (May 18) – A follow-up to an old post I had almost forgotten.
- Mojeek Search’s Calculator (May 24) – Examining an alternative search engine’s new tool.
- A Leaflet Error and HN Visitors (May 25) – Foreshadowing the May 26 full article on custom post types.
- Dogs vs Rats in New York City (May 26) – Continuing to hammer home outdoor dining-related issues in New York City.
- On the Hunt for Manatsu no Kagerou (May 28) – My quest to review every safe-for-work al|together visual novel currently has two roadblocks.
- Mark Twain on Saint Joan of Arc (May 30) – Look forward to a full article on this subject down the line.
Newsletter Leaf Journal Issues
I mailed four issues of The Newsletter Leaf Journal in May. Each issue recapped our content from the week that was and included links from around the web and other news and notes. You will find links to the four new newsletter issues below:
If you enjoy the content, you can sign up for the weekly newsletter via email or RSS. You can also follow my blog at Bearblog to read the syndicated posts.
Changes to The New Leaf Journal
I made several quality-of-life improvements to The New Leaf Journal in May. In April, I streamlined our menus to improve site performance. This month, I worked on ensuring that the site is still easy to navigate for new visitors. First, I created a new Sitemap Page which lists all of the main pages and locations on The New Leaf Journal. Secondly, I decided that our Full Article List supersedes our former Archive, so I re-worked our main Archive Page to consist of a collection of links to different types of archive pages at The New Leaf Journal.
I also changed our site’s widget areas (next to content on desktops and below content on small screens). The key improvement was adding a small navigation menu to the sidebar next to articles to help people who land on an article get around our site. In June, I will work to eliminate redundancies between that sidebar menu and our footer menu (which was also modified).
After some difficulty (see my May 25 Leaflet and May 26 WP article), I created a Resource custom post type. I will migrate existing resources (save for the Blogroll, which will remain a regular Page) to this new post type and work on creating new resources to help readers.
Finally, I implemented Webmention and Refback functionality under the hood at The New Leaf Journal (learn more here). However, at the moment, I do not have an obvious way to display them without enabling comments – which I am not inclined to do. I will research a good way to make them visible without needing to change the underlying functionality of our site. We can, however, send Webmentions without any issues.
Most-Visited Content of May 2022
Each month, I list our 12 most-visited articles according to our privacy-friendly Analytics solution, Koko Analytics (see review). Thanks to Hacker News (see post 1 and post 2), our most-visited “articles” of May 2022 were both Leaflet microposts. I had not yet considered the disposition of Leaflets in our article rankings, but I have decided to treat them as regular articles. I will continue to omit Pages, however – our About Page would have had the last the spot in the top 12.
|1||Man Uploads 2,000,000 YouTube Videos*||NAF||5.8.22|
|2||Lukol Search Engine Shows Up in Logs*||NAF||4.8.22|
|3||The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei||NAF||3.14.21|
|4||Recommended F-Droid FOSS Apps For Android-Based Devices (2021)||NAF||11.27.21|
|5||Biden, Lincoln, and Counting Back From the President’s Birth||NAF||4.29.22|
|6||The Last Stand of Constantine XI||NAF||5.30.20|
|7||Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013)||NAF||7.5.21|
|8||An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative||NAF||11.13.20|
|9||The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis||NAF||1.18.22|
|10||How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes||NAF||6.19.21|
|11||Review of the Teracube 2e Smartphone||NAF||11.19.21|
|12||Performing Site-Specific Searches With DuckDuckGo||NAF||8.8.21|
This month was dominated by the two Leaflet microposts that appeared on page 1 of Hacker News, with my short post on a man uploading 2,000,000 YouTube videos achieving our best single day in New Leaf Journal history and second best month. The Hacker News surge ended my tsuki ga kirei article’s eight-month streak at number one in the monthly ranking, dropping it to third.
One surprise (in my eyes, at least) was the strong fifth place showing of my article on presidential birthdays, which was published right at the end of April. I did not expect that article to do particularly well, but it posted the strongest unaided (meaning no Hacker News or Bob Dylan fan-site share) month that we have seen. However, it waned a little bit in the final days of May, so it is not clear whether it will sustain its success – driven primarily by a high click conversion rate in Google – into June.
Two 2020 articles posted their strongest months to date. My piece on Constantine XI’s last stand dropped from 4th in April to 6th in June, but it posted its strongest month in terms of visitors by a wide margin as it hit its two-year anniversary on May 30. My November 2020 review of Pixelfed also posted its strongest month, surpassing its total from January 2021. Notably, the Pixelfed post was our most-read article in January 2021, but its slightly surpassing its visitor count from that month was only good for eighth place in May 2022.
Other than the Leaflets and my presidential post, there were no big surprises in our ranking. I will note the debut of my January article on Pokémon stats, which narrowly missed the top-12 in April. Had my post on ProxiTok, an alternative front-end for TikTok, been published earlier in the month than May 14, it may have taken one of the last spots in the top 12 (it managed 17th place as it was).
Wrapping Up May 2022 and Looking Ahead to June
Thanks in large part to the pair of Hacker News shares, May 2022 was the busiest month at The New Leaf Journal both in terms of traffic and content. I suppose that it was a good way to celebrate our real two-year anniversary, and I look forward to seeing which of our May articles grow and attract new visitors in the coming months.
At the moment, I have no grand plans for June other than to keep posting new content and ensuring that The New Leaf Journal continues to grow, perform well, and attract new visitors. I may have a few new features to introduce in June, but I will see how the month develops rather than making any immediate announcements.
I hope that you look forward to our new June content and continue to follow The New Leaf Journal.