Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

Summary: I bring you ... charts. Don't worry, there will be a Top 15 list. But first, charts.


The Ides of March.

It was fitting that my first day writing the ZDNet Government blog was a day known for political intrigue and conspiracy, the day that Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C. Government is more than just boring policies and monotonic debates. Government is the essence of the civilization we wrap around ourselves, the true social network that binds citizens to each other.

When I started writing the ZDNet Government blog on March 15, my charter was to involve ZDNet readers in all the wonderful richness, chaos, insanity, and inspiration American politics brings to our lives.

Rather than just discussing policy topics, this was to be a running civics coffeehouse, a dialog between all of us, where we could dive in, share, rant, disagree, pontificate, mock, and learn -- in essence a microcosm of the conversations and arguments all across America that make up the wonder and sausage factory that is American politics.

Since this is ZDNet Government, the tech element of the story is not only important to the discussion, but deeply relevant to our readers. Technology has embedded itself so completely in the fabric of our society that it permeates all aspects of policy from privacy to national security to even freedom of speech.

When we're talking about Google, there's almost always a privacy subtext in the discussion. When we talk about Apple, there's almost always a conflict between freedom of speech and content protection. And then there are subjects like Wikileaks, a Web site that's upsetting the status quo among nations and national security.

Since March, I've published 172 articles. Most have had some element of civics in their content. A few were merely technology-related. And some, like the Kinect gaming articles, had nothing whatsoever to do with governance, but were just fun to explore.

In this year-end post, I decided to go beyond the typical top-ten piece and look at what articles caught your attention, and -- more interestingly -- where your interest in civic issues intersected with topics that were just plain interesting.

To that end, I bring you ... charts. Don't worry, there will be a Top Ten 15 list. But first, charts.

Topics of interest

I was curious about what topics interested you most. I went through the full list of articles and roughly assigned topics. As the chart below shows, fully half of the articles were purely policy and government related.

I wrote a few articles about 2012 and World War III, a bunch about Google (mostly privacy-related), a few fun articles about the holidays (and yes, there are civics lessons there as well), a pile of articles on Wikileaks, a few irresistible articles on video games, some tech trends, and -- of course -- Apple.

Here's how the subjects broke out, based on the number of articles themselves.

The interesting question was this: what were you interested in? The following chart shows that.

Although half the articles I wrote were about politics and government, only 29% of the page views were on that topic. On the other hand, while only 19% of my articles were about Apple, you found that topic so interesting that almost a full third of our page views (more than politics and government, combined) were for the Apple-related topics.

The other topics (in terms of page views) tracked pretty well with the number of articles, although you guys seemed to have a pretty disproportionate interest in 2012 and end-of-the-world topics. I wrote only 2% of my articles on that, but 5% of the views were for doom and gloom. Interestingly enough, you also disproportionately liked the holiday topics as well, so that pretty much balances out the morbid fascination some of you seem to have with 2012.


That brought me to another question. How interested were you in civics-related content? A full 82% of the articles I wrote had some civics-related content or were completely civics-related:

Interestingly, you folks seemed to really gravitate to the articles that were tangentially civics-related or not civics-related at all. As the chart above shows, the "Yes" articles, those totally on topic for government and politics got a substantially reduced percentage of reads compared to the articles that were either slightly related or just plain interesting.

National importance

My next question was how interested were you in topics of vital national importance, like net neutrality, the choice of a Supreme Court justice, and the National Broadband Plan? This was the chart I found particularly interesting:

Notice that you almost perfectly track with interest on the high importance topics. So, topics that are of significant national importance are topics you care about as well.

On the other hand, when it comes to topics of medium national importance, like counterfeit check security or the census, you weren't nearly as interested as compared to the number of articles we published.

Instead, you were way more interested in the articles that were good reads, but not necessarily of civic importance, like articles about Google, Apple, video games, and social networking.

The Top 15 list

Overall, I'm pretty happy with your interest level. It's nice to see our IT professionals engaged in topics of major importance. It's also fun to be able to interact with you on interesting tech topics, whether they're deeply civics-related or not.

That said, let's take a look at the Top 15. I chose the Top 15, because it shows your Apple fascination. Apple took 8 of the top 15 slots, #15, #13, #12, #11, #10, #9, #8, and #6. Clearly, you're interested in Apple-related topics.

Wikileaks took two more of the Top 15 slots, #14 and #1.

Here's the full list:

  1. Analysis: Is Wikileaks' Assange actually a terrorist?
  2. 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks
  3. Is China gearing up to start World War III?
  4. Homeland Security blocks Web sites with 'controversial opinions'
  5. 8 reasons you might NOT want to buy a Kinect
  6. Is buying an iPad un-American?
  7. Ten countries fire warning shot at Google
  8. Apple is not your mother
  9. How a mediocre iPad knock-off could foretell Steve Jobs' eventual doom
  10. Poor Apple can't seem to catch a break
  11. Five lessons Apple can learn from Amazon
  12. When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)
  13. Should Steve Jobs "man up" and kill the iPhone 4?
  14. Special Report: Could Wikileaks cause World War III or the end of the world?
  15. Open letter to Steve Jobs: Retire now!

So there you have it: the civics study room and tech coffeehouse we call ZDNet Government. Have a great New Years and a great new year!

Topics: Government US, Apple, Government, Mobility


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • as long as you don't depict steve jobs

    in any type of cartoon or sculpture you will be spared. other then that of course apple took the top spot - the greatest company with the greatest and most important products ever invented!!!
    Ron Bergundy
    • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

      @cyberspammer2 [i]the greatest company with the greatest and most important products ever invented!!![/i] in the history of EVER!!!!!
  • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

    David, David, David. Happy Holidays to you and your extended family during this very cold December period. Your writings are always a source of warmth on ZDNet.

    You almost made me chuckle out loud when I read your Apple topic spin indicating that WE were "interested in Apple-related topics." Hey .. oh wondrous wordsmith of the blog sphere .. you are the author of these posts. "WE" just respond and try to correct your erroneous opinions! Very Big Grin.

    Let's see if our responses to your Apple Words of 2010 could be the source of all those page hits. Let's recall your words. "Steve jobs: Retire now! Steve Jobs "man up". Poor Apple. Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged). Steve Jobs' eventual doom. Apple is not your mother. iPad un-American!

    Hmm, "Apple", "Mother", "Steve Jobs" ... just a little Jobs fixation or "Oedipus complex" have we?

    But all kidding aside, you have penned quite a few thoughtful and insightful articles in 2010 and let me be the first to congratulate you on those. It was both a pleasure to read them and an honor to participate in those talk back session.

    For 2011, the Wikileaks issues of National Security and Freedom of the Speech should provide additional topics of interest.

    Let me just close by noting this. I read recently a New York Times article published on December 14th, 2010 by Eric Schmitt, that details the Air Force attempts at blocking internet sites from its enlisted members. The sights blocked were "The New York Times", "The Guardian", "Der Spiegel", "El Pais" and "Le Monde". Of course, all those news organizations published the Wikileaks documents but for a Government (or a branch of that Government) to ban those sites from US Citizens is, in my opinion, far more an issue of freedom of speech and citizen rights in general than any perceived Apple conflict involving "freedom of speech" and content protection.

    Just a thought or two.
    • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

      Its all personal not just enlisted. If it belongs to US Air Force they have to the right to control what is accessed and what is not. This ban does not apply to personal computers.

      No different than banning military personnel from certain locations while serving overseas.
      • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

        Thanks, Daikon, I stand corrected on the "all personnel" issue.

        I have no problem with the military employing censorship on their own computer systems. (I would hope and pray they do!). But this issue goes way beyond censoring military issues that military personal create or distribute on their own. This brings into focus selective "punitive" censorship of news organizations. It was implied that on those very computer systems, Air Force personal could access outside sites like AOL or Yahoo or MSNBC or the Fox News or any unlimited number of internet sites other than those "evil five" mentioned.

        Think what that means. Reuters pens an article .. any article .. which all the wire services pick up on. Those same Air Force personnel can view that article on, oh let's say MSNBC or FoxNews (that should cover the entire spectrum of political thought) but they would be unable to view that same article on the New York Times .. because the Times is "evil" and could corrupt the minds of those employed in the service of the Air Force. Or, actually, the true alternative is far worse. The Air Force, not acting alone but with either the explicit or implicit direction of the US Government, has decided to censor everything associated with those news sites and not just the Wikileaks documents published on those sites. In contrast, the Chinese selective censorship of Internet articles seems far less draconian and much more sophisticated in nature.

        I must respectively disagree with your assertion that this form of punitive censorship is "no different" than your example of selective military personnel deployment.
  • merry holidays and happy new years

    to you and all your family .

    Lest 2011 be as funny as 2010 bring as much acid topic as you like you bring a nice flavor to this site .

    let do this
  • Is based in hits

    To the articles or replies to it?
    • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

      @sportmac Article reads, not comments either read or posted. It's much harder to extract aggregate data on comments without digging into each article.

      Some top articles (in terms of number of people who read them) had a tremendous number of comments while others with similar numbers of reads had relatively few comments. I think it depends on whether the topic was more interesting or more controversial.
      David Gewirtz
  • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

    David - written well - though IU had to reread to the inuendo. Your articles have been down-right delightful.
    Looking forward to more in 2011.

    Thanks dude!!!
  • RE: Hey, how'd your Apple get into my Wikileaks? 2010's Top 15 ZDNet Government posts

    The ONLY reason that Apple comes so high on the list is because we all have an Apple worshiper nutcase in our lives we have to poke fun at and that this blog simply provided the ammo to do so.