Less interest - or less ignorance?

Posted: 9/8/2014 11:21:52 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I had a surprising find - Been messing with http://www.wolframalpha.com/ for some technical stuff, and just for the hell entered "theremin".

A chart returned showing daily clicks at Wikipedia - presumably for "theremin" and I was astounded - never expected anything near this number!



But an interesting thing is that since 2008 there appears to be a nearly consistant ~2k hits/day  base-line with some big spikes etc..

2014 isn't following the trend - it started well, with a nice increase to ~3k followed by a brief spike to ~4k, but since then has dropped well below 2k and the base-line looks like settling lower than the preceding years.

Are people looking at Wiki for theremins less because (a) they know what theremins are or (b) they arent interested or (c) its just an anomaly or (d) somehow, the theremini is impacting on hits?

If (b) or (d) it perhaps doesn't bode well for the cottage industry - particularly anyone  serving the low end.


Just checked ThereminWorld.com but charts weren't available, just an astounding figure of 4k hits/day and 2k "visits" / day in 2014 - what constitutes "hits" vs "visits" I dont know ;-) but either number is impressive!

Posted: 9/9/2014 12:39:18 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Hits is more a measure of bandwidth (at least a lot of companies use it for that and of course for marketing as it creates an inflated number versus visits). Hits usually includes all elements accessed when you visit a site so one visit can produce numerous (maybe many) "hits". It can easily be a 10 to one ratio (hits versus actual people visiting). So the 2000 hits per day may likely mean 1/4 or less actual people visiting. Really hard to say.

But lets compare the 2000 or so theremin hits versus say what it says for Ondes Martenot (that's showing around 200-400 hits a day). Then again oboe shows 800-1200 (I would expect more there - unless everyone knows the oboe and doesn't need to look it up). But English Horn like 15.

Frankly I don't trust any of these number to mean much of anything. But it's fun to look at them.

What does the TW webmaster say for visitors a day? That would be interesting vs. the people posting (looks like maybe 10 regulars there or so from what I see). 


Posted: 9/9/2014 1:36:42 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"Frankly I don't trust any of these number to mean much of anything. But it's fun to look at them." - Rich

Yeah, I am sure you are right!

I suppose it was more the dip this year than the "truth" of the numbers which I found most interesting.. But then, even that dip could be due to something like a change in the ranking given by Google - People looking for "theremin" probably click on the first link they see that looks reliable.. So if Wiki had dropped down in rank, that could have a bigger impact on hits than anything else.

Thinking about how flimsy the data is, this is one of my sillier threads! ;-)

And yes, an actual chart of real daily visits to TW would probably be a far better indicator of theremin interest.


Posted: 9/9/2014 3:09:53 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Our Google stats don't show anything close to 2000 visits per day.  More like 1/4 of that.  2 years ago, it was closer to 1500-2000 per day.  I've definitely see the trend declining.

I think there are multiple likely reasons for this:

  • Decline in interest / theremins aren't "new" anymore
  • The theremin conversation is spread out. Groups like Levnet on Facebook get more user-generated content and active participation some weeks than Theremin World.  It's easier for users to post videos, photos, events, etc. there and share them with the world.
  • Summer - there's consistent drop-off in visits each Summer that tends to pick back up once students go back to school and spend more time researching history, science projects, and videos of cats who play theremin.

To be transparent, I've struggled a bit to figure out Theremin World's place in this new reality.  I think we probably ought to make a pivot to re-define ourselves, lest we be made obsolete by the niche site killer (Facebook).  

We have high volume (and mostly healthy) conversation here around theremin tech.  I don't see that happening elsewhere, and it alone would be reason for me to continue running the site.  But I really feel like we can be a lot more to the theremin community.  The question is, if it's not about sharing videos, photos, and concert information... what is it? 

If you have ideas for how you'd like to see Theremin World evolve, please let me know.  Posting here or private messages are fine.

Also, sharing us on social media to help spread the good theremin word is also very much appreciated! 

Posted: 9/9/2014 3:48:40 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Honestly, I don't post much here because I have in the past ~ posted performances, new videos etc and not many comments ~ and when people do, certain times it feels very unfriendly (not just my posts by on others as well), so I kind of stopped posting. I am not on the technical side of things, and it feels that TW is pretty much that.

Also, there are a lot of new theremin players emerging out there ~ and some of them are showing potential and are actually worth looking into, but it never happens. The theremin world news (when you log in) is about already known thereminists, known repertoire ~ no features on new players, gigs etc...

Just my opinion, which is probably not that important.

Edited to add: I am not targetting anyone ~ just sharing my view on how I've remembered this site from when I started to play 3 years ago.

Posted: 9/9/2014 4:12:03 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

I have great statistics about theremin interest over the years and things are declining... I agree.

Visit Google Trends as another reference. The Theremini did nothing to encourage a market over the past year and they had the marketing skill.

Below are visits to my webpages for year to date, ignore the USA which get visits for many other reasons... like my kinder gentler side. (-'  I posted this from the TW photo forum so those who stand with their nose in the corner could see it, it has importance for them.

Posted: 9/9/2014 4:13:16 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thanks Amey. Your opinion is extremely important!  One of the points I guess I forgot to mention is that generating content for the news feed takes a LOT of time, which is something I've typically not had much of (10 hours/day at work, 3+ hours/day commuting, and a big & busy family life when I get home).  I hope the future of TW doesn't hinge on my ability alone to generate content.  Anyone is more than welcome to submit articles to be posted on the home page.  I would LOVE to host content from guest bloggers.

I'm looking into options for letting people post their own content here other than in the forums, but that will take a little while.  Frankly, if I'd seen more interest in things like the photo gallery and event pages, I'd be more eager to jump on this :)

Posted: 9/9/2014 4:27:04 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

I will post a year to date graphic which shows countries with theremin interest visiting my website.

Also visit Google Trends

Ignore the USA below as they have interest in my local neighborhood webpages.

The Ukraine is always my #1 visitor but I never see anyone chime in at TW.    Hello World, they are not listed on the Google graph so I wonder if they along with Russia have restrictions on the internet?

Of interest is China moving up since the Theremini introduction?

Posted: 9/9/2014 5:28:47 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

Hi Jason,

I think you are right about there being a "new reality" WRT theremin interest and I am sure this impacts on TW.

Its also interesting to hear your observations regarding the "dissipation" of content through social media, and that this seems to impact more on (perhaps) "entertainment" and performance content than on technical.

To me though, this is not a good situation - The thing which (for me) has made TW great has been that musicians and technologists and 'hybrids' ;-) could exchange ideas. The loose structure and moderation helps to facilitate this.

IMO, the danger is if TW veers too sharply in any one direction.

I have absolutely no idea how to prevent the above - there are too many human variables. How does one balance (for example) the need for people to feel free to contribute content (be this a video of some performance they did, or a schematic, or a wav file or whatever) with what others feel is a needed honest response to such contributions, when such a response touches nerves..

Examples of this are many - You have often presented whacky (IMO) content on the front page (theremin toothbrush? badgermin? ;-) - and drawn some screams of indignation from boring old farts like me ;-) - but perhaps you were right - perhaps widening the discussion to encompass these blasphemies is what TW needs.

You, however, appear to let these 'slights' pass - Others though, dont - particularly if what they contribute is (in their view at least) unjustly butchered,

There are some huge buckets of iced water ready to be thrown on anyone who steps out of line and wastes TWs time and bandwidth exploring new technical ideas or particularly new "unapproved" theremins appearing on the market.. This, to me, should be completely contrary to the ethos TW should be encouraging - we should be encouraging exploration and understanding and critical evaluation, we should be encouraging openness and sharing of ideas - we should even, IMO, be encouraging technical "time-wasting" if this is what people want to do - As long as they dont then obviously fabricate falsehoods.. In such a case these need to be exposed.

I dont want to see Theremin World become Theremin Constructors World.. That wouldn't help anyone. There is a problem however because a lot of the activity here is on deeply technical threads - I think often folks post on these primarily because there's not much else going on.. And there are threads where us technos feel "called" to but where we probably arent wanted.. I look at the muff wiggler theremini thread and almost everyone seems happy! (perhaps because they'r all wiggling their m...s ;-)) - Oh, so much BS one cant begin to dig a channel through it, but the few technical interjections have been ignored, and apart from a few fools ;-) technos have let them get on with it.

And sometimes I wonder - Are we really serving any useful purpose? Is there really any point in us being here other than at the level where we can advise people how to build a Jaycar or fix their EW? (or to do the homework for bone-idle students)

And if we left, and after a while of low hits, would TW revive as a forum for thereminists ? And if the focus became broader and included musical toothpicks, theremin playing cats, and MIDI controlled theremin playing androids and the like, would TW become really popular? - particularly if the pages and pages  (to probably the vast majority of visitors) of incomprehensible technical gobbledygook didn't clutter the recent posts.


Posted: 9/11/2014 1:33:11 AM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thanks for the great thoughts here all. I will definitely chew on this.

One truth is that if we are to exist as a content site, we need content.  I cannot attend theremin vents around the world in person, so reader contributions are very much appreciated.  I can't even commit to answering email every day, which is why I added the photo galleries and events calendar so folks can submit their own content that way.  But if I don't provide a good enough platform for user generated content, the discussion will move elsewhere... Like Levnet on Facebook.  

One of our most popular pages is the schematics list. Looking at it makes my head hurt though. Imagine if it was a much richer experience like Instructables with questions and answers on each schematic like Stack Overflow?  

Another thought is that our profile pages are weak at best. I think I can do a lot more to enable thereminists to build and promote their own personal theremin brand to help attract new students, collaborations, or performing gigs.

These are all bits I'm taking into consideration.  One might question why I'm discussing this out in the open. TW has always been a community effort, and I very much value your opinions on where I should spend my engineering time.

Please keep the great thoughts coming!

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