Saturday, January 30, 2016

10 Year Blog Anniversary

As of today this blog is ten years old. A decade, and 3,978 posts. When I started on January 30, 2006 I was in my first year as a tenured associate professor and thinking about what kinds of new things to do. Blogging was one such idea. It grew naturally out of reading news and blogs to use as current events discussion in class. Over time I became dissatisfied with only reading and not writing.

Scattered thoughts:

I've written a number of posts on the benefits of blogging so I won't spend much more space on that. Suffice it to say that blogging satisfies a creative urge, has sparked research ideas, helps me disseminate research, supplements my teaching, leads me to meet a lot of interesting people, connects me to the public and the media, and is a really fun hobby. There is no downside.

Steven Taylor used to have a blog (PoliBlog, which seems gone from the interwebs) and as I remember it his subtitle was "a rough draft of my thoughts." I like that idea, and it is exactly how I see my own blog. (And he is one of many people I've met--first online and then in person--only because I was blogging).

Two Weeks Notice: the name doesn't really mean anything. Every so often I've had people ask me about that, I guess expecting a profound answer related to losing your job. The honest answer is that I had been thinking of starting a blog and was focused solely on how to set it up. Once I got it all set, I suddenly realized I didn't have a name. On the spot, I decided to do a play on my last name, and since I wanted to get started I didn't spend much time coming up with it. A year or two later I added "A Latin American Politics Blog" to make it clearer when people were searching.

I've been largely unsuccessful at getting colleagues to blog. Fewer people in general than I thought would start actually did, and I know a lot of people who started and stopped. (One exception is my dad!). I've talked to lots of people who see it as a chore, too hard, too time consuming or just don't understand it. Even as blogging became more widespread, that didn't change. In political science, the Monkey Cage blog has become a great way for scholars to write a single-shot post, but even that is hard for a lot of people. This is an unusual writing form, I guess, and you either take to it or don't.

The most popular post of all time is this one on the images of Che Guevara. It's deceiving, though, because I had used some pictures I found online, and gradually realized people were searching for the images. This bothered me because of course these images belong to other people, so I removed them. That has greatly slowed traffic to that one post, so it's not the real most popular one.

The real most popular post of all time is this 2012 post on Otto Pérez Molina talking about drug legalization. I don't see it as particularly remarkable, so I think it is just so happened that it got mentioned by some more prominent blogger or someone who was heavily followed on Twitter. There is never any way to predict when/why these things happen.

Twitter has been great for blogging. My comments come mostly from there, and my posts get more attention than they would otherwise. I've also routinely linked to tweets, both my own and others', in my blog posts. I feel like it's symbiotic.

I've been on Blogger this entire time, and have not yet seen any reason to change. I've read so many accounts of people getting hacked, going down, getting errors, etc. and I've never had a single problem, and have never paid a dime. That seems worth it to me.

I intend to keep doing this as long as it remains fun, and when it's no longer fun I will stop. For the past ten years I've had a great time.


Steven Taylor 1:00 PM  

Congrats on the ten years! At a minimum I am pleased that the whole blogging enterprise lead us to meet.

And yes: PoliBlog died due to a combination of some technical issues and my moving most of blogging to Outside the Beltway (where I do not blog anywhere near as much as a I used to).

Alfredo 1:31 PM  


Lillie Langtry 11:41 AM  

Congrats! It's a great blog and I think there is still space for the genre, despite some saying it's dying out.

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