I am not obsessed with blogging, but it gives me something to do while I drink my morning coffee, and now I have done it for two years. I think that the observations that I offered one year ago still stand. I can briefly add five more:
1. Audience. A year ago, I still thought a good bit about a blogging voice and an intended audience. Since then, I've just decided to blog on what I want to blog. I will admit that at times, it suddenly occurs to me that I am an archaeologist and an ancient historian - rather than an American historian, an academic technologist, or whatever - but I am less concerned with inconsistencies in my intellectual and academic life. After all, if a reader isn't interested in a particular topic that I am exploring, they do not have to read that post!
2. Blogging as Professional and Social Networking. Over the last 15 months, I have begun to realize how useful blogging is in finding like-minded colleagues from around the world. While my blog has never attracted a huge number of comments (less than 200 as of this morning), I frequently receive emails from fellow scholars commenting on various posts or addressing particular issues that I raise in my posts. Moreover, I now am regularly identified as a blogger by people whom I would have never met otherwise. And, it appears to be regarded as a good thing.
3. People read blogs. This has led me to the startling conclusion that people really do read blogs. Whether they are taken seriously as academic production or seen a merely a pleasant diversion is another matter, but people do visit my blog regularly. Over the last four months, I've averaged close to 100 visitors per day and over the lifetime of the blog almost 70 visitors per day.
4. Content and Form. My blog is ugly. I keep thinking that I should change the template and give it a more open, up to date look. Typepad and Wordpress release new blog templates seemingly daily. They offer new features (like threaded comments), new widgets for gathering and displaying information, and new formats for text to make your content appear in contemporary formats. My blog does not take advantage of any of these new bells and whistles, but still draws a steadily increasing flow of traffic. I suppose I will eventually move the blog to a more flashy Wordpress template. When I have time.
5. Always be Composing. When Michael Bérubé took a break from his well-known blogging routine, he complained that that the ABC -- Always be composing -- had taken its toll on him after three years of blogging almost daily. This is certainly the case. I spend at least an hour a day planning my weekly posts, thinking of topics, and, of course, writing. My black notebook is a constant companion as I jot notes down and even write out posts longhand. I can imagine a time when I will have to stop whether the press of other responsibilities becomes too great or out of boredom or a kind of exhaustion, but right now, I continue to feel motivated. The motivations comes from two sources. One, I am energized by the idea of producing text that people want to read, and, two, the discipline of blogging has made me a more efficient scholar.
So, thanks for reading my blog regularly and contributing to my scholarly discipline. Read blogs.
Here is my weekly reading list:
Objects, Buildings, Situations
Ancient History Ramblings
Ancient World Bloggers Group
Surprised by Time
Axis of Access
Confessions of an Aca/Fan