My fifth blogiversary was almost two weeks ago and I nearly missed it. I think when I came on sabbatical my blogging went on one as well even though I’ve tried to stay on the scene to some extent.
Looking back, I can tell I was an early adopter, because in my first post, I felt the need to explain what a blog is.
People often wonder when (if ever) is a good time to start blogging. I’ve decided that graduate school was the perfect time. While the following is nearly impossible to appreciate when you’re still in grad school, I know it now: you honestly will never have as much free time as you do when you’re in graduate school. Granted, I was in a cushy position of not having to teach so that experience won’t generalize completely. Nonetheless, the number of obligations that follow once you’re in a faculty position makes it a more daunting undertaking later. (I guess perhaps blogging during a post-doc may also work well assuming that the post-doc experience happens before one gets a faculty position.)
I sometimes look back with longing on the topics I covered during the first year. They seem more interesting than what I get around to writing up these days. It’s not that I don’t think about an equal number of random and intriguing issues, I just don’t find the time to construct blog posts about them. I also wonder if size of audience influences what I blog about and how often. Perhaps one is more hesitant with some topics when blog posts go out to a large number of people instantly, the latter thanks to RSS, also not something one considered back in the “old days”.
One of the most amusing outcomes of a post during the first year of my blogging had to do with the movie Chicago. I wrote a few brief comments about it including a critique of a very annoying movie mistake. For some reason (different search algorithms at work at the time favoring blog posts perhaps a bit too much), my entry came up very high in the results on Google in response to a search on movie chicago. And when I say very high, I mean that it was the first hit on Google having to do with the movie! I got tons of visitors many of whom disagreed with my dislike of the movie and weren’t too shy to tell me. I ended up disabling the comments on the blog it got so ridiculous.
By September, 2003 I joined Crooked Timber. Thanks to the folks there who invited me and allowed me to reach a larger number of readers. It’s been a blast. Thanks VERY much to you, dear reader for making this a worthwhile activity. I don’t know if I would’ve kept it up for five years without, what has mostly been, valuable feedback. I’ve met some great people through this activity and have learned a ton, so I thank you!