Sunday, October 09, 2005


My blog year in review

Presentation1 I never had a chance to finish my blog anniversary celebration last month. You've probably been wondering, since seeing my September 19, 2005 1-year blog anniversary post, "what about those blog anniversary 'fun facts' and iced coffee that he promised?" Here it is, along with some Blog Year in Review reflections.

The blog anniversary offers a moment to reflect on the past year and think about such questions as: Where have I been? Where am I going?

The Columnist Manifesto ("CM"), in its 1 year and 12 days of existence in the blogosphere (September 19, 2004 to September 30, 2005), has consisted of 485 posts, or just under 1.3 posts per day. But what began as a supposed politics/ public affairs blog seems to have morphed into something I know not what.

CM was born out of a combination of my feeling energized by the 2004 election campaign and frustrated by MSM coverage of it. In my 11 posts of September 2004, all were about politics. Indeed, 38 out of my first 51 posts, from September 19 to November 10, 2004 (a week after the election) were about politics.

Then began my post-election depression cum news blackout. Only 18 out of 96 posts dealt with politics between November 11 and the end of February 2005, a decline in my political blog post rate from about 75% to less then 19%.

After a big political rebound in March (21 political posts out of 43), CM has clearly morphed into something else, posting only 34 political entries in 295 blog posts (11% political). The apolitical high point was 1 political post out of 58 in August. See figure 1. My overall political rate: 22.9%.

Fig. 1

What is a “political” blog post, you ask? Well, I construe that broadly to include politics, public affairs, and news about same. This can lead to some tough judgment calls.

For instance: Any joke about George w. Bush is political, even if only about the color of his ties. Supreme court cases are political, as are any posts about Supreme Court justices, if only to point out the Justice Scalia looks like Jabba the Hut.

Posts about bottled water and the environment? Yes, political. Posts about what bottled water looks like in Poland – no. SUVs and cell phones: no.

Posts about items in NYTimes: yes. Posts about using NY Times bags for dog poop: no.

News: yes. News about celebrities: no. News about celebrities tried for crimes: yes.

So maybe my political count is not quite as accurate as we’d all like, but you get the idea.

How about traffic? CM has seemed to plateau at around 150 hits per day on weekdays, 100ish on weekends and holidays, a rate I would scarcely have dreamed of when my obscure little boat set sail in September 2004. But the Sitemeter graph suggest more mountain peak than plateau:


Basically, the mountain peak reflects My Summer of Althouse Links, culminating in an Althouse-Instapundit link to my post, "Do I look fat?", which generated over 3,000 hits in a few days. The figure of around 4,000 hits for September 2005 is probably more the norm.

I enabled the comments feature on February 5, 2005, and today I can hardly imagine blogging without it. You commenters keep me going – I hang on your every word. What’s that about?

The title of this blog made sense back in September ‘04, when I was going to be writing political diatribes. But what about now? No matter – I’m stuck with it. Changing a blog name is disruptive and should not be done lightly.

I got the digital camera in May 2005, and my blogging was changed forever – or at least until the next great new technological thing.

What do I make of all this? Is there an emoticon for a shrug of “Gee, I dunno?”

Anyway, here's that iced coffee I promised.


Okay, I'll break my resolve (of not commenting on blogs where the thirsty-for-comments-authors live by a one-way comment flow) just this once, for you, in honor of your (protracted) celebration.

I like what you have made of CM. I know blogs change, but I hope yours stays the way it is now -- roughly, a combination of humor and pathos. We get to decide what's humor and what's pathos.

No seriously, keep writing. Agree that this is way more satisfying than submitting things to the New Yorker.
I'm a late comer, so I missed the strongly political overtones. Though hearing that, since I haven't read your archives, makes the name more sensical. At any rate, I'm happy with the way things are now, as too much politics just keeps me enraged, and I believe that's unhealthy for me.
You know, I no longer remember where I first found a link to your site, but I do remember that the title was what grabbed me. It's just so clever.

I love the humor and the pathos, but I must say that your travel blogging was some of the best travel writing I've ever read.
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