Sometime over the last two weeks my blog hit a key milestone, and I only just realised…
The blog has now hit a total number of views of over 500,000, that is half a million.
That probably doesn’t sound like much compared to some other sites, and I have no idea how it compares with the other Bermudian blogs, historical or current, specifically the more politics-focused ones. However, to me, it’s still quite a milestone, and one that I’m fairly chuffed about.
When I started this blog I wasn’t sure what it would amount to, and there’s been times when I almost let it go dormant and die.
As anyone who’s actually tried their hand at blogging – and I mean real blogging, writing articles regularly, rather than simple posting quick comments on this or that site – it’s a lot harder than one might initially think.
I’ve learned a lot over the eight years that I’ve operated this blog.
I’ve learned or improved on some key skills of editing, writing, presentation, formatting and meeting deadlines. I know there’s a lot I still have to learn, but for something I started rather naively, and outside my comfort zone (I use computers, but I’m no IT guru!), I feel I’ve come a long way.
It’s also forced me to learn about issues I wouldn’t otherwise have looked into – it’s challenged me, as have commentators or readers who prefer to give me private feedback.
I think the quality of writing, and overall general presentation of the site, has improved greatly from my rather clumsy start, and I’ve found that many of the skills, especially the improvements to my writing skills, has been transferable outside of the blog.
True, the viewership has suffered due to the neglect it suffered at times, as I gave priority to other things in my life, like my decision to go back to school as a mature student in the hope of coming out of the economic crisis with new skills that can be put to the service of Bermuda.
In my first year I came close to 20,000 views, but the second year reached 142k, and the third year hit 186k.
The fourth year saw the begin of the decline as I left to return to school, only seeing 86k views, year five saw 20k, and years six and seven were both in the 13,000s.
This year, the eighth, has seen an increase, currently at around 23k, and I believe it’s possible to begin recovering to my previous viewership should I choose to put the time and effort into it.
Of course, there’s now the added competition of Facebook and even Twitter. The bulk of online discussion, of the nature that the core Bermudian blogs once dominated, has shifted to these new forms of social media.
This has made it harder to find the motivation to keep a blog like this one running – it’s easy to instead get sucked into the whirlpool of instant conversation that these other social media offer, and lose the motivation to post a proper blog post.
Nonetheless, I think that blogs still have a key role to play in the ecology of our political discourse. They may be dinosaurs, relatively, but they have a role to play, complementary to both the traditional media (newspapers, news-sites) and new social media (Facebook).
After all, one can only formulate so much of an argument in the forms common to the new social media formats or in the to and fro of FB conversations.
Blogs like these allow for a more detailed argument and opinion to be formulated and can serve as a foundation for FB conversations. They can be more than that too, even if only to help the blogger themselves clarify and articulate their ideas, including being able to go back and reflect on earlier positions. That’s something that I think is harder to do on FB.
My initial milestone was 100k; then 250k. Having reached 500k I’m not sure what that means for this blog. I feel it’s at a bit of a crossroads to be honest.