Today is Academic Jungle's 1st anniversary. It opened with Delayed Gratification at the old URL (geekmommyprof.blogpost.com); today's post is my 86th. I moved to http://academic-jungle.blogspot.com/ on August 7 with Jungle Juggle.
I am proud to have acquired 45 followers and 282 readers who follow the blog on Google Reader. Google Analytics gives me the following numbers (these are only from August 12, 2010 till today, i.e. just since I moved to the new URL)
Total pageviews: 106,265
Unique pageviews: 86,966
I think these are all very cool numbers for a 1-year-old small independent blog.
Another cool piece of statistics is the map of visitors -- they came from 107 countries!
What have I learned about blogging in the past year? Like many other human activities, blogging can be aggravating or boring; on the other hand, it can be fun, therapeutic, or enlightening. The positives overall outweigh the negatives, which is why I am still around.
Negative aspects first: I have had several kerfuffles in my first year, most of which I don't particularly care to remember. The first one transpired before I completed a full month of blogging, it was completely surprising and largely disillusioning. It mainly had a censoring effect on my subsequent writing. I freely admit that I now avoid writing about certain topics altogether and significantly tone down my writing on many others because I don't have the time or the energy to fight off the potential onslaught of vitriolic comments. Hats off to those who have no such issues, as it looks like there are plenty of bloggers who thrive on these little explosions; honestly, I find them (the kerfuffles) nothing but draining. I don't find them amusing even when they happen to other people. But, I also found that censoring your writing is apparently no guarantee that someone somewhere won't get ticked off by whatever you write: no matter how personal or benign a post, there is always the potential to aggravate people. Oh well. I suppose that's just blogging imitating life.
But, all this negativity is hardly appropriate for a birthday, so off to positive things. What are my favorite aspects of blogging? Bloggy friends and acquaintances, bar none. There are a number of bloggers whose writing I really enjoy for various reasons -- some are serious, some goofy, some focused on the science/academia, some more on the personal aspects, but all are invariably whip-smart and insightful. With some I have connected off-blog. I really cherish the connections to these interesting people whom I would have never met otherwise.
I also appreciate blogging as a means of venting (I am sure Mr GMP also appreciates that I don't offload all -- only most -- of my many frustrations on him!) I enjoy other people's ranty posts and do feel better after writing mine. Moreover, I really enjoy blogging as a creative outlet of sorts. I know blogging does not constitute creative writing, or at least not very high-quality creative writing the way I do it, but the posts I enjoyed writing the most essentially read like essays.
Overall, it's been an interesting year, and in hindsight it does seem kind of long really. I started blogging at the end of my 6th year as a faculty (several months after I learned that I had been approved for tenure) and now is the end of my 7th. I am off to a sabbatical leave, which I am really looking forward to. In the past year, I have graduated four students, two with an MS and two with a PhD, received a couple of teaching awards, written many, many grants, and many, many papers. At the end of June I am expecting a baby on whose name Mr GMP and I have yet to agree. One option for the name would have our three boys' first initials be NMR, which greatly pleases the geek in me. Another option results in NML, the inverse alphabetical order of these letters, also high on the geek-o-meter. A third would yield NMA (enema -- LOL). Perhaps we'll just name him Spawn 3.
Dear reader, I have two orders of business where I need your input. One is a very important issue that has been bugging me for quite some time: what is, in your opinion, the proper name for a blogging anniversary? (You can enter multiple answers.)
My other request is a bit more serious: if you are a regular reader, and especially if you haven't commented much or at all, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you like/dislike about Academic Jungle, and what I can do to encourage you to comment more. Do you read for the academic (research/teaching/funding) content, for the more personal (family/mommy/immigrant) content, or is mixing it all up exactly your cup of tea?
Thanks everyone for reading!