I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention this anniversary. I started my first blog in April of 2003, so I’ve been blogging for thirteen years now. Guess I need to keep going to make it at least fourteen to avoid any bad luck. The domain RandomConnections didn’t come online until a year later, in May of 2004, but since I essentially folded the contents of that prior blog into this one, I think I can legitimately claim April 4, 2003 as the birthday of this blog.
It may have taken thirteen years, but it seems as if readership has really taken off. This past year I’ve had several posts go viral (a term that didn’t even exist in relation to social media when I first started.) Back this summer I had one day with over 12,000 hits. That was the high water mark. Busy days I get 1,000 to 1,300 distinct hits, but more typical is 300-500. Every now and then I find a subject that tends to strike a chord with people. It seems that Facebook drives most of that traffic, as people share links to the site. I’ve also noticed that my posts seem to have gotten longer and longer as I try to supply more details and research.
I’ve written before about the evolution of this blog on previous anniversaries. What I haven’t covered are the social aspects of this evolution. When I first started blogging, blogs were this brand new thing, and a potential menace for school administrators. It seemed that the only people actually blogging were young people, who were sharing far too much personal information online. As older people become involved in a medium, the younger crowd tends to shift to new venues. First they moved to MySpace, then Facebook. Now Facebook is seen as an old person’s social media platform, and younger users are moving to even more temporary and semi-anonymous platforms like Twitter and SnapChat.
Then there are the dinosaurs, like me. I started blogging not as an attempt to stay current with a young crowd, but because I liked the concept from a web publication standpoint. I could get information out in a timely fashion, but that information could still be searchable. Despite the migration to transient social media forms, I still think blogging is relevant, despite the fact that for years now many of proclaimed the “Death of Blogging.”
Blogging requires time and attention. It’s a platform for telling stories, and it seems that people don’t do much of that anymore. They share the details of their lives in 140 character bursts, but not the important stories. A thoughtful reflection and analysis is often better than a spur of the moment comment. Don’t get me wrong – I use Twitter as well, and find it perfect for the use for which it was intended, but it’s not a story platform.
I once proposed a workshop for our local library entitled “Blogging for Seniors.” The idea was to introduce them to the platform so that they could tell their stories – stories of a lifetime that might otherwise be lost. The scheduling for that workshop fell through, and I never got to present it, but I’d still like to do that sometime.
But enough navel-gazing. I’ll keep writing until I lose interest (which doesn’t seem likely at this point), or circumstances parent me from continuing to write. Until that time, thanks for coming along with me on this ride.