My blog is one today

A year ago today I started as a solo blogger. Unlike my previous group blog Catallaxy I’m not being written up in books about the media, but I do get media enquiries and writing requests based on blog posts.

Some of them are very unexpected – I would never have anticipated being asked to debate the door policy of a gay bar with an American philosopher of sex in a British philosophy magazine, but that’s where this post seems to have led (it should appear sometime in the next month).

And in contrast to the general impression that the inhibition-dropping nature of the blogosphere makes it a polarising place, my criticisms of people sometimes lead to positive and thoughtful responses, both in comments and in person. I hope it is because I (mostly…) stick to the spirit of my comments policy and keep my posts calm and polite. (Andrew Leigh seems to think so, anyway).

Luckily almost all commenters have also kept to the civility rules, and I think the comments thread is much better for it. There have been some good debates in comments threads, and from my perspective plenty of useful additional information, corrections, suggestions, and criticisms among the 5,354 comments so far. Our lurkers offer more of the same in email, by phone and in person. So thanks.

Blogging has synergies with my work, in sorting out, testing, and promoting my ideas. Unsurprisingly, with 64 posts – about one in five – higher education is my most frequent topic. With so much else on I had to abandon a book project looking at public opinion on economic reform, but I am keeping up to date with the polling through blogging (51 posts), which I hope will let me resurrect the manuscript when I can get a few weeks without constant other demands on my time. My papers on government spending and the graduate labour market put the tax and spend (23 posts) and employment and work (34 posts) categories into my top half-dozen. But happiness and well-being (15 posts) has been a less-common topic than I would have forecast this time last year. Is is just me or has this research area peaked already?

The work synergies, while real, couldn’t in themselves justify the time I spend posting and replying to comments. I have to enjoy it to make it worthwhile. So far I am, particularly since Jacques Chester saved me from my technological incompetence, and will keep going into my blog’s second year.

28 thoughts on “My blog is one today

  1. Andrew, congratulations. Even though we have a different set of values, I respect and admire your professionalism, honesty and reliability with information. I read your postings every day. Good luck and keep it up.


  2. Congrats from me too. I enjoy your balance of issues, but it must be nice to know you could always quadruple your readership by replacing your higher ed posts with posts on the door policies of gay bars, straight bars, biker bars, singles bars, bars that don’t charge women a cover, trendy bars, untrendy bars….


  3. I’d like to add my congratulations – and thanks – Andrew. Quiggin and Troppo are other blogs I occasionally visit, but this one has become a daily ‘must read’ for me.


  4. Let me join the chorus of congratulations. Your posts are interesting, your arguments are well reasoned and I lke the tone of the comments thread.


  5. Congratulations, Andrew, your blog is a daily must-read for me too. Clearly a good decision to go solo and nearly as good a decision to change your host early on!


  6. It seems much longer than a year – must be the relentlessness of it.

    Your blog is another thing that has to be read (after the comfort of Eureka Street, Green Left Weekly etc) and to tell the truth you make me think more than the rest put together. If you could just unshackle yourself from that obsession with statistics ….. other than that, very informative and a model of blogging style.


  7. I think its great too. I like the comments policy (and that people basically stick to it) too — I find some of the other blogs unbearable in this respect. I’m sure 10 good comments are better than 1000 bits of abuse.


  8. Your blog is always an interesting read Andrew, especially your use of statistics. And the comments are mostly interesting too! Best of luck for the second year.


  9. Congratulations Andrew, this blog is apparently a place unblike the so-called “bloody crossroads” where literature and politics meet, where people of very different views can meet and exchange views in a civil fashion. Perhaps it stands as a testament to the principles of classical liberalism, anyway I like to think that.

    On the topic of milestones, the Rathouse website turns 5 this month. Anther classical liberal venue though it is not interactive. Incidentally Clive James on his site has copied the Rathouse idea of giving other people a space. The Guestroom of the Rathouse has launched a couple of people into cyberspace who later went on to their own sites (Roger Sandall and Nick Maxwell).


  10. It does feel like longer than a year. Thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughts Andrew, a vital ingredient to my ongoing lesson in how to think, reason and argue. I think the statistics are important too and you seem to interpret them flawlessly. Am very glad you went solo and that you instituted a sensible comments policy. All the best for the future!!


  11. If I may ask, Andrew, where do you find the time to write your posts? Personally, I find it hard enough to find time to write coherent and meaningful posts on my own blog, possibly as I have a tendency to overcommit myself with activities.


  12. Yes, Andrew – happy birthday to one of the best blogs for both content and netiquette.

    Re happiness research, let me offer this prediction. When Rudd wins government this pretend quality of life stuff will be among the many silly things an ALP government indulges in.


  13. Thanks guys (this is a blokey place, isn’t it?). Sacha – the key to prolific posting is being single, childless, not following sport or pop culture, and having work and interests that generate material for posts. You are probably better off having fewer posts and a more varied life!


  14. Happy birthday to your blog, Andrew. In my former career as a journalist for The Age, I was once the subject of criticism from you — and appreciated its constructive nature so much that I’ve kept reading you ever since. Well done, your blog is a must-read.


  15. “With so much else on I had to abandon a book project looking at public opinion on economic reform”

    Anyone know if that’s been published yet? I’m considering buying some books from the CIS, including Lands of Shame and Andrew’s The Unchained University. Can anyone recommend anything else?


  16. Mitch – Maybe I will get around to putting it all together when I get long service leave in early 2010. But I have used much of the material in articles and papers for the CIS on taxation, industrial relations reform, and protectionism. They are available for free on the CIS and Policy websites. Privatisation in the only economic reform topic for which there is enough public opinion evidence to write something substantive that I have not yet published on.

    On the CIS booklist, I recommend material by Peter Saunders.


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