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.