I’ve been blogging for a bit more than ten years now, having started on 16 December, and today Aard turns nine! I was inspired to begin blogging by my wife who started in October 2005. She worked as a news reporter at the time, and journalists were early adopters in Swedish blogging. I was doing research on small grants and applying for uni jobs.
In late 2005 we were living happily in a three-room apartment in a former council tenement, my son had just started school and my daughter was a baby. Things have changed a bit over these ten years as we’ve moved into middle age: both kids are now taller than my wife, she’s a psychology student and I’m a part-time adjunct university lecturer. We’re in a small house of our own, though very near our old place.
Throughout all these years, blogging has been hugely important to me as a platform to have a voice in my field despite my difficulties in securing post-doctoral academic affiliation. It’s given me complete autonomy of immediate expression in a field where most people are still limited by the goodwill of journal editors and long waits for publication. Blogging has made me a minor celeb in Scandy archaeology. I’ve even seen a blog comment of mine quoted as part of the motto for a major Norwegian conference! Blogging also offered important relief for the loneliness of my solo research years, when nobody except my wife cared whether I got out of bed in the mornings or not. (The funding bodies only checked on me like once every two years.)
Another aspect of why I like blogging so much is how much fun it is to write about whatever I’m thinking about on any given day. And it’s been quite an education to me. I believe an interested reader will be able to tell that something happened to my academic writing as well around 2005-06. I’ve never been impressed by complicated academic jargon. But I feel like blogging really allowed me to develop an English style of my own, aiming for brevity, clarity and accessibility, and preferably a note of humour. A semi-hostile trio of job application reviewers actually commented on this recently: ”His work is characterized by an unusual personal writing style, which seems to mirror a conscious opposition towards traditional dogmas in academia.” This makes me proud. Conscious opposition towards traditional dogmas, indeed!
Taking stock, I find that this is my 2543rd blog entry. That averages to about five blog entries a week for a decade. In recent years of course I’ve been posting less frequently, but longer entries on average as shorter observations now go into my Facebook feed instead. Starting three years ago the best of these end up packaged as Pieces Of My Mind entries on the blog.
Traffic has been fairly steady for over two years, after coming down from the dizzy heights of 2007-2011. For Oct, Nov, Dec 2015, I’ve had about 480 daily readers. Most of them sadly never comment. The uncontested rulers of the comments section are Phillip Helbig, Thomas Ivarsson, Birger Johansson, Eric Lund and John Massey, who can be counted upon to keep up a lively, smart and funny conversation full of interesting links even if I don’t post for a week. Birger and John have actually commented more than I have on this blog!
Thematically, I’ve always described Aard as a blog about archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music. This is borne out by the numbers for the categories I tag each entry with, though humour, tech and Sweden are also big.
So, Dear Reader, I ain’t quittin’. Is there anything in particular that you’d like me to write about? I’d be particularly pleased to hear from steady lurkers such as Ulla Å.!