Sb Has 15 Active Blogs

A year ago I took a look at the surrounding landscape here at Sb, investigating which of the blogs were active – defined as which ones had seen an entry during the month up to 19 Jan ’16. Now I’ve looked at the month up to 24 Jan ’17. The result isn’t great. Four blogs have gone quiet and three have re-awoken, bringing the total down to 15.

A particularly significant loss from the roster is Josh Rosenhouse’s EvolutionBlog. This was one of the original Sb blogs in May of 2006, and Josh’s farewell entry is dated 18 October 2016.

Not one new blog has been added to the roster in the past two years. You may wonder what the Sb Overlords are thinking about this. I sure do.

Here are the currently active ScienceBlogs (apart from the one you’re reading). Check them out and drop them a few comments!

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Eleven Years Of Blogging

eleven-clipart-number11-250pxToday is Aard’s tenth anniversary! And 16 December was my eleventh anniversary as a blogger, since I blogged at Blogspot for over a year before I came to Scienceblogs.

2016 has been a good year for the blog’s traffic: about 540 daily readers which is better than 2014 and 2015, very encouraging! It hasn’t been a great year for me professionally though, with a number of really bad disappointments in academia, mostly related to nepotism, and quite a lot of financial worries. The latter luckily turned out to be unfounded. And I’m pleased with having directed my biggest excavation yet and published my first pop-sci book. Also it’s been a really good year for me as a dad.

Of course, many people will remember 2016 for big triumphs of right-wing populism in the UK and US, and for a sad string of celebrity deaths. I say let’s remember that Austria elected a Green president over a Brown one, and Keith Richards is not only still alive but still touring!

As for my blogging plans for 2017, I don’t foresee any particular changes, largely because I have nothing particular planned for other aspects of my life. As far as I know today I’ll spend 2017 finishing a book on the Medieval castles of Östergötland at 75% while editing Fornvännen at 25%. You’ll find me here, Dear Reader.

Sb Has 16 Active Blogs

A year ago I took a look at the surrounding landscape here at Sb, investigating which of the blogs were active – defined as which ones had seen an entry during the month up to 24 Jan ’15. Now I’ve looked at the month up to 17 Jan ’16. The result isn’t great. Four blogs have gone quiet and one has re-awoken, bringing the total down to 16. Not one new blog has been added to the roster in the past year. You may wonder what the Sb Overlords are thinking about this. I sure do.

Here are the currently active ScienceBlogs (apart from the one you’re reading). Check them out and drop them a few comments!

Ten Years Of Blogging

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.!

Sb Has 19 Active Blogs

I’m not a big blog reader, sad to tell, and I have almost no insight into what’s going on elsewhere in the science blogosphere including ScienceBlogs. But a few days ago I got curious about what the network I’m on is like these days, and I did some investigating. I was surprised by what I found. In the following, when I talk about active blogs, I mean blogs that have seen an entry in the past month.

On 24 January, ScienceBlogs had only 19 active blogs.* Eleven of these opened in 2006, Sb’s first year. The network had no less than 112 inactive blogs, most of which started after 2006. This suggests that Sb’s original recruitment strategy was rather different and far stronger than it’s been in later years.

Dear Reader, maybe you might want to have a look at the other active Sb blogs? I can’t say that I know what most of them are like, except that their writers are certainly steady and dependable people who aren’t given to brief enthusiasms.

* Though the roll-down menu lists 38 as active.

Update same evening: Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles commented on the state of Sb back in December.

Eight Years Of Blogging

I’ve been blogging for a bit more than eight years now, and today Aard turns seven. Traffic for late 2013 is ~600 daily readers, pretty low compared to the most recent peak at 1000 in early 2012. This is probably because of my lower posting frequency and because the URLs of individual older blog entries changed when ScienceBlogs migrated to WordPress last year. The lower posting frequency, in its turn, is largely due to Facebook, where stuff that might have made short blog entries in 2007 ends up now. Some of the Facebook bits show up here afterwards as Pieces of My Mind.

As to Sb in general, I have no contact with the other bloggers here and hardly any contact with National Geographic that runs the place. We haven’t had an editor or a backstage forum in years. But we do get paid — still at the 2006 rate and still slightly late. I still get contacted by publicists who offer me books and DVDs to review but I rarely take them up on their offers.

But never mind that. I still love blogging! And it’s good to see that people still like reading blogs.

De-Lurk

It’s time we had a de-lurk around this here blog! The last one was over a year ago. If you keep returning to this blog but rarely or never comment, you are a lurker, Dear Reader, and a most welcome one too.

Please comment on this entry and tell us something about yourself – like where you are, what your biggest passion is, what you’d like to see more of on the blog. And if you are a long-time lurker who has de-lurked before, re-de-lurks are much encouraged!

Tech Note: Tagging Matters To Traffic

I’m happy to note that Aard’s traffic is now back at its pre-Wordpress level: 880 daily uniques in January. I believe this is due to three factors: more frequent entries, a small traffic peak thanks to the Hårby valkyrie, and above all my return to tagging.

I don’t know why I quit tagging. Just lazy I guess. Tags are the little clickable keywords you’ve been seeing at the bottom of entries lately. Google places great stock on them. If I understand correctly, the search engine will place a tagged blog entry much higher in the search results than an identical entry without the tags. Tags attract drive-by readers. And surely some proportion of them will become regulars.