Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blog CCXXIV (224): Reflections on a Blog

When this blog started in 2009, I never thought I would be going into my eighth year with this endeavor.  The start of this new year is also a good time to reflect on what we have done and where we will go. 

The first thing is to thank everyone that reads this blog.  There is a joke that I heard once, and have referenced before on postings that most blogs have an audience of one.  There were times when I thought this quip was not too far from the truth.  Every time some one makes a reference to me on their blog, sends an e-mail, has their visit counted on the page view counter, follows the blog, or makes a comment in the discussion section I am grateful, because it means people are listening.

The second thing worth noting is that this blog is time consuming.  I wrote a lot of the early postings for this blog in 2006three years before I actually started the blog.  I had things I wanted to say, I just was not sure where, when or how I would say them.  I am pretty proud of those postings, but as time went on I went through those essays, but other issues developed that I wanted to address.  The postings that I am most proud of are those that have generally taken the most time to produce. Some of them are:
Not all of these have been the most popular essays on In the Service of Clio. (That the "Job Hunting Tips" series did not get a gazillion hits really did surprise me.)  The most popular individual essays have been:
It is also worth noting that two essays on this blog became articles in the American Historical Association's newsletter Perspectives on History: Mike Creswell's Blog VI: Getting in the Door: The Graduate Admissions Process became Michael H. Creswell, "Navigating the Graduate Admissions Process, Perspectives on History (December 2009) and  Blog CXLIX (149): "Reform Time" Part III  and Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, "Reform Time: Some Proposals to Help Solve the Job Crisis" Perspectives on History, vol. 54, no. 4 (April 2013), 38-39 are the same essay.  The blog has also led to my participation in three different conferences panels on the job market.

All of that is a roundabout way of getting to my third point, I think the blog has done some good work.  I want to be realistic about that point.  I have watched other blogs get much bigger audiences for any number of reasons.  I also realized that I had a bigger readership as an undergraduate when I wrote for The Daily Texan, the school paper of the University of Texas.  Of course, I was doing daily reporting whereas I am writing about a pretty narrow. professional topic here, but it still makes you take a deep breath and pause for a second.

Final and perhaps the most important point: I am optimistic for the blog about the coming year.  I took a lot of time off in 2016 to work on my next bookyou might notice that I have not had one published in five yearsand for a time considered giving up the ghost and shutting down the blog, but time away has also been a good thing.  I have got a lot more to say about the history business.  We will have two new entries in "The History Ph.D. as..." series, some more on the Logevall and Osgood debate, more information on non-academic employment, a long essay on another public debate similar to the new one on political history, and some commentary on the blogs of other historians.  It should make for some good professional reading.

Let's Blog! 

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