September 20, 2009

Celebrating my Blogiversary – My 100th Post!

Milestones are a time for reflection (and celebration). So, as I am celebrating my first blogiversary – this right here is post #100 – I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learned about blogging.

First of all, I should point out that I didn’t have a plan at first. I started this blog when I was messing around on the internet in May 2008. I wrote six posts, and then stopped. Apparently, that is the norm for blogs, so no big surprise there.

One year later, in May 2009, I started blogging again. Here is how it happened. I had become an avid Facebook user, and decided to share some of my travel and research experiences via Facebook notes. After a few posts, a friend of mine sent me a message and suggested I start a blog and post my reflections there. She suggested that Facebook might own my notes, and that it would be better for me to post them on a blog. I already had the blog from the previous year, so moving my notes to a blog was easy.

I changed the name of my blog to reflect the content of my posts, and began blogging away. I wrote about the challenges my family and I faced as we got settled into Kingston, Jamaica. I wrote about the conferences I attended in Kingston and Rio de Janeiro. And, once my research in Jamaica got underway, I used the blog to post some of my research findings.

I thought of the blog as a way to keep my friends and family posted on my wanderings, and to spread the word about my research. It is a bit eclectic – with posts about traveling with children, conferencing, advice for new faculty, and immigration policy – making it unlikely many people will find everything interesting. Unless, of course, they are scholars with children who travel and are interested in immigration policy (like me!).

Over time, my blog has improved my relationship with writing. I really enjoy writing my blog entries. Most academic writing has to go through several revisions and reviews before ever being published. The revision process can be painful. My blog entries, in contrast, get a quick once-over by me, and are instantly published. This makes them a lot more fun to write than my academic endeavors. Plus, if people find them interesting, I get instant feedback, which is always fun!

At first, the only way I tried to spread the word about my blog was via Facebook. When I posted an entry, I posted a link on Facebook. Now, I have added a few more tactics to get readers to my blog. I have included my blog address as part of my email signature. I joined Twitter (and am trying to get used to it). I sometimes post comments on other blogs that are related to my own. I have guest blogged a couple of times. I probably could do more to become a full-fledged member of the blogosphere, but haven’t done so as yet. Before doing that, I probably have to figure out my niche – travel blogger, academic blogger, mama blogger, or political blogger. Or, create my own niche – globetrotting academic activist mama!

It has been a great journey to 100 posts, and I am grateful to my readers. Knowing that other people will read what I write is a great motivation to put words on the page! Thanks!

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