Ten Years

by Dave Schuler on March 15, 2014

Today marks ten years to the day since my first post on this blog. It wasn’t much. Just putting a message in a bottle. I wrote my first decent post a couple of days later, “It’s not a pretty story”, a character study of a woman I encountered when working as an election judge.

It wasn’t until June of that year that I wrote what I think is still one of my best posts, “Anthems”. It’s a study of my own mood and, possibly, the mood of the country at that time as epitomized by three national anthems, the official one and two that I think of as unofficial anthems. There’s actually the beginnings of a good discussion in the comments of that post.

That was and continues to be one of the enduring purposes of this blog—fostering thoughtful comment. Nowadays this blog has a coterie of commenters who provide comments that are, mostly, civil and considered. Such commentary is becoming rare in the blogosphere which to my ear has become more of a place for people who want to have their opinions affirmed rather than challenged and too frequently respond to challenges with invective rather than discourse. The other day in the comments of one of my posts at Outside the Beltway a commenter lamented that I gave any “bandwidth” as he put it to the opinions of a columnist with whom he (and I) disagree. The answer to that is obvious: if you only air opinions with which you agree, you’re an echo chamber.

One of the posts of which I’m proudest is “Learning from history: the relief and rebuilding of New Orleans”. The post examined the prospects for New Orleans’s recovery through the prism of three historical natural disasters: the Chicago fire, the Galveston flood, and the San Francisco earthquake. In my view and sadly those involved with the rebuilding of New Orleans did not heed the lessons of history and, consequently, New Orleans’s recovery has not been as great as it might have been.

Another post of which I’m proud came a year later: “The influence of immigrants on American political thought”. It’s another historical reflection that considers the long-lasting political impact that the famine Irish and the Scandinavian immigrants of the later 19th century had on American politics along with some speculation about the influence that our latest wave of immigrants might have on our politics.

In the early years of this blog I was more predisposed to long, painstakingly researched, analytical pieces than I am now. I’ve learned those posts are entirely written for my own satisfaction—practically no one reads them. As ideas come to me I’ll probably write such posts in the future but don’t be surprised if they become less common with the passing years—I just don’t have the energy.

My most-read post is a joke: “The four types of dog vomit”. Many people don’t get it and many aren’t in a mood to get it. They’ve gone there looking for help with a vomiting dog. One of these days I should write a serious, follow-up post to that which actually provides some resources for people whose dogs are vomiting.

My next most-read post is a recipe: “How to poach a chicken breast”, a method I learned in a Chinese cooking class I took.

Over the years my blog’s traffic has waxed and waned. Right now it’s in a waning phase. I can’t honestly tell how much of that is due to the audience for my work actually dwindling and how much an illusion due to bots and comment spam once having been treated as legitimate readers that no longer are. 90% of the notional hits I get are either bots or comment spam. I use various methods of blocking or slowing them but the constant battle is very frustrating to me. I’d rather be writing substantive posts than blocking comment spam but it’s part of the cost of blogging these days. I consider comment spam a crime, stealing space and bandwidth that I pay for.

Do I wish my blog had more traffic? Of course I do. Do I want crude and thoughtless readers? Not particularly. All in all I guess I’m satisfied with how things are. I’ve accomplished every goal I set for myself with this blog, albeit at a very small scale.

I intend to continue posting at The Glittering Eye as long as I live which, if family history is any gauge, will be for decades into the future. And I’ll continue to post about what interests me: current events, politics, history, opera, food, dogs, geneaology, and anything else that strikes my fancy. That hasn’t changed since the very earliest days. Recently, I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a second more commercial blog that’s tangentially related to my area of professional expertise. At this point it’s in the research stage.

In closing, I’d like to express my profound gratitude for all of my readers, whether frequent commenters, family, friends, occasional silent visitors, or those who arrive here by accident never to return. Thank you all!

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The Colossus of Rhodey
March 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm

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