Philobiblon: Happy birthday to me ....

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Happy birthday to me ....

Who'd have thought it? Philobiblon is one year old.

The curious thing is that I really can't remember what it was that prompted me to go to Blogger and start it up - I don't think I was even terribly clear what a blog was.

But I do recall making those first couple of posts, when I was thinking mainly of putting up fascinating little snippets of historical information - stories, mainly of women's lives - that I felt should be broadcast, but didn't fit within the other work I was doing.

And that's still a large part of what Philobiblon is (and it will probably get larger in the coming months, when I hope to get back to intensive research).

The book element has grown in recent months when, in large part due to my involvement with Blogcritics, I've started to write formally formatted reviews. That, combined with recent events, has also probably boosted the political content - I'm not sure how much of that will remain in the long term, or indeed if I should split that off in a separate blog, or leave the posts just on blogcritics. (Any comments, complaints?)

I started off saying that I didn't care about the level of readership - and in some ways that is true: one of the values of Philobiblon to me is simply its push to make a personal record of what I've read and seen.

But I doubt there're many bloggers who, once they've found a web counter, don't check it at least semi-regularly, and it is nice to think you are part of a community. For all of the complaints about the decline of civil society in the information age, there could hardly be a better way to gather compatible people together. (And it would be nice to regularly top 100 readers a day some time - such a nice round number.)

I thought the occasion should be marked, so I've done a little redesign - nothing too flash - Philobiblon has improved my HTML skills, but I'll never be a full-on geek - and I've only just worked out photo posting. (And yes I know it is showing my age, but I do marvel at the ease with which you can post to Flickr, get a URL and drop it in your blog. They even give you different sizes to choose from!)

And I've, finally, got around to cleaning up my blogroll and at least partially updating it. I still have many more Femmes Fatales I should add (and indeed a whole FF section in the sidebar), which I will get too soon. As indeed I WILL get to updating my website, which has been shamefully neglected in the past year, as several people have pointed out to me.

So for the next year? More of the same, I expect. Blogging and blog reading has, for good or ill, now become a fundamental part of my life. I'm probably kidding myself on the downward side when I say I spend two hours a day at it. (But it has led me to get rid of the TV that I never got around to switching on, so I count it as the equivalent use of leisure time - and it is considerably more productive and stimulating.)

Vive la blog!

8 Comments:

Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Well, I don't know where your site counter sits generally, but remember that RSS feed readers don't count unless they click through to an article. So, for example, the 31 bloglines readers of this blog probably count for at least 20 lurkers on any given day....

Congratulations on one year!!

7/31/2005 01:58:00 am  
Anonymous Sharon said...

Happy birthday! (I just looked it up - I found you last August. You must have been about 3 weeks in.)

Yep, when we say numbers of readers don't matter, I think we're usually kidding ourselves. I do write for myself in a sense (ie, I write what I want to write the way I want to write it), and I don't follow my stats obsessively, but if I found all my readers were disappearing, I'd be a lot less likely to bother. It does matter that these are conversations, not just monologues. I talk to myself enough as it is.

You know, you mentioning how the blog has developed reminds me that one of the many things I like about blogging is the flexibility and variety. Good blogs defy any sort of 'genre' boundaries and they evolve with their owners' interests and lives. That's what keeps them fresh and worth coming back to. (And I really really like your book reviews.) So I'd say, keep it all in one place.

And I've noticed that I'm watching a lot less TV these days too...

7/31/2005 11:25:00 am  
Anonymous CE Petro said...

Congrats on your blogaversary!

I must admit I do check my own stats as well. I do like to see who is linking to me, be it the site in general or a particular post. But there is that sense of validation that others agree with your stance on topics when you know others are reading your site, be it at the site itself or through a news aggregator.

One thing I did notice, for myself, is that by checking stats and who is linking to particular posts, I had a tendency to lean towards posting more on that particular topic, a subconscious or perhaps a semi-conscious effort to increase readership, I guess. But, that's not necessarily how I wanted to write my blog, I didn't/don't want readership to determine the posts I write.

Our blogging evolves over time. We may start with a specific premise, but it expands and grows, as we do. Ultimately, I would urge you to post on topics, books, or political happenings, that move you to write. It's your individual perspective that keeps me coming back.

7/31/2005 03:53:00 pm  
Blogger Rob said...

Many happy returns :)

7/31/2005 03:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Chameleon said...

Happy Blog-iversary! I like the revamp with the new images btw.
:)
I agree with previous comments to the extent that too many blogs have little of interest to offer and that those, which push the boundaries (if indeed boundaries have already been set, more than a few surface conventions formalised), those which defy easy categorisation tend to be those worth taking the time to read.
I appreciate good quality writing, which is why you are in my sidebar (of course being a feminist and atheist does automatically bias what I want to read).
As for "ratings" (as in audience figures), the beauty of a blog as opposed to other forms of publication is that a community will grow, perhaps gradually, but in theory the potential audience is far less limited than in other media (notwithstanding the cogent remarks recorded by Surfette). Readers can be fickle. Size of readership has no bearing on quality of writing (at least that is how I console myself).
Two hours a day is not excessive! Over the last four months I have been dedicating myself to an entry that has literally taken up every spare hour I have - basically entire weekends, average time spent 8 hours a day (and even then I'm not satisfied with it, nor will it be ready by the time I depart on holiday next Thursday).
Anyway, before I lapse into terminal incoherence and gratuitous rambling, let me congratulate you again on what is always an interesting and more than worthwhile blog!

7/31/2005 04:09:00 pm  
Blogger Chameleon said...

Happy Blog-iversary! I like the revamp with the new images btw.
:)
I agree with previous comments to the extent that too many blogs have little of interest to offer and that those, which push the boundaries (if indeed boundaries have already been set, more than a few surface conventions formalised), those which defy easy categorisation tend to be those worth taking the time to read.
I appreciate good quality writing, which is why you are in my sidebar (of course being a feminist and atheist does automatically bias what I want to read).
As for "ratings" (as in audience figures), the beauty of a blog as opposed to other forms of publication is that a community will grow, perhaps gradually, but in theory the potential audience is far less limited than in other media (notwithstanding the cogent remarks recorded by Surfette). Readers can be fickle. Size of readership has no bearing on quality of writing (at least that is how I console myself).
Two hours a day is not excessive! Over the last four months I have been dedicating myself to an entry that has literally taken up every spare hour I have - basically entire weekends, average time spent 8 hours a day (and even then I'm not satisfied with it, nor will it be ready by the time I depart on holiday next Thursday).
Anyway, before I lapse into terminal incoherence and gratuitous rambling, let me congratulate you again on what is always an interesting and more than worthwhile blog!

7/31/2005 04:12:00 pm  
Blogger melinama said...

Congratulations! I've been at it since January and, since I have a mortal fear of not "finishing" what I start, but blogging is never "finished," a year seems like a big deal!

There have been times when I checked my stats too much, but it just made me morose or unduly interested, so now I try (fairly unsuccessfully) not to notice. I do see, though, that generally blogging is still a joy.

I come have a look every day!

Melinama

8/01/2005 02:18:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thank you all for the kind and encouraging words!

I guess I'll keep it all in one place - although I am going to start another blog soon: something utterly different, and nearly two centuries old.

8/02/2005 12:16:00 am  

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