Sunday, December 12, 2004

I didn't know blogs could be five years old 

But apparently they can, as Old Man Hackbarth has proven. Five years ago Saturday, to be precise, The American Mind was launched with a simple webpage editor and Angelfire. As such, Sean has some insights that others could use.
What I learned about the blogosphere is it's a meritocracy. Traffic, readers, and now ad dollars go to those who write well, are entertaining, and add value in peoples' lives. However, this lesson is a double-edged sword. If you're not getting as much traffic and readers the only one you can blame is yourself.
It's weird; I think more people read this blog than have ever read my professional writing, making me wonder if I'm in the wrong field or if my academic life is fairly useless. Then you get a rush like the Ukraine story, none of which could have happened without a series of very strange events related to that professional life, and you wonder. They really aren't separate lives, and the fact that people read here what never got read in musty books and journals says a good deal, that meritocracy in fact becomes more democratic in the blogosphere. People who write academic outposts like SCSU have trouble breaking into top journals -- "if you were any good, you wouldn't be there" -- but much less trouble becoming a large mammal. (Or at least, I was. I guess last week took me back to being a marsupial.)