To mark the occasion it might be more useful to title this post "Five Years on the Interwebs" or something similar, as what prompts it is the fact that today marks the beginning of this blog's sixth year in existence. But our little anniversary prompts me to reflect upon exactly why I started this blog, what I've learned in the process, and what I think we've accomplished. This is what I wrote in my very first post, five years ago:
This is my new blog, which I've created purely on a whim. I figure I'll post some commentary on politics, or things I find amusing, or somesuch. We'll see.That qualifies as a mission statement as much as anything and surprisingly, we've stayed pretty true to the purpose of posting commentary on mostly politics, but also other interesting things that catch our fancy. At the time, my friends and I were in the habit of e-mailing each other articles, and then going back and forth in e-mail about them. Having learned from a friend about the ease with which a blog could be created and run, I decided that it might be more efficient to simply post those articles online, and then go back and forth in comments as we saw fit. That didn't exactly happen; we still go back and forth in e-mail over interesting things, though who I send articles too has changed to some extent and sometimes I send an article out and blog about it here as well.
So, since my original purpose hasn't panned out, why have I kept blogging? Quite simply, because I like to. Like most people, I have strong opinions on a range of topics. I happen to believe my opinions are mostly reasonable, well-informed and well-thought out and, like many bloggers, I have a certain presumptuousness that leads me to believe my opinions are worth sharing with the world. Naturally, a blog that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection is perfect for me. At the same time though, I find blogging to be a fulfilling way of both recording and working out my opinions on subjects. Few things will force you to be prudent and careful in your thinking and writing, than knowing that the product of your effort is open to criticism by anyone who feels the desire to stop by your blog. Blogging spurs me to think more carefully about subjects that I might otherwise take too casual an intellectual approach to.
I've also learned more about the world while blogging. Since nearly the beginning, we've aspired to make our blog something that would be useful to others. Instead of reading something that inspires me to throw up a few hastily written sentences, I've sometimes found myself instead researching what I've read for an hour or two or longer, to collect enough information to put together a meaningful and useful post. And in the process, I've become more informed about a subject whose knowledge of which I might have been otherwise content to leave at one or two briefly skimmed articles.
Also, this blog has led me to connect with people that I might otherwise never have met, such as my colleagues in the Texas Progressive Alliance, and other bloggers whose work I've read and who occasionally stop by to read us. In that manner I've become much more personally involved in politics, an outcome I certainly didn't imagine when I typed that very first blog post. For that alone this blog has been worth the time and effort.
No doubt we've aspired to gain some measure of recognition for our blogging. We've all done our best at some point to market our blog to readers and other bloggers, and that's met with mixed success. I certainly wouldn't mind having more regular readers, who comment on our articles, and enjoy with those readers the sorts of back and forth exchanges I see and envy on other blogs. That being said, perhaps we've accomplished our true goal, which is to make this blog interesting and useful to the three of us who contribute to it. Who could ask for more?
All of our lives have changed considerably since we started our blog, and the time we've had to devote to it has fluctuated as well. That will almost certainly continue. However, I don't imagine circumstances will ever change enough for the three of us to want to stop blogging, and making our own tiny contributions to the vast world of ideas that can be found online. We simply get too much joy out of doing this.
Here's to another five years!