It’s been about twenty days since I started the blog, and I thought I would pause briefly and reflect. And in the spirit of blogging, I suppose I’ll just reflect publicly.
It’s been truly enjoyable, and I’ve learned a lot in twenty days. I’ve learned about web hosting companies, registering domains, WordPress, and how to modify my code to install Analytics. I’ve learned about blog spam, about plug-ins and backup services and RSS feeds, and about self-hosting. I’ve learned about stock photos, and image rights, and royalty fees, and some nuances of copyright law.
And, I’ve learned a lot about the “blogosphere”, too. I’d certainly read blogs before, but there is much to the blog culture that I didn’t understand. It’s actually quite incestuous, with a huge number of bloggers, all reading and quoting and referencing each other, and scrambling for traffic, scrambling to monetize that traffic, scrambling to sell services, and bending over backwards to get their name or site mentioned somewhere on the web.
So I feel a bit out of place with my non-profit blog, and I can tell that most people, when first exposed to it, just automatically assume that I’m trying to sell them something. But to be honest, I am to some degree—I’m trying to sell an idea that I think is important. So I pay attention to traffic, too, and seem to alternate between the fear of way too many people reading and judging what I’ve written, and the fear of writing for an audience of zero. So far I am happy with what appears to be a bit of middle ground; in the twenty days I’ve had nearly 600 page-views, and it appears that a good many readers return. I’m sure some big web sites do that in an hour, but for me I suppose this is good.
Friends have asked me if I’m going to post every day. So far I have, but not out of any sense of duty or obligation; I write when I feel like writing and when I feel like I’ve got something to say. I enjoy thinking, and reflecting, and learning, and the writing part comes pretty easily. When school starts back in earnest in the fall, I’ll probably turn more of my attention elsewhere. But for now I’m happy to spend some time figuring out where we are, and trying to envision where we should be going, and, perhaps most important, how we can get there.
So, I’m enjoying the effort. My basic ideas about sustainability haven’t changed—I’ve thought about and held most of these ideas for years. If anything, writing has indeed clarified my thinking, and in some ways I feel more sure than ever that my ideas about where we need to go, and the mechanism for that change, are correct. But I could be wrong; I have a strong academic background in a lot of areas, and what feels like a broad swath of life experience, but I’m not an expert in any particular environmental field. I do feel, though, that common sense can carry us an awful long way, and perhaps not being too involved in any single aspect of the environmental movement can help me see the forest as well as the trees.
And while I’m reflecting, I’d like to thank my co-worker Cindy Dunigan—she has helped me with this effort in more ways than one.
So it’s been fun. If I could ask one thing of the readers out there, it would be to feel free to comment and participate, or to question, or to disagree, or to clarify or add to. As I read other material online, it’s quite clear that the true wisdom is often in the comments, or becomes apparent in other ways in the discourse that follows the main article or post. Together we can go much farther than any of us could go alone. In fact, it is only be doing things “together” that we’ll be able to accomplish much at all.
So, to quote Bill McKibben—Onward.
Image credit: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo, Austrian Alps