Sunday, February 24, 2008
It was a year ago today that I posted this Captain Beefheart spoken word bit and thus launched my great adventure in bloggery. At the time I really didn't get blogs. My limited experience was that most of them suck, and that the popular political ones were a little like on-line talk radio, but more geeky. I didn't see the attraction. My motivation was simple. I was a writer who wasn't doing much writing. The blog, I figured, would be a daily discipline to sharpen the skills. That was all.
Along the way, a few things happened. The first was that writing everyday changed everything. Between the blog and teaching my class on homelessness and poverty, I developed new insights into an issue I've worked for twenty years. I decided that the federally encouraged ten year plans had more to do with neutralizing than ending homelessness. I realized that homelessness and the changing nature of our cities flows from the logic of globalization. I started to see past all the layers of "compassion" bullshit to reality, and became more intentional about building alliances across class. I became a better speaker and a more forceful advocate. I embraced conflict as an organizing strategy. I made new friends. I began a personal biography project. I got a divorce. I started working on a book. Life changed dramatically.
Clearly, blogging is not for the faint of heart.
The other thing is that I gained readers. The map above offers a geographic snapshot of recent readership. The graph nestled at left shows the steady climb to more than 4,000 unique visitors a month. The late-March spike last year was the blogospheric event when I clashed with the Seattle Weekly. Since October, Apesma has rountinely exceeded those numbers. A very cool chemistry has arisen in the comments section as well, and several friends have started their own blogs.
Apesma's gone from a Technorati rank of up in the three-millions somewhere to below 250,000. I'm hoping that this year I break the top hundred-thousand blogs barrier. With well over a hundred-million of these things out there, I'd be among the blogging semi-elite. Otherwise, I hope things slow down. I don't know how many more years like 2007 I can take.