Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year's End Navel-Gazing

The end of the year is rightly a time for looking back. A year ago I resolved to make The Cahokian a major focus of my creative energy: I would post every day. I had started this blog in July, 2006, without any particular goals other than an occasional excuse to rant about politics or share some bit of news or passed along internet phenomenon. In January 2008 I branched out to my tremendously successful music blog Ile Oxumare (580,000 visits, over 1,300,000 page views, 144 blog followers) which soon became not just an excuse to share music but a forum for music and occasional social criticism. Music blogging proved to be a bit of land-mined turf, and I've cut that back to semi-comatose levels.

But here we are a year into my commitment to The Cahokian and I'm proud to say I only missed two or three days. The big challenge for a blog like this is, of course, not only coming up with something to say every day but drumming up readership. I've tried to post links to my blog at other blogs and on facebook in a reasoned fashion: but nobody loves an endlessly self-promoting blogwhore. My results are modest but encouraging. Since I installed sitemeter in November of 2009 I've had over 14,000 visits with over 22,000 page views; and fourteen of you are blog followers. The daily average readership has most definitely crept up over the course of the year. I've had spikes in readership when I've successfully drawn attention to a post that strikes a nerve or where somebody else has highlighted a blog entry on a forum or another blog. Google analytics give me somewhat higher statistics. They also tell me that my most successful posts -- from a popularity point of view -- remain my music-related posts, with "The Terror and Beauty of Difficult Music" being my all-time pageview high. My post about gay life in Nicaragua is a big winner. My "Fun Facts About Yemen" post was apparently well-titled because it's a perennial hit. Not shocking is the popularity of my piece about working at Juggs Magazine in the porn industry. Internet viewers are, apparently, always looking for a little titilation. I apologize to those of you looking in vain here for information about the ancient Cahokian civilization; for what it's worth making a pilgrimage to the Cahokian site near St. Louis is high on my travel plans. Most of my readers are Americans. The shocking statistic (according to google, I didn't notice it on sitemeter) is that my second largest audience is in Saudi Arabia. Salaam to you; I'd love to know who you are. The UK and Canada bring up third and fourth place.

I'm proud of what I've written and of the images I've curated this past year. I am occasionally disappointed to realize how completely an unseen engine controls the topic of discourse in society: my own responses to the issues of the day are clearly as subject to that manipulation as every other voice in the blogosphere. Sometimes we think we're having original thoughts on original subjects when it turns out we're just being drawn along by the pulse and beat of what used to be called a news cycle. And yet I think my voice and perspective has deepened and clarified. Writing this blog has certainly kept me creatively and intellectually stimulated all year in the face of challenging political and economic times: I hope some of you readers have found it rewarding. I recognize there's not necessarily a huge audience for an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-zionist, pro-socialist, pro-spirituality, pro-gay, nostalgically late-boomer, urban-based, jazz-centric personal blog, but heck, that's the beauty of the internet. To those of you reading this, especially my loyal regulars, you have my profound thanks for following along.

So what does the future hold for The Cahokian? I'm not promising to keep up daily posts at quite such a religious level of commitment. My archive of anti-American art has only a few scraps lying around: I'd like to develop a new graphic series for the new year. I have files to go through for more old writings and many many photographs I'd like to scan. Having finally braved the world of digital photography (the first few times I downloaded pictures from my camera to the computer I had to reassure myself I didn't need to turn the lights off to safely do so), there are a number of photography assignments I'd like to realize. The first one of those is likely to be "Botanica windows of New York." Stay tuned. The handover of the house of representatives to Republicans is sure to provide heaping helpings of outrage. The teabaggers aren't going anywhere, a new presidential election cycle begins soon (so early!) and there is the small matter of the world at low-level war. The balancing act President Obama will have to walk this year will be interesting, to say the least. All of which means there will be plenty to write about.

It's been a good year for this blog, on to the next one. Thanks to Skynet (Google!) for the free platform. Thanks to you for reading. Thanks to God for my voice.


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