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December 28, 2004
2004 (and Beyond)By Greyhawk
Some time in January Mudville will welcome its one millionth reader. To put that number in perspective, big blogs achieve it every week. Meanwhile, a million other blogs never will. I certainly thought I never would - through the first 8 month's of Mudville's existence the daily visits were rarely more than what the hourly totals are now.
My thanks to Mudville's top referrers for '04, in alphabetical order:
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller
Those familiar with the blogosphere will likely express no surprise. If you do see an unfamiliar name in the list above by all means click through and stay a while, these are folks with gravitas, and all are worthy of attention.
There's something worth mentioning here, however, and it speaks volumes to how the blogosphere works. Glenn Reynolds pointed it out in his review of Hugh Hewitt's new book:
He also catches on (actually, I think Hugh was one of the first to make this point, in a post on his blog) to the importance of what Chris Anderson is calling the Long Tail -- that in the aggregate, the vast hordes of small blogs with a few dozen readers are more important than the small number of big blogs with hundreds of thousands of readers. (Here's an article on that topic by Anderson, from Wired.) I think that's absolutely right, and Hugh has some interesting things to say about it. (And journalists mostly don't get this point at all -- every time I get interviewed it seems that they want firsts, mosts, and biggests, when I keep telling them that the real story of the blogosphere is the day-to-day interaction and writing of a whole lot of blogs).
"Indeed" (heh!). As supporting testimony, I'll point out that the bottom line of my referrers list compiles "all remaining" - and that total exceeds any of the above individual referrers save one. Approximately 150,000 people visited this blog last year via links from "all remaining" and of that fact I am grateful, humble, and proud. Thank you all.
As a result of this, I'm now able to cause a noticeable blip on other site meters with a simple link. I can't remember who I first heard use the term "Mudslide" for this effect, but I like it. It's especially fun to drop one on someone in that "all remaining" category, when the result looks something like what an Installanch does to me, and I hereby announce a new year's resolution to do so more often in the coming months.
A confession on this topic: back in those early days when I rarely saw 50 visits a day I was often hesitant to link to other sites, expecting the resulting lack of traffic flow to be visible evidence of my own insignificance. I now realize that nothing could be further from the truth. Such links undoubtedly brought me to the attention of more than a few good folks. And now if you'll take a quick look down my side bar you'll find a list of those who've sent traffic this way today. (See "cavalry" section.) This is where I turn to find things new and different in the blogosphere. There's no need to click the top guys for this purpose, it's the new names farther down the list I seek out, and each one I visit reminds me that the "Long Tail" is a source of brilliance, insight, and surprise beyond anything I'll find in the all too predictable mainstream media today.
I'll close this entry with a final point. I've said this before but I can't say it enough: thanks to all who place eyes on this page. You're the only reason any of this matters! Your emails and comments are appreciated, your criticisms are valued, your presence is what keeps me going here.
Here's to more in '05.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 28, 2004 11:16 AM | Permalink
And not just the year of my blog, either. I've been wanting to do a post like this for some time, and I guess the time has come. When I started this blog in November of 2004, I didn't have any real goals in mind...it was just a little experiment. Read More
The Mudville Gazette will mark it's 1,000,000th visitor in January!!! Congratulations to Greyhawk - for having great things to say and saying them so very well. The number of visitors is a well deserved tribute to his excellent blogging (not... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com