It is now a ritual for any digital site to offer a year-end retrospective. The usual patterns involve summarizing a site’s big issues and their highlights, adding a footnote either glum or cautiously optimistic about the year to come. Sometimes the authors offer tentative predictions for the new year.
I’m not going to do that today, partly because I find most such content to be uninteresting. Partly because my readers don’t seem to want that from me. (I’ve done year-end summaries before.) So instead today I’ll reflect on this blog’s progress in 2018 and add a personal note at the end. (I wrote up a different batch of thoughts for my kind Patreon supporters. Join them if you haven’t already!)
Blogging has long been a part of my professional practice. I’m not going to list the benefits here, as I and many others have already done so. I just want to mention that this blog plays a key part in my work, alongside the FTTE report, consultations, the Future Trends Forum, workshops, and speaking engagements. The blog continues to be a way for me to share my research and my questions. And each of these intertwines with the others – I blog about a workshop, clients ask me to dig into an issue which I explore here, a topic noted in a blog post appears in a speech, etc.
A key detail: blogging is, for me, a conversation. I post in part to request feedback from you, dear readers. In return you are quite generous in answering. Your responses help shape and improve my work, for which I am always grateful. These conversations inform my other offerings, from FTTE on. Thank you all for taking the time to think and write with me.
Speaker of you readers, where did you come from? Around the world, it seems –
-but mostly from the US, followed by Anglophonic nations.
Looking through the WordPress Jetpack tool I can find some more interesting stats. Jetpack generated material for a model of my average post in 2018: running 901 words apiece, with five comments on each one. The year-end totals were also interesting: 180,101 words, or almost exactly twice the length of the book I just turned in to my publisher. I’ve been writing so much for so long that I can’t tell if that’s a lot.
200 posts total for the year, which is lower than what I’d hoped for (one post per business day, or 260 or so), but does represent a substantial flow of content. 1008 comments, which is a fine bounty.
Post “likes” were interesting. Over the past near-decade they ran very low: 0 (2011), 0 (2012), 2 (2013), 1 (2014), 0 (2015), 3 (2016), 5 (2017), then… 236 for 2018?! I’m not sure where that last came from. Maybe a software change is at work, or WordPress users just got excited.
The most popular post of 2018? One about a queen sacrifice, my most depressing topic.
More people follow this blog through WordPress’ syndication mechanism (1244) than by email (547).
All of this is made possible by the heroic, ninja-like work of Reclaim Hosting. Bravo to that awesome team! Everyone should host their content there!
Looking ahead, I will continue this blog, and aim for that 260 post number. (And will install the WordPress Classic editor plugin, because the new Gutenberg post engine is a serious step backwards in usability. Gutenberg makes my writing life harder, straight up, with not a single advantage. If I get time I will write a full complaint. Harrumph.) I also want to comment more and link to other people’s blogs. I’ve fallen out of that habit.
On a personal note, I want to add something about real estate. Some of you know that my wife and I spent much of 2018 trying to sell our house. At this point I can only say that it has been one of the most painful, expensive, frustrating, debilitating, anxiety-fueling, and depressing processes we have ever experienced. It reminds us both of going through the American medical system for major surgery in its combination of low information, high bureaucracy, shocking errors, and gnawing dread. Like the medical experience, it has taught us o distrust nearly everyone and everything.
And yet the general American view of home-buying and house-selling seems to be one glorious and easy fulfillment. That’s the impression I get from public discourse across social media, magazines, and what I’ve seen of television. Yet when I mention that our experience is radically different, and worse, people come out of the woodwork to agree. They tell horrible stories of improverishment, personal ruin, epic stress, and disaster.
Why is there such a gap? Is the vile nature of homeselling in America our unspoken reality, covered up by cheerful media? Or is this now just a rural problem, as the cities and suburbs become ever more desireable? Perhaps the experience is broken out into some other segmentation?
Enough on that. 2018 will end in a few hours. 2019 looms ahead. Let me thank you all for your readership, which is one of the best gifts people can offer each other. All best wishes for 2019!