As of this week, I’ve been writing this blog for one year. That’s not a terribly exciting topic for a blog post about model trains, but as milestones tend to do, this one has given me reason to reflect on the past year.
I might have missed my calling as an academic because I enjoy teaching, writing, and researching. Prototype modelling requires more research than other approaches to the hobby, so it’s possible that I waste more time than most doing what I’ll rationalize as “hobby research” on the internet. Before I started writing this blog, and while researching (i.e. wasting time) various things on the internet, I bumped into a great number of interesting blogs that I bookmarked and frequented. These now appear as links on the right of my Home page, by the way. I found the narrowly focused content of these blogs helpful, inspirational, and just plain interesting, but it was the medium itself that intrigued me. This notion of creating a public record of my daily model building activities had me curious. Did these blogs have regular readers? If I did this, would anyone read it? My uninformed expectations were low because the hobby itself is small and purported to be in decline. Add to that the fact that prototype modelling represents a niche within this setting, and my specific interests of a geographic place and decade represent a niche within a niche. Other blogs were doing this, so I resolved to do it for a year and see how it goes.
WordPress has essentially made it easy for anyone to prattle on endlessly and self-indulgently, much like I’m doing right now. Think of it as Twitter for people who possess a longer attention span (or perhaps it’s Twitter for people who have a much deeper need for approval). In very little time, I had the blog up and running, and I decided that I would simply do my best to document the things that I was building or thinking about. Conveniently, WordPress keeps track of some basic statistics for me:
- This represents my 74th post, which averages one post about every five days.
- I’ve written with sufficient breadth to warrant 17 different indexing categories.
- From August 12th, 2012 to August 12th, 2013, this blog had experienced approximately 15,500 page views.
What does all of this mean? In the context of blogging, it means that my readership are an extremely specific cohort. It also means there will NOT be a book deal, but there are enough people reading my blog that I can feel justified in devoting some of my free time to it.
What my more detailed stats reveal to me is that there is a very high likelihood that you’ve read my blog before, and you’ll come back to read it again. It also reveals that my readership is a group much larger than my family and much smaller than columnist in a commercial hobby publication (incidentally, not a single person from my family has seen this blog). You’re the reader who I was hoping to reach because your interests are most likely aligned with mine, and we both have much to gain from each others’ experience and knowledge. As long as people like you keep checking in, I’ll keep writing.
Goals and predictions are also part of our tradition of celebrating milestones, so I’ll set some out for the coming year.
- Goal: I bought a house with an unfinished basement last week. I move in on September 5th. I’m looking forward to building a permanent workspace.
- Goal: I’d like to see those SW1200RS models running at an ops session on the WRMRC.
- Goal: Likewise, those 16 ore cars need to get on the rails and in service. I’m not sure if we can incorporate them into an ops session, but just seeing them finished would be very satisfying.
- Goal: Build some TH&B 40′ boxcars.
- Goal: Publish at least 74 more posts on this blog.
- Prediction: The unfinished basement in the above mentioned house is not needed as part of the living space for my family. Need I continue?
Finally, I can’t think of an appropriate photo to accompany this post topic, so I’ll reward the fact that you did abide 752 words about blogging with this random image that has no relevance to this post, but at least shows an interesting train and was taken in Ontario.