Sunday, January 02, 2011

State of the Blog - Year 6

I’m late with the State of the Blog post again this year – the blogiversary is in mid-November. Nonetheless here is a summary of the year.

The election season was painful; there’s no other way of saying it. Candidates I’ve been following for most of the time I’ve been blogging lost elections. That is going to make following congressional representatives less appealing. Going out to events to write about people I like is challenging enough; sacrificing family time to follow people I don’t like doesn’t seem productive. As is stated every year I pay at least the minimum suggested donation to attend fundraisers and there’s no justifiable way to spend household money on donations to candidates I hope lose. So there will be few event posts on the 6th, 7th, and 8th districts. You’ll have to watch your local papers closely. I’ll still be digging around in financial reports and things like that but as far as actual personal time and money, well, I’ll have to find other things to do.

It might be a good time to look again at the workings of the state house and senate. That can be frustrating as the official record of both bodies is difficult to work with (no index, just a pdf that, last time I checked, wasn’t searchable); you have to actually read each day’s issue page by page to find anything and they can often run over 100 pages. Plus it seldom says anything worth reading. But maybe we’ll give it another shot.

County elections might be interesting; they are often lively and there are some good candidates on the horizon.

As with last year, bloggers (or at least this one), fell into the press category rather than a separate grouping. This is both good and bad. Getting on the press list keeps me informed but it also means I’m viewed more as a potential adversary than a potential friend. This led to a couple of awkward situations.

Usually in this annual post I provide some idea of blog usage. This was relatively easy when I only had one or two sources of information. These days I have several, sitemeter, feedburner subscription and user stats, blogger stats, and search engine results ranking. All of these things tell me something different. Over this week sitemeter has told me I’ve had about 50 hits a day, blogger stats say I have about 150 page views, feedburner shows about 240 subscribers and over 1,000 hits every day for the past several months. Even viewing those numbers in the sunniest way my blog posts often come up unbelievably high in search engine results. If you can make sense of that, good luck to you. I still receive about $100 a year from Newstex for syndication use. Over time advertising offers have become more appealing and I may look into the possibilities for that – how to do so and still maintain a pseudonym, how to do so in a way that won’t interfere with content (probably no political ads), but it’s a ways off and may not be possible at all given the limitations I would want.

Technology has been a challenge this year. For Christmas last year my true love gave to me, an Ipod Touch. This is fantastic for keeping up with email and twitter. I frequently favorite things on twitter to read later when I can use a larger screen. Unfortunately it is not good for writing up posts. My trusty old laptop has been unusable for most of this year which has dramatically reduced my writing time. This year for Christmas I got a new laptop and I’ve spent part of the past few weeks (it arrived early) setting it up and getting the software I need. One Note looks like something I’ll get a lot of use out of. So this is very promising. In any event it will provide me with much more writing time than I have now.

A lot of this year’s posts have been “from the inbox” posts. I’m pleased to be on the White House’s email distribution list and they are very good about individualizing information on the state level. When they do that and when it looks relevant to PA and especially SEPA I tend to post them. SEPTA has added me this year and as a long time SEPTA rider I’m more than happy to pass along useful information to my fellow travelers. Better technology and fewer event outings will mean more time to dig around and do the kind of research and writing that I really enjoy so I look forward to that and hope it is useful to readers. Less money spent on fundraisers means I might be able to save up and go to some of the pricier ones that I’ve admired from afar but haven’t been able to afford.

This year for the first time I went to a state committee social event. I’m not a committeeperson but went with a friend. It was a 4-H event (hose, heels, hairspray, and a handbag) and, to be honest, I kind of stay away from those just to avoid the hassle but this one was within driving distance and with good company. Telling people at work I was going out to a nightclub over the weekend (an unusual activity for me) was an added bonus. I did not trip the lights fantastic or, more likely, trip over them, but it was fun people watching.

A few shout outs – Dan Onorato’s campaign was easy to work with. They let me know when their candidate was going to be at public events in the area and were good about answering questions during the campaign. A special note of thanks to Danny Bauder who was a good sport when I mocked his pet rabbit in emails and on twitter.

Throughout the year when I would run into something politically that I didn’t understand, some part of the process or campaign etiquette, my go to guy has been Josh Nanberg, an email buddy for some years. He is always patient and quick to respond. He’s doing consulting work these days and I recommend him.

There are people in the area who are very good about letting me know the particulars of events they think I should cover or people they think I should keep an eye on. I’m not sure any of them want to be known as such so I’ll thank them as a group and not individually by name. A particular shout out to my Delco contacts; you know who you are.

My blogger buddy Gort at is on hiatus but I hope he is back at the computer soon.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve posted a few things this past year that you’ve found useful or interesting.


Adam Lang said...

Good job on another year of helping people find and read information important to them in knowing how their government works and who will be representing them.

Danny Bauder said...

Leave Sherbert alone!

It was a pleasure to read your blog this year, as it is every year you've been blogging.

AboveAvgJane said...

Adam, thanks!!

Danny, I'm telling you that is an evil rabbit. You can tell by the red glowing eyes in the photos.