Existential, no? Don’t worry. I’m participating in a blogging challenge to see what new things I can learn about this hobby. Regular subscribers be warned, this probably means I’m going to be more post-happy-chatty over the period of the challenge.
Today’s challenge encourages me to (re-)introduce myself and give you a feel for why this blog exists.
First, a brief intro around who I am. My name is Lindsay. I’m a married father of two young children living in Australia, and have a 20+year career in software development. I have a PhD, but mostly forget to call myself ‘Doctor’.
Why am I here, posting to this blog? There are a bunch of suggested questions to the challenge for today, so let’s just run through them.
Why am I blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
Would it surprise you that I cover a spectrum? I have pen and paper and a physically co-located support network for the heavy personal mojo. I then have a number of work-related/hobby WordPress journals that I use as a running commentary on where I’m at with a particular project. Some of those private posts are coalesced once I’ve broken the back of an issue, and find myself ready to share what I’ve learned with the world here.
That word ‘help’ is key to what I find blog-worthy, as a decision to blog hinges mostly around whether it might help others. I enjoy knowing that sharing insights into the challenges I’ve faced off against are useful to a wider community.
There’s a delightful tradition in software development of people blogging around the software problems they’ve had. I’ve saved myself an immense amount of time over the years finding blog and forum posts that nail the technical challenge I’m wrestling with. I like the blogs more, because there’s often interesting context around the issue that can be worth knowing about.
This blog started out as notes to myself on the snarlier problems I’d been caught up in that I thought others might also face, very much in the spirit of this tradition. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the experience of knowing I’d helped when I’d see esoteric web search queries so tight I could tell someome else just arrived at a spot I knew well. They’d follow links withing seconds to minutes that I sometimes spent hours trawling for, paring the signal away from the noise.
I’ve had over 27,000 views since I decided to host with WordPress in September of 2010. A goodly subset of that number represents who I’ve somehow helped. I guess you’d say that by now, I’m hooked on helping.
What topics do you think you’ll write about?
If history is any predictor, I’ll mostly continue writing about challenges overcome in hobbies or work. This mostly involves software development. Strangely, my most popular post to date is the editing of EPS files with Inkscape. Who’d a thunk it?
Reflecting on it, I’m not here in the hopes of having a huge following. Though there are about 20 people now following the blog via Wordpress, I admit to wondering what these and other followers see in my eclectic bouncing from topic to topic. I can only guess that you guys get enough signal:noise ratio that you don’t mind the uninteresting posts.
Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
Now.. that’s a question I’ve not considered until now. First challenge delivers! I’d love to connect with anyone and everyone who shares similar interests. You’d probably be a software developer, vector graphics enthusiast, or gamer who especially enjoys Minecraft or Torchlight 2.
That’s part of what I think is missing for me to date though. The general subconscious discomfort I’ve been feeling when I consider the trajectory the blog is on. I’m currently wondering how to find or form a community of like-minded bloggers who don’t exactly have a “theme” but nevertheless have overlapping common-ground in the interests we share.
If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
Hmm… a goal that’s not measurable is just a wish, so after some careful consultation with my pocket-ninjas, factoring in their obsession with Belgian chocolate:
1) I’m averaging about 660 views per month at the moment. Let’s aim for double that over the coming year, putting me at about 15,900 new views between now and then. I’d like to have stats telling me I’d received 43,700 views by the end of April, 2015.
2) Double the number of subscribers at year’s end, putting me at 40 (ooh… uncomfortable, given the eclectic nature of the blog).
3) At least five other bloggers who I’ve been regularly chatting with in a kind of ‘like-minded blog-ring’. More discomfort right there.
There you go, a discussion around why I blog, with the timely support of pocket ninjas. The care and maintenance of pocket ninjas is something I take very seriously. Pocket ninjas flourish with heavy web traffic. Don’t make me starve the pocket ninjas. You wouldn’t like the pocket ninjas when they’re hangry.