If last weekend was my birthday, this past weekend also marked another significant milestone at The Aerie: this blog turned five. Wow, I guess now it’s getting ready to go to blog-kindergarten.

I always like to take this time to review the State of the Blog. In general, I think the State of the Blog is pretty strong. Big changes this year, of course, with the final demise of SixApart and Vox and the switch to WordPress. I have to say that I’ve been pretty happy with the switch. The WordPress interface is pretty straightforward and is more customizable than the one we had back in the day. The folks at WP also seem pretty responsive to suggestions for improvements. I will admit that the atmosphere still doesn’t quite convey that neighborhood feel that Vox had at its height, but what can you do? There was a great diaspora from Vox that coalesced here on WP (with some to posterous, blogger and a few other places) and I’m happy to say that I’ve added several new neighbors over this year, which is always good for keeping things fresh and invigorating. It also helps offset some of the unavoidable disappointment of losing some folks in the transition.

Five Spot

Speaking of staying invigorated — in my first four years, I published at a pretty constant 175-185 posts per year. Looking back at this year, I was surprised to see a whopping 235 posts. Yowser. Someone clearly has too much time on his hands. I’ve seen a shift in topics, too — to more reading-oriented topics as well as more creative writing. Probably less sports. I’ve been reminding myself to write more science-related posts, but they actually do take more time than a book review.

The other thing I’ve notice this year is that I think the blogging community has come to its equilibrium with social media. A couple of years ago there was a huge exodus from blogging as folks found happier online lives doing updates and commenting on Facebook and Twitter. Now, it seems that people that are blogging are doing it for specific reasons and not just because it’s the “in” thing — and I think that’s a good thing. There’s a place for Facebook, Twitter and now Google+, but I still enjoy the (occasionally) thoughtful expression that can be done here that’s impossible via status update. I’m curious about what the trends in topics will be for the next 12 months.

As always, thanks very much to you folks that come by here to read and converse — I still really get a kick out of being able to write something that strikes a chord in someone.


30 thoughts on “956

  1. Five years is a long time to be rocking it. I’m a newbie to your world but enjoying it. I only know WordPress but it has been a very enjoyable community for me. The shift in topics is interesting. I find it is fun to go back in time and see what I was thinking about in The Before, and, of course, the stuff that I thought was important that I’ve already long forgotten.

    Here’s to the next five years!

    • Thanks Tom — I still feel like a newbie a lot of times. Though sometimes I go back and look at those very early posts and realize that by doing this I’ve improved my ability to communicate, because really, some of those old ones were brutal. :) Here’s to the next five, indeed!

  2. Congratulations, Steve! It is a big accomplishment to have continued blogging for five years, even if it’s not a long time by historical standards. My kids introduced me to Vox and blogging back when it was trendy to have one’s own blog, and now both Vox and my kids’ blogs are gone. My younger daughter cheerfully admits she prefers Facebook because it’s “a blog for people who hate to write” ( ! ), and my older daughter prefers that no one read her old blog, not even her old mother. (Or especially not her old mother….)

    I think it’s hard to maintain the kind of quality you’ve shown on a regular basis. Writing can be tiring, and if you’re short on time or under a lot of stress, writing is sometimes the last thing you want to do. Staying focused on a theme or topic is difficult, too. I’ve seen several bloggers/former Vox neighbors simply fizzle out because they felt they no longer had anything more to write about. Which is sad. I miss their voices here.

    Anyway, you were one of the former Voxers I discovered after I made the jump to WordPress. I’m really glad I did. I enjoy your posts, even when I disagree with them on details.

    • Thanks HG — I am really glad that the transition to WP got us in each other’s orbits — it’s been a real treat. One of the things that I’ve been thinking since I’ve posted this is that this blog has also served as a personal history recorder. Sometimes I’ll just click on one of the months listed on the right side and see what I was thinking about at a given time. Funny to see both the big things and the trivial stuff all in there.

  3. Happy birthday! Maybe you should attempt some craft related posts now that your blog is in kindergarten. ;) I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts, and especially your creative writing stuff. I may not always agree, but your posts are generally thought-provoking. Looking forward to continuing to read your writing!

    • Thanks Hannah! If I was thinking, I would have made an elbow macaroni and construction paper “5”… :)

      It’s been funny with the creative writing stuff, because I’ve never thought of myself as a particular effective writer, so it’s been a good use of a different part of my brain, I think.

  4. Your 5th anniversary? Wow. What a celebration! Congratulations to you.
    Within the past couple of years, my Facebook/Twitter time has decreased significantly. I find I am more fulfilled by reading the posts of others and writing posts of my own.
    Again, congrats to you!

  5. I’ve enjoyed WordPress and other than a few small problems have been satisfied with the usability.

    I came to Facebook and Twitter pretty late in the game, but I can understand why people are growing tired of it. It seems exciting for a while but it ultimately feels empty like junk food.

    Congratulations on five years!

    • TGG — thanks — junk food is a good term for what a lot of people do on FB. I was a long-time twitter skeptic and yet it’s my go-to source during the day. For news mostly. Crazy.

  6. Happy Blogiversary! You were the first or second person to add me on Vox and welcome me to the neighborhood, many moons ago. Good times!

  7. Happy Birthday to you and to your blog! I think you summed up things well. I enjoy your posts and like that you jump around to different topics. I think I tend to blog about family, or my health, or things that are happening in my life. It is fun reading what others post!

  8. Congratulations and happy birthday! The Big Five. Now that’s inspiring…wherever did you get the energy to keep banging out the posts day in and day out? Tomorrow is my one year blog anniversary…and thanks to you, I discovered the drabble so all in all, it’s been a year of great blog meets. :-)

    • Thanks Blogdramedy — it’s been a mostly good transition. It’s like all the kids from Vox High graduated but only some of them went to WordPress U. But like all those transitions, I’ve made a lot of good new friends.

  9. Birthday cupcakes to you – at least that’s what they used to do before the food police stopped letting moms bring the tasty cakes to the classroom. Ah, kindergarden, only half a day with a nap and recess in the middle. Take one or both and enjoy. I miss VOX – and really miss not being able to use the scrolling marque code, WP just isn’t in to that,
    glad to add you.

  10. You’ve kept your site incredibly fresh and inviting. I think it’s the great mix (and of course, the Penny pictures). I’m so glad I found you this year.
    Happy Birthday, and many more.

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