Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blogging in 2014

If there is one clear trend in my blogging, it is that I am doing less of it.  Why?  Mostly because I am fried from having committed not just to other online outlets but that I have been juggling (and dropping) too many projects/responsibilities.  Since blogging is purely voluntary, it tends to take the hit when I am busy. 

Still, it was an interesting year, so I will review it via the most trafficked posts, the most commented posts and then whatever I fancy:
  1. Navel-gazing might be the theme of the year as the most visited post was one about blogging:  is blogging inherently unprofessional. This post went viral (well, for one of my posts), got re-posted at Duck of Minerva and a bunch of other places.  It hit a chord not just because I was fighting the Man as embodied by the ISA, but that it seemed most strange to most people that an organization representing the profession of IR scholars would diminish blogging.  Seems so 2003.  The good news is that the proposal I fought got put on ice.
  2. The second most popular post was one that took a quote from the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about a plan to invade Canada and ran with it.  People always seem to enjoy speculation about an American invasion of Canada.
  3. I spent the year promoting the NATO and Afghanistan book, so I cannot help but be very pleased that my third most visited page was the playlist.  Yep, I crafted a list of songs that fit thematically with the chapters of the book.  With the forthcoming publication of the paperback (with new intro) of For Kin or Country, I will have to come up with another playlist, I guess.
  4. A 2013 piece is actually fourth: I wrote about comparative xenophobia that still seems to be getting traction. It was an attempt to address a WashPo blog post about polls about racism and tolerance, and I guess those topics are still relevant in 2014.
  5. I find it strange that a short post explaining an acronym, for your situational awareness, keeps getting hits even though it was posted in 2011.
  6. An old post (2013) pondering why adjunct profs stay in the business keeps getting hits as well.
  7. An old post (2013) that considers people paying for academic job market advice and rejects the idea that anyone should pay.  Well, the job market still sucks, advisers still underperform and yet it is still a bad idea to pay a person for advice when there are plenty of people offering advice for free (this blog and Duck of Minerva, for instance).
  8. An old post (2011) about whether to go to grad school or not.
  9. I got into an argument with Tom Ricks of about whether scholarship on international security is policy relevant.  I said: hell, yes!
  10. An old post (2013): mama, don't let your kids become political scientists.  This presented some APSA charts showing how dismal the job market is in my field.
The next most popular page is one promoting the book.  Woot! 

What can we conclude from this?  That my best days of blogging are far behind me, with four pre-2014 posts in my top ten for this year?  That the most popular posts are those that are most depressing about academia?  Hmmm.

I tend not to get many comments on my posts.  The ones getting the most comments:
  1. The post on American invasion plans not only got much traffic but much discussion. 
  2. Are blogs inherently unprofessional got much discussion too
  3. A pox on both their houses:  hardly surprising that a rare post on Israel-Palestine gets some folks commenting.
  4. An exchange on the sham-tastic referendum in Crimea
  5. A progress report on the ISA blog situation
How do people find their way to my blog?  The first three are a magnitude more traffic-producing than the rest.
  1. Twitter
  2. Directly (whatever that means)
  3. Google
  4. Facebook
  5. Poli Sci Rumors
  6. The BBC.  Really? 
  7. Duck of Minerva
  8. My page at
The next biggest sources are,, bing,, Political Violence at a Glance, and The Globe and Mail.

I hope to re-gain momentum in 2015, but may need help from my readers.  Poke me, prod me, getting me thinking.  And thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting on my stuff this year.  I never expected to have much of an audience---that this was supposed to me just thinking aloud.  Have a great 2015.

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