Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy Spew-iversary

Today is the 7th Anniversary of Saideman's Semi-Spew.  Woot!  I guess I should get the blog either some wool or copper (tradition) or a desk set (modern). 

It has been an interesting adventure.  I started out mostly just talking to myself, trying to clarify some ideas and respond to the news of the day.  A few months into it, I joined twitter and started posting links to the blog, which meant that folks other than my family started reading my stuff.  For a few years, I was posting four items a day, some short and some incredibly short.  I find myself tweeting more and blogging less, although twitter still informs the blog, as it gives me stuff to react to--either conversations on twitter or links to pieces that draw my ire.  I used to think that a constant flow of much would help generate audience and keep it, but I learned that the content is what matters and that twitter/facebook can advertise the blog as well or better than heaps of pieces.

I have no regrets about the name, as Steve's Peeves would have been entirely too negative. And I love alliteration despite what various writing guides.  I am not sure the look of the blog is that great (I envy Pete Trumbore's)--I have been reluctant to change the look for fear of screwing things up too much.  I know my style of blog-writing borrows heavily from the stuff that I have read, with Dan Drezner's blogging over the years probably the most influential.

I find it wonderfully appropriate that my first post was about a couple of things that kept coming up: generalizing and policy relevance.  My second post was about ultimate!  My third made a promise that I didn't keep--that I would steal the question asked of the president as a running theme--how am I surprised, troubled, enchanted, and humbled by various things.  I will say that over the years, I have been:
  • surprised at where blogging has taken me.  It has led to more policy writing at various outlets (mostly Canadian and mostly military/alliance stuff). 
  • troubled by the impact it has had on my academic writing.  I love blogging because it does not require reviewing the literature or appeasing reviewers.  Well, academic writing still requires that stuff and so when I write academic articles, I sometimes get smacked around for not doing that stuff or, dare I say it, writing too informally.
  • enchanted by the interactions that blogging (and twitter) has produced with people around the world, in and out of academia.
  • humbled by the reality that people read this stuff that is poorly edited (lots of spelling mistakes and typos in old Spews) and sometimes poorly thought out.  When people say that they read my blog, I tend to blush and stammer, which is not how I react when someone tells me that they have read my books or articles.  Perhaps it is precisely because this stuff is not edited, not reviewed and often the first thing that pops out of my head in the morning (or evening).
Blogging has gotten me deeper into a variety of issues than otherwise would have been the case, such as voterfraudfraud, public engagement and policy relevance, concussions, academic freedom, and Harry Potter (ok, that last one was a pre-blogging thing, too).

I am most grateful not just for this week's recognition but also for the comments on the Spew, via twitter or on my facebook page.  And, yes, I'd like to thank the academy.

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