Exactly a year ago I launched Accidental Blogger with an equal amount of excitement and trepidation. In my very first post I explained the motivations for starting a blog. I was not quite sure then for how long I would be able to keep up the effort and one year seemed a long time. I wrote diligently - at least one post every weekday. Sometimes I was at a loss to come up with interesting blogworthy ideas. I solved that problem by writing on any topic that interested "me," rather than try and figure out what would appeal to others. I have stuck to that formula ever since and that has made the task of writing easier and it appears to have worked with readers.
Unsure as I was about my readership extending beyond friends and family, a few unexpected events caught me by surprise and benefited Accidental Blogger almost immediately after it was inaugurated. Two established bloggers, Ethan Leib and Brian Leiter whose blogs I read, mentioned it on their own sites and provided links. Very early on, that helped things enormously by bringing in readers and other bloggers to A.B. who would not otherwise have found the blog. Since then A.B. has been linked and blogrolled by many more bloggers (some of whom are on our own reading list) which helped bring in new readers. I am extremely grateful to all of them for extending a helping hand and making a place for A.B. in the blogging community. In the process, I have become acquainted with several weblogs and their authors - all good people.
The most unexpected public exposure of A.B occurred recently when one of our articles was linked by Daou Reports on Salon.com. Sujatha had provided me the URL link for the story and I had written the accompanying article. Neither one of us could believe it when we saw it on Daou. Sujatha and I high fived each other (via e-mail, of course) over this brief and exciting foray of our blog into the mainstream media
Since its inception, Accidental Blogger's single most influential patron has been Professor Brian Leiter of Leiter Reports. A link from him results in the kind of boost in traffic that is way beyond what is normal here. I have repeatedly joked that "Leiter days are the heaviest at Accidental Blogger." A.B. is very grateful for the continued support of Professor Leiter.
Accidental Blogger was a solo blog for the first four months. In February of 2006, I requested Anna Levine and Joe to help when I went on a trip. They kindly obliged and did such a fine job in my absence that I asked them to stay on. Later Sujatha Sundar and Dean C. Rowan came on board and we have had some excellent posts from them as well. Although I continue to post the majority of articles here, A.B is fortunate to have guest bloggers who apart from contributing articles, benefit the blog with their suggestions, links and thoughtful comments. There is no doubt in my mind that after one year and more than 400 posts (not all mine), the fact that I remain interested in blogging, is due largely to the lively participation of my co-bloggers. A lonely effort would have become tiresome by now.
Although A.B. now has a regular readership and I suspect many of our readers come here quite often, we seem to generate relatively few comments from readers. That is the case even when a post is provocative in nature and the traffic volume high. (Occasionally readers have contacted me via e-mail with links or suggestions but have not left a public comment.) However, some of our friends and fellow bloggers (PIAW, Matt, Devan, Gawker, Coturnix, Sanjay) have been very generous with their insights, comments and technical help. But for the most part, A.B. remains a quiet blog; readers here read silently and leave.
The cumulative statistics gathered by the web counter tells me that visitors to A.B. have come from all fifty states of the U.S. and more than one hundred countries of the world, including a few from Benin, Burundi and Mongolia. There are several countries from where we regularly get sizeable traffic, some of which surely includes repeat visitors. US readers constitute nearly 70% of the total readership. As of now, countries outside the US from where we get most readers are : Canada, India, UK, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway. Top ten US states are California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachussettes, Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. (the last two are tied.) Some regular readers come from countries and states other than those listed.
On the first anniversary of Accidental Blogger, I am making a one time appeal to regular and occasional readers in the US and abroad to please leave a short (or long) comment about your impressions of A.B.( This includes my co-bloggers Joe, Sujatha, Anna and Dean.) You can comment anonymously if you choose. Please tell us a few things such as:
- for how long you have been reading
- how you first found the blog - by random access, recommendation from a reader or through a link from another blog
- your geographical location
- what you like (or dislike) about A.B.
- do you prefer political articles or cultural /social ones?
Having made my own opinions known on many topics, I am curious to know a little about our readership. I am keen to hear from readers in the US and also in far flung places - in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. And nearer home, in Canada, Central and South America. How about my three home towns - Delhi, Houston and Omaha? Are there any regular readers there? If you are out there reading and have read for a while, please do write and let us know. In any case, if my ardent appeal fails to shake you out of your bashfulness, let me just say, "Thanks for reading."
Note: I am attaching one of my paintings with this post to add a festive touch to the anniversary. Since I have never painted a "birthday" picture, I chose another suitably cheery one. Also, it is worth noting that despite the number of hours I have devoted to this hobby, for the most part blogging has been "a day at the beach!"