One Year O’ Bloggin

Today marks my first anniversary of blogging. (Actually, officially Game Theorist started back in January 2003 but there was a bit of a gap between first and second posts). It started with the usual vague first post where I wondered where this would go and then went on for another 591 posts with 77 additional ones on Game Theorist and a few more at Aplia. In my estimate, all of this is about 150,000 words averaging 2 posts a day (including weekends) with the most posts in a single day being six and the longest gap between posts of 2 days.

Why do I do this? I blog because (a) I enjoy it; and (b) it does not take much time. The latter bit some may find hard to believe but most posts take me a few minutes and it is very rare that I have spent more than 30 minutes in a single day writing blog posts. (Of course, those who are aware of my poor editing and typos can see how I do this).

One thing I can rule out is the money. A couple of days ago I got my first Amazon Associates voucher. Most of the sales were generated from Game Theorist. And my grand total for six months of ads: US$11.59 (of several hundred dollars of sales).

It is also true that it really helps to have regular readers. There appear 200 or so who come through every day or two including those subscribing to the email list. On a big day that could move to the thousands as it did when Andrew Leigh and I released our baby bonus paper or I wondered about how fair Starbucks was. I was also one of the few sources of information about Comet McNaught (who knows why). Initially, I had forced my students to read the blog in search of exam hints (which were there) but I am not sure how many of them stayed. Just goes to show that there is only so much monopoly power you can abuse.

My style of blogging is not to provide information (like some of the major economics blogs). I indulge myself in my own thoughts and agendas (modeling this on John Quiggin). I also tend not to spend time with comments (not that I discourage them) so there are only about 774 of these (although there was 158000 spam comments!). However, I tend to get picked up by Crikey and also other bloggers. (Indeed, just checking on Technorati my current rank is 57,302 (with links from 61 blogs) but at times I have cracked the top 50,000.)

So what have I harped on this past year:

1. Television: this is a research interest of mine and it spills over into blog posts all of the time; particularly in relation to downloading.

2. Broadband: I worry about broadband and competition in telecommunications all of the time. Those posts got the attention of CEDA who commissioned a report from me on the subject.

3. Unusual days: this was my research with Andrew Leigh that attracted world wide media attention.

4. Book and movie reviews: for my own benefit I tried to capture my thoughts at the time in blog posts.

5. Climate change: An Inconvenient Truth spurred lots of thought on my part and this is only going to develop further in the coming year.

And then there were ideas that seemed to extend beyond the blog including the iTunes Index, my post on network neutrality, my testimony before Parliament on credit cards, my post on why books don’t have ads, and my review of the Productivity Commission’s report on science and innovation. Perhaps the high point in investigative analysis was my discovery of Telstra’s filings with the NZ Commerce Commission where it is the access seeker. I understand that this did not go unnoticed by our regulators.

Finally, in terms of writing, I have most enjoyed thinking about parenting. Mid-year I decided to revive Game Theorist for that purpose. Those posts are longer, more personal but also I get the best feedback about them. In particular, this post on tooth fairies resonated as well as this one on getting children to sleep. Personally, this one on chess playing was my favourite while these ones (here and here) on our holiday had my family amused.

My other work has been complemented by blogging and unlike others I am already gone as far as I can in terms of academic positions, so I am not at risk there. All that means is that I have no intention of slowing down in year 2!