Lib Dem blogging on the slide

BlogOver at Liberal Bureaucracy a few days ago Mark offered an overview of activity in the Liberal Democrat blogging community. He argues that the trend is not healthy – fewer bloggers, less activity:

So, there are less of us, and we’re quieter than we once were, which feels to me to be an accurate reflection of the Party generally, a bit loathe to put its head above the parapet for fear of being shot at.

I seem to remember Stephen Tall saying something similar about the decline of active bloggers at the BOTY award ceremony in Brighton a couple of years ago.

I’m not sure that anyone could disagree on the broad trend. It is easy to think of quite a few well-established bloggers who have either explicitly called it a day or who have drifted into relative inactivity. It is less easy to think of new voices that have emerged to achieve a significant profile or make a substantial impact. Nick Tyrone perhaps falls into that category, but he can hardly be characterised as a new voice emerging out of nowhere.

But I wonder about Mark’s interpretation of this trend. [Read more…]

The Q#4 quintet plus

Here are the five posts on this blog that recorded the most hits between October and December 2014:

  1. Social housing transformations (27th Oct)
  2. The Universal Credit fiasco (30th Nov)
  3. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May 2013)
  4. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July 2013)
  5. Defining the challenge of UK housing policy (30th Oct)

So during this quarter a couple of hardy perennials featured prominently again.

[Read more…]

My top ten posts of 2014

TOP10I’m not 100% sure I can decide what sort of year 2014 has been for this blog – good, bad or indifferent. The overall level of traffic has been the same as 2013, give or take a few hundred hits. I’m grateful to everyone who takes the time to read what I post.

The pattern of traffic has been bit different this year to that of previous years. Nothing I posted this year sank without trace, but, on the other hand, nothing really took off. Most posts did okay (by the standards of this blog!).

The statistics for the year are rather dominated by a couple of posts originally published in 2013. They both recorded more than three times the hits of anything I published in 2014. I’m glad that they have found a broader audience, but I’m not entirely sure they stand out from a lot of the other stuff I’ve written. I’ve no idea whether the longer a blog continues the more likely it is to find greatest hits from the back catalogue continuing to attract substantial traffic, but that certainly seems to be happening here.

The blog again spent all year in the teads (previously ebuzzing) monthly ranking of the top 100 politics blogs. Such rankings are not to be taken too seriously, but I guess being in the top 100 is better than not being there! Thanks to everyone who thought one of my posts was worth retweeting, liking or linking to.

Thanks also to those who crossposted my posts to other group blogs and to all those who took the time to comment on one of my posts during the year.

Here, then, in reverse order, are my top ten most popular posts of 2014: [Read more…]

The Q#3 quintet, and then some

Here are the five posts on this blog that recorded the most hits between July and September 2014:

  1. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May 2013)
  2. Developments in the ongoing Bedroom Tax saga (6th Sept)
  3. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July 2013)
  4. The miraculous power of welfare reform (11th Aug)
  5. The value of planning (30th Aug)

 

This quarter feels a bit like deja vu all over again.  [Read more…]

Serial bloggage

One of the most intriguing characteristics of blogging is its flexibility. You can find plenty of people willing to offer their views on how you should go about blogging if you want to maximize your audience and the like. But, while some of these hints and tips may well be of value, I’m not sure there is a formula for success.

While the received wisdom might be that posts of around 500-600 words will hit the spot most effectively, there are hugely effective bloggers who have mastered the art of the meaningful single paragraph or, indeed, single sentence post. Or bloggers who intersperse textual posts with images or videos that are left to speak for themselves.

Then again there are windbags like me who can barely say anything sensible in less than a thousand words. Occasionally – and more commonly when I started out – I have published posts of 2,500 to 3,000 words. These days I’m more likely to bung something of that length on to Scribd and use a blogpost to signpost to it.

Another distinctive blogging format is the thematic series. I don’t suppose there is any technical reason why series of thematic posts could not feature more regularly in the mainstream media. But I guess they are perceived to require a degree of commitment from the publisher, the author, and the audience. That is probably sufficient to discourage some publishers. When you’re pushing the publish button yourself it isn’t so much of an issue. [Read more…]

Why? Five-oh-oh

This is the five hundredth post on this blog. It is, of course, an entirely arbitrary milestone, but it nonetheless causes you to reflect on why you do it. Five hundred posts translates into well over half a million words, at a rate of ten or so posts a month over nearly four years. That’s a lot of words, taking up a lot of time.

I have written before about why I blog. I have blogged on how I got started, and how I reconcile being a political blogger with my other identity as a senior academic. What I wrote then still holds true, although I’m conscious that in recent months my posts have tended not to roam quite so widely as in the past. I have concentrated more on topics that are close to my academic interests and my politics. So I have cycled through posts on housing policy, welfare reform and the tribulations of the Liberal Democrats. I’m not entirely sure why that is, except that when you’re busy elsewhere it is less intellectually demanding to blog on topics you know well.

I’m sure I’ll be looking further afield again some time pretty soon. [Read more…]

The Q#2 quintet, and more

Here are the five posts on this blog that recorded the most hits between April and June 2014:

  1. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May 2013)
  2. Ed’s brave housing proposal (1st May)
  3. Welfare reforms: the evidence mounts (9th April)
  4. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July 2013)
  5. The government is solving the housing crisis, apparently (31st May)

[Read more…]

The Q#1 quintet, and more

Here are the five posts on this blog that recorded the most hits between January and March 2014:

  1. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May 2013)
  2. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July 2013)
  3. My top ten blogs 2013 (29th Dec 2013)
  4. A voyage of rediscovery (4th Jan)
  5. Vince on “social housing” (30th Jan)

[Read more…]

One academic online

Blue bird sitting on ropeYesterday I took part in an event introducing social media to members of academic staff. I was asked to come along and act as one of two live case studies. I was there to share my experiences. The aim was to illustrate the possibilities and highlight some of the issues. The organizers suggested we each address the same set of questions. We offered very different perspectives.

I only had 10 minutes or so to talk and it felt a bit rushed. So I decided to elaborate on the presentation I gave on the day and turn it into something a bit more coherent. The document below is the result. I hope it is of some interest to others who are thinking of starting out. [Read more…]

The Q#4 quintet

Here are the five posts on this blog that recorded the most hits between October and December 2013:

  1. On signs you’re reading bad criticism of economics (4th Nov)
  2. Uncertain terrain: Issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May)
  3. Would post-crash economics be a step backward? (21st Nov)
  4. The Bedroom Tax vote: sticking the knife into the Libdems (12th Nov)
  5. Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July)

November was, by quite a large margin, the busiest month so far on the blog.

This has been an unusual quarter. [Read more…]