3 December 2019
We started this blog in spring 2017. Since then we have published 49 posts written by 26 authors, including 3 guest contributors. Posts have ranged from editorial (Apocalyptic Military Marketing Inspires Resistance) to historical (That ‘East’ Thing---Thoughts on Anger and Loss in Germany’s East) to deeply personal (Telling Stories, Asking Questions and Is it only a crisis if you see it?) Contributors have made sense of Turkish settler colonialism, popular protests in Lebanon, and impeachment hearings in the U.S. Posts have been written in English (Think about How You Think), Swedish (Miljö Engagemang med Humanistisk Färg), and Spanish (Brexit o el Costo Político y Social del Proteccionismo Globalizador). We had two successful BlogFests, the first on the #Metoo Movement and the second on Academic Publishing. For our 50th post, members of the editorial team reflect on why they blog and you should too.
Apparently, my official job-description is “webmaster” (which to me evokes associations to technological expertise and Spider-Man, both of which seem to be equally inappropriate as a descriptor for what I’m doing here). However, I eventually did master the skill of analysing how people actually use the blog, so in the following section, I will write a very brief review of the last 50 blog posts based on statistics. Doesn’t that sound fun!?
When starting Blogal Studies I wrote that “it would be hubris to assume that this blog will reach more than a couple of dozen people” – and I am quite happy about how wrong I was in this estimation. Since records began (I like how epic that sounds) on September 9th 2018, we had 2 486 people visiting our blog, which is about 207 times a dozen. These roughly 2 500 people looked at a sum total of ca. 9 000 pages, staying on the blog for an average time of one and a half minutes. This means: some people actually read what’s on the blog!
Our Blogal dominion is reaching across most areas of the bloge. Of course, there is still a lot to do in order to have a truly global reach, but I think we’re on our way. During the first month of our blog, ca. 42% of traffic came from within Göteborg; during November this year this number came down to ca. 25%. Overall, I think we’re doing really well, especially during the last couple of months. So, keep up the good work, guys! I’m proud of y’all! And now chap chap - off to the next 50 blog-posts!
Like most people, I am constantly bombarded by media images of injustice, unrest, and violence on a global scale. I use blogging as a way to make sense of how I feel about what I read online, what I experience during social interactions, and what I research as a Ph.D. student. In doing so, I formulate my emotions into words; thereby understanding not only what is happening but my role in it.
When I publish a blog post, I feel a sense of release as I send my understandings out into the world. Blogging is my academic therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think blogging is comparable to a session with a mental health professional, but it is a lot cheaper. If you’re like me and constantly struggling to make sense of global issues, give blogging a try. I’d love to help you formulate your words in ways that resonate with your unique worldview. And, let’s be honest, if you don’t blog, I will. In the interests of letting me finish my dissertation, I pass the blogging baton to you.
If I haven’t yet convinced you to blog with us, let me try one last tactic: enticement. Blogal Studies is run by some of the most passionate, engaged, inspiring, and, yes, downright goofy people I’ve ever met. While I certainly don’t want to share them, I am willing to invite you to join the party and rub shoulders with two of the greats, Theo and Swati.
Respectable venting (we all want to vent, right?), quick intellectual inputs or articulation (so much to say and so little time), instant reactions (ah well, sometimes we need to react civilly) and thoughtful personal reflections (journal articles and op-eds are not supposed to be about that), all constitute my idea of a blog. These are incredibly difficult times that call for engagement with the world around us. Some of us have only words we can fight and engage with. I remember the times when I wanted to say something more than a facebook post and mainstream media was not always ready to publish, and they were not long pieces that could be academic essays. That’s when blogging came for my rescue.
Blogs are a respectable way to get off the academic high horse every now and then, move out of the ivory tower and self-reflect on our discourses and practices. I have written for several blogs, and cite some in my works; they are excellent for research outreach and building community and collegiality. Blogal Studies vindicates all of these thoughts. In a very short time, we have reached our 50th post, just like that.
We are so proud that our otherwise busy and productively engaged colleagues have found time to contribute to the blog. Blogal Studies is building collegiality and camaraderie at Global Studies, and we want to continue the momentum. Best of all, we are getting introduced to different research projects and pedagogical practices. We are learning from each other.
We have two BlogFests already planned for 2020, the first on populism and the second on climate change. The BlogFest on academic publishing will invite more reactions, no doubt. I have something to say about publishing less, blogging more! We are so pleased with how it is all happening.
My hope is that our audiences and readership will expand and we will host a lot more guest bloggers in the future. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my co-conspirators and fellow travellers, Theo and Elizabeth, who enable Blogal Studies to flourish and our motivations to thrive in the spirit of intellectual exchange, community building and collegiality.
Theodor Aalders is a Ph.D. student at the School of Global Studies and a founding member of the blog. He has written two posts for Blogal Studies, including Broken Things and our first post, Why Do We Need This Blog?
Elizabeth Olsson is a Ph.D. student at SGS. She has written ten posts for Blogal Studies, including We Need to Talk about Academic Language, Conference Presentations 101, and Witness to Conflict: Coming to Terms with Observer’s Guilt.
Swati Parashar is an Associate Professor in Peace and Development and a founding member of the blog. She has written five posts for Blogal Studies, including Rescuing Gandhi from Multiple Appropriations, #Me Too: More than Social Media Confessions, Less than a Movement for Gender Justice, and Who is Afraid of Difference? Follow her on Twitter @swatipash.