05 August 2011

Celebrating Lessons and Hopes (EN)

I’ve reached the 100-post mark on this blog.  While I’m not 100% about conformity, it’s an easy Friday, and I’ve seen other bloggers taking the time to reflect on such occasions…  I’m checking my blog stats regularly, but I don’t do it in order to monitor my traffic and learn how to increase the number of either readers or pageviews;  I do it because I’m interested as to what seems to excite/inspire my readers.  And I think it’s quite telling that only a personal story managed to break the 500-pageview mark, while 2 more such posts are present in the all-time top 10.  NGO- and policy-related posts are also present in the all-time top 10, but note that all of these posts in the top are written in Romanian.

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blog stats Sept. 2008—June 2009Aug. 2011, illustrated with OpenOffice Draw and IrfanView
I really learned about writing while a student abroad, directly in English.  There was a time when, not being used to the keyboard and the screen, I used to write everything by hand, and type it later.  But I‘ve always had this urge to write about things, even before I got my writing education in English.  I remember the very early 1990s, when I traveled to Prejmer, to write an article about some agro-tools (then) recently donated by a Swiss foundation to the local German-speaking population.  What came out?  Nothing you’d call an article, since I really didn’t know how to write!  I’m still not sure I do, especially when I think of structure, but I hope guess substance and style make the attraction among my Romanian readers?!?

So, deep down, I’m quite surprised with the results illustrated above.  I started blogging directly in English, while at an inter-governmental anti-corruption conference, where civil society views needed to be reflected in real time, in an attempt to persuade delegates and sway votes.  I found the direct and positive impact quite intriguing, so I decided to continue writing on Romania’s governance, rule-of-law, anti-corruption policies and strategies, thinking of a former professor’s words:  There’s not enough English coverage of Romania, for your country to become interesting either for political scientists or for direct investors!  But the stats don’t lie—the number of people outside of Romania, interested in reading my views, is rather insignificant :-(

Hence, earlier this year, I started also writing in Romanian, more and more frequently.  In doing so, I have deliberately ignored any characteristics of a target audience, but rather used this blog to vent some of my deeper concerns.  Apparently, that’s what people want—to peek, to pry, to partake vicariously in someone else’s torments, trials and tribulations.  I guess that’s also why tabloids are so popular?  But I don’t read tabloids, and I also try to offer solutions to the problems I see…  Still, judging from the extremely low number of comments on my blog posts, I take it that my solutions are either impractical, useless or too idealistic?  Yes, I tend to do that, offer uncalled-for solutions, and I need to restrain ;-)

What else have I learned?  Now I would know how to import old posts, instead of copy/pasting all of them, by hand, taking up a full day’s work;  how to schedule some of my posts, as well as how to draft them offline;  how to tweak with the template and the widgets;  how to get higher in zelist rankings, by commenting a lot of other people's posts, by engaging conversations on other platforms, and thus attracting traffic on my own blog…  But this is utterly unimportant!  I learned that blogging may serve to take a load off your chest, vent, release some steam;  that i'm responsible for those who really read, and act upon, what I write;  that some people never read, nor ever understand, regardless how much I wanted them to get it…

And while I learned how important it is to serve/cater to constituents, here, I’m writing this in English, for a Romanian public?!?  Well, I also learned that I’m the most important person in my own life;  and this is my blog—sometimes, I’m just doing things for the heck of it, just the way I like, feel or want them ;-)  Since I read and interpreted the stats in English, I was just too lazy to switch my thinking and writing into Romanian…  But I really want to thank my friends for their help and support, and thank my readers for bearing with my whims…  And I hope (while I don’t promise) that I won’t wait another 3 years before we get to celebrate the next 100 posts ;-)  Cheers, sing along, and have a great weekend!



PS  Search results are funny, as well:  Because of an old post on the Constitutional Court, people looking up the past participle for strike tend to land on my blog, too—and quite often :-)  Also, because of a more recent post on the really bad habit of smoking, my blog scored in someone's search for methods to steal cigs from dad :-(  I commend the search for proper grammar, I condemn the search for stealing methods!

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