We just realized that today is our fifth blogiversary. Young if you are a human, prime of life if you are a dog, but Methuselah if you are a blog. We’ve not gone dark for a single day in those five years, although on many we’ve thought about turning off the lights permanently. But we’re still here, the day before Thanksgiving. That’s not a coincidence.
In 2004 Thanksgiving fell on November 25. One of the original reveres (the one tapping these keys, in fact) was making a nuisance of himself in the kitchen as Mrs. R. was trying to prepare one of her virtuouso Thanksgiving dinners. She shooed me out. I retired to my study with my books, my computer and my internet connection. This was just after the tumultuous (and nationally catastrophic) presidential election campaign and I had been compulsively reading political blogs like DailyKos, Eschaton and MyDD (all three of which still exist and are flourishing). As I sat in front of my computer I idly wondered what it would be like to have a blog about public health. At the time the only recognizably public health blog was Jordan Barab’s superb occupational health and safety blog, Confined Space. It was on a platform called blogger, so I went over there and found starting a blog took about 30 seconds. I djinned up a post called The Surgeon General as Appetite Suppressant. The next day I wrote another post because I’d written one the day before. The day after that another, pretty much for the same reason. After a week I changed the original name of the blog from The Confidence Interval to Effect Measure. Don’t ask me why. Another whim. Then more posts, usually two a day. Along the way revere became the reveres and after 18 months we were invited to join the select group at scienceblogs.com. We’ve been here ever since, although about a year ago dropped back to posting just once a day.
We’ve now written about 3300 posts. Five years is a long time to blog every day. We got into the pandemic flu business because we thought it was a lens through which to look at public health. Little did we know. We’re not sure how much longer we’ll want to or need to do it. But no flu season in our lifetime — and we lived through both the pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the latter as a doctor — has been as interesting as this one. We hope it doesn’t kill us or anyone close to us, but with flu anything is possible.
Even blogging some more.