I’ve been blogging for a bit more than ten years now, having started on 16 December, and today Aard turns nine! I was inspired to begin blogging by my wife who started in October 2005. She worked as a news reporter at the time, and journalists were early adopters in Swedish blogging. I was doing research on small grants and applying for uni jobs.
In late 2005 we were living happily in a three-room apartment in a former council tenement, my son had just started school and my daughter was a baby. Things have changed a bit over these ten years as we've moved into middle age: both kids are now taller than my wife, she's a psychology student and I'm a part-time adjunct university lecturer. We're in a small house of our own, though very near our old place.
Throughout all these years, blogging has been hugely important to me as a platform to have a voice in my field despite my difficulties in securing post-doctoral academic affiliation. It's given me complete autonomy of immediate expression in a field where most people are still limited by the goodwill of journal editors and long waits for publication. Blogging has made me a minor celeb in Scandy archaeology. I've even seen a blog comment of mine quoted as part of the motto for a major Norwegian conference! Blogging also offered important relief for the loneliness of my solo research years, when nobody except my wife cared whether I got out of bed in the mornings or not. (The funding bodies only checked on me like once every two years.)
Another aspect of why I like blogging so much is how much fun it is to write about whatever I'm thinking about on any given day. And it's been quite an education to me. I believe an interested reader will be able to tell that something happened to my academic writing as well around 2005-06. I've never been impressed by complicated academic jargon. But I feel like blogging really allowed me to develop an English style of my own, aiming for brevity, clarity and accessibility, and preferably a note of humour. A semi-hostile trio of job application reviewers actually commented on this recently: ”His work is characterized by an unusual personal writing style, which seems to mirror a conscious opposition towards traditional dogmas in academia.” This makes me proud. Conscious opposition towards traditional dogmas, indeed!
Taking stock, I find that this is my 2543rd blog entry. That averages to about five blog entries a week for a decade. In recent years of course I've been posting less frequently, but longer entries on average as shorter observations now go into my Facebook feed instead. Starting three years ago the best of these end up packaged as Pieces Of My Mind entries on the blog.
Traffic has been fairly steady for over two years, after coming down from the dizzy heights of 2007-2011. For Oct, Nov, Dec 2015, I've had about 480 daily readers. Most of them sadly never comment. The uncontested rulers of the comments section are Phillip Helbig, Thomas Ivarsson, Birger Johansson, Eric Lund and John Massey, who can be counted upon to keep up a lively, smart and funny conversation full of interesting links even if I don't post for a week. Birger and John have actually commented more than I have on this blog!
Thematically, I've always described Aard as a blog about archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music. This is borne out by the numbers for the categories I tag each entry with, though humour, tech and Sweden are also big.
So, Dear Reader, I ain't quittin'. Is there anything in particular that you’d like me to write about? I'd be particularly pleased to hear from steady lurkers such as Ulla Å.!
Great thank's for being mentioned. You have spent some time answering my questions in mail and here ín a very clear way, when needed. I really lke that. Keep up the good work. I will always keep an eye here and comment if I have any substantial.
Martin actually spotted all my "archeological findings", I submtted to him, by a mail conversation, as natural geology, a few years ago. I took the same Collection, this year, to a local archeologist,that confirmed all Martins findings. Pure rubbish.
Yeah, but does it have the mark of approval of the Veganmothership?
Sorry, but I just read "Veganmothership" (used seriously somewhere) and I just had to find somewhere to say it. Veganmothership.
As for your writing style, my advice is never change it.
I have read your thesis and two of your books, plus lots of other bits and pieces, and all were crystal clear and very readable to me, while employing a commendable economy of language.
It is my observation in my own field of civil engineering that people will often take refuge in traditional dogma as a means of concealing what they don't know or understand while hoping to appear knowledgeable. The very best people have a talent for making even the very complex become easily comprehendible. Always make this your aim, and you will never go wrong.
*beams back up to the Veganmothership*
Thanks Thomas, thanks John!
I'll put in my two cents here. Keep up the good work. I stop by your blog on a regular basis. I never know what I'm going to find. That's the big difference between good old fashioned blogs and modern publicity machines. Good luck and have a great 2016.
Thank you Seth! Always good to hear from you!
Wow. That is a lot of output Martin.
Been lurking here since ~2008. First comment. Immediately liked your style as well as your life philosophy as it shines through on your blog. Several times thought it would be fun to pend an evening playing boardgames - but such is the strange world of reading, we tend to feel a familiarity with the author that is pure illusion.
I enjoy your blog - keep up the good work, and I wish you and yours a great 2016!
Thank you, that's so kind! Please do pop over for games if you come to Stockholm.
Dear Martin, I've been quasi-faithfully been reading you since 2006 and you probably influenced my own writing. My favorite texts are the ones on archaeology but also those posts where you mention your daily life - things there are so fascinatingly different from Brazil. Please, keep on with your writing. Huge fan.
That's so very kind of you, Italo! Thank you!
I've been a casual lurker for a couple of years (and I'm a bit behind with my reading right now). I really like the writing style, the stories about academia and the "Pieces Of My Mind" series. Thank you for writing!
Thank you Boris, warms my heart!