Saturday, May 28, 2011
One Year Already....Hard to Believe
Today All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac turns one. When I decided to enter the blogosphere a year ago, I wasn't entirely sure what direction this endeavor would take. I knew I wanted to focus primarily on local Civil War history, and that I hoped to spread the word about some lesser known aspects of the war in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. A year later, I couldn't be happier with where the blog is headed, and I'd also like to extend my thanks to you, the reader. It really is encouraging to see so many people interested in learning more about the Civil War. (I'd also like to thank my wife for putting up with this hobby and passion of mine! Perhaps it is preparing her for a day when I turn to writing a book.)
Over the course of the last year, I initially focused on the Civil War history right around my home base of McLean, Virginia and expanded from there. I have hit on Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax, and have even ventured out to Loudoun and Fauquier. The Sesquicentennial has given me a lot of food for thought and enabled me to write about other topics that may not necessarily have crossed my mind. In the process of writing posts, I am also expanding my own knowledge of Civil War history. I really enjoy having the opportunity to research and write on a weekly basis about a topic I love so much.
As of today, I have over 100 Facebook fans, as well as about 70 followers on Twitter. Daily hits have also increased significantly since last May. These numbers may be modest compared to some blogs, but it is nice to see that people are reading and commenting on my posts. Perhaps the growth of the blog is much more than I anticipated when typing my first post. Regardless of numbers, I am satisfied if I can teach just one person something new about the Civil War, or if I can inspire someone to research or read more about an issue.
Entering the blogosphere has also introduced me to other Civil War "nuts" out there. Now I don't feel quite as alone! But seriously, I am thankful for the interactions that I have had with many fellow bloggers and I feel that I have learned so much from you and have been inspired by your posts.
As I start another year, I hope to continue bridging the gap between the blogosphere and the "real world." From my vantage point, blogs have yet to capture the attention of the entire Civil War community. There are a lot of readers out there, but in some ways, the demographic skews away from blogs. I've been to many events where it seems like history-minded individuals aren't even aware of the existence or utlility of blogs. But we should be thinking of cross-pollination. Bloggers use their online presence to promote local events and discuss the history of their communities and elsewhere. Historical societies and other organizations would do well to direct people to Civil War blogs in order to learn more about a topic. Some already do, such as Fairfax Civil War on Facebook. The McLean Historical Society also learned about my on-line work and invited me to speak on Ft. Marcy and the defenses of Washington. The new media offer a powerful way to connect with the public and generate discussion more widely. Blogs are a way of continuing the meaningful conversations we all have when we attend an event and meet like-minded folks.
Thanks again for reading. It has been a great year, and I look forward to the next one!