The Golden Blogs: 2012 in review
January 14, 2013 2 Comments
The afterglow of Sunday night’s quirky Golden Globes feels like just the right time to review last year’s Be the Change blog. Call it the Golden Blogs. (Hey, we’re just missing the “e.”) Looking back is always interesting and like the Golden Globes, it can be a little quirky.
Take, for instance, the armadillos. Once again a blog post mentioning armadillos floated up into the top five last year, finishing as runner-up yet again. (That’s two statuettes, if you’re counting.) I can’t explain why, except to speculate that perhaps armadillos are more popular than one might imagine.
Of the top five mostly widely read blog posts we published last year, three were written by guest bloggers. Jake Williams (’13) wrote about the Lost Boys of Sudan. Jake’s post and a post about Invisible Children written by Gabrielle Piccininni (’11) took the fourth and fifth spots. Gabrielle’s post, by the way, was actually published the prior year, in 2011, yet continues to gather readers. That’s staying power. The No. 1 most read Be the Change post last year also went to a guest blogger, Jim Heffernan’s (’96) who wrote Sweden: The Malmo Summit.
That Jim’s post was No. 1 didn’t surprise us. It was well written, interesting and had a component that the blogosphere handles about as well as any Internet medium — a worldwide audience. In the blogosphere, lines between nations are blurred and sometimes erased, bringing us all together. I presume that’s why, for the first time last year, WordPress provided daily stats about where our blog readers were located. It was a fun statistic to watch as JMU and its mission of change spread out over the world. In the final 2012 tally, the Be the Change blog was read in 148 countries. The only disappointment — big white zeroes in Greenland and Iceland. (So here’s a shout out: Hey, Greenland and Iceland! Come visit us.)
All in all, in 2012 the blog garnered almost twice the number of visits of 2011. Coincidentally, the same calendar date in both 2011 and 2012 saw the most visitors to the blog: Sept. 11. On the home page that day was a post by another guest blogger: BTC intern Anthony Baracat (’13))
In October last year, the blog was Freshly Pressed. You might call FP the “Oscars” of WordPress. Sounds good, anyway. That post, chosen by the editors of WordPress from blogs all over the world, resulted in a big jump in followers. In fact, we’re now only a few followers shy of 100. We also had our first month with more than 5,000 views.
Still we have work to do, countries to crack (Hey, Greenland and Iceland! Wavin’ at you!) and conversations to engage. So here are some of our goals for next year. We want to continue to feature the people of Madison who devote their time, talents and lives to improving the world in ways as varied as academics, humanitarianism, medicine, science, politics, business, nonprofits, and volunteerism. We want to talk with and about projects, programs and people who are making a difference. We want to reach more of the world — and be read in even more countries. According to the U.S. State Department there are 195 countries in the world, so we’re only short 47. That’s doable.
But we want more than numbers; we want to engage in conversations that will further the goals and aspirations of Be the Change and those who do it. We want to share, listen and exchange thoughts and ideas. We want those conversations to be honest, open — and to matter, not merely entertain. We want to show the world our human face, our compassionate heart and our determination to Be the Change.
So, now, who among you readers will push us over 100 by following this blog? And which one of you is ready to start a great conversation?