Monday, February 17, 2014

Assume an audience...

Assuming for the sake of argument that I have some readers left. I know that I could be wrong on this point I have been in the past, but like many people in Africa I am eternally optimistic in the face of bad news. So assuming that I have at least one reader left who might actually read and respond to this post here is my question. What type of blog posts would you like to see here? The empirical evidence suggests that nothing I post generates any interest beyond a few family and friends. If that is the case then perhaps this blog should lean towards becoming a journal of my daily doings in Legon and Accra. My life is not terribly exciting, but if my only readers are people who want to keep up with what I am personally doing then maybe that is the way to go. Perhaps my next purchase for myself which will be a ways away will be a camera so I can post pictures. Then these people could see some of Ghana or at least pictures of my thumb. But, I think I could manage some pictures of both paved and dirt roads. Another possibility is that I could turn this into a blog devoted entirely to academic notes for my own use. That would probably eliminate my few readers so I am reluctant to do it. Or I could make it an all music blog, either all African or including other continents. I think that would probably eliminate all of my readers as well. But, I could organize a really cool collection of music links to listen to while working at night. Or maybe I should just concede that I am never going to reach my decade long goal of increasing my readership up to a dozen and cease asking these type of questions?

4 comments:

Withywindle said...

Dudgeon and certitude discourage comment.

profacero said...

Look, I will start to read. Posts on whatever you are experiencing where you are, what it is like to live there and teach there, insights, news.

Unknown said...

I saw your comment on Corey Robin's blog regarding your blog's dearth of readership. I am interested in Africa and once spent a summer at the University of Ghana in Legon, so I was curious to see your writing. Here are a few things I noticed:

1) A lot of your posts (at least, the most recent ones; I didn't go back in your archives) are encyclopedic: they mark anniversaries of a given event or give brief, basic primers on assorted topics. But they don't offer much analysis or original thought, other than a few, brief ideological asides. For instance, it would have been great to hear more about how, as you argue, the French national health care system is propped up by neo-colonialism and why progressives should thus not use France as an example of a model health care system. But you don't really develop this argument.

I think much of the problem is that your posts are so short. Are you worried about losing people's attention? You shouldn't—we get plenty of information on global events, but not much insight on why those events happen.

2) Many of your other posts are in the style of a personal journal. These tend not to be very successful for attracting a wide readership, unless a) you're writing about very unique/adventurous experiences and b) you have a very entertaining writing style. You acknowledge that you believe your day-to-day activities aren't especially interesting, so this genre of posts probably won't help you expand your readership.

3) You don't seem to engage with the work of your peers or others in related fields, which is probably the best way to gain a following. You mention often that your viewpoints run counter to conventional wisdom, but you don't really elaborate on this. (First of all, you don't really elaborate on your own views in your posts.) Who do you agree and disagree with, and why?

4) Lastly, I agree with the guy who responded to you over at Corey Robin's blog that you should concentrate on writing for yourself rather than worry about getting lots of readers. What are your academic (and other, if applicable) interests, and why do they matter to you? Why should they matter to other people? (An "about" page would also be helpful.)

J. Otto Pohl said...

Unknown: Thanks for stopping by. I have been told numerous times that people don't read posts longer than a short paragraph. So, yes I am worried that the few people that do read here would read a lot less if the posts were longer.