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Happy blog birthday to me!

Cathy Nelson committed a (somewhat) random act of kindness by commenting on a recent post to let me know that my blog birthday had arrived. [NOTE: while the blog went public on Jan. 9, 2008; the first real substantive post was not until Jan. 16.  So, I’m calling today my blog birthday.]  Thanks Cathy; it’s really comforting knowing that there are people “out there” who pay attention and care.

I’ll use this occasion to thank Scott McLeod, who encouraged me to pursue blogging despite the resistance I would get (and that he has fought) from colleagues at the university-level.  I’m not breaking new ground by stating that Scott is a pioneer, but it’s worth re-stating the impact his vision has on me and many others. Thanks, Scott!

THANKS also to those who’ve read and especially those who’ve assisted my learning by commenting on my posts.

***

I figured I would use this occasion to figure out where I want to go from here. So, modeling a form of data-driven decision making, I checked out my Google analytics data which I started tracking around the middle of Sept. 2008. Most of the data in there are meaningless to me, but I did gain some useful insights.  For example, as per the table in the following image, other than Twitter, search engines, aggregators, etc., the top four “referring sites” have been:

The middle two don’t surprise me, Justin (Edjurist) and Scott (DI) are professorial colleagues and like-minded profs. at that.  However, that I got 78 visits from Dy/Dan does surprise me. I think it speaks to the importance of being out there and commenting on other blogs as a way to drive traffic to our own blogs.  I’ve only commented on Dan’s site a few times, but I do think I caught his attention and the attention of his (large base of) readers at least a couple of times.  There may be an alternate explanation, but I’m thrilled to be able to list Dy/Dan as one of my top referring sites (see table/graphic below for more detail); I admire his writing and the work about which he writes.

referring-sites

What were my “top” posts?

top-posts

My post about conferences, presentations, etc. generated the most pageviews.  That fact is probably related to Dy/Dan being the top referring site since I referenced and linked to that site in that post.  Beyond that, though, it’s hard to make meaning out of the list in the table/graphic above.  I’m a bit surprised by how high on the list my post about charter schools is.  Most of the other posts on the list are newer post; that makes sense since the number of suscribers to my blog has (slowly) increased.  Mostly, though, as with most of the other data from Google analytics, I think the data are pretty meaningless.

I did, however, note that “Reflections of a new-ish blogger” remains on the list of posts with the most pageviews.  Remember that one?  Yeah, that’s when I dared to reflect out loud (“cocktail party” anyone?) and got beat up pretty badly around the blogosphere.  I was disheartened by the turn of events and nearly stopped blogging.  I’m glad I didn’t because this space has added value to my professional (maybe even personal) life.

So, where’s my birthday cake?