Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Blogger's Dilemma

I've had a couple of struggles with keeping this blog going. One is that I don't blog often enough. I guess I rationalize by thinking that if my professors in university had made writing papers optional, I would likely not have written any. Reading for me is the opposite. When I was in university, I was always anticipating finishing my mandatory class readings so I would have time to read other things off my bookshelf at home (often on similar topics I was studying for my degree anyway).

The second struggle I have with blogging, and the one I wanted to write briefly about tonight, is blogging on a consistent topic. I realize the irony of this given that my blog is not typically focused on the nature of blogging, but I wanted to approach the topic with the goal of changing my approach to blogging going forward. A a person working in the field of political communications, I know that any kind of organization or publication is more likely to be successful if potential readers can anticipate the sorts of subject matter they will cover. If someone finds my blog and reads something about the Middle East that leads them to want to read more of what I have to say on the topic, they would likely be disappointed if they came back to this site and I was writing about what the Edmonton Oilers hockey team needs to do to become a contender for an NHL playoff stop (a key part of the answer for me would be trading defenseman Jeff Petry - see how I snuck that in?).

What makes the single-topic rule into a dilemma for me (and likely many others) is that people are multi-dimensional. Most people have something to say on multiple topics, some of them with little relation to each other. On this blog, my posts over the past few years have had some diversity - I've posted about Middle East politics (through the lens of Israeli domestic politics, American politics, and Canadian politics), post-secondary education policy in Canada's province of Alberta, Christianity's relationship to progressive political movements, my views on leadership candidates for Canada's political party known as the NDP, and a number of other things before that. In addition to those topics, I have a personal interest in many other things (I've mentioned professional hockey already).

If I write about anything I feel like on any given day, I'm not likely to become a "go to" place for anyone wanting to read on a specific topic. Indeed, the only thing this blog would be a "go to" place for would be knowing my opinion on everything, which while it might be interesting to a few people, is not really what I'm hoping to get across to people anyway. I think my Facebook profile, and to a lesser extent my Twitter profile, already provide that sort of "here's what's on my mind right now" for people who are interested in that. So what I'm saying with this blog is that I'm going to shift this blog to focus on a single topic, broadly defined.

My last four blog posts have been about issues in Middle East politics, specifically Israel-Palestine. Prior to that time, thanks to this site's built in analytics tools, those viewing my blog were primarily Canadians. Since those posts in the summer about the Middle East, my readership has actually become much more global (in terms of pageviews over the past month, Canada actually ranks 6th). 
And while I would never choose my topics solely on a "market approach" as it were, I believe I have more insights to offer into the politics of Israel-Palestine and how that conflict fits into the world than any other topic. Indeed, it was the focus of my personal studies for a couple of years prior to my starting university in 2008, was the primary focus of my studies at the University of Alberta from 2008 until 2012, and continues to be a topic I regularly read about and comment on.

So with that, I want to announce that going forward I will aim to keep this blog focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict (and possibly other parts of the Middle East when it's timely), again broadly defined. I do want to continue to explore how this topic relates to things like Canadian politics, Christianity and religion more broadly, and any other approach to it that I feel I have insights into. I'm also going to explore ideas of a different name for the blog that would reflect this change. I'm thinking something like "Middle East Maple Leaf" (thoughts? other ideas?). So stay tuned for that. Lastly, I'm actually going to attempt to write on this blog more often. I've said that before and it hasn't happened consistently, so I won't make any promises other than that I will try my best.

I hope if you're reading this that you'll continue to come back and share my blog with your friends. I'm looking forward to entering a new era of blogging!

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