One week down, fifty one to go.
This is just a brief status update on the site development. I'll post such updates from time to time with details of what I've done and what I'm planning. I won't post these updates to twitter or facebook - I'll save that for new content.
In the first week, I published 4 posts, which is a pretty good start as they were all original pieces and had to be written from scratch. The responses were pretty good, I thought - thanks for all the encouragement and positive feedback! The traffic has been pretty good too - about 500 unique visitors per day, which isn't a huge number, but it's good for a brand new website without any content to start with. I'm hoping to keep up that tempo throughout the year which is a pretty daunting prospect, although as I go along, I'll have to write less of the material from scratch as I've got drafts of lots of the later stuff already written.
The material has been mostly personal and reflective so far. As I go along, it will become more analytic and less anecdotal, but I'll try to keep a bit of a mix so that it doesn't get too dry. The material will also get more science-focused as I go along, but again I'll try to ground it in events and personal stories to try to make it more entertaining. I still don't know if it's going to work as a coherent whole - it's quite possible that the different types of material won't appeal to similar audiences at all, but I'm hopeful.
From a site development point of view, I said that I'd post some details of what I'm doing as I go along. I've added new features with each new post. Here's a brief account of the technical stuff.
- The site is based on Drupal 7
- On day 1 I just had a single web-page with a comments box and a social media like button
- On day 2 I added a list of latest stories to make it into a blog format
- On day 3 I added a full blog page as the home page rather than the home page being the latest post
- On day 4 I added a latest comments page (mostly so I could easily check when there was a new comment).
- On day 5 I added a like box to the front page with nice little photos of the people who like the site (like it if you haven't already!)
- On day 6 I added full width embedded photos with captions to the blog posts.
- On day 7 I added half-width embedded photos with captions to the blog posts
The technical plans for the immediate future are to first of all improve the social media integration by allowing people to log in to the site with their Facebook profiles so that we can see pretty photos of those who comment. I'm also going to try to come up with some way to integrate facebook comments and blog comments together, although that will take a bit of work and is technically non-trivial. Hopefully I'll get it done over the weekend. I'm concentrating on the social media integration at this point because I think it will help to spread the word, which is important at the start. I'll probably also create some sort of email list for updates as there are probably a good few people who don't use all that new-fangled social media stuff. I'm also going to start factoring some material out from the blog and putting it into different sections, that should be in place by the end of next week. I'll also introduce embedded maps into stories.
The publishing plan for the next week is to introduce the story of my first few years of political activism on the fringes of the anarchist movement and go through the thought process that brought me down that road. That probably sounds a bit dry, but I think that it will actually be reasonably entertaining at the cost of making me look like a bit of an eejit. After that, I'm going to introduce a bit of my science research stuff and media analysis stuff - threads that will run in parallel to the mainline throughout the year. In all of this, I'm trying to keep things largely chronological as it will hopefully help to make all the divergent threads a bit more coherent to other people - they're already totally coherent to me but only because I went through them in chronological order.
Any requests, suggestions or questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!