Jan 20, 2006

Soliciting Opinions On The Direction of This Blog

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(Toledo, OH) I started this online project about six months ago, and I am fascinated with the directions in which it has traveled.

I initially envisioned this site as merely a way to publish some of my academic material, as well as being a place where I could engage in some lengthier essays while soliciting the sort of feedback that goes along with blogging.

However, I am considering the possibility of splitting this site into two or more separate blogs.

A few questions, though:

1. Do those of you who visit this site for local news stories read any of the academic material?
2. Do those of you who are more interested in national and international topics read the local coverage?
3. If you visit for one particular topic, do you find postings from different genres distracting, or do you just skip over them?
4. If you were me, would you create seperate blogs, or keep the single blog with its somewhat schizophrenic nature?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might be willing to share.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read them all, Mike, but if it's a history article that doesn't inetrest me I move on. I say leave it the way it is - this is one of my daily stops.

Petrograde

McCaskey said...

I believe it would be wise to seperate your academic stuff from local and national topics. Your local coverage and opinions are the strong points of this blog, but I would like to see topics addressed of a more national nature at times. National politics, the war, terrorism, etc. Obviously you can't COVER these topics per se as you can local ones, but just opinions and comments on such would be a positive thing.

M A F said...

Mike, go with the "schizophrenic" nature found in question #4.

I enjoyt the local coverage as well as the national coverage. And while I don't read all your essays, I appreciate the chance to decide either way.

Lisa Renee said...

Having just branched off to create a local blog and return LCS to it's original national focus, it's a challenge to keep both "fresh" daily...time does have it's limits...

But..it depends on where you want to go with it. If you want to showcase some of your more "academic" work on a separate blog so that you can link/promote it then you might want to have a separate blog. In my case what I wanted to do wasn't going to be of interest to the majority of my national readers and I enjoy what I have discussion wise with them and my local readers on national issues. I also have some new readers to the local blog that don't participate on the national one and some that visit both.

So for me it's been so far so good.

historymike said...

Yes, Lisa Renee, you were the inspiration for the thought, and my Jedi master.

It makes a certain sense to categorize and organize posts according to different blogs (at least to my obsessive-compulsive mind), but Lisa raises the inherent problem in multi-blogging: each subsequent blog increases the pressure to produce more work.

Thanks to everyone for their comments!

Anonymous said...

Mike:

I sometimes read your academic essays if the topic is of interst to me. (I am an American history buff).

If you split it up, that just means I'll have two of your blogs to read.

Your blog is like a magazine to me. I read what I like, and skip what I don't. But I always feel compelled to "pick up a copy" so to speak.

MeMyselfandI

historymike said...

Thanks, MeMyself&I. I am concerned that splitting the blog into components might cause an overall drop in readership, as people are less likely to view two sites than they are one.

The other consideration is if, down the road, I make the site more commercial. At the moment I have only the Adsense ads (I have generated a mere $.80 in six months!). Multiple blogs reduces the likelihood that I am able to convince advertisers that this is a site worth advertising on.

Then again, I may keep it non-commercial and free from the pressures of producing copy on a timetable. While I try to post something new every day, there are days when the creative muses are visiting someone else. If the site was commercial, I would be forced to crank out material, with a possible decline in quality.

BTW - what areas of American history most appeal to you, MeMyself&I? I am most intrigued with the period up to about the French and Indian War in North America.

I am positioning myself as a Colonial Atlanticist, or a historian who looks at the Atlantic as a sort of transportation network between four continents (North America, South America, Africa, and Europe).

Anonymous said...

I am into political history. I am most fond of post World War II history. Once upon a time, I was a hardcore Watergate buff.

I also like Gilded Age politics. The battle for political supremacy between Ohio (led by Marcus Hanna and Joseph Foraker) and New York (Roscoe Conkling and Chester Arthur.).

I have made it my life's goal to read at least one biography of each of the presidents. I'm about halfway there althoug material on Buchanan, the Harrisons, Tyler, and Fillmore is hard to come by.

MeMyselfandI

Lisa Renee said...

Young blogwalker...look to the force you know the answer you seek is in your own heart...

If you try it and it doesn't work then you can simply go back to the way it is now. There could very well be some history blogrolls out there where you could promote that aspect of a seperate blog.


:-)

Two Toledos said...

Mike,
I tend to come to this blog for local news. I admit that I tend to skipthe academic papers. However, I do not find them to be distracting. Inclusion, I'm just here for the local stuff. By the way, I check this blog daily.

Nikki said...

As someone who doesn't live in Toledo, I must say that I still come here everyday largely because I believe that you capture the true "flavor" of the city. You have made me feel that when I do get to Toledo - there are some things that I want to see and do.

That being said, sometimes I read your essays and sometimes I just scan them for interest. Someone else said that they look at this as kind of a magazine - I do too. If there is something that doesn't interest me, I just turn the page. Personally, I like it just the way it is.

Stephanie said...

You asked...so here's my opinon.

I like it the way it is. I tend to read most of it (sports and techno-babble excluded) even if I don't comment (which I'm sure you rather appreciate).
;-)

A lot of the history stuff...the only useful comment would be to say I gleaned something that may prove useful for a future fiction piece, which I'm assuming you'd rather not hear. So, I don't bother. That doesn't mean I don't read it. It just means I'm not going to comment on a matter that I have no expertise. See, I like history...it's just all those fussy dates and names tend to get in the way.
:-)

Stephanie said...

As for history pieces...I like the personal people stories best. The ones where you get a personal intimate look, versus reporting on a book/s you've read.

And, if you want to stir up trouble, you could always do some Native American pieces!
;-)

liberal_dem said...

I enjoy reading all of your topics, but comment only on the political ones. Perhaps I should make comments on all of the topics, but, alas, my time is limited.

Your blog is a real asset to folks in this area. Would you like us to list some topics for you to explore in your capacity as local historian?

historymike said...

Lisa: I bow to you, oh mighty blog mentor.

Two Toledos: Thanks for the kudos, and I look forward to seeing the finished film!

MeMyself&I: I am sort of ambivalent about presidential biograohies (I tend to be an iconoclast), but I very much enjoyed Truman, by David McCullough. The author really captured the essence of this fiery leader.

Nikki: Your comments mean a lot to me, and I applaud the often-overlooked work you do in highlighting the dangers of the racist right. I also appreciate how you stepped up and defended me when Bill White ran his attack piece on me. BTW - I have something cooking right now about which I'll have to talk with you off blog; it will seriously rattle the cage of a certain individual.

Stephanie: I, too, enjoy the stories (historical and journalistic) about regular people. If I have a "calling," it would be to highlight people that have no way to get their stories out. I have a present-day story about to come out in 10 days that I am excited about (a two-part segment) and it is one of those moments where I know I have made the right decision to change careers. Heck, if I weren't cash-starved, I would have written it for free.

Liberal Dem: I am always up for suggestions, and some of the best things I have ever written came from a prompt outide my own thick skull. Make 'em comments or send 'em as emails. As far as local history, I drift all over the historical map, but local history in this area is a gold mine. There are some excellent archival collections, and much of the work of documenting the history of the region has yet to be written.

Also, never feel obligated to post a comment; there are only so many hours in the day, and only so much time available to write. I have at least two dozen blogs I visit daily, and I would spend three hours a day commenting on all of them.

Do said...

Mike,

Retain the flavor of your site. The olio of academia, politics, local events and opinions is what makes it work.

If there are essays I don't have an interest in, then I scan them and move on. It is not an inconvenience at all. Just makes the reading more interesting.

Your gift for the written media is extraordinary and the mix of material reaffirms that on a daily basis.

I'm sure many will follow no matter what format you choose. I know I will.

Anonymous said...

As a weekly reader and academic, I find the diversity of posts very appealing since they range from personal to local to national issues. I agree with the earlier comment that your blog--unlike many--functions like a magazine, allowing readers to ultimately choose what they read and what they merely skim. In sum, I'll join the fray and advise you to keep this blog unified, especially if you foresee a need for greater advertisements or a .com migration in the coming months.

historymike said...

Thanks for the compliments, Do and anonymous.

I may have trouble fitting into my car with my newly-inflated ego, though.

:-}

Do said...

Mike,

I doubt that you will have that problem! LOL But in case you do, remember that if you spray your head with Pam you should slide right in. I know Honda's are short on headroom, so don't get carried away!

Hooda Thunkit said...

Mike,

”1. Do those of you who visit this site for local news stories read any of the academic material?

I read it all, even though it sometimes means that I have to also use dictionary.com a lot ;-)

”2. Do those of you who are more interested in national and international topics read the local coverage?”

I read it all; sometimes late, but I do read it.

”3. If you visit for one particular topic, do you find postings from different genres distracting, or do you just skip over them?”

I read it all; you have an interesting life, interests, and experiences. As for my life, I read other’s blogs ;-)

”4. If you were me, would you create seperate blogs, or keep the single blog with its somewhat schizophrenic nature?”

Personally, I like schizophrenic (you can tell by my blogging)…

Although you will decide, whatever works for you is best, I’ll adapt.

HTH

Frank said...

there are a bunch of links I want to share but dont have time right now. I enjoy the local reporting quite a bit - the essay on abandoned home and rubbish has stuck with me. Keep the city's feet to fire on everything..