Thursday, December 07, 2006

Two years young

Well, it was two years ago today that I did something I'd never previously planned on.

I started a blog. (This one, in fact.)

And considering the little hit counter in the sidebar is approaching half a million, I'm glad I made that jump — regardless of the fact the early days were filled with awkward posts that no one read.

Back in December, 2004, hockey blogs weren't really on many people's radar. For one thing, the NHL was two months into a horrendously dull labour mess that had sportswriters pulling their hair out and fans falling asleep. (Only a sadist would be looking to opine on such things as a 'hobby'.)

But it wasn't just the timing of the start of this site that was odd. Looking at the list of top hockey blogs, few of them existed even only two years ago, and it's really been just since last September that the explosion of the sport's blogosphere has occurred. Somehow, I managed to jump in early and ride the wave.

It's been fun.

The first six months I had this site, it averaged just 60 unique visitors a day — which is really too bad given there was some good stuff there. Back then, I was covering the NHL on a regular basis for the National Post, and was able to post things like transcripts and on-the-job anecdotes for the reading enjoyment of the tumbleweeds rolling through.

The traffic graph on the right gives you an idea of the way things have gone since, which is to say it's all been extremely positive. But without a doubt — and I'm not just blowing smoke here — the best thing about having this site is that it's opened a dialogue with dozens of other bloggers, journalists and readers. A full email inbox every day means you're thinking about and engaged in your subject all the time — which is never a bad thing when you're in an industry that trades in information.

In my opinion, the media had become too geared towards the 'we talk, you listen' model prior to the citizen journalism movement, and the adjustment that's taking place now is a pretty interesting one — and something I'm definitely glad to be tapped into, if only a little. Because all the emails and comments and death threats I've received the past two years have only served to improve this site, improve what I write and how I — and others — think and interact with people and approach the work we do every day.

It sounds downright ridiculous, but starting this site was one of the best things I ever decided to do. And while bloggers are part of a community that takes a lot of heat from all sides, there's a lot of brilliant, brilliant ideas being tossed around everyday. To me, this feels like ground zero for something bigger that's coming down the line and I'm glad I'm on board, on this side of the fence, for when it does.

Thanks for reading.

The highlights from 1,401 posts



At 8:38 a.m., December 07, 2006, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

I would say that your trailblazing effort inspired the creation of Battle of California, but fact is, you literally started it. :)

Congratulations, Mirtle!

At 10:37 a.m., December 07, 2006, Blogger mike w said...

Happy blog birthday, dude.

If I ever run into you in person, the beer's on me.

At 11:10 a.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a double post but...

Good going James! Your blog is a must read for me every day. If you are ever in NYC I will buy you a beer at the Sabres bar.

Keep up the good work!

At 12:06 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous thehockeychick said...

Congrats on two years and over 1400 posts. I, too, am a journalist (by education and at heart) but not by industry. I am a new blogger (just started in September) and must agree blogging has made me a better writer. Although my site is going through some issues (can't allow comments because of an overwhelming amount of spam), I did enjoy and appreciate all comments when I could allow them. And look forward to getting that aspect of my site fixed to continue to write better for my audience. Thanks for the inspiration! And I enjoy reading your writing =)

At 12:49 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous pete said...

Congrats on the blogiversary dude. You introduced me to hockey blogs (i believe your phrasing was something to the effect of "hey you have to check out this hilarious-but-smart wacko Canuck fan called tom benjamin") and now they're a daily obsession of mine.

Who knew, in those heady days when our boring Rye High copy editing lectures motivated you to kill time by writing online, that two years later all the hard work and crackpot e-mails would be worth it when two random dudes would offer to buy you a beer over the Internet one day. Not that you could drink it anymore.


At 12:56 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous grace said...

Why you insist the canes winning the cup is a highlight I'LL NEVER KNOW.

Happy blogbirthday

At 1:21 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd ever create a blog as I just started this year, but now I find I enjoy writing more than I used to(I teach high school English so it helps that I can actually practice what I force my students to do every day).

It's somewhat unfortunate that right when I started my blog, that the Coyotes had an extremely poor start. If they happen to improve in the future, I can say I was there when...

I do think you're right - this whole blogging mess will just get larger in scope.

Your blog is a daily stop for me - I also share the sentiments of others that if you ever come to the Phoenix Valley, the beer is on me.

At 1:28 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jim. Keep up the great work!

At 2:58 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

Congrats! Looking forward to many more years of posts (and perhaps the occasional debate).

At 5:12 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary and congrats from down in the double-digits.

At 9:39 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Ken said...

Way to go James! As others have stated, your blog is a daily stop for me as well.

And I won't hold you to your predictation that Philly will finish 2nd in the conference this season ;)

Cheers, and hope you make it to Thunder Bay sometime to catch some University Hockey

At 9:46 p.m., December 07, 2006, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

Congratulations James! I think I speak for a lot of hockey bloggers when I say that yours is an inspiration.

Let me know if you're heading to the Okanagan over Christmas. I'll be in Vernon/Lumby to visit the wife's family and perhaps we can meet for a brew or two.

At 9:52 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're my man, James. Two years and half a million views. You rock.
Cheers, phillie.

At 10:36 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous KevinP said...

Two years is darn near forever in blogging years. Congrats, and keep it coming.


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