Sometime this week...
on the basis of the traffic I receive passively from google hits and blogrolls and old links and so on, this blog will get its 250,000th visit, very close to the ninth anniversary of my first substantive post. This post itself might trigger the 250,000th visitor just by RSS subscriptions. (In a meaningless coincidence of round numbers, I'm also nearing the 500 mark on followers on twitter. [Update: the 500 mark hasbeen hit.])
On the one hand, nine years is a pretty long time to hit the quarter-million mark; Mike Munger was crowing about his million after seven years this summer. On the other hand, this blog started out with an expression of ambivalence (within a day of the independently-written and now much more famous ambivalent first post from that other fellow down the hall), went more or less full-steam ahead for about four months, then went dormant when I migrated to the Volokh Conspiracy for most of three years, and then stayed almost-dormant for a long time while I blogged there and while I took a couple years off from blogging altogether except for occasional posts like my mostly-annual roundups of new books in political theory. Just when I was really getting going again, The New Republic launched Open University, which was a noble experiment with some interesting stuff (I greatly enjoyed reading Daniel Bell's, including this post about the launch of the Kindle. But in the end OU turned out kind of strange: academics engaged in parallel play, with Richard Stern writing as a diarist, Cass Sunstein promoting and defending Barack Obama's campaign, Sandy Levinson discussing the constitutional crisis of the Bush administration, and so on. My occasional attempts to engage in occasional intra-blog conversations were less than wholly successful. And OU petered out in 2008.
For a while now, what I've mostly blogged here have been political theory news (conference announcements, fellowship announcements, book lists, occasional book reviews), interspersed with bits of coffee-blogging and geek-culture blogging. My last real sustained use of the blog to develop and express my own views was during the Taylor-Bouchard commission hearings and report. I've had a few rounds of flamewars (e.g. with the odd law professor from Wisconsin who shall not be named lest she reappear) and have no appetite for them. And all those worries in that very first post still occur to me.
Overall, I think I've really blogged here intensively for the initial four months, and then in 2007-2009. I've never really committed to a view about this space. I try to do a lot of what Larry Solum does in terms of professional-service blogging. I worry about mixing that kind of space with a really active expression of views, as is done by the equivalent figure in philosophy; but then every so often I've got strong views about an obviously bloggable subject and go to it. When I have just a few substantive sentences to say about something these days, I put 'em on facebook.
The big spike in readership I get when I return to substantive blogging is nice-- but so are the expressions of appreciation I get from students and colleagues for the book recommendations and conference announcements and so on.
So: a quarter-million visitors in about three and a half years of real blogging spread over nine years, plus a few more years here and there of... whatever it is I do here most of the time. That's not bad. More importantly, I seem to mostly have the readers I want to have. I appreciate the readers who've stuck with me through my wanderings and ambivalences and passing fancies about what to do here, as well as those who happen by for one reason or another; and I appreciate most (though not quite all) of my various blogospheric interlocutors over that time. Thanks!