27 September 2009

Anniversary of a year of blogging

I started this blog a year ago today, after being asked by The Times to offer a few tips for Gordon Brown's speech to the 2008 Labour Party Conference. As I could think of more things to say than amount of space allowed, blogging seemed simple way to add a few extra tips - and held out the promise of 'publishing' anything else I'd written that hadn't found a proper publisher.

A year ago, I hardly knew what a blog was, and one of the benefits for me has been to discover the extraordinary wealth of interesting material that's available on the blogosphere.

When I started, I had three other vaguely formulated motives in mind. One was that I thought it might drive some traffic to my main business website, which it has done. Another was that I thought it might help to sell a few books, which it has also done.

The third one was to see if I could write things on a regular basis that were topical and/or interesting to a general audience.

For example, I've long been thinking about writing a book about conversation, and wanted to see if it would be possible to translate some of the brilliant, but rather inaccessible, research literature on the subject into more readable language. Whether or not that's worked is not for me to say, but I’ve listed a few examples below that you can check out for yourself.

The average number of hits has steadily increased and is now about five times more than it was during the first three months and continues to grow enough to make it worth continuing to make the effort.

Occasionally there have been massive surges, as when the BBC website or top bloggers like Iain Dale have included a link to this one.

I also discovered fairly early on that Google delivers a large amount of traffic whenever the title of a post includes words like 'Obama', 'rhetoric' or 'oratory'– and have had to resist the temptation to use promising key words just for the sake of it.

If there’d been little or no interest in what I write, I’d have given up blogging long before reaching this, the 296th post.

So to all of you who’ve taken the trouble to visit, and especially if you've added or emailed encouraging comments, thank you for playing a more important part than you realise in keeping me going for as long as this.

And any suggestions you might have about how it could be improved and/or about which kinds of post you like best are always very welcome.

Examples of posts inspired by conversation analysis:
What’s wrong with saying “Hi”?
Planning to say ‘um’ and ‘er’
Gordon’s gaffe explained
Why lists of three: mystery, magic or reason?
How to use video to study body language, verbal and non-verbal communication
Monty Python, conversation and turn-taking
Interview techniques, politicians and how we judge them
Derek Draper breaks a basic rule of conversation
• ‘Sound-formed errors’ and humour’
Gordon Brown is finding the Jacqui Smith expenses story more ‘delicate’ than he says
The ‘delicacy’ of Mrs Clinton’s ‘consequences’ for North Korea
Pre-delicate hitches from the White House
Pre-delicate hitches from Brown as he avoids answering a question about the Queen

1 comment:

Commuter said...

Thanks Max - I've just started reading the blog after finishing your book, Lend Me Your Ears and very good it was too. I've got to do a presentation soon and will certainly be abandoning the "industry standard" model as a result.
Please keep on with the blog - I don't know what you've covered so far, but it'd be great to hear about business people (eg Dragons Den) as well political speeches by politicians. There's definitely some good (or should I say bad) examples this week though!