Just over a month ago, I set up academicipad as a web site/blog where I would post regularly for a month, kind of in honor of National Novel Writing Month, which also happens to be (coincidence? I think not) National Blog Writing Month. How’d it go? Eh, so-so. What did I learn? A few things, I think:
- For an academic-type, November is a terrible month for any sort of “here’s something a little extra for you to do every day” month kind of event. November and April are the busiest months on the academic calendar, at least in my experience, and November is made all the more busy in my life by Thanksgiving, which is more or less a holiday of obligation for seeing extended family. I think the only thing I might be able to attempt to do in November like this again is grow a beard, but a) I think the holiday of obligation (which also requires pictures) would cut that effort short, and b) beards are itchy. I have a good friend who did NaNoWriMo on his own in January once, and that seems a better time for me, too. Maybe next year– or really, the year after.
- I had what I thought was a surprisingly difficult time writing on a regular basis in the form of blog posts about iPads. It might have been the subject matter, because really, how much could I say about the iPad that is interesting, especially when my focus is on the academic? I found myself just not all that motivated to get up in the morning to write about how I use the iPad to mark up readings or take notes or whatever.
- The other thing I learned I thought was interesting was I was much more interested in getting up every morning and writing for 30 or 40 or so minutes on what might (maybe, someday) become a book in the form of my old dissertation. I don’t know if this is because of the subject matter or what, but it seems to me that blogging is one of those things where I spend an hour (or so) writing a post and then that’s that. They are sprints– maybe ones that can generate better and longer ideas later, but still short and quick pieces that are not meant to be sustained over a month or more.
- On the positive side, I did manage to get academicipad off the ground with 17 posts and 11 pages about iPad (mostly academic) stuff, and it did find some traffic– 358 visits from the time I set it up, according to the WordPress “Jet Pack” plugin that follows these things. That’s obviously not a lot– I get about that many hits here a week, usually more than that many hits every day at emutalk– but it’s something. In fact, from an advertising point of view, it might be better because I think more of the traffic coming to academicipad is a result of some sort of search for iPad related info, whereas most of the traffic coming to this blog or emutalk is the same people over and over.
- I did a little talk yesterday in the art department about iPads in academia, and while the talk was scheduled before I set up the blog, I was able to use that site in my talk. So that was nice, too.
- So we’ll see. I think I’ll keep that site up and running and indeed iPad-centric with a few related (for example, iPhones in academia) kinds of things, and I think I’m going to try to set up some Google ads on the space to see what comes if it. It was definitely worth the experiment for a month, though I’m also looking forward to getting back to the immediacy/electronic/digital situation project, too.