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Three

July 20, 2010
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Today marks the third anniversary of this blog, and the first since I’ve moved from my old blogger platform to this new sleek-looking wordpress one.  Three years seems like an eternity in the blogosphere, and when I started this site in 2007 the bird and nature community was undoubtedly a different place, but I’m a different person and a different birder too, so I guess it all works out.  In any case, this last year has been characterized by an attempt to rebuild myself in that community following the switch to a new platform.  I’d like to think I have, but in the interim my blog became just another bird blog looking to make it in a pretty saturated marketplace of ideas.  That’s not to say the expansion of voices is a bad thing, far from it actually, the democracy and meritocracy of the blogosphere is one of the things I love about it, but the Google to whom we all must pay homage has other ideas about where you rank and those require backlinks, key words, and other less pretty parts of the blog experience, but most of all it requires time and persistence.  Which is why promising blogs don’t always make it when they, by all accounts, absolutely should.

So the question the blogger has to answer in what is often a solitary existence shouting at the void that is the internets, is “Why?”.  Why do you write?  Why do you continue to write? What do you get out of it?  Ok that last one isn’t a Why, but it’s related, and maybe after three years, a near eternity in cyberspace, I have some semblance of an answer.

I write because it makes me a better naturalist. Birders have a tendency to be a bit oblivious of other forms of life at times.  I’m certainly guilty of that.  But my attempt to always search for content for this blog has opened my eyes to plants, insects, invertebrates, and any number of interesting things I’m likely to find when the birds are not busy.  I’m not going to start a butterfly or dragonfly list anytime soon, but being aware of what I see, whether or not it has feathers, has been a journey that reminds my of my early days birding.  And that’s been really fun.

I write because yes, I certainly wouldn’t turn down the odd opportunity to do this for some money and it’s nice to have a place where I can force myself to face my inadequacies as a writer and constantly improve.  Writing is a muscle.  You use it or you lose it and forcing myself to keep to a schedule and, yes, to even write when I don’t feel like writing has helped me maintain a more consistent voice as well as honing those skills.  So from a personal perspective, these three years have been useful if nothing else and I have an entire catalog of writing samples, some better than others, to draw upon should I need additional inspiration.

Mostly though, I write because I enjoy the conversation.   The blogosphere, specifically the nature blogosphere, feels like a community.  And as in all communities the sum total is greater than the individual parts.  Occasionally I can instigate the turning of the gears in a way that sparks some interesting discussion or help those gears turn towards a greater good, but for the most part the discussion in and of itself is worth the price of entry.  I’ve met people through blogs that I now consider personal friends regardless of whether I’ve met them in person. In fact, communicating online has led to face-to-face contact more often than not which has been a pleasant surprise.

There are some amazing voices out there, and that number grows every day.  Three years in may make me something of an old man in the nature blogosphere, but I’m happy to continue to be a part of it.  On to the next three!

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11 Comments
  1. July 20, 2010 7:57 am

    I am sorry, but of all the blogs that I read (and frankly that number has dwindled in the last year or so as other demands upon my time are made) yours does not – and I expect never will – “became just another bird blog looking to make it in a pretty saturated marketplace of ideas.”
    You writing is clear, concise, well-thought out, and frankly often puts a voice to what I am feeling about certain events in the world, though I cannot ever seem to put it as eloquently as you do. (I often finding myself saying to my screen – “Hell yeah, Nate – you nailed it again!”)

    In this great big blog-o-spehere with millions of shouting voices, yours is one of the few that rings out loud, clear, and true, I will always be there listening for it!

    Happy Bloggoversary!

  2. July 20, 2010 8:31 am

    Yeah, what Christopher said.

    Seriously, you better be blogging for at least three more years, or, even better, until Noah is in college.

    Congrats!

  3. Nate permalink*
    July 20, 2010 10:54 am

    @Christopher & Corey- You guys are too kind. Next time I see you guys I’ll buy you a beer.

    And I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.

  4. July 20, 2010 11:20 am

    I cannot improve upon what Christopher wrote, so I’ll steal from Corey: what he said! I look forward to checking out your thoughts with each new post, both for the content and your presentation, and I’m looking forward to the next year . . . and beyond.

    Congrats on the milestone!
    -Mike

  5. July 20, 2010 1:57 pm

    Nate, you were there when I first started birding and I look up to you as one of the top birders that I “know”. I look forward to reading your blog every morning on my phone while eating breakfast. It is amazing to me that you are able to post such quality so consistently. Thank you for your efforts, they help me to start my day on a higher note. Keep up the good work.

    Dave

  6. July 20, 2010 2:52 pm

    Congrats on reaching your third anniversary! You are definitely not just another bird blogger. This blog is one of the better ones, and you continue to post thoughtful, well-written posts week after week.

  7. Nate permalink*
    July 20, 2010 3:26 pm

    @all- Geez guys, thanks so much. It means a lot.

  8. July 20, 2010 5:31 pm

    Nate,

    What can I say that has not already been said? I enjoyed reading your comments on the Birder’s World forum and then started following the Drinking Bird regularly, if not daily. Your’s is truly one of the better ones. Keep it up!

    Congratulations on the achievement.

  9. July 20, 2010 9:37 pm

    Nate,

    Congrats on your third anniversary!
    You are a wonderful part of this nature blogosphere..
    I look forward to reading your blog for many more years!

  10. Nate permalink*
    July 20, 2010 10:26 pm

    @Dawn and Bob- Thanks much! You guys are great!

  11. July 21, 2010 8:28 pm

    Keep up the good work! and yes, you are a birding blog old man…by cyberspace standards.

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