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July 20, 2011

We interrupt this week’s Birder Jargon Project for a very special message.

So, four years ago today I started writing on the internets. Four years, 863 posts, and 3256 comments later I get to celebrate what is traditionally the linen anniversary, so , you know, plan your gifts accordingly.  I suppose this is as good a time for a little naval-gazing, some consideration of why I write and what I feel like I’m accomplishing here.  I hope you, dear reader, will not begrudge me this introspection which, as in all things, is mixed.

Why do I write?  I don’t know that it’s based in any particular love of the written word though I admit I feel driven to do it in a way that seems compulsive at times.  I know that, in my regular life as a work-a-day wage slave I feel as though it’s the only thing I do that has any real professional “value” though, take it from me bloggers, writing about birds on the internet is not the path to fame and fortune.  Perhaps if I’d turned that compulsion to produce content towards entertainment writing things would be different, but alas, who the Lady Google is dating doesn’t interest me as much as Gull molt.  My loss, I guess.

But there have been successes this year, not least of which is the fact that I am now managing and producing content for the ABA  Blog, a move that I’d like to think has been enormously successful on all fronts.  I’m also contributing at 10,000 Birds too, so you could say I’m writing at the two biggest bird blogs in the world.  Not too shabby, eh?  You might think all that would lead to gangbusters traffic on The Drinking Bird but you’d be wrong.  That’s lower than it has been since I started, though subscribers are up.  I blame Google, who must have it in for me for moving over from Blogger a couple years back and took away all my Asian search engine traffic (and every blogger knows that Asian Search engine traffic is the key to big traffic).  I also wrote a good deal about political candidates and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers at a time when people were doing a lot of searching for those.  Perhaps I’ll do that again (the politics, not the Ivory-bills).

I realize, in reading this again, that it sounds too much like I’m complaining.  This isn’t meant to be sour grapes .  Blogging is often thankless.  You know that going in and if you’re writing just for the traffic then you’re doing it wrong.  I get a great deal out of this site, not least of which a means by which I can filter my birding experiences.  Writing about birding is as much a part of the experience as the time I spend in the field.  I enjoy finding narratives, thinking about how I can make even a relatively non-eventful trip in the field a story worth telling.  That’s fun for me, and I hope enjoyable for you.  Keeping this blog makes me a better birder and a better writer, both things I strive to be for reasons no more ambitious than personal satisfaction.  Though the handful of opportunities that come of them are no less appreciated.

So I guess I’ll keep going.  Onward to five.  Have your wooden gifts ready in 12 months, if you would.

  1. July 20, 2011 7:49 am

    Congratulations! But, no, I am not shipping sheets to a southerner.

  2. July 20, 2011 8:54 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary Nate. You are the best out there—keep on!

  3. Nate permalink*
    July 20, 2011 11:12 am

    Thanks, both of you!

  4. July 20, 2011 1:30 pm

    Wow, 4 years! Congrats! You continue to do a marvelous job. May your linen pants be wrinkle free.

    Can I put in a vote to revive the old scientific name game?

  5. July 20, 2011 6:20 pm

    Congratulations on the anniversary!

  6. July 21, 2011 5:55 pm

    1st, congrats on 4 yrs.!… I caught your blog early on and promoted it from time to time, as I thought it was one of the most consistently-well-written bird blogs I’d ever seen (you do have a knack!); so am especially glad that you’ve found venues to get your talent to a broader audience (well-deserved!).
    I suspect your personal blog simply tends to be a little too area-centric to attract the audience that the most popular bird blogs can draw. And your title “the drinking bird” may be a weak point — not a title that would draw readers in, doing a google search; indeed it may confuse them (is it a drinking blog, a bird blog, or a humor blog about drunk birds???) — but too late to change it now. In any event, ABA Blog is lucky to have ya.
    …And if you don’t care to cover Ivory-bills in the future, well that’s okay, someone probably will.

  7. July 22, 2011 4:43 am

    Congrats, Nate, congrats!!
    I am with Cyberthrush when it comes to the praise of your consistently excellent writing style and content. Here’s to 4 years more, and then some. So, Mr. “Drinking Bird”: CHEERS!!

    By the way, who is this Patrick guy? I think I’ve heard of him before, but can’t remember where or when that was.

  8. July 27, 2011 9:34 am

    Congrats on the anniversary! I enjoy your personal blog as well as all the new additions over at the ABA blog. Keep it up

  9. Nate permalink*
    July 27, 2011 10:23 am

    Thanks everybody!

    @cyberthrush- I think my frustration with traffic (admittedly a completely boring and self-serving topic) stems from the fact that I was drawing a certain number of visits per day when I was at my Blogspot blog, but when I switched to WordPress I’ve struggled to even get close to where I was, when at least my longevity should see some increase in traffic.

    So it’s not that I think that this blog should be more highly trafficked, it’s that I think I should at least be pulling down what I did before, and I’m not even close. I don’t understand why that is.

  10. July 27, 2011 4:21 pm

    ahhh, I didn’t realize that, and that is very interesting… it indeed makes one wonder if the rumors are true that Google’s algorithms deliberately steer searchers to their own products first and away from competitors (not at all difficult to imagine).
    Would certainly be interesting to know how many other bloggers who’ve departed Blogspot for WordPress (and there are quite a few) have experienced the same notable decline.

  11. Nate permalink*
    July 27, 2011 7:38 pm

    @cyberthrush- Yeah, the thought crossed my mind too.

  12. August 2, 2011 5:25 pm

    You’re an old man in bird blogging years. The ability to produce that volume of quality content over that period of time is staggering. You are doing amazing work with the ABA Blog and I enjoy your posts whatever blog they are on. Here’s to year number 5!

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