Friday, October 9, 2009

State of the blog 2009



A year ago today, I set out on a maiden voyage, a trip on uncharted seas, an excursion not unlike Abraham Lincoln's first flatboat trip. I started writing this blog.

In honor of its first birthday, I thought perhaps I owed my readers - the faithful as well as the new and the occasional - a "state of the blog" address. Some of you may not realize where I've been and others may wonder where I'm going with this little adventure.

Like Lincoln, I might not know of the obstacles in my path nor the sights I'll see along the way. Nonetheless, I'll take my best shot at telling you what I've learned on the journey and where I hope to go from here.

The birthplace
Officially, this blog was born on Oct. 9, 2008, as a way to disseminate all the information I was learning about Lincoln in a Heartland Community College class, "The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln."

Really, though, it was born the same day I was, more than 57 years ago, in a hospital room just a block from Knox College's Old Main. Yes, I was born within a stone's throw of a Lincoln-Douglas debate site.

I often kid around and say that the wind blew some Lincoln dust my way the day I was born. I really do believe, though, that growing up in close proximity to places where Lincoln's legacy lives did make me want to learn more about him.

Glancing over my shoulder
Let's look back at this past year. Since the blog was born, I've:
  • Been to Springfield, Jacksonville, Galesburg, Peoria, Bloomington and Decatur in search of Lincoln.
  • Heard a bunch of Lincoln scholars speak.
  • Watched plays about Lincoln and heard musicians pay tribute to him.
  • Met and befriended authors I'd never dreamed of seeing.
  • Celebrated Lincoln's 200th birthday in the same room as the President of the United States.
  • Met Richard Dreyfuss and Stedman Graham.
  • Read a bunch of Lincoln books and heard a lot of Lincoln audio books.
  • Written more than 180 blog posts and more than 1900 Twitter tweets.
  • Stayed up too late, awakened too early and fallen asleep at my keyboard (thus the fun birthday cake image).

My blog has had almost 6800 visits from more than 3900 unique visitors. They've come from 1500 cities in 69 countries and every state in the U.S. I've heard from people in Australia, Brazil and England. I've got followers who are students, teachers, authors, photographers, doctors and more. On Lincoln's 200th birthday, more than 200 people visited the blog.

I've written about many of my Lincoln experiences, shared my opinions on books and told my readers about Lincoln events across the country. My blog posts hit their peak and my sleep suffered the most in February as I tried to keep up with all the bicentennial events surrounding Lincoln's birthday. As the year progressed, my energy began to wane, other duties needed my attention and my posts became less frequent.

My mission remains the same, regardless of the frequency of my articles. I am writing this blog and maintaining a Twitter page to share my passion for the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and to teach others about him, too.

Forging forward
This year was just the first in the young life of my blog, Lincoln Buff 2. I hope to stay at this for a long time to come, and to eventually begin writing with more frequency than I did the last few months. Once I get caught up on some other obligations, I'll be able to do that.

As much as time allows, I hope to:

  • Point you to Lincoln-related events.
  • Tell you about Lincoln books - old and new.
  • Share stories about Lincoln - both well-known and seldom-told.
  • Introduce you to others who have Lincoln connections.
  • Chronicle a trip to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg.

When I started this blog, I wanted each blog post to be my own work, written in my own words and with my own "voice." As time went on, though, I realized that wasn't always possible. Either my time was too short or the events were too many. So, from time to time, the only way I could get the news to you was by sharing someone else's "canned" press releases.

I'll still be doing that some. The U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission has some events coming up they'd like me to share. For the most part, those will come to you in their format.

When I have time to read Lincoln-related books, I'll craft my own book reviews. And, when I attend events, I'll try to give you a first-hand account.

For other articles on my blog, you may see a combination of my voice and someone else's press release. The important thing is that I'm spreading the word about Lincoln and you're reading it.

Please, if you enjoy Lincoln Buff 2, tell your friends, and if you're interested in little bits of Lincoln info, as well as links to other Lincoln news, you'll want to follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/lincolnbuff2. And, maybe someday, you can read one of the books I plan to write about Lincoln.

Thanks for your loyalty and for giving me a reason to learn and to share. It's been a year I'll never forget. Long live Lincoln's legacy!

7 comments:

Joshua Patty said...

Ann,

Congratulations on the past year! I'm excited to see all you have accomplished - what a list! May the years ahead be just as exciting!

Rebecca said...

Congrats on blogging for a year! That's quite a feat. I've been doing this blogging thing for about a year and a half. I'd like to say it gets easier but it still takes a lot of hard work. I hope you have another great year posting about all things Lincoln!

Lincoln Buff 2 said...

Thanks so much, Joshua and Rebecca, for your nice notes and for following so faithfully.

Ann

Heart of Lincoln Land said...

I've been blogging for only 2 months and I know how much work it can be. I might have to use some "canned" press releases here and there just to update it every now and then (so far I've only written original articles). It looks like you've accomplished quite a bit and I enjoy reading what other Lincoln buffs have to say as one myself.

Happy blog-versary!

Lincoln Buff 2 said...

Thanks, Chris.

Mike Kienzler said...

Yes, congrats, Ann. Keep up the good work.

Lincoln Buff 2 said...

Thanks, Mike.