Fifteen years, two months and twenty one days ago I wrote my first blog post. Today, I write the last. It’s been fun – mostly – but these days I seem to blog largely for the sake of blogging. And too much of it involves typing angrily into the internet with little real purpose. I wrote that first post as an optimistic 30 year old, about to embark on a backpacking trip of a lifetime through Mexico, full of wonder at the world surrounding me. I write today as a slightly jaded 45 year old, rather fed up with the amount of ignorance and prejudice that has come to the fore, and unconvinced that the planet is heading in the right direction. Fifteen years is quite a long time. The world has changed greatly. As have I. I am sure you have too.
Here’s one of my rather infrequent self portraits. I’ve been missing in action longer than Melania Trump, but no one seems to have noticed. Regardless, here is proof that I’m still alive and kicking. I’m wearing my currrent favourite t-shirt, a snazzy green number by SuperDry. I like the brand alot. It’s good quality and fits nicely. It’s not cheap, but I shop once or twice a year in the sales, using any extra vouchers I can find. I prefer the stuff which has minimal branding, which prevents me from buying about 50% of their clothes due to the foot high logos stamped on them.
My new year wishes come late, I know. I blame my inner Mexican. But then again, everything tends to be delivered late, if at all, on this blog these days. I’ve tired of blogging. Or at least of the sort of blogging I used to do. Long, rambling posts. It requires thought, time and effort. None of which I have spare to dedicate to this little part of the web. You’ve all noticed, I know. It’s there in the stats. The visitors graph reads like the value of the peso. It’s been tumbling year on year since 2011, the year I returned home from my six year stay in Mexico.
It turns out that whilst people liked reading about adventures in Mexico City, they are less interested in hearing about life in Bournemouth. I understand. Entirely. I can demonstrate this with a couple of images from the annual report that WordPress automatically generates. Firstly, let’s look at how often I post these days, shall we? Bearing in mind that last year there were 122 posts. In 2013 there were 146. In 2012 I crafted 196 literary masterpieces….
Yes, it’s a sorry story, isn’t it? And it has to be said, if I’m not writing anything new, then visitor numbers are going to fall. But let’s move on to the next graph, which rather shows that the dire state of affairs that the Mexile currently finds itself in is not entirely down to a lack of new content. Let’s have a looky see what visitors do read once they’ve gotten here…
Well, three of those top five were all written when I still lived and played in Mexico City. The other two? Well, they do appear to be about Mexico. I think my medicinal advice on how to clear up a bit of psoriasis of the scalp must be my most read post ever. By some margin. That’s two or three years running that it has topped the charts. I wonder if anyone ever gave it a go? And if so, did it work for them?
Anyway, despite all this doom and gloom, some of you still take the time to look in and see whats going on now and again. So the final graph. It’s the biggie, too. Who wins the prize for leaving the most comments this year?
Why it’s Kim G. For the fourth year running. Well done Kim. William made a good go of it though, pushing up to second place from last year’s fourth spot. He swaps places with Norm, who tumbles to fourth. Steve is consistent. Third again. Colm is a new entry displacing….me. Apparently, I was the fifth most frequent commenter last year. That, I think was an error.
But this is all a bit by the by. You see, as I mentioned, I’m a bit bored of blogging. Especially now that I have a new job with plenty of overtime available. And money to spend on going out when I have a day off. This all makes blogging feel like work instead of a hobby. I’ve no intention of retiring from blogging, mind you. If this were a job, then I’ve moved from being a part-timer to a zero hours contract. Shorter posts. Published less frequently. Mostly photos. Such is life.
I’m not fond of photos of myself. Never have been. The family photo albums are devoid of my features from when I reached the sort of age where I could refuse to participate in front of the lens. Until recently-ish, although my participation is rather begrudging. Photos of myself that I like, or feel are tolerable, are few and far between. But I should introduce myself, or reintroduce myself, now and again. How often? When a photo hits my Flickr account that I don’t consider a scar on my blog. Here’s one of them. So…hello y’all!
See the big red banner over on the right? My ten year anniversary as a blogger is rapidly drawing close. I started off blogging using garydenness.com as my domain. Nowadays I use the .co.uk version. But I’ve splashed out and bought the old .com address again, for old times sakes. And matched it to a new blog, imaginitively entitled Mexile II. I know, I do this sort of thing quite a lot. And generally speaking, my new splinter blogs become quickly superfluous and fade away into the virtual ether.
Perhaps this one will be different. Perhaps it’ll find a new niche that doesn’t fit this blog, and therefore doesn’t just fracture my content over multiple sites needlessly. I have in mind at the moment to simply use it as a showcase for my photography. Old snaps and new. With a brief summary or comment, not a long rambling essay. It’ll be simple, quick and easy to update.
I really like the theme I found. It’s clean, shows off full screen images on the homepage, has a neat sidebar, social network icons at the bottom and even has my latest Flickr and Instagram photos in galleries on the top menu. I really, really like the theme. If I were going to self host this blog, this is the theme I’d use. All it’s lacking at the moment are some posts to fill the blog section out a bit. And some comments to get the Comments widget in the sidebar showing some activity. I’ll add the content, you come and say hi… 🙂
Every year WordPress send out all their bloggers a stats report. Well, this is the second year. It makes vaguely interesting reading. For one, it shows that some people do actually visit my blog from time to time. A few of them stay long enough to lurk and read a bit. A choice selection of those leave a comment. Apparently, the Mexile received 2,000 more views in 2012 than in 2011 – 50,000 versus 48,000. Consistent.
Although far fewer people pass by this way than used to when I blogged from Mexico. Many months see just half the number of visitors compared to 2010. I guess there are many reasons for that. I’d built up a regular ‘readership’ over six years in Mexico, many of whom have little interest in the UK and sadly departed. There are fewer native English speaking bloggers in Mexico City. Here in the UK, I am one of millions. Mostly though, I blame Obama.
So what do people like to read on the Mexile? Politics is always popular. The only post that sneaked into the Top 5 in both 2011 and 2012 was Left Moderate Social Libertarian. There’s a post from back in 2006 too – what happened at Torre Mayor to bring so many Googlers here? But it was nice to see an Olympic related post at the top of the list.
Who comments? Congrats Kim, you are top of the pops. Another part of the stats shows Steve sent most visitors my way from his own blog. Most people came from the US, closely followed by Mexico and the UK. I write for fun and for profit. But the blog has become a little community too. I’ve met quite a few people through it. I’ve gotten out of a few minor scrapes with it. I’ve made a pretty decent financial profit from it over the years. Best of all I’ve made some good friends here.
In a few months, barring any unforeseen catastrophes, I will be blogging from Mexico City once again. Perhaps I’ll win back that lost readership. Next year, the Mexile will be 10 years old. In early June 2003 I put my first post up. Not, I confess, under the name ‘Mexile’. Nor was it even on a blogging platform. The website was my own design, self hosted and on the garydenness.com domain, rather than its current (cheaper!) .co.uk domain.
I moved it to a blogging platform, My Opera in 2005, naming it the Mexile. For about two weeks. I knew a British musician in DF, who had just released an album called The Mexile. I hastily renamed – Ay Caramba. In 2007, he left Mexico (ironically for Bournemouth, my current home town) and the Mexile name returned, now on Blogger’s blogging platform. I moved to WordPress in June 2009. But more of this story can wait till June, don’t you think? Click here to see the complete report.
The WordPress.com stats monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog. It’s less impressive than in 2010. That’s swapping Mexico for the UK for you. Still. Here it is.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.