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Four Years On

Today is the fourth anniversary of Barataria.  It started on a rainy Spring day when the world felt closed in and tight but on the verge of coming back to life.  That feeling has stayed with Barataria through 16 seasons now as it has grown and developed its own community.

Welcome to the anniversary party!

A new post has arrived every MWF without fail, reaching 674 total.  A solid 4,369 comments and trackbacks have been left by the roughly 9k visits per month, about double last year.  What started as a strange hobby has become a minor source of income and showcase for my own skills as a professional writer and social media analyst.  It’s a place where complicated and difficult subjects are explained as well as I can in 800 to 1,000 words – and then built on by a dedicated community that, respectfully, takes no BS and asks tough questions.  Barataria readers are the best!

Statue of Sancho Panza in Madrid

Anniversary posts for Barataria usually take the form of “What is the blog all about?”  I think I answered that very well last year and we’ve moved on since then.  The simple truth is that I write about whatever is on my mind lately.  Some things simply have to be emptied from my li’l brain before I can get on with the routine of making some kind of living.

The last year has been building on a “strong half-step back”, just far enough removed from the life to gain some perspective without stepping back so far that we can’t all enjoy the moment.  I’ve been aware of three very important trends in Barataria that I think take what we’ve been taking to some interesting new levels:

Connections: Barataria has always been not about things or people or ideas, but how they connect to each other and the world around them.  These connections show how stresses from everyday life and the great tides of history moving around us are transferred and shift in ways that might seem strange and unpredictable.  Lately this has been taken to include a lot of failure analysis, which is to say what happens when something breaks and the rest of the great network of life has to pick up the slack.

Turning Points: We’re not at an endtime, but we do appear to be at a turning point in history.  Life doesn’t end here, but it looks like it will go on in a way that our grandparents would have trouble recognizing.  People tend to get a bit freaky in these times, so lately I’ve been fascinated by how other historical turning points were handled.  I always say that people are people – but cultures are culture.  We share the same motivations and stresses that many people who came before us did, but we act them out in different ways because we live in different times.  Why did people make the choices they did?  Their triumphs and tragedies make excellent object lessons.

Predicting and Understanding News: Professional news media has camera crews and reporters on scene providing raw and immediate coverage that no blogger can ever match.  Barataria focuses on how to make sense of this without getting caught in the hype of the moments.  “I don’t break news, I fix it” has become my slogan for this reason.  Before economic stats come out, I try to explain what they will meanUnderlying concepts that are often lost in jargon are described and discussed with your help.  This is where the other main trends – Connections Analysis and Turning Points – show that they have real value to the world.  Risk management, which is to say predicting the likely bounds of our world, is essential not only for a Free Market™ but also for a participatory Democratic Republic and a free society.

In the last year I’ve also tried a number of experiments in social media, reflecting the additional business I’ve taken on as a consultant in this field.  The growth of Barataria is the result of many trials where conventional wisdom has been put to the test and sometimes failed, suggesting alternative methods.  The approach is similar to more difficult topics.  I even tried an in-blog Pledge Drive (which is always still open!  hint!) that was a partial success, demonstrating that donations can be as viable as ad revenue for income.

All this, and songs and news poems, too!

But it’s not a party unless you join in.  What do you like about Barataria?  What do you hate?  What would you like to see more of? Would you like a beer or a cocktail?  What would you like the DJ to play next? These are all good questions, so feel free to hang around and chat for a bit.  Thank you all for just being here!

13 thoughts on “Four Years On

  1. Congrats! By the way some of the social happiness studies are starting to be more about flourishing.

  2. This blog is always a first-stop for me when I get on the internet. I appreciate how you try to look at things from a fresh perspective. I don’t always agree with you but I usually find that I have been thinking about something in a way I didn’t before and I know why I don’t agree with you, which is way better than what the media does.

    I strongly recommend this blog to anyone who asks me what I’m reading but I always tell them to be ready to put some time into it. It’s well worth it. Congratulations on staying with it for four years so consistently, it’s beena huge task that I hope you get more widely recognized for someday.

  3. Congratulations on your incredible achievement. I also wish you were better known and am doing my part. Barataria is a very important blog & I think more people should take the time to read it and understand what is going on a lot better.

  4. I want the DJ to play some of those classical pieces you were talking about!

    All joking around aside, you write about a lot of things and it does all come together in a worldview that makes a lot more sense than what the media crams down our throats. It takes a lot of time to understand sometimes but its usually worth it. I sometimes wish you’re write smaller articles more often that took on just one thing at a time but I like what you do now.

  5. Thank you, everyone!

    Jim, perhaps I should make something like the writing guide as a guide to antique music. That’s not a bad idea.

    As for the rest of it, I think that it might be time to put together some of the connections and historical analysis together in a book. I’d need connections of my own to make that happen, but writing a book on a topic is essential to being invited to larger media outlets. I’m thinking about it and how to get started. In the meantime, if anyone can help network I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks again, everyone. Have a drink or two and stay for more fun! 🙂

  6. Thanks again, everyone. We’ve entered the Spring “Offline” season so hit are going to track down a bit from here. I may have to do something a bit more dramatic to keep ’em coming. 🙂

  7. In my defense, I would have taken him out to celebrate as a good girlfriend would, but he didn’t tell me about it until the night before… should have know.

    I will plan better in the future.

    The Liz

  8. Liz, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, I nearly forget as well.

    Bob, I’ve made if very clear – I am not Don Quixote, y’all are Don Quixotes. The average person in this nation has had their mind poisoned by the fantastic tales spun by the media. I am a dutiful Sancho Panza, coming along for the adventure, the chance to chronicle the story, and to make sure that the old guy doesn’t get into too much trouble.

    All I ask is for the same reward Sancho Panza got, which is Barataria – literally “cheap lands”, a common slang for swamp.

  9. Pingback: Little Things | Barataria – The work of Erik Hare

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