Today is the Fifth Anniversary of Barataria. This humble blog was started on a drippy April day before most people were aware of economic troubles echoing through the halls of power. It’s a good excuse for a party, which is to say a little bit of self-indulgence and reflection. Join in the fun and let us all know what you think!
Barataria has been written 3X per week, MWF, without a single miss these five years. There are now 832 posts and 7,350 comments from the community that generates over 50k pageviews per month from 27k unique visits. It is a labor of love that has come to define me, for better or worse, to the greater community of people on the ‘net that includes 4,700 in my twitter feed.
Anniversaries have usually been a time when I feel compelled to answer, “What is this blog about?” I hope most of you understand by now that Barataria is mainly whatever I am thinking about at the time, an opportunity to clear my head of things that have been rattling around so that I can free up space in my mind for things that I can make a living off of.
This community has grown in the last year, and many of you have come to rely on these musings as part of your own daily routine. I can’t thank you enough for that, and I hope that I’ve responded to you well. Your contributions have helped me keep going!
The focus of Barataria has sharpened over the last year, with much more economics and how it relates to direct or implied political action and affiliation. I have asked you through polls to help refine these offerings, and the results were interesting between the dark times last August and the considerably brighter results last week. Thank you to the 161 who responded to this poll.
First of all, 55% of you say you are Liberal or Progressive. I expect that, since this is how I identify. But 23% of you say you are Conservative and 21% Moderate, a mix that is probably not duplicated in any other personal opinion blog. I can’t thank you enough for this great honor. These results were very similar in August, when a 57/21/16 mix was found.
What has changed is that when asked about your own future, 63% say you’ll get by, 23% are scared and 13% think things are looking good. That was 37/56/5 previously, meaning that most of you are much more optimistic. I am very happy that things have improved that much!
Who do you blame for the economic situation? The top answer today is Everyone, at 36%. 27% of you think we’re in a long-term decline, 18% blame big companies or Wall Street, 11% business cycles (my answer, BTW) and 9% politicians. Previously the main target was Wall Street, which 48% of you blamed, followed by Everyone at 28% (the prospect of a long-term decline was asked in a different question, but 30% of you thought it was a description of our current situation). The change away from blaming Wall Street seems significant.
Additional questions show that you support some of the new ventures I’m working on, mainly the creation of a YouTube channel. These first efforts did not turn out well, but between my kids and I we’re still learning how to make a good video. All comments, tips, and general support are very much appreciated! But the goal is to reach an even wider audience.
This last year there has been a real hunger for popular economics growing here and across the world. The “Occupy” movements show that there is a general feeling that things have to change but little commitment to any kind of plan. Nothing can possibly come of this until a consensus is developed as to where we have to go. This is a democratic republic, after all, and a good part of our destiny comes from common action.
The most popular pieces in Barataria, in this list, show that you believe this as well. Whenever possible I have offered not just my own perspective, but some tools to understand “experts” who lapse into jargon and shorthand when they have their turn under brighter lights in popular media. I’ve offered my potential solutions where I can and asked for yours. I’ve also written a few poems and tried to have a little fun where I can along the way.
This and any other blog is part of an internet world that connects people and ideas like never before. Much of my living this last year has come from consulting businesses and nonprofits on how they can maximize their own connections and be empowered by them. If the great hopes for this medium are going to be realized that’s what we all have to do.
I can’t thank you all enough for your readership and contributions to the effort – as comments, recommendations, and the donations that I receive. I still do not have a full-time job, so the latter is very important to me. Annual contributions of $15, or ten cents per post, is what I ask from those of you kind enough to contribute. My dream job is to write on these topics for regular pay, but alas this has eluded me.
But I’ll stay at it here in the meantime. Thank you again for making Barataria part of your life!