365 days, 48 followers, 140 posts. Figures are important in blogging, but should not be the objective. As a matter of fact, the statistics for the blog increased exponentially for the first few months, but have stabilised more recently. I used to watch them carefully, but I realised how unimportant they are when I discovered that you could bump them up significantly by posting a link on sites such as Stumbleupon. Traffic increases, but these are visitors who stay for mere seconds before skipping on to the next site.
Blogging for me is about making connections with people. There are those who stop by and leave a message, those whose blogs I visit and enjoy, and those that I have met and talked to whilst researching my posts. I made a conscious decision early on to concentrate on detail and research, firstly for my own interest and culture, but also because I believe I can only respect whatever audience I have if I attempt to bring them something new and different.
Blogging is also about sharing. This may seem like a strange opinion to hold when you consider that it is in fact a very personal activity, but I have also deliberately avoided talking about myself and discuss only what I see. If I look forward from this point, my major objective is to open this space up to other people. The subject is Paris, not me, and it would become very dull if I only described my perspective and my place in this city. It is for this reason that I have created two new regular features; Paris People, where I meet others who live and work in the city and talk about their jobs and passions, and Paris Polaroids, where people can contribute anything they like about their experience of the city.
The other major deviation during the year was the creation of the Paris Walks PDF documents and their hosting on the http://www.freepariswalks.com website. Again, for me this falls into the zone of sharing, and I have been delighted to see that the three walks have been downloaded around 1600 times now. This is something that I will strive to continue over the next year, even though it means a crazy amount of work for me! Who knows, I may even decide to break out of the internet and do some (very occasional, but free!) guided tours...
Work? This is certainly the wrong word. Time. Yes, this all demands a lot of my time, but it is time spent on something that brings me pleasure, and I think this is the crucial factor for a long-lasting blog! What I do, I do first and foremost for myself, but when I saw two people following one of my walks last weekend, I was happy to think that I had perhaps encouraged people to go somewhere they may never have gone by themselves.
So, whoever reads this – regulars who I know and thank, or anonymous visitors who have always sat at the back of the room in silence, I can tell you that I’m not finished yet! Coming up will be investigations into many other parts of the city and a breakout to the suburbs, features on racehorse trainers, street artists, photographers and bar owners, and I sincerely hope, contributions from many of you too!