I grew up before the Internet existed and never heard of blogs until several years ago. I certainly would not have begun a blog were it not for the encouragement and technical support of Menachem Wecker, then assistant director of public affairs for publications and media at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where I continue to teach African affairs.
As you know, the blog focuses on issues related to the Horn of Africa and China-Africa relations, the areas where I concentrate my research. I make every effort, however to include on the blog intelligent and thoughtful analyses of these topics done by others. Their views are often more important and more enlightening than my own analyses.
A number of specialists on the Horn of Africa and China-Africa relations have become regular followers of the blog. If the blog provides them and other readers with some new ideas or analyses of the issues that they have not found elsewhere, it will have served its purpose.
It occurs to me that regular readers might be interested in a few facts about those persons who have used the blog. There have been about 30,000 visits since the first posting. The number of visitors has been growing over time. Clearly, nothing on my blog has “gone viral” as the media like to say these days. It covers a narrow topical area and emphasizes solid analysis, not sensationalism.
The average time spent on the blog per visitor is just under two minutes. About 67 percent of the visitors are first-time visitors. About one-third of the visitors are sent by Google, while just under one-third click the blog link.
The three most read items on the blog were a panel discussion on U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa at Howard University, hosted by the Oromo Studies Association, a paper that I have presented on several occasions in Washington on the growing importance of emerging powers in Africa and a controversial meeting I had with a faction of the Ogadeni National Liberation Front from Ethiopia.
The United States accounts for just over half the total visitors, while the following countries in descending order account for the other top ten: United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, Australia and Netherlands.
There are a growing number of visitors from Africa. I would particularly like to build the audience in Africa and in China. Unfortunately, both China and Ethiopia do not allow blogspot.com into the Internet system, although there have been a small number of hits from both countries. Perhaps government officials are checking out the blog.
What is of greatest interest to me is the location of some of the IP addresses that access the blog the most. They are in descending order:
- George Washington University
- University of Bologna
- U.S. Department of State
- University of Cambridge
- University of Pennsylvania
- Voice of America
- German Development Institute
- U.S. Courts
- Harvard University
- Georgetown University
- U.S. Senate
- National Defense University
- University of Picardie Jules Verne
- American University
- U.S. House of Representatives
- Peace Research Institute Oslo
- U.S. Army Information Systems Command
- Oxford University
- Dalhousie University
- University of Minnesota
Let me end where I began. Thank you for spending some of your valuable time on my blog.