Wednesday, June 29, 2011

500th posting on the blog

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs around the world to choose from. I want to take the occasion of my 500th posting, since the first one on 17 December, 2008, to thank you for taking the time to read something on my blog.

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.

Flickr/Philippe Leroyer.
Menachem convinced me of the power of social networking. It has been gratifying to see the impact of the blog over the past three plus years, especially the connections it has led to with the international press. Of course, it has also resulted in many requests for meetings and information, which I try to accommodate.

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 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:
  1. George Washington University
  2. University of Bologna
  3. U.S. Department of State
  4. University of Cambridge
  5. University of Pennsylvania
  6. Voice of America
  7. German Development Institute
  8. U.S. Courts
  9. Harvard University
  10. Georgetown University
  11. U.S. Senate
  12. National Defense University
  13. University of Picardie Jules Verne
  14. American University
  15. U.S. House of Representatives
  16. Peace Research Institute Oslo
  17. U.S. Army Information Systems Command
  18. Oxford University
  19. Dalhousie University
  20. University of Minnesota
I post many of my remarks on the “social reading and publishing company” site Scribd, where my uploads have attracted nearly 45,000 hits. Unfortunately Scribd doesn’t allow for breaking down the details of those readers.

Let me end where I began. Thank you for spending some of your valuable time on my blog.

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