Exactly one year ago, I moved my blog to WordPress. It was a major pain in the ass — or the asses, I should say, since my friend Nipun also lent his scrawny booty to the effort — to migrate my 2004 – 2006 entries to the new site. Along the way, I lost all the great comments contributed by readers, and almost all my regular readership.
A few days ago, as if to celebrate the anniversary, memestream logged its 30,000th hit. Not a bad year, all things considered.
For much of the past couple years, I have felt I was operating under radio-blackout. While working on the latest iteration of the Friends Without Borders project – our oh-so-close Independence Day Friendship Concert on the India-Pakistan border – we were either keeping the lid on news because we were seeking governmental permissions or because the Government of India wanted us out-of-the-picture because of perceived Al Qaeda risks. Our project in Darfur wasn’t exactly a secret, but the decision was made not to blog anything remotely controversial so as not to complicate the already fraught chances of getting another humanitarian visa in the future. It is extremely difficult to blog about Darfur without expressing outrage that would anger the Government of Sudan. It would have been excruciating to blog about many of the other things that would ordinarily made it into these pages while wrapped-up in projects as exciting as these. So the blog languished for long periods.
WordPress has a series of fun tools to show you from whence folks arrive at your blog. One of these is a daily list of the search engine terms that people have entered to pull up entries on the site. Reviewing the search list is a daily source of amusement. Sometimes the searches reflect serious subjects: Darfur peace talks, Indian entrepreneurship, solid waste disposal, Pondicherry corruption, Mumbai slums. Other times they include less sober terms and phrases: chopping off my penis, god’s shit-hole, Charlie’s Angels pose, Albus is gay, males getting in touch with femininity.
The daily search list can also be a source of satisfaction. It often contains the names of my friends, and it is nice to think that people are using my essays (and Google) to keep tabs on their friends. It sometimes happens that someone who lands on my page while looking for an old friend will follow-up by email with request for contact information.
The best part of the blogging experience remains the give-and-take. Readers’ comments turn a solitary point-of-view into a discussion, a debate, an argument, a scorching, or a straight-man-and-punch-line set-up.
I’ll keep writing. You keep commenting.