Monday, 9 July 2012

Five Today: Happy Birthday Blog

Tom Daley popped around this morning with a cake.  He's such a sweetie.  You can see from this pic that he did sadly get the year wrong but he does put so much effort into his diving (not 'swimming' he corrected me over a butter cream filled moment earlier) that one is bound to forgive him.

The special moment was of course *sounds of trumpets* the fifth birthday of this blog.  Huzzah and thrice huzzah I hear you cry!  Rather amazingly, five years have passed since it all began with this post on Monday 9 July 2007.  It was a reflection on a  conference I'd been attending in Canada and was the first of a series of posts I sought to put on the blog before the start of the academic year.

A lot has changed since then (not least, the evaporation of my conference budget) but like a particularly unfortunate case of crabs, I'm still here.  Hopefully still combining irreverence, the odd over-ripe phrase, and some open-thinking on all matters relating to law and sexuality.

That summer I was seeing if I could come up with enough ideas to ensure that I could keep blogging once started.  My fear was to introduce a blog as an extra teaching resource for my Law and Sexuality (undergraduate) and Gender, Sexuality and Law (postgraduate) students and then abandon it half-way through the year.  Or, be committed to doing something that I found had become millstone around my neck.  Obviously, once I started I enjoyed it and kept on going.  I've certainly had moments when I've thought about giving it up, but I've never quite managed it.

Those early posts were also about building up a 'bank' of material for students coming to the blog in the new academic year.  Although I recognised a blog was a public arena and one or two lost cyber souls might stumble upon it by accident, I envisaged that my audience would be a handful of my law students.  That seems naive looking back, but it was really the involvement of technology which re-shaped the blog.

I'd first attempted to get into Twitter in May 2008 but found few others there.  I revisited a short time after (I think in 2009) and began to build a profile as ever greater numbers of people started to use the service.  That social media platform meant that a growing number of people interested in law and sexuality were signposted to the blog, many becoming regular readers.  I also assumed that students would stop looking at the blog once they graduated but I'm pleasantly surprised at the various students who tell me they still stop by the blog.  They continue to have a supportive and engaging site after their studies - and that strikes me as a particularly rewarding output from this blog.

The look of the blog has evolved, with the current 'look' being the fourth incarnation although there have only really been two major looks.  The first, a white on black blog which lasted (I think) a year, and then a blue and white look which has dominated since, with tweaks over the years.  The designer of my current banner (and also a briefly, my Twitter badge on the same theme) is @gigoslurp who kindly developed it for free after I asked my twitter followers for help - thank you Mikki!

Throughout this week, I'll be re-sharing some of my favourite posts from the last five years.  I hope you'll forgive this brief track down memory lane.  Finally, let me thank you, my amazing readers.  In truth, knowing that people actually read this stuff - something which continues to amaze me - is a source of continued motivation when I feel I'd rather lose myself in a West Wing box set.  Cheers!

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