Jason Steinhauer lists some of the best group history blogs at his website History Communicator.
Read the list here.
The title of this post describes the blogging life. I took a six-day blogging vacation and the number of visits to The Way of Improvement Leads Home dropped 900%. Don’t get me wrong, I expected this. It is quite normal. No one wants to read a blog with no new content. I am sure this happens to a lot of bloggers when they take time off. It has certainly happened here before. This is probably why Andrew Sullivan always had guest bloggers whenever he took vacations from The Dish.
But for whatever reason, this time around the precipitous decline in readership during my vacation hit me in a different way. I began to think a little more about the “tyranny of the new.” (I thought I coined this term, but a quick Google search proved me wrong). Bloggers are successful when they feed their audience on a regular basis. A blog will fail quickly if it does not satisfy readers’ desire for new ideas, new opinions, and new information. Readers are always asking “what have you done for me lately?” I do the same thing when I read online content.
Perhaps it is time to think about writing things that are more permanent–things of better quality that are not written in a hurry to feed the machine. Maybe I need to rethink how I blog or reconsider whether a blog remains the best venue for my ideas.
Or maybe I should just accept the fact that blog readers come and go. Maybe I should be thankful that I have cultivated a core audience here. Maybe I should continue to write and post for them without worrying too much about broadening the circle.
I’ll keep thinking. I still enjoy the work so don’t expect any immediate changes. And, as always, THANK YOU for reading!
A website called “Feedspot” just posted the “Top 50 American History Blogs and Website on the Web.”
The Way of Improvement Leads Home was snubbed! 🙂
Top 50 or not, we are still committed to bringing you great content!
Happy 10th birthday to Religion in American History! Read my birthday message here.
Frank Deford coined the term “Sportianity”
Baylor University graduate student Paul Putz has started a blog on sports and American Christianity.
Here is how he describes “Sportianity“:
Let’s start with the name. “Sportianity” is a term coined by legendary sportswriter Frank Deford. He used it in a 1976 Sports Illustrated series on religion in sport (read more about that series here). Deford used it in a mostly negative sense, implying that Sportianity was a corruption of true Christianity; it was a religion “more devoted to exploiting sport than to serving it.”
I do not use it in the negative sense implied by Deford. Rather “Sportianity” is meant as a descriptive term for the unique cultural world that stands at the intersection of sports and (mostly evangelical Protestant) Christianity. It is inhabited by institutions like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, and others. It is championed by media/publications like Sports Spectrum. And it is represented by celebrity athletes like Tim Tebow, Stephen Curry, and Maya Moore.
Over the coming months I will focus on two types of content. First, book reviews/summaries. There are hundreds of books that take up the topic of sports and Christianity. Some are written from a critical perspective, others are intended to inspire true believers. Still others are biographies or autobiographies that focus on the faith of famous athlete and coaches. I will use this space to discuss some of those books, both new and old.
Second, biographical vignettes. I’m currently finishing up a dissertation on the history of Sportianity. In my research I often come across the names of famous athletes from the past who were public about their faith. Many of those athletes will not make it into my dissertation, so I will post brief historical snippets about some of them here.
Good luck with the new blog, Paul! We will be reading.
Welcome to the blog!
Last week we had a major surge in readership at The Way of Improvement Leads Home that brought about 250,000 readers to the site. At that moment I wrote a post titled “Welcome New Readers” to give our new visitors a sense of what we do here.
In the last day or two we have had a similar surge in readership centering on a couple of different posts. I may be wrong, but I think that these visitors are not the same as the ones who came to the blog last week.
So once again, I want to welcome you to The Way of Improvement Leads Home. Please look around and consider making the blog a part of your regular online reading ritual.
What you will find here:
- Daily news headlines every morning
- Links to thoughtful posts on American history, American religion, politics, the humanities, and education.
- Weekly interviews with the authors of some of the best new books in American history and American religious history
- Weekly roundups of the best links in these areas (“Sunday Night Odds and Ends“)
- Commentary on a host of issues
- A regular podcast devoted to American history and historical thinking
- And much, much more…!
Thanks for visiting. You can learn more about John Fea, the host of this blog, here.
“Instead of making history, we are made by history.”
“Made by History” is a new blog that the Washington Post launched today. Here is a taste of the press release:
The Washington Post today launched Made by History, a new blog in The Post’s Outlook section that will explore parallels between today’s political climate and history.
“Outlook often publishes posts that draw from history to contextualize current events, and we’re excited to have created a home in our section for this type of analysis,” said Mike Madden, deputy editor of Outlook. “Through the deep historical knowledge of our contributors, Made in History will broaden readers’ views of this political moment and introduce them to diverse scholarly perspectives on the latest news.”
The blog will feature commentary from 75 historians from nationally renowned universities and institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and more.
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of The Post,” said Brian Rosenwald, historian at UPenn and Made by History’s Editor-in-Chief. “We believe that our contributors will add a unique level of insight and expertise to the ongoing political discussion that many of The Post’s pieces currently generate.”
I am glad that the folks at “Made by History” are writing for a public audience. This has the potential to be a great blog. I know that I will read it and comment on it regularly here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.
The editors write: “The blog will feature commentary from 75 historians from nationally renowned universities and institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and more.” Not sure what to make of this sentence. I just hope the writers don’t end up preaching to the choir.
Read a “welcome” post by the editors here.