I have decided to take a short break for the torrent of news about the Ukraine to share with you an important development in the life of this blog: two days ago, last Thursday, the number of daily visitors to this blog has passed 10'000 to peak at an amazing 11'538 visitors! Now, some of them are webcrawlers, search engines, double visitors and my own, but the 10'000 visitors limit has clearly been passed now:
As for the total number of visitors to this blog since its modest beginning in 2007, it will soon pass one million visits:
In fact, since 2013 and especially recently, the number of visitors has literally exploded:
Which is wonderful, especially since the visitors come from all over the world:
That is the good news.
There is also bad news.
The bad news is that this is a one-man blog. I do that alone, with no help. Worse, I actually have a life outside blogging: a job, a wonderful and much beloved wife, three kids aged (13,16 and 17), I try to do sports (mountain biking, kayaking and free diving) and I have hobbies (reading, photography, jazz guitar and computers); I am working on a Master's thesis in Orthodox theology, and I try to eat and sleep on a semi-regular basis. On the bad side, we also have a credit card debt we cannot reduce and we live literally from paycheck to paycheck, form month to month (I don't make a single penny from the blog).
Since the beginning crisis in the Ukraine began, I have been getting something like 30-50 emails every day. And I have tried really really hard to answer them all.
On top of that, you can see for yourself that the number of comments on each post now is typically in the 30-50 comments, each of which I have to read and clear personally for blogger to display it. I also try to answer most comments.
And then there are the longer analytical post which I write from time to time like the one of the geopolitics of the Ukrainian conflict or the one on the roots of Ukrainian nationalism (roughly 7000 words!) which, even though I typically write them in one long session with no breaks, still take me a full day to write.
Oh, and did I mention I also spend several hours per day trying to inform myself about what is happening, trying to weed out the crap for the real fact in order to get a sense of what is really happening?
What I end up doing is doing all of the above simultaneously with me "normal" life. For that I use my computer, my Nexus 7 Internet tablet and my smartphone. I even often wake up at night to take a quick look at the tablet and clear any posts made during the night.
Now, please get me right, I am not complaining. In fact, I *LOVE* what I do and the immense outpouring of support and kind encouragements motivates me like nothing else. When I began this blog in 2007 I did it mainly to do something I could never do before in my life: to really speak my mind freely, with nobody to tell me not to say or write this or that, with no boss to fear or please, with no regard at all the reactions my writing might elicit. I made no efforts at all to advertise this blog, never promoted it anywhere, and I did not give a damn about what kind people would get offended or mad at me. My other goal was to create a space for free and intelligent discussion between people of different opinions who would know that no matter what they said I would never censor them. The only thing which I ever refused to post in the comments section was outright commercial spam. As for the rest, it was a 100% free environment in which the sanction for a ugly or stupid comment could only come in the form of a fact-based and logical reply, but never a ban.
In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined the kind of success this blog is enjoying now. And, believe me, I am delighted. But I cannot continue at the same pace, I am 50 year old now and I am physically compelled to decide on priorities.
I promise that I will do my utmost to keep things going as they do now, but I have to warn you about a few things which will have to change, at least somewhat:
1) I cannot commit to replying to every email I get. Sorry, but if I have to chose between a comment read by 10'000+ people or the email of a single person, I have to chose the former. I will still try to do my best but I cannot promise and answer to every email, so please do not get offended if you do not get a reply in the future.
2) The same goes for comments. If I have to chose between a comment which asks about something I have already covered elsewhere, or a basic question and a comment which can generate an interesting conversation of offers an interesting insight, I will have to chose the latter. I simply cannot keep up trying to answer most comments as before.
Guys, I BEG you: if at all possible, always chose to post a comment and only send me an email if that is to share something personal or confidential. If you want to share your opinion, ask for mine or ask a question, please, PLEASE use the comments section!!
Also, I want to clarify something about my mailing list. Guys, this is a low-volume mailing list. What I mean by that is that I only send out something if I want to draw the attention to something I posted on the blog or when I want to send out a message to my readers. This is not a way to let you know that something has been posted. For that, please use an RSS client and enter this feed into it:
Atom: 1.0: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS: 2.0: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Also - I want to reiterate something I wrote many many times here but which is worth repeating yet again: there is no such thing as "off-topic" on this blog! (well, except spam and truly moronic meaningless posts). Please feel free to use the comments section under ANY post to make ANY comment you want: share news, ask questions, provide links, etc. You will find out that amongst those who comment here there are FAR more interesting and knowledgeable people then myself. Enjoy that and don't worry about 'off-topicking' - any interesting issue is interesting no matter where no matter when.
I want to conclude this personal announcement about this blog by thanking you all from the very bottom of my heart for the outpouring of support, kindness and (wholly undeserved) compliments. I had no idea that there was such a hunger for freedom and truth out there or such a rage and disgust at the lying corporate media machine. I feel honored and privileged at the thought that my modest efforts can be a part of a much larger "mental liberation movement" on the Internet and the citizen-reporter front. I will still continue to do the best I can on my own little section of the "battlefield" (especially when there are "hot" events taking place), but I ask for your understanding and indulgence if you notice that I cannot answer your email or post: this will in no way be a sign of my lack of interest or appreciation but only a sign of the fact that I am not 20 years old and that I have a finite level of energy I can use every day.
A big "thank you!!" to all, keep me in your prayers and kind regards,