As my time blogging here draws to a close (I will have one post [ETA: a rather long one] after this and that's it), I thought I'd reflect a bit about how the blog and my feelings about blogging changed over time. I was a relative latecomer to a fast Internet connection, but as best as I can recall I started posting not too long after getting one. For a while, after beginning in May 2008, the idea of posting something and having it read -- at least in theory -- in a matter of hours after that was exciting in itself. I had no clear, precise, worked-out idea of exactly what I wanted to say or exactly why I was blogging, but the ability to throw one's words into the world instantaneously was somewhat intoxicating.
The intoxication did not last terribly long, as I realized that an astounding number of words were (and are) being thrown into the world daily. I have blogged under my initials rather than full name, but if I'd used my full name I doubt the audience here would have been much bigger. Not having written a book*, not having an academic position, and not having name recognition through other channels, use of my name in itself would not, it seems to me, have made much difference. In recent years I have resisted going on Twitter or Facebook, two things that might have increased the blog's readership a bit. In any case it has remained very small, despite occasional mini-spikes caused by one unusual factor (i.e. being linked by a particular site) or other. But clearly a readership of the sort that, say, Corey Robin and Brad DeLong (to mention two well-known single-proprietor bloggers) have was never in the cards; nothing even remotely approaching that would have been a realistic goal.
Over the years I had occasional interesting conversations here with a few academics specializing in international relations, but unlike Duck of Minerva or some others this blog never became an IR blog in the full-blown sense, and as time went on I found my interests, as far as posting is concerned, drifting in other directions. I also found myself exercising somewhat more self-censorship as time passed. A short, inconsequential post that I might have put up without much hesitation in the first years I've increasingly thought twice or thrice about more recently.
The year 2011 saw the largest number of posts, mostly because the Libya intervention generated a lot of discussion of 'the responsibility to protect' and related issues, and it was easy to comment on and/or link to some of those discussions. However, the gap between 2011 and the other high-volume years here is not that big. The amount of posting I did decreased quite a bit in 2014 and 2015, a sign of waning enthusiasm on my part, among other things.
Psychologically, one of the liberating things about stopping posting is that I will no longer have to even pretend to keep a deliberate eye out for interesting articles and tidbits, and I can read books and other things with no thought of how I might turn them into a post. Conversely, I will no longer rush to the keyboard eagerly if something happens by chance to catch my eye. The tradeoff is probably worth taking.
In the future I could perhaps see blogging again in a different context, but for now I'm looking forward to a protracted period of not being a blogger.
*Under certain definitions of "book," I did co-author a short one in the mid-1980s; however, the details aren't worth going into.