This week marks the one year anniversary of sustainability theory dharma or just ‘std’. I must admit I had my doubts over the course of the year that this blog would last this long. But it has. And I have learned much about myself, blogging and the environment from maintaining std.
This year I will aim for one “column” per week. I experimented with various posting styles last year. At times I had strayed from the environment topic and found that this was not what I had wanted for the blog (but others thought it was great). At other times my posts were short and pithy, making them cryptic and zen-like. In trying to keep up with the Joneses I had forgotten that I had a family, university and part-time work, that I am not the average Joe Blow with time on my hands.
So instead of posting often my goal is for one better-than-average post of about 1,000 words focusing on one current environmental event. The aim is to raise the standard of my writing which had wandered off at one point. My goal is to keep the act of blogging simple and without distractions. std itself has gone through some evolution. I will describe some of the changes that have happened here.
a slow start
A year ago I was still working. As a full-time English teacher the environment had not been a priority, but a personal issue. My concerns for the environment were not mine alone as a number of great blogs on environmental issues had also sprang up (It’s the Environment, Stupid, Oikos and Stolen Moments to name just three) around this time. My want of knowing how I could live sustainably and to share this knowledge with others was the impetus for starting std.
And now, as my sidebar says, I am back at university studying about the relationship between language and the environment. One year ago I did not know I would be doing this. I have this blog to thank.
what’s in a name?
For those who have been around here long enough you will also recall the name change. It started life out as ‘sustainability dharma blog’. I had wanted to use the word ‘blog’ in it as a reminder that it is not a commercial enterprise. It was a dig at those environmental blogs that put advertisement on their page, a hideous practice to say the least.
Advertisement only hurts the environment. You (yes! you! Mr Sustainablog) are sending out the wrong message to your readers about consumerism, that selling more is okay. And I am still against that. So I may start a campaign to rid commercialism from environmental blogs. It’s simply wrong.
Coming back to the name, I had wanted to show how theory, Buddhism and sustainability can be about the same thing. And hence the name. But a year later I have shifted my focus to only sustainability because it is simply too much to consider, which brings me to the next section.
jack of all trades…
That was me – the master of none. As the years roll on in my life I have learned that I must focus. It is nice to learn and know a lot of things, but not being great at any of them is a real pity. To use another cliche, life is too short. My advice is this: have one blog and focus on a topic. There are too many people out there who own several blogs about different topics. That’s fine… if you have that much time on your hands. Or else there are blogs that write about everything and anything. I may want to read about how you fixed a bug on some software but I don’t want to know the colour of your latest pair of underwear. In short, one blog one topic. If you cannot blog for more than one year on one topic do not blog at all. You are only wasting your time (and mine) and energy (the environment’s).
This may seem harsh criticism but it is for the environment that I say this. The soaring energy use is partly due to maintaining a network like the internet. As wonderful as it is for useful information it is also a doorway to some of the most useless drivel too. Consider what you write and post and upload for the sake of the environment.
what is the calendar for?
If you are like me it is to highlight how infrequently one blogs. So get rid of it if you are an occasional poster.
And don’t feel you have to post something everyday either. You don’t. It is the blogging system that is telling you have to. Search engines like Technorati reward those who post more often with better ranks. It is a scam. But it also gives better ranks for more established blogs which is why it is important to stay with one blog rather than moving around. Regularly updated blogs – whether once a day or once a week – seems to fair well. If you stay around long enough the bulk of your readers will come from other sources anyway.
Keep It Simple Silly
Ahh… the KISS rule. No better rule in life and blog. I used to do a “keep the readers updated” post once a month. What a waste of time. It’s cute. It was cute. But seriously your readers are here to read about one thing and not about your blog goings-on. They don’t care, even if you do. So keep it to yourself or save it for a once a year post on anniversaries like today. You don’t need other pages to supplement the blog either. Your personality will come through from your writing. I learned that the hard way.
the coming year
One of the things that I started with a year ago was the notion of strong sustainability. I still maintain this and would like to elaborate more on this coming year. Another topic which I haven’t covered much but would like to is money, and how it works against the environment. This goes against many of the blogs and ideas out there. But I think it is an issue which needs to be addressed. And of course my interest in overpopulation or rather population control (thanks John Feeney) is still there and would be something I would like to explore also.