Two years ago I opened my blog. I’m not much into fireworks or patting myself on the back, but 346 posts is a lot of writing!
Some time back, my pal Robert Moore coined the phrase “information compilation blog” to describe those which focused on a particular topic with the aim of consolidating a body of knowledge. To a large degree, “To the Sound of the Guns” is a compilation of information on historical markers, battlefields, and artillery.
Regarding the later, I do like the moniker “The Marker Hunter” and it’s been a good introduction line when meeting folks. But I also like those cannons. And I’ve got piles of notes, from years of field research, to coalesce into some coherent format. These guns have stories to tell, and time permitting, I’d love to give each one a turn!
However, more and more, analysis techniques from my day job leak into how I approach blogging. Years ago I wrote on my professional blog (don’t look for it. When I left that company, it died off) about the emerging “community of interest” (COI) approach to collaboration. Defined, a COI is “a collaborative group of users that must exchange information in pursuit of its shared goals, interests, missions, or business processes and therefore must have shared vocabulary for the information exchanges.” A long winded way of saying COI are groups of people who converse about a particular topic. While there are formal COI, I have long argued that COI are best left informal and ad-hoc to best facilitate information exchange.
In some senses, “To the Sound of the Guns” is part, or element, of a COI. If you look down the blog rolls to the far right, there is a vast array of Civil War (and some just history) related blogs covering the subject from just about every possible angle. I read those blogs, mostly thanks to RSS, daily. And judging from the referrals, many of those reading the other blogs venture this way too. Beyond the blogs I enjoy a lively dialog by way of online comments and emails with folks I’ve met in this blogging endeavor. I’ll occasionally venture onto message board forums, but have never really liked that venue to be honest. We all chat about a common topic – the Civil War.
For me, blogging isn’t about the number of hits your site takes in. Rather it is about how much information you can exchange with those in the community. When composing each post, I start by considering how to present the information from my source materials in such a way that promotes input. And all too often, I get that input. By my estimates, particularly over the last year, there has been more input than output!
So at my two year mark, let me thank you who visit here, and in particular those who are active within this community of interest.