Please excuse the rather self-indulgent nature of this post, but Green Ladywell is 3 years old today, so I thought it worth having a little look back over the past few years in blogland.
When I set up the blog, in the middle of the 2006 election campaign, I wasn't really convinced about blogging, whether anyone would read it, whether I would have enough things to blog about, whether we were going to get elected (our canvassing returns fortunately turned out to have been very conservative) and whether I would continue the blog once elected. It seemed rather gimmicky, but I figured it was free and another way of trying to get the key messages of our campaign across, so decided to give it a go.
Back in early 2006, the number of local bloggers was fairly small, with Transpontine, Andrew Brown, Bob from Brockley, Andrew Milton and the Man from Catford being the stalwarts of the (male-dominated) blogosphere. Things definitely took off when Brockley Central joined the foray in February 2007 (for the first few posts, the number of comments were still in single figures!), and a few other women bloggers such as Deptford Dame, Kate and Clare came on board, while Brockley Kate joined the Brockley Central team (though women are still notably in the minority amongst bloggers). The occasional Lewisham bloggers meet ups were a great opportunity to put faces and names to previously anonymous bloggers.
Meanwhile in Green blogland, back in March 2006 you could count the number of blogging greens on your fingers, in fact I'm not sure who besides Natalie over at Philobiblon was blogging, though lots of others, such as The Daily (Maybe), Ruscombe Green and Charlie Bolton came on board shortly after. Now there's dozens of us, we have GreenHome, GreenFeed and even the green blogosphere's answer to the Oscars. I have to ruthlessly scan my blogroll each day to keep abreast of what's being said.
Well the blog probably didn't have much of an impact on the 2006 election campaign, with only 100 or so people visiting the blog in the run-up to election day, and for the first few months I wasn't sure whether anyone locally was reading my blog or not. A key moment for me was when I turned up to the well-attended first meeting of FOBLC and someone there told me they had read about the meeting on my blog; the first time a resident in my ward had told me that they read my blog, yay!
There's been the odd blip, with a few weeks when I didn't get around to posting, but they've now been close to 500 posts, on all sorts of local issues, from speed humps to betting shops and insulation (LOTS on insulation lately!) plus the occasional rant from me on national and international issues. Since January last year Ute has joined me with the occasional blog post. Traffic to the blog isn't that large, but we regularly attract well over a thousand hits a month and I estimate that have between 200-300 regular readers. I gave the blog a bit of a facelift towards the end of last year, and have tried to make it a bit more interactive, by showing recent comments and starting to experiment with Twitter etc, but would happily hear suggestions on how we can improve it.
So, before I waddle off into the kitchen to eat a huge piece of celebratory cake, my verdict on 3 years of blogging? It's occasionally felt like a bit of a chore, but generally I've enjoyed it, it's been a good way of reflecting on what we've been doing and I've found it a useful extra way to communicate with local residents (and greens further afield). Ultimately however it's an extra tool or frill and not a substitute for getting newsletters through doors and speaking to residents face to face.