Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Into a new MILENNIUM

This marks the 1000 th posting to this blog. (1)

I started 'Hammered Out Bits' back in March of 2006.

One of the primary reason I started this all was to make use of materials I was generating through answering e-mails. As frequent readers well know, I'm not (ever?) able to make a one word answer - to anything. Even if the actual answer to a question is 'NO', I feel the *reasons* are just as important as the negative response. I also feel that any statement needs some background to be correctly understood. (2) So I end up spending a lot of time on long detailed e-mails, which would end up only having a single reader. You may notice on any number of pieces here, the initial start is a quote from an email. (3)
At the time this blog was started, one of the mechanisms in play was author's intending to collect up all the (often random) segments from their blog into a published volume. Some people early into this method, and those with particularly 'hot' topics, where able to undertake this to financial success. I had some hopes along those lines, especially within the highly specialised topics of 'Viking Age blacksmithing' and 'bloomery iron smelting'. With time however, I can see that at best that volume of raw articles are far too chaotic to form into a concise whole. It would be easier to use the segments as very raw draft - and just write again from scratch.

When I started this blog, I got some very good advice from my old friend Steve Muhlburger :
'Keep to a narrow topic range'
'Try to avoid broadcasting your personal opinions (unless politics is your topic).'
I have mainly attempted to do this here. You will find the primary topic areas given through the 'Lables' list near the bottom of the left side bar (with their numbers) :

Blacksmithing = 328
Viking Age = 278
Iron Smelting = 269
Contemporary Arts = 168
Experimental Archaeology = 141 

Most the other topic labels show less than 50 attributed.
(Yes - those add up to more than 1000. Often an individual post might collect more than one topic label.)
First image published here - June 12, 2006. The 26 posts before this were text only!

Greatest Hits?

This blog, perhaps exactly because of its limited and specialised topic focus, does not have a massive readership:

Regular Reader / 'Followers' = 28
Typical Views on a new posting = 300
Average Views of any posting any day = 150

Total Views Overall = 724,400
USA Viewers (overall) = 340,000 
Russian Viewers (overall) = 71,000
Canadian Viewers (overall) = 62,000

Not overly surprising, given the use of English (although Russian numbers a surprise). Given that Canada is roughly 1/10th the population of the USA, there is a strong showing here. (But again maybe not too surprising, given that I live in Ontario - and do have a 30 + year visibility here!)

Curiously, it has been when I have stepped * outside * the normal topic framework here that I have generated the highest reader numbers.

29 May 2017, 24 comments


31 Oct 2015

 (so combined = 7802 )

1 May 2017, 6 comments

After that, any individual posting averages roughly 3000 views (overall)

You can see that my very, very political entry (on being declared an 'Illegal Immigrant Without Proper Documentation') has received fully * twenty * times more views than any other single posting. Actually almost 10% of the overall total!

The next two high volume postings (over two times the average) are the result of 'hot' popular culture topics. The film 'Avatar' first, the TV 'Forged in Fire' second.
It might be safe to say the fourth high volume entry is also a result of pop culture, in this case various 'documentaries' about what proved to be a totally false Norse 'occupation' site.

So - what is my take away from all this?
I consider publishing on the internet as * real * publishing. For the Independent Researcher (my bloomery iron smelting work for example), access to academic publications is extremely limited, and very difficult. The 'self published' aspect of the internet does provide a clear alternative. (4)
I have information published on the internet in three formats:

the Book = my formal web site (
the Magazine = this blog
Snap Comments (at a cocktail party) = Facebook

As an individual, I consider the sharing of knowledge ethically required.
So expect many more entries here into the Second Millennium...

(1) But well over 1000 blog postings created - all combined.
•  I also contribute to the Dark Ages Re-Creation Company blog
About 50 or so pieces there (roughly half). A number are cross posted back to this blog however.
•  I set up a separate blog to document my 2012 Ontario Arts Council grant funded project Iron Blooms to Bars.
There are over 40 pieces there, again a number are cross posted back to this blog.

(2) Hence my increasing aggravation over the development of 'personalities' / 'sound bites' / 'Fake News' over the last decade particularly. Most events and issues can not possibly be understood in 140 characters.

(3) Warning there:
If you send me an email, there is chance my own reply may be converted / expanded into a blog posting.
My standard practise is to remove identifiers, reducing the initial email to a shorter quote, usually only attributed to a first name (for sender's security)

(4) I have had many conversations with academics about the value (or lack thereof) of the internet. 
The easy access to virtually anyone who can find a computer and has even basic computer skills is clear.
With at least simple writing skills, anyone can self publish.
There are two commonly pointed out flaws to information on the internet :
1) Self published means absolutely no editing or checks for accuracy. In this the internet requires the * reader * to provide the required critical evaluation of materials found.
2) The medium is very ethereal. Often web sites disappear without a trace - that content lost forever. 
(Consider here the length of duration of this blog (2006). The main Wareham Forge web site has been stable since the late 1990's.)

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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