Along with the usual celebration and excitement that accompanies the New Year, we at Civil Discourse enjoyed the added bonus of reaching the one-year mark on our little blogging venture! It is a great milestone, and it's worth taking a moment to look back and see both what we've accomplished and what we'd like to achieve in the coming year.
In 2015, we launched Civil Discourse and filled our blog with over 100 posts exploring various aspects of the Civil War era and its legacy. You can get a sampling of them by exploring our top ten posts of the past year. One of our blog's major goals is to widen our understanding of the Civil War by exploring it from all facets...focusing on the military and political history, yes, but also those incorporating cultural and social history, gender history, legal history...you get the idea. I think we've done a fair job of exposing our readers to historical approaches and topics both familiar and not, and that is something we're going to continue to develop in our second year.
In 2015, nearly 8,000 people visited our website 9,000 times, generating over 15,000 pages views. This is both gratifying and humbling for us. For me personally, one the most rewarding aspects of blogging is being able to reach a wider audience...certainly an audience bigger than those in any classroom or at any conference. We hope that these numbers reflect our ability to tell lively stories about the past and give them meaning. We also, of course, hope that they continue to grow!
In 2015, our blog continually added new features. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can read about our authors, see where we'll be speaking, catch up via our email newsletter (the next issue is coming out soon!), search for old posts, or check out our content geographically via our blog-post map (my favorite feature). We're looking to add a true archive (where all older posts are listed and can easily be browsed) this month. We hope to continue to find new ways to engage our visitors and reach news ones this year. While we've enjoyed solid visitation, engagement has proved another matter. Our metrics tell us lots of folks are visiting and reading our content, but few comment or share their own insights. This can be a common problem with blogs, but we're definitely going to be brainstorming new ways to spark conversations.
In 2016, we hope to continue growing! We're searching for new authors, new perspectives, and new ways to connect the public and history via digital media. Our goal of melding popular, public, and academic history has not changed, and I suspect we'll talk more not only about the Civil War, but also about these different fields of history and why and how they do and don't interact. Regardless, we are grateful and excited our project has made it thus far, and we hope you'll continue to visit and share your thoughts in the coming year!