Although I think bloggers themselves get more out of year-end posts, I cannot pass up an excuse to reflect on the past year for Conditionally Accepted. The blog has grown enough since my 2013 year-end recap to warrant a recap of 2014.
The biggest change, of course, is the growth of our blogging staff, with the addition of Dr. Jeana Jorgensen (@foxyfolklorist) as a regular contributor. Beginning with her four-part blog series, “I Don’t Know If I Want To Be A Professor Anymore” (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), Jeana brings to the blog one perspective of the now-majority of PhDs who do not secure tenure-track positions after graduate school. She recently launched her own sex education business, and continues to blog on her personal site and for MySexProfessor.com. Welcome Jeana!
First, The Numbers
- ConditionallyAccepted.com is now 17 months old (see our first post here). We celebrated the blog’s first birthday in late July.
- We reached the milestone of 100,000 site visits in March, and then 200,000 site visits in November. At the time of writing this post, we have had 226,287 visits. (Note: these numbers count the number of times distinct blog posts have been viewed, so we cannot distinguish one-time visitors from repeat visitors.) I am relieved to see steady traffic, as I have had to scale back to once-per-week posting (you know, since this is basically a hobby to my tenure-track position).
- This year, we have had 17 guest bloggers, including: Dr. Manya Whitaker, Dr. Wendy Christensen, Jeff Kosbie, Dr. Michaela A. Nowell, Dr. Nyasha Junior, Erin Breedlove, Michelle Kweder, Dr. Crystal Fleming, Psych Girl, Dr. Victor Ray, Dr. Emilia Lombardi, Kasim Ortiz, Dr. Brent Harger, Dr. Cat Pausé, Dr. Christopher White, and Anonymous (1) and Anonymous (2). These bloggers come from a range of backgrounds, positions, disciplines, and career paths, and write about a wide range of topics.
- We have 2,225 followers on Twitter (@conditionaccept) and 1,013 likes on our Facebook page.
As measured by number of views, here are our top 10 posts of 2014:
- “The Myth Of Meritocracy In Academia,” by me
- “25 Lessons From Grad School That Weren’t (Totally) True,” by me
- “Reflections On Nominal Diversity In Academia,” by Dr. Victor Ray
- “Professors Feel Pain, Too,” by me
- “I Don’t Know If I Want To Be A Professor Anymore (Pt. II),” by Dr. Jeana Jorgensen
- “But, Do #BlackLivesMatter In Academia?,” by me
- “I Don’t Know If I Want To Be A Professor Anymore (Pt. I),” by Dr. Jeana Jorgensen
- “I Souled Out,” by me
- “Giving Up On Academic Stardom,” by me
- “On Dealing With Online Criticism And Trolls For Academics,” by me
Measuring our impact quantitatively is the easy part, even if site traffic, followers, and guest bloggers are rough proxies for “impact.” I am still uncertain of ways to gauge a blog’s broader impact. Are we changing hearts? Minds? Lives? Policies? Conversations? Do otherwise invisible people see themselves in our blog posts? Do otherwise voiceless people feel heard? Do otherwise powerless people feel empowered?
At a minimum, the blog provides a space for dialogue, advice, and the sharing of resources for those of us who are marginalized in academia. I certainly feel that as a regular voice on the blog, as I am sure is the case for other bloggers (both here and on other academic blog sites). But, that does not say much about what our actual and potential readers get from the blog.
I am even more confident than in my 2013 reflections that the blog is far from “navel-gazing.” In fact, it has begun to sink in that some readers have referred to and shared Conditionally Accepted as a resource; that means, not only are they viewing content on the blog, they are also encouraging others to view it. For example, I have heard that the blog is listed as a resource in The Para-Academic Handbook:A Toolkit for Making-Learning-Creating-Acting. And, some blog posts have been been cited for research purposes. I guess that indicates that we are having some kind of impact in academia!
I have often daydreamed about what will come from our blogging efforts in the years to come. Advocacy that goes beyond telling our stories and offering advice? Perhaps a book? Maybe the creation of an academic professional development organization? Many have already successfully pursued these efforts, so I hesitate to recreate what already exists. And, more importantly, I am still an overwhelmed new tenure-track professor!
In the short-term, I hope to see Conditionally Accepted grow just a bit more in 2015 — more readers and followers, more guest bloggers, more topics and perspectives covered, and perhaps even another addition to our regular blogging staff. As usual, we welcome guest blog posts! C’mon 2015 — we’re ready for you.