First, the apologies. I am sorry that I have no preditioning talents, so I do not know what 2017 will bring. I can only hope that 2017 spares all of us any sadness that can not be understood, all pointless rage, or a further coarsening of attitudes into an blank-faced acceptance of hate.
I know that all of the above is not possible without work, and that all I can offer is some hope in my immediate neighborhood, which includes this website right here.
When I started this website in December 2013, no one on this planet was waiting to read what I had to write about anything at all. No one was holding their breath.
Thank you to more than 25,000 visitors to this website in 2016. You tallied up 43,000-plus visits this year, which strikes me as 42,999 more than I understand.
To me, these are huge numbers. And then I remember that last year I spoke with a professional writer who is breaking into digital journalism, and he told me what writers at the most popular, eyeball-centric, websites get paid per visit: $1.00 per 1000 views among the more generous sites. (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the brand names.) What this means is that my good year by my standards would make for a bad day by their standards. I would have earned less than thirty-four bucks in all of 2015. Forty-three this year.
I spent more than $34 on this website last year and again this year. And then I remind myself that I do this for free.
There is one other number, and it is one that means more to me than 33,997 (last year’s visits) and 43,000 combined: because I do not charge a subscription (and WordPress would not allow that anyway) and because this is a one-man operation (which is sometimes sadly obvious), 99.9% of the comments I receive are complimentary and direct and addressed to me personally. I strive to respond to each one, even if only with a thank you; I know I fail in that a lot of the time, however, and I will strive to do even better. Forty-three thousand visits is nice, but this publication is so personal that I probably have seen the names of most of the 43,000 visitors.
The most-visited article on this website in 2016 is a piece from April titled, “Inside Raif Badawi’s Prison Cell,” which was the first actual work of journalism I have produced in two decades. I have an anonymous source who was able to share some details, basic details, about the Saudi writer’s prison circumstances, and I published the only exclusive that I have yet produced. It was shared on Facebook 677 times, and in August human rights activist Bianca Jagger (yes, you have heard of her) shared it on Twitter.
I am a terrible name-dropper, I admit, but when one of the names that one can drop is “Bianca Jagger,” one drops it.
This was a good year, and a challenging year and I need to write more about it. I have been hiding in plain sight for much of the year. Another column …
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Thank you to everyone who reads this website, even if this post is the first one by me that you have seen: Thank you.
Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a happy start to 2017.
The WordPress Daily Prompt for December 31 asks us to reflect on the word, “Hopeful.”
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