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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blogging reflections from my first year of blogging

     Yesterday was my one year anniversary of doing the HoCo Connect blog.  I have posted 347 times in that period and have had over 31,000 views.  Most days over 100 people view the blog. Not close to being in the newspaper but not too bad for the first year.  Getting mentioned in How Chow or in the Baltimore Sun's blog posts is good for an extra 100 people.

        Doing a daily blog is like keeping a daily journal and sharing it with the world. When I started the blog I talked with Tom Coale of HoCo Rising about what was important in doing a blog.  His suggestions were to post regularly and have a theme to your blog.  I have kept to the first suggestion better than the second.  Most bloggers who post infrequently wonder how it is possible to have something to blog on everyday.  This can be a problem and I admit that I simply “cut and paste” information some days from information I have learned from other organizations.  I have heard the complaint that I “cut and paste” too often.  I have also heard the complaint that my formatting is a problem some days with the cut and paste.  Cutting and pasting information does lead to some weird formatting issues that I can’t always straighten out.

         In doing this for a year I have found myself having too many potential blogs---- not too few.  I tend to think and observe my daily activities as “potential blogs.”  I have developed a blogger mentality.  This is not difficult as someone who is curious about the many things that I experience or observe during the day.
       Early on I decided that I had to have a change of pace for the weekend blogs.  I wanted them to be more fun and to explore my other interests of food and travel. I know some people ignore the weekend posts as off topic but I enjoy them greatly.  My experiments with food are fun to share even when they don’t work out (i.e. doing a pizza on a Weber grill).

       One of the unexpected benefits of doing this blog has been the opportunity to meet other bloggers.  We can all thank Jesse Newburn for organizing the blog parties where we can talk with each other about blogging. Jesse has been very helpful to me with her suggestions on how to make my blog better.  Thanks Jesse for all that you do for the blogging community.  Like some much of Howard County we have probably one of the best blogging communities in the country.  If you can’t find something to interest you in Howard County you aren't looking hard enough.
        I hope that the information I have tried to pass along and share in this blog has been useful to folks that have read the blog.  I know that I have probably gaimed more out of doing this blog than most readers.  I have met many interesting people like Barbara Kellner at the Columbia Archives, reporters from the Patch network and many others from agencies and organizations around the County.  

        A year ago I just wanted to reconnect with people and activities in Howard County after having been focused outside the County in my work for the previous 8 years.  I found that blogging gave me that opportunity in a very tangible way.  We are really fortunate to live in a vital community like Howard County.  I wish it was more affordable for people of more limited economic means and have blogged on that reality often.  You shouldn’t have to have a six figure income to enjoy the wonderful assets of our County.  And yes I have heard the complaints that Jim Rouse's vision (one that I share) for Columbia doesn’t have to forever define our community.  Times change and yes we need to recognize that fact.  But I will remain one of those “true believers” that communities can embrace diversity and strive to make our community as livable and “people friendly” as possible.  Jim Rouse was unique as a developer in recognizing that communities are people first and not just buildings and roads.  And yea I still do miss Mrs. Z’s!

        A recent article reported that home sales in the Baltimore metro region dropped in January. Sales in one county in the State, however, show a bright spot in the market. According to figures from market research firm Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., Howard County had 154 home sales in January, an increase of 8 percent over last year. The average sold price was down 1 percent to $384,627. What does this mean? In a tough economy, homes in Howard County are becoming more abundant and more affordable.

       The Howard County Housing Fair on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane in Columbia will provide a one stop place to learn about the different housing in Howard County. The event is the only place where home buyers can get everything they need to know about buying and living in Howard County. It is completely free and open to the public, and features more than 45 real estate specialists, mortgage lenders, homebuilders & remodelers, as well as narrated bus tours and the popular Housing Lottery.


wordbones said...


Congratulations on 347 posts and one year of blogging.


Tom Coale (HCR) said...

Happy Blog-o-versary! I like the idea of a "blogger mindset" and find myself thinking that way a lot.

nicole said...

Congrats on one year of blogging! Your post was very thoughtful and inspiring to this aspiring blogger.

jessie said...

Congratulations, Duane. What an accomplishment to stick with your blog so diligently Thanks for the shout-out and I'll add my voice to those who don't care for the cut-and-paste approach you take sometimes. (Skip a day rather than force a post, maybe, huh?)

Thanks for being an integral part of the hoco bloggers and for all your contributions and awesomeness.