As of today, I have been blogging at Createquity for two years. It’s pretty amazing to think how far things have come in such a short time. Even one year ago, this blog was still pretty quiet — a subscriber base of perhaps 20, a comment maybe every month or so, and a pretty light posting schedule. I remember intentionally writing blogs on the 30th or the 31st so that my total for the month wouldn’t be too embarrassingly low.
Something happened to this blog starting around February or so of this year, however. It wasn’t any one event, but a few factors conspired to make Createquity less of a lark and more of a “thing.” First, I started picking up the NEA story during the debate over the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the stimulus bill), which resulted in my first real exposure on the blogs of people I didn’t know and had never met before, a new and odd feeling. Second, I started posting more often and introducing regular features like Around the Horn on a schedule, which definitely seemed to help with traffic for some reason that I don’t totally understand. Third, for my final half-semester at business school, I decided to make one of my classes (my independent study on public policy and the arts) a glorified excuse for writing more blog posts. Instead of blogging for the class, I took the class for the blog. Several of the resulting essays became among the most-read Createquity posts of all time, and the experience led to the introduction of the Arts Policy Library series this summer.
Along the way, I got Createquity transferred to its own domain and a visual upgrade, attended, blogged, and met many new readers at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, welcomed Createquity’s first guest author, Guy Yedwab, guest-wrote for the six-week discussion on the NEA at Barry’s Blog and the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Salon, and was the first blogger to cover the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference — an organization whose website I remember wistfully exploring prior to business school, wondering when I would get a chance to join the party. This month, I’m on track to average a post a day for the first time. And through it all, the readership has kept growing. What was a steady subscriber base of 20-25 people through the beginning of 2009 reached a peak of 351 earlier this month (since then, the total got cut by 100+ because of a mysterious decision by Google to shut down my old blog due to “spam concerns”). Given that arts policy isn’t exactly a dinner-table topic in most households, that’s not too bad.
It’s been a fun ride, and I want to take a moment to thank a few folks who have been instrumental in making it possible: my friend Darcy James Argue for providing much advice and wisdom at the very beginning; early fans like Adam Forest Huttler and Sean Stannard-Stockton for giving me a boost when I was still figuring things out; Thomas Cott and Ethan Iverson for sending hordes of curious readers my way and singlehandedly giving some posts a second (and third, and fourth) life; Tommer Peterson, Barry Hessenius, and Stephanie Evans for believing in me enough to let me blurt out my thoughts on their own turf; my independent study advisor, Jonathan Koppell, for being cool with letting my essays for class be in hyperlinked format; and last but not least, my student advisor at business school, Nancy Livingston, who really encouraged me to get this thing off the ground and is probably more responsible than anyone for it to have happened when it did. Thanks to all as well who have responded in the comments or on their own blogs, kept up a dialogue with me, and helped to raise awareness of new ideas and new frontiers in arts management and arts policy. I’m looking forward to year three.