A few enchanted days in the life of a blog, this blog

Well, well. Give the BBC positive press at this time and it could do wonders for your blogging life! Peter Barron, the editor of BBC’s Newsnight, recommended a previous Sumptuous! post on a facebook discussion forum. I couldn’t quite believe it, so took a picture. Apologies to those uncomfortable with self-promotion.


It made me think about the story of this blog, and about blogging in general. I’ll begin by tracing a few connections in the life of this blog over the past few days, since I migrated it to WordPress.

The story begins with a graph that shows days on the horizontal axis, and number of visits on the vertical.


The graph begins on 07-08 (just off screen – i.e. 8th July), just before I began using WordPress on Monday 9th July, having carried it across from another hosting service, Blogger; I’d had enough of the design and the functionality there. (And you don’t get graphs as nice as the above at Blogger; in fact, I don’t think they give stats at all. I had to fiddle around inserting an external site meter to find out what was cooking.)

I explain the spike on 11th July by my internet-interested friends checking out the new incarnation; the graph then bumbles along from the 12th to the 21st.

22nd July was a Sunday, when friends were probably checking back in. It was also the day when I published ‘Seeding the future‘ – hardly a post to get the blogosphere buzzing.

A nice, gentle accumulation of visitors followed, thanks to Kevin Grandia taking up my suggestion (to look into RDF television being behind the BBC editing-the-Queen fiasco as well as the Great Swindle). Mr Grandia contributes to Desmog, a blog that challenges the PR industry to get out of bed with interests vested in flatly denying the science of global warming.

That was my first kick! So I took a picture as evidence. (The second being Peter Barron mentioned above.) I believe ‘H/T’, or ‘Hat Tip’ is a blogging term to attribute a tip-off.


But then – wahay – a sudden jump in visits on Friday 27th; WordPress tells me it was down to the ‘BBC programming at its best’ post. Maybe all the visitors were BBC employees seeking solace. Anyhow.

Quite how Mr Barron found me, I don’t know. Maybe he employs poor researchers to scour the web with keywords like drubbing (maybe that’s a bit pointed; I have, after all, made light of that already. Sorry), or Gavin Esler.

As you can imagine, I’m pleased, if not a bit daunted by the notion that readers may well be expecting more publications similarly witty, profound and skilful. (Now that is tongue in cheek, Ms Butt.)

Maybe the most gratifying thing for me was that BBC Online reinstated their promotion for the Newsnight Special, the Battle for Islam. I don’t know whether my email to Peter Barron, via facebook, had anything to do with it, but I had been concerned that the executive decision had been made to bury it – for a reason unbeknown to me; for a time, the programme seemed to have disappeared from view. Here is how it looks right now on the Newsnight homepage – once again.


Hurrah. Simple but effective design, yes?

You will no doubt have read in the BBC at its best post praise for Gavin Esler’s handling of a potentially confrontational and silly debate. I went so far as to make a side swipe at Tony Blair by suggesting Mr Esler be considered as a potential Middle East envoy. Imagine.

Well blow me! Word to appoint a BBC journalist to the role seems to have got around fast. Someone close to Gordon Brown was reading this blog! Prime Minister Brown has gone and appointed a former BBC journalist to the role – the wrong man! but a BBC journalist nonetheless. (Possibly, at the very least, a former colleague of Mr Esler.) What made me chuckle was that it was the one and only Gavin Esler himself, reading out the next day’s newspaper headlines at the end of the most recent installment, who highlighted Brown’s move. Was that an air of amusement humming around the Newsnight studio as he showed the Guardian front page to camera?

So, that’s the story of the first twenty days of Sumptuous! at WordPress.com. A remarkable confluence of events, and a BBC studio in-joke perhaps. Who knows – this could go stellar.

Thanks for stopping by.


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