One year on

Today marks the end of my first year of blogging. Although I didn’t note it at the time, I started on the winter solstice, which in Canberra means something. The year has seen a lot of changes for me, most of them positive. I’ve moved from Canberra, where I lived most of my life from 1970 onwards, to Brisbane, and, correspondingly from ANU, my alma mater, to the University of Queensland. I’ve finished up an ARC Research Fellowship and managed to land the best job available in Australian academia, a Federation Fellowship. I’ve become a father-in-law, and am looking forward, in due course, to becoming a grandfather. All of these transitions have involved some breaking of old and familiar ties and the beginning of new adventures

In blogging terms, a year is still long enough to go from newbie to old hand. I’ve moved from the training wheels of Blogger to the Mac-like elegance of Movable Type, and have established myself in a fairly satisfactory corner of Ozplogistan (this term based on ‘plog’ for ‘political weblog’, was coined by Bright Cold Matt in a comments thread, and popularised by Ken Parish. Matt gives more etymological details in the comments thread for this post). I was going to list the people who play a central role in this virtual universe, but I realised I was sure to omit someone, and you all know who you are anyway.

I was also going to do a “state of Ozplogistan” assessment, but I see my blogtwin, Tim Dunlop, has already written one. I’ll just make two observations. The first is that, after a period of explosive growth, blogging seems to have entered what economists call the “mature phase” (this refers to industry structure, not to the content of posts!), with roughly equal numbers of entries and exits. Among those most missed, I’ll nominate Don Arthur, whom I keep on the blogroll in the forlorn hope that he’ll finish his thesis and resume blogging. My other observation is that the political makeup of Ozplogistan now resembles that of Oz, whereas, when I started, the echo effect of American-inspired warblogging was still a dominant factor.

My big problem, coincidentally mentioned by Homer Paxton in one of today’s comments is “How in heaven’s name do you combine Uni work, blogging, family time, reading etal.” I’m still trying to figure that one out. If I find the answer I’ll tell you. If I join the legion of departed bloggers, you’ll know I haven’t managed to crack it.

Finally, thanks to all who have linked to my posts, commented in my comment boxes, or just read and enjoyed the blog. A particular thankyou to Rob Corr, who provided hosting for the new site.

10 thoughts on “One year on

  1. Happy birthday. Guess I must be about the same age. You should write a ‘state of the union’ piece – I’d be interested to hear the assessment. Funny but I had planned a piece on the ‘people who play a central role in this virtual universe’ but abandoned it for exactly the same reason. The twin thing holds!

  2. John, also congratulations on a year of blogging, and maybe one day, like jesus, they will reset the calendars to commemorate this 😉

    I, of course, would be very cool with that.

    Among the many things I have enjoyed about your posts is the intersection of research into uncertainty in economic structure, and the idea of blogs as elements in the market for ideas. These are, as you imply from time to time, related concepts.

    So, I would like to pose a simple question to you (and to the august readers of comments here, although probably only those excited by economic microtheory of uncertainty in markets and the meaning of agency in a complex environment will be immediately inspired; nevertheless, this is a question about the meaning of liberty in the face of uncertainty).

    Question is this: What is the economic problem?

    If it is scarcity, then we have the answer to that in neoclassical theory of the efficient allocation of resources. But does that also apply to ideas (as resources, where these ideas are emerging in a market)?

    What are the implications of rethinking economic micro theory in terms of a more fundamental problem than choice with known preferences, but rather the growth of actions based on ideas that shape preferences.

    That is, what if the economic problem was the coordination of the growth of knowledge (i.e. the problem of choice as preference formation in an open environment, and the context of uncertainty in that framework).

    This is the problem of uncertainty in the economics of ideas? Could that be the fundamental economic problem?

    If blogs are valuable, is it because they enable good ideas to rise fast, and to be rapidly tested, exactly as in good science (and entrepreneurship in free markets).

    Or are blogs valuable as capital stores of ideas, i.e. Socratic tape recordings (of the sort that might be arguments in an endogenous production function)?

    I think that each blog represents a position in a market for ideas. But some blogs become markets in themselves, a place where ideas come to trade. Blogs can be both commodities and markets.

    There are many questions here of course for the microeconomist, but the one that the eminant microeconomst has a duty to comment upon to the public, perhaps, is on whether Blogs are models for economic markets for ideas.

    I.e. Can blogs do more? Can they be comercially valuable? Or, are they essentially public resources (partitions of idea space by attention preferences)? What is the scarce resource here? What does it mean if time and attention are the fundamental resource to be allocated, given that this is inherently a problem of dealing with uncertainty.

    Are blogs elements in the pure market for ideas?

    Is the economics of blogs expressable in the arrow-debreu framework?

    Sorry to burden you with these questions John, and you are of course free to postpone them indefinitely to a later date (i.e. ’till my parole).

    But I can think of but a handful of people in the world today who would be in a position to answer this question in the aspect it takes (uncertainty, market theory, and the value of new ideas.

    happy first birthday.

  3. Everyone’s doing massive posts to celebrate their BlogAnniversary. Well, I’ll be doing mine to celebrate my 1 year, 3 month and 17th day of blogging. Look out interwebnet.

  4. Congrats on the blogiversary, John. Always excellent reading.

    I’d like to claim, however, coinage of the word “plogging”, in the comments to this post (at the time, I said, a little self-consciously: “new word! you saw it here first!”). It’s about two-thirds down the comments listing.

    Ken was nice enough to attribute it to me later (see this post).

    Ken’s made the word his own, though – can I suggest, “coined by Bright Cold Matt, popularised by Ken Parish”? It’s not pretty, but it’s accurate. Matter for you.

  5. Thanks John, that seriously “uglied up” your post.

    I should note other uses of the word “plogging” (from a cursory Google search) …

    puppet blogging

    – sites which mostly are a collection of links from one blog to the next, with little original content. (from “portal link logging”)

    – the outright theft of a post (i.e. posting other people’s content as one’s own)

    The puppet blogging usage seems to have the greatest currency (even if the idea didn’t really take off).

    Pity the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t take on-line texts as a source.

  6. Congratulations. Enjoyable, thoughtful and informative. Keep it up.

    Funny, I somehow thought your blog had been going for years and I had only latched on recently, but I must have been on from near blogdate zero.



  7. did you hear about the midnight scribbler?
    Hope you all remembered to get scribbling for Scribble Press’s forthcoming Solstice publication. If you forgot, don’t panic. You have until 28 June to submit your 250 words to Dale. I’d love to see all the Aussie bloggers contributing. Aussie…

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