27 December 2017

Ten years of Mountain Beltway

Posted by Callan Bentley

Ten short years ago, I wrote my first post on NOVA Geoblog, the predecessor of this blog, Mountain Beltway. It’s my blogiversary!

There was something special about that time, and a bunch of other geology bloggers started up at that same time, including Dave Petley’s Landslide Blog and Jessica Ball’s Magma Cum Laude, both of which also celebrate ten years this month.

In addition to the thousand posts at NOVA Geoblog, it’s been a terrific run here at the AGU Blogosphere: 1650 posts and counting! I’m really grateful to AGU for taking the initiative* to start the AGU Blogosphere and to have maintained it and upgraded it and recruited excellent new blogs during my time here.

* The project was spearheaded by María José Viñas, who’s since moved onto NASA, and is ably managed nowadays by Larry O’Hanlon. My deepest gratitude to both.

Here are six years of data about visitation to this blog, showing spikes for particularly popular posts:

During that time here at the AGU Blogosphere, I’ve had a lot of people stop by:

Blogging has become my favorite way to spool up my brain each morning, with a low stakes, motivated-by-fun act of stringing together images and words to share something interesting. 315 of those posts have been Friday folds of one sort or another – About 6 years of Friday folds in 7 years! There have also been 130+ book reviews in there, a substantive documentation in its own right.

It’s always been a labor of love, and I haven’t yet gotten paid a nickel for it. That said, it’s sort of been the centerpiece of my career, and a major achievement in outreach and informal geoscience education.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t alone. As Chris Rowan has pointed out, late 2007/early 2008 was a sort of “Cambrian Explosion” for the geoblogosphere. Many of those blogs have been “fossilized” over the ensuing decade, though there are a few that yet persist. It seems to me that most of the action has shifted to Twitter, though. I wonder where we’ll be doing #scicomm at the end of 2027?

It’s been a significant ten years for me personally. Though my job at Northern Virginia Community College has been a constant, I’ve gotten married and my wife and I have had a son, and moved out into the country from my former digs in the city. I’ve taught more than a thousand students, and run a series of successful field courses, and gotten some grants, and won some awards, and been elected to important roles in useful organizations. I’ve been keeping busy.

But that means I haven’t had as much time for blogging lately as I used to. The scant action around here lately is a symptom of greater involvement in a bunch of other projects. Other deadlines or initiatives or official positions take up attention that previously was available for blogging. That’s a bummer for the blog, but good news for the bigger picture. I’ve gotten involved in a bunch of cool work beyond the classroom in this past decade.

What will the next decade bring? I can’t wait to find out. I’ll keep you in the loop as it all pans out.