Well, we’ve come round full circle to where we were this time last year: 31 December, the last day of the year. So, mainly because everyone else is doing it, this post is my review of the year from the point of view of my blog. (There is an ancient Tamil proverb apparently: if you see one man running down the road, ask why; if you see a whole crowd of people running down the street, don’t ask questions, just run.) However, unexpectedly, those nice people at WordPress have done the hard work and produced an ‘Annual Report‘ for me. (Another ancient Tamil proverb: Great people do things without asking.) The report itself is probably not the most interesting thing in the world unless you are me, which you are probably not, so I’ll let you indulge in the detail at your pleasure, and I’ll just focus on my most popular posts.
In the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, my post on the interesting “history” of the Dutchy of Cambridge is the fourth most popular post. Indeed, since it was written in the aftermath of the Royal Wedding in 2011, it has been in the top two for much of the time. Pretty impressive for something that based on a Wikipedia entry and perhaps one of the few posts which started with a bit of journalistic curiosity. It has lost its top position to that curious mix of God and sex; triggered by an article I came across in the New Scientist on what happens in the brain during sex and orgasm, I argued that there is a lot of truth in that “Yes, Yes, Oh God, Yes” moment. In essence, sex was created by God to give us a momentary glimpse of what it will be like to be in relationship with him in Heaven. This post was one of the first of 2012.
One of the most surprisingly successful posts, again written in 2011, came out of a conversation I had with my dad following the conviction of a gang of Asian men for grooming white girls. Somehow, the conversation got onto the bizarre subject of the traditional ‘coming of age’ or ‘age attainment‘ ceremony that Tamil parents arrange for their daughters following the first period. (I don’t know if other Asian cultures have something familiar.) I have always felt a bit uneasy about the ceremony for what is essentially a natural bodily function. I was quite shocked as to the original reason for the ceremony, back in the day, but was shocked even more that the tradition of the ceremony is still followed even when it is no longer relevant. What is interesting is that ‘age attainment’ was one of the most popular keyword searches of visitors to the site. It might also explain why I have had quite a lot of visitors (to the site) from India.
Of course, 2012 was the year that many people thought the world would come to an end, on 21 December. Of course, this New Age belief was a a very bad interpretation of the Ancient Mayan Calendar. A co-written post with @everythingreal, who I follow on Twitter, on what western astrology has to say about the day scraped in at number five. I have to be honest, I don’t know to what extent this post’s popularity was as a result of the topicality and to what extent it was down to heavy promotion on Twitter. I can be certain that this post brought a whole load of readers from United Arab Emirates, mainly friends and followers of @everythingreal who is based in Dubai.
Finally, perhaps the biggest moment of the year and of my life – my sister’s wedding – was the reason for my favourite post. In keeping with Tamil Hindu tradition, I was the Best Man (or Maapila Tholan), so of course I had to give the Best Man’s speech. And it went down really well, with people laughing in the right places; I received good feedback on the day too. I have recently seen myself speaking in the wedding video: I was amazing, if I do say so myself. This post has been constantly in second place since the wedding. Of course, at the back of my mind, I thought that guests might be telling me what I want to hear. But, in the last weekend of 2012, at a birthday party, someone who was a guest at the wedding told someone else completely unprompted that my speech was spot-on and well-delivered.
So, I have had an enjoyable year blogging even if my best ones had nothing to do with my PhD, Hegel, or environmental law. I have learnt that God, sex and the Royal Family sell, so to speak. (In that respect, I am really looking forward to the birth of the Royal Baby to William and Kate.) I have also learnt that it pays to be on Twitter, from a blogging point of view, as more people came to the site from there than from WordPress itself. Good writing and originality are important and I need to work on my presentation of Hegel.
So apart from the Royal Baby, what has 2013 in store? Most importantly, my PhD will be submitted and Not A PhD Thesis becomes Got A PhD Thesis. ( I don’t know whether and how I will change it on Twitter as well.) God willing, I will be able upload another wedding speech, but this time as the groom (I’m open to any offers). I will be back on the job market again, hopefully not too long (Again, I’m open to offers). I would like to take more contributions, so if you are interested in writing something, please contact me. And who know what will happen in the news?