When I began to blog regularly a year ago with a post on academic writing, I wasn't quite sure about this experiment: will anybody read what I have to say? Will I have enough to say? And the less obvious nags: how will it feel to be a public frog, and will people accuse me of shameless self-promotion?

An anniversary is a good time to reflect. Nobody has accused me of shamelessness so far, and being a frog feels nice enough (though I would prefer to think of myself as a buffalo, or indeed as one of those most anthropological goats). More importantly, and more surprisingly, I also had indeed something to say every week - and found readers for it! Around 15 readers on an average day, to be precise, mostly from India, the US and the UK (and more, sometimes considerably more, on Mondays, when I put a new piece online). According to my stats, these readers - you - found the following posts most interesting:

Questions for better research (impressive, given that it's fairly recent)
Muslim belonging in Lucknow (kind of expected)
How to get an Indian research visa (a true surprise, see below)
Academic writing (which is also the oldest post, and still one of the best)
Academic dresscode (for men) (really?! I knew this is my hidden strength...)

Lately, my encounter with Mayawati is also trending for no apparent reason. In contrast, the following posts were so far neglected by my readership:

Lahore, Lahore (I admit: nothing there apart from a nice picture)
Getting used to buffaloes (really? nobody else like them??)
Phenomenology of Tehzeeb (I knew this won't sit well with Lucknowites)
Articles of Faith (book review) (it is worth a read though - the book, I mean)
Description, interpretation, evaluation (students...)

It is interesting to observe what the readership (you!) likes, and I am especially happy when I trigger some debate in the comment section (for instance on the last elections in UP). One of the surprising insights from this blog experiment - and one of the key reasons to keep it going - was however that I sometimes think of myself as prime reader - and not of you at all. Forgive me thus if I to talk about myself for a while now. What did the blog mean to me? First of all, the committment to blog once a week forced me to synthesize at least some of my insights throughout the research cycle in a more coherent fashion than I usually do in my fieldnotes. This often took quite more time than I had hoped - but I rarely felt this time is wasted; often, the time to put together a post was indeed necessary to really figure out what I want to say in the first place - which made work easier afterwards. And to reconcile me with all the time and sweat going into such posts, blogging took very little time on other days - for instance when I simply copy and pasted lecture notes. I can thus only endorse Dan's Cohens classic piece: scholars should blog without hesitation!

Apart from personal satisfaction, the blog (and related tweeting) also brought me together with a number of interesting people both in academia and in Lucknow - which in turn improved my research. And finally, it never ceases to amaze me how many (often senior) colleagues ask for my advice in visa matters. Sometimes even people I know (sometimes even supervisors), and sometimes people I always wanted to get in touch with but never dared. Funny world...

So the bottomline is: I will continue the experiment. I will try to blog more about my core research, but keep posting lecture notes as well as small bits and pieces of "community service" (such as visa advice) interspersed. There will, for instance, be a small series on book publishing once my first monograph touches the shelves towards the end of the year - how did I get there? Next week, meanwhile, is scheduled for the electoral roll experiment - and another map.

I will also try to blog more briefly. No excuse. And I will blog what you want to read - let me know below, or privately. Thanks for following - and happy anniversary!