Monday, November 28, 2005


I was going to let the day pass unmarked, but then I changed my mind. It was a year ago that Effect Measure saw its first post. In the 366 days since last Thanksgiving (November 27, 2004), EM has seen 766 posts, slightly more than two a day and no day has passed without at least one post. Last December we had less than 1,000 unique visits. Now we get 1,000 - 2,000 each day. The audience is small, by some standards, but influential. The referrer logs consistently show readers from NIH, CDC, USGS and USDA, all over academia in the US and abroad and many, many sharp witted and knowledgeable readers lending their raw brain power, astuteness and sometimes nuttiness. The Reveres get interesting email from names most public health people would recognize.

I know about the visits because I compulsively check the various site counters. Melanie of Just a Bump in the Beltway warned me early on there is no 12 step program for bloggers to stop checking their site counters, and she was right. But we have also made it a firm practice not to "chase traffic," that is, to change our posts just to attract people to the site. As our masthead proclaims, we still are a " forum for progressive public health discussion and argument as well as a source of public health information from around the web that interests the Editor(s)." We almost never ban anyone from the Comments and never cut off true argument, although on occasion we have declared a thread closed when it was becoming tiresome even to the highly tolerant and patient editors. Even when we have done so, all readers have accepted the closure without our actively enforcing it. In the course of the year we have managed to accrue a nice community. All welcome. Some of you are certifiably crazy, but you are well behaved, for which we thank you.

Who is Revere in "real life"? Wouldn't you like to know. We have heard some interesting speculation. As to how many Reveres there are, we will divulge this much: the number is greater or equal to one (which you know, because you are reading this) and strictly less than five. It is not a prime number. No more clues.

As we embark on Year II, we expect to be doing much the same as in Year I: Talking about the leadership void in public health (for which the bird flu problem is both a metaphor and an embodiment); criticizing the public health establishment when it deserves criticism (which is pretty much all the time; what a bunch of wusses!); discussing public health topics that interest one or the other of us (just because we want to and it's our blog); talking about war and peace and the baneful effects of religion on the way we treat each other (because we feel compelled to do so).

We're not sure how long one Blog Year is in human time, but we feel confident it's more than a dog equivalent. We know there are blogs out there up for five or more years, the blog equivalent of Methusaleh. All we can say is we'll keep doing it until we don't do it anymore.

Thank you (11:30 pm EST, 11/28/05): To all who congratulated us, wished us well, said kind things, encouraged us, a big Thank You. This kind of feedback is the only recompense for an anonymous blog, but it is the best kind. It is obviously gratifying to have the nods from fellow bloggers but also from the non-bloggers, many of whom comment often and visit faithfully. For those who have just discovered EM, welcome to you. And now I will do something I definitely should NOT do, single out one person from others, although all of you have a solid claim to my respect and affection. But I would be remiss if I didn't recognize Jordan Barab and his superb blog, Confined Space, which led the way among public health blogs and has been the model for committed public health blogging for me and so many others, bloggers and non-bloggers. Confined Space is not just a blog. It is the way people in Occupational Health and Safety find out about what is going on. Jordan's blog predates ours by more than a year (he is the true trailblazer) and while EM's traffic has caught up, our quality, commitment and dedication can only aspire to the standard he has set. Hats off to you, brother Jordan.

Now, back to work. Much to do and no one knows how much time to do it.