Tuesday, January 01, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A Happy New Year to all of you, wishing all of you the best for 2008. In the world of politics, and therefore also of political blogging, it should be an exciting year.

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2007 was a great year for The Reaction. There are many personal stories behind this blog, too many to get into, some simply too personal to get into, but it was a year that saw growth in terms of traffic, exposure, and recognition, a year that saw the addition of several new co-bloggers, a year, in a word, of improvement.

When I started this blog back in 2005, I had no idea where it would go. I'd never blogged before, didn't know much about blogging, and thought it might be a fun and interesting thing to do in my spare time -- a post or two a day, hopefully a few readers, whatever. If nothing else, I'd be able to express myself, opine. About what, I knew not -- politics, philosophy, culture, my general areas of interest, that much was clear, but I had no direction, just an empty blog and a few thoughts. It was slow at first, pointless even, but I kept at it, posting and posting, more and more.

Over time, I brought on a few co-bloggers, but it was in 2007 that The Reaction became not just a group blog but, more accurately, a community of bloggers -- if I may say so, a community of some of the finest voices in the blogosphere. It was me, just me, for a long time, and I continued to do most of the posting until just recently, but increasingly I wanted this blog to be more, much more, than just me and my opinions. I wanted it to be a forum for intelligent, thoughtful, dynamic blogging, for provocative and challenging posts, a community of diverse ideas and perspectives, of diverse voices, a website dedicated to news, commentary, and analysis of high quality, with a focus not just on the U.S. and Canada but on the international scene as well -- and not just on politics but on a wide range of other topics, from science and technology to philosophy and economics to culture and the arts and whatever else might deserve some attention.

There is always room for improvement, and hopefully The Reaction will continue to improve -- hopefully, too, our readership will continue to grow. But as we welcome in 2008 -- and midnight is now over two hours behind us here in England, where I'm on vacation -- I must say that I am immensely proud of this blog -- and extremely grateful to all the people who have made it what it is today. No, I had no idea back in 2005 that my little blog with no direction would become a group blog of this magnitude, but I would have it no other way.

You will see a few changes here in the next few days, some changes to the look and feel of the blog. Some of you may already have noticed that I took my name off the banner -- a move long overdue, perhaps, but it was time to recognize formally that The Reaction isn't just "by" me. Again, it's a community, and one with a more formal editorial structure. I am still the editor-in-chief, and I will continue to post as often as I can, but there are other editors, too, and the posts will come from many different bloggers. In that sense, nothing will change from what's been going on for many months now. Some may post a little more, some a little less -- we all have lives outside blogging, after all -- and there may even be some new contributors, but, on the whole, The Reaction will continue to be The Reaction. It will just look better.

So, again, best wishes to all of you from all of us. We hope you make us one of your blogging destinations in 2008.

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There were some fireworks out here in the countryside, but the fireworks in London, which I caught on the BBC, where quite spectacular:

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