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Friday, February 10, 2012

We are six!

Six years this week since this professional hobby started and 2400 posts and 238,000 page views later it is still keeping me off the streets-golf went a couple of years ago.
 (OMPP (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I've previously acknowledged the impetus to get started was the prodding back then from Nicolette Davey, right, who left us for the Financial Times in London and is now with the Baw Baw Shire Council in Victoria-how lucky are they?) and Susan Timmins (still here, no escape for her). They insisted I ditch the occasional client newsletter in favour of a more contemporary communication channel. I'm still resisting other prods for the tweet and similar things.

Looking back there are some trends - a shift in my focus away from initial close attention to NSW freedom of information issues in the direction of attempted coverage of a wider Australian patch and a broader range of issues; year on year increases in visits of 40% or more with Australian readership consistently over 80%; as Australian numbers increase, overseas visitors have declined as a percentage of the total with the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and India always leading that group; comments have increased but my guess is that public servants of various stripes are behind Anonymous who remains our most steady contributor.

Another trend may be telling: the number of posts in the last three years went from a high 440, to 358 to 260 last year.

Importantly and despite lots of necessary qualifications, the laws and government transparency are better than in 2006, and open government these days involves discussion of a wide range of issues that weren't being talked about then.

Some lessons from blogging: content is king so feeding the beast regularly and often is a necessary part of the trade; some buzz words - the mere mention recently of Schapelle Corby for instance - attract a new audience; the blogger mindset that the last post published is of interest to the reader is wrong as people out there are grazing the net all the time usually looking at published pieces of current interest to them that may be years old; lots of pro forma "great post" comments are spam, meant to provide a link to commercial websites, so hit the delete button rather than take pride in publishing; there are plenty and an increasing number of people out there who need help in dealing with government on information related issues and will write and sometimes call at all sorts of odd times; and someone like me could do with a subeditor skilled in catchy headlines. And a red pen to rein in the tendency to ramble (sorry).

So thanks for the interest. As to the seventh year, on with the show.


  1. Congrats Peter! Your blog is a fantastic resource to stay up to date with FOI and privacy matters. Wish you all the best and look forward to the year ahead.

  2. Anonymous2:09 pm

    Happy blogday Peter! Those numbers represent a lot of work. I've learnt a lot since I began reading Open and Shut, and as an independent source of news and information about government functions(or malfunctions) it is a very valuable addition to my daily reading. On ya. Cheers, Mag

  3. Anonymous3:29 pm

    Admitting I'm a public servant of a varying stripes. Still reading and occasionally commenting four years later. thanks