Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random Thoughts on Blogging

Nearly 550 posts, and 61,000 visits ago, I began The Itawamba History Review blog for the Itawamba Historical Society. For months fellow society member and researcher Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian had casually mentioned that I needed to start a blog. Lori is a librarian, associate professor, and a well-disciplined researcher – one who doesn’t jump to quick conclusions in research without first carefully checking all the facts and sleuthing for sources. I usually listen to her. And in the case of creating The Itawamba History Review, I’m certainly pleased I did.

Since the beginning of this blog on May 22, 2007, I have enjoyed producing the blog and meeting new researchers. I consider the blog a casual newsletter of sorts. You won't find many footnotes and endnotes here. And you won’t find many formal family histories here. What you will find are simple untailored articles about Itawamba County, Mississippi’s past, old photographs, history and genealogy news relating to Mississippi, scenic current photographs of cemeteries and historic sites in the county, Itawamba Historical Society news, and a few informal research articles about what’s available in Itawamba County research.

It has certainly been a joy reading all the visitors’ comments, receiving loads of email and simply meeting lots of local folks on the street who read the blog on a regular basis. Through the blog presence, the society has received an incredible amount of local history from visitors. From cherished old family photographs to old family letters and compiled family histories, the blog has opened up an important online avenue connecting the historical society with the researcher.

I have tried to post an entry most every day and certainly try to stay on the subject of Itawamba County, Mississippi history and genealogy. I want the blog to continue to display fresh new content on an almost daily basis. The blog’s audience continues to grow each week and for that I am excited. It simply tells me more researchers are reading about Itawamba County, Mississippi, with the historical society benefiting from more important finds shared from visitors – finds that can further be shared through the pages of The Itawamba History Review.

I have been tempted to start another blog or two, but am simply afraid I may spread myself too thin. I’ve always been a strong advocate of trying to do the best I can with a small number of projects, so I’m staying put for now.

My goal with Itawamba History Review is to continue making it a simple and informal online publication where the historical society can continue promoting Itawamba County, Mississippi’s rich history and heritage in an informal setting. And a blog is the perfect avenue for this type of endeavor. I don’t fret over visitor numbers and statistics, but simply work toward providing a varied content relating to the subject at hand. And this is what I enjoy.

So thanks Lori, for your valuable suggestion back during 2007. I’m glad I finally listened.


Anonymous said...

I am so thankful you are doing the blog. I check it every day--sometimes twice--to see if you have posted more than once. I grew up in Itawamba County. I enjoy the information, and LOVE the pictures. I am always sending a note to friends from Itawamba County who now live out of state to read something you have written. Although we don'always comment, many are reading. Thanks for all you do.

Bob Franks said...

Thanks for your nice comments. And thanks for telling others about the blog. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertisement.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I check the blog Monday - Friday and sometimes on weekends. I enjoy it very much. I like the simple yet informative articles. I like your pictures and the fact that you are reminding us of all the different sources to find information. Also, I would like to buy a copy of your book with Itawamba pictures. How do I order it? Martha

Bob Franks said...

Thanks for the comments Martha. You can get the book from, just click the "bookstore" icon in the menu bar and you can do a word search for "itawamba." I think it will be the only book to show up in the results.

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Bob, the blog is perfect. I love it and have been inspired by it. You have just the right touch. Your readers are learning so much about our county, and hopefully one day all of your blog posts can be turned into a book available for purchase. Keep up the good work!

Bob Franks said...

Thank you for the nice comments Mona.