It’s been five years since I started this blog and I wanted to mark the moment with a post reflecting on a half decade of sharing news and views on education, society and politics in Central Asia.
In those five years I’ve published nearly 200 stories and attracted over 700 regular followers – thank you all. And thanks also to those who pick up what I’m sharing through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This year alone, the blog has had nearly 3,000 visitors so far.
My posts have also been picked up by other media, with several news agencies (Huffington Post, El Pais Spain, Yahoo Canada) following up on a story on high heels for higher learning in Tajikistan (see also here and here) and the blog was recognized earlier this year by The Guardian in the UK as a top social media account for academics (I am very proud of this accolade so forgive me if I may have mentioned this before!!).
Through the blog I’ve got to know other Central Asia watchers and it’s led to some exciting conversations and collaborations. I hope this will continue in the future and always welcome comments that contribute to enhancing debate and discussion about this understudied part of the world.
My plan in the coming months is to introduce pages into the blog that enable you to quickly find stories covering particular topics. This might be by country or possibly by issue. This will take some time as I’ll have to categorise each post (lesson learned: use categories, not just tags, from the outset!) but I hope it will make the blog easier to navigate. For now, the search function is well worth a try as it picks up keywords not just in the title of stories but in the text as well.
I’d also be keen to feature more guest posts by other writers, so if you share an interest in the kinds of stories I write about, please get in touch. I can offer some editorial assistance if English isn’t your first language, or with translation from Russian.
My aims when I started the blog in September 2011 were to write about the “development of the post-Soviet space, particularly in Central Asia”, “post stories and comments on the things that get me most excited/worked up” and do research on Central Asia to “get more people around the world thinking about it.” Five years on and I think that’s a fair reflection of what I’ve reported on and written about – and it also reflects what I plan to continue doing into the future.
Thanks again for following/reading, and please continue to share the journey with me.