It occurred me recently that the sometime next week--Tuesday, most likely, we will run our 100th post here at the dhaba. Since we've been at this not quite seven months, that means we've been coming to you just over three times a week, every week, for about thirty weeks! A lot of writers like to make writing look effortless. But I'm going to demystify one aspect of the dhaba's cooking for you: there's a lot of sweat and a fair bit of teeth gnashing that goes into the menu here each week. In fact, I'd estimate something like two hours of sweat and 17 minutes of teeth gnashing per post, on average, though some posts take very little time and some take quite a lot more than that.
One more thing I'll demystify for you, in case you missed it: the goal of the dhaba is not self-discovery. Neither is it advertising revenue, a book contract, fame or propagation of a particular political line. Those are all great things, but they aren't what this place is about. The goal of the dhaba is to provoke thinking about the environment and justice from a green perspective. Because of this, we are not bashful about admitting that we want to be read!
Like a blog, to reach readers and to grow, a virtual dhaba requires more than good writing (sweaty or not). It requires a machine--we use blogger--which exists in relationship to other larger machines, such as feed readers, Facebook, and Google. We are still looking for a magic formula to make our machine more powerful than ones that are trying to sell you an unsustainable, destructive lifestyle. That's not easy to do, because those guys have a big head start and a lot of money in their advertising budgets.
In fact, we asked a lot of people before we started the dhaba and nobody knew of any magic or even any really great shortcuts. Most people said things like, "write good content" and "be regular" and "be patient." So lacking an easier alternative, that's been our strategy.
Of course there is a secret to building a powerful blog machine, and--in addition to luck--it has something to do with links and subscriptions and things only readers can do. Thanks to everyone who has helped us find our way into unusual places over the past few months. And if you like something you see, do continue to spread it around. And if you use a feed reader, why not grab a free feed or follow us through google and/or Networked Blogs. It all helps.
All in all, we're doing pretty well. Our traffic and subscriber numbers are are climbing, and Google just gave us a promotion to Page Rank 4, which seems to have gone hand in hand with the small but significant increase in visitors from search engines we've been seeing lately.
To celebrate these milestones, we've updated the Dhaba a bit. You'll see some of our best content organized in pages linked on the top bar. We aren't finished; some of the best is yet to come. But do browse a bit, starting with the "About the Dhaba" page. And tell us what you think.
The Independent People's Tribunal on Land Aquisition, Resource Grab and Operation Green Hunt met this weekend in Delhi. More on this later, but for now, you can see their interim recommendations here.