On Thursday I completed thirty days as an HLSwatch contributor. Some preliminary observations:
Who are our readers? This is really not knowable. But from the data available we guess you are a combination of D.C. HS and related insiders and beyond-the-beltway HS practitioners. You seem to be largely male. Compared to other blogs and webs with which I am involved, HLSwatch seems to be a rather closed set. There is little evidence of current readers sharing what you read here.
What do you read? In the last month the top-stories — by far — have been Chris Bellavita’s essay on 85% of what you know about homeland security is wrong and this Thursday’s piece on The Republic of Texas v. United States. A quick post on a terrorist training manual was close behind.
When do you read? Mostly mornings starting about 8:20 (eastern). Wednesday is usually our big day. You are slow to get started on most Mondays and Fridays. Weekend readership is half or less-than-half weekdays. But the number of pageviews per reader tends to go up on the weekends.
Where are you? Mostly US-based, heavily entrenched in the Washington D.C. area, but about half are scattered across the country. We have concentrations of regular readers in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, California, and Washington state. We have regular readers in Japan, China, Singapore, India, Dubai, Germany, France, UK, Sweden, and Canada.
Why? Once again, this is not knowable. But given what is read most and what generates the most comments or Email you seem to prefer a post that connects to a “big issue” but uses an obscure fact or angle to illustrate the big issue in a non-traditional way.
I try to commit about two hours per day to researching, filtering, and posting. Mostly I do this in the evening or early morning. If professional obligations allow I come back in around mid-day or early afternoon to do updates. I use a full range of online search tools; receive lots of federal government news releases; readers, friends, and others call or write with suggestions; and for reasons that are not related to the blog I have to read many dense documents related to homeland security.
Given the limited time invested, most posts will be informational. When possible the information will be placed in a policy or strategy context. With the contributions of Chris Bellavita and a few others I hope HLSwatch will eventually offer at least one cutting-edge and thought-leading piece per week.
I originally signed-on to contribute one post per week, but so-far have found the daily discipline of posting to be productive and meaningful for me… and, I hope, for some of you.