This blog was founded in the summer of 2007, but began to attract a significant readership only in November 2008. Everything before autumn 08 was warming up & development in comparison to later.
The year 2009 began with a surprisingly strong post-Christmas slump, but the page monthly loads figure grew quite steadily, with significant spiked in spring due to links in stories on well-visited blogs. The blog even had15,000 visitors in December despite the usual post-Christmas slump.
The blog had a total of 127.6 k page views in 2009 (Statcounter data)*, and would have about 180,000 in 2009 if it keeps the present level. That's quite much because I don't select topics based on expected quantity of interested readers at all. I'm actually satisfied with the traffic.
My quite persistent troll keeps amusing friends of mine with his blocked moronic comments. He has still a track record of never having added anything factual and relevant and rarely if ever having understood my text. He's kind of pitiable.
I changed the title from "Defense and Freedom" to "Defence and Freedom" sometime in '09. The reason was that I prefer to 'be different' than the usually U.S.-centric and -dominated MilBlogosphere. The huge quantity and readership of American MilBlogs leaves relatively few representatives of non-U.S. mainstream opinion in the MilBlogosphere. Most exceptions are U.S. 'liberals', Brits or Indians.
To add a European focus and point of view appeared to be a good addition. An example: My text on navy force structure was focused not on the USN's quest for a 313 ship inventory as it would be typical on other MilBlogs. It was focused on (potential) European defence needs. The attempt to write in British English was a kind of symbolic expression of the intent to provide a European perspective.
I kept the crazy mixture of tactics to grand strategy, hardware and thought, history and future. There's no blog known to me that comes close to such a crazy mix.
There was a strong excursion to naval topics in February to June. I did nevertheless still not cover the highly unpleasant stories about the K130, F125 and EGV that have been on my to-do list since '07.
Some spin-offs of my theroetical stuff appeared in the blog this year as well; especially in regard to (warning, working title!) "modern high-end conventional warfare". The attempt to contribute to a better understanding of warfare in the next great war (in order to avoid disasters as they happened in 1914 and 1940) makes up the greater part of my motivation in regard to military topics. You can expect me to continue my warnings about inappropriate confidence in our modernity in 2010.
Afghanistan will hopefully not get as much attention here in 2010 as in 2009. I had moved from a "I don't care" to a "OK, maybe there are some lessons to be learned" attitude towards the present chapter of the Afghanistan conflict. The entanglement in Afghanistan is regrettably devoid of positive surprises since '02.
The addition of often merely symbolic pictures ino the text made the long texts more readable in spring 09 and the 'justify' text formatting introduced during the summer (and recently applied to earlier texts as well) has proven itself as well.
The layout got a major re-work, away from the basic "Scribe" template that's quite popular among MilBlogs run on Blogger software.
The backgroud colour is a bronze green that's the "green" part of the Bundeswehr vehicle colour pattern. The header's background is a Bundeswehr uniform pattern ("Flecktarn B"), the ancient Roman Scutum shield symbolizes defence and the "thinker" statue symbolizes thought.
I gave up the search for a fitting illustration of "freedom" because the only "freedom" graphics I found were either about the French Revolution or the Liberty Statue; neither is universal enough to me.
The yellow-ish vellum-like background is still original from the Scribe template.
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It's been an interesting and successful blogging year. The "defence" and "freedom" topics will likely provide enough material for many years to come, and my to-do keyord list stores almost a hundred ideas for 2010 topics.
*: Flagcounter seems to count more page visitors than Statcounter, but Statcounter is the only available full year 2009 statistic.