This Blog…One Year On

Later this week I will have been keeping a eye on the Czar of Russia for a year. It will be erratic getting online for a while so tonight is a highly appropriate time to reflect on the past twelve months.

Doubly appropriate because today has been the best day ever for “views” on the Blog. I suppose thats almost inevitable because my contribution on has brought in some new viewers. Yet I am a little surprised because I did not “plug” any post today on Facebook and Twitter. Indeed Sunday is usually the worst day of the week for statistics …in part because I dont think I post much on Sundays, its not usually a good news day and many people like myself are involved in family stuff on a Sunday. So a pleasant surprise that today the stats were pretty good.

Keeping An Eye On The Czar of Russia is certainly my most successful blog. I have not had a good record mostly with technical issues on Blogspot. myspace or Blogger or whatever. I like the format of Word Press but I need to change the design……people have been complaining for months about the size of the font.

The strange thing for me is that so many viewers never comment….”lurkers” as they are called in the trade. Certainly the number of people (Followers) who get emails when I post something is incredibly small….the number of commenters is small…..yet “views” are out of proportion. On one level that is very rewarding. And on another level it makes me paranoid about who some of the viewers…actually who YOU viewers are.

The strange thing about statistics is that its not straightforward…..indeed for the first month I thought that it would not get off the ground at all. I think the SDLP Leadership contest was the first breakthru. This brought the stats to a level which I thought was pretty good …..but not spectacular. The second big breakthru was Capital Assets Transfer……and Im grateful to Mick Fealty for linking my views on the Slugger site. That brought the Blog to a new level….and then there was  a levelling out and then another few times when there was a surge and a levelling. The last time was in early July. And of course the surge today.

I have always believed that Blogging was 50% “posting” and 50% “comments” so to those of you who have commented on my Blog….thanks a lot. Also a thank you to the folks who send comments or ideas which are not intended for publication. And of course guest blogger Sammy McNally.

Biggest error…..was not understanding an email telling me that Sinn Féin MPs were going to stand down. I interpreted this as standing down from Westminster and wrote a Blog on that basis. Ooops I got it wrong.

Biggest regret is getting bogged down in the early months of the Leveson Inquiry……not so much for what I posted here but for stopping here and getting involved in another blogsite where the theory was that we would all contribute one day a week. That didnt work out and with hindsight it was totally predictable.

Not sure if there was a highlight that pleased me but I like being “on the road” at Conferences, Seminars etc and I enjoy pouring vitriol on the Alliance Party.

Next target is to ensure my friends nominate Keeping An Eye on the Czar of Russia for Slugger O’Toole occasional Blog of the Year Award. How can I lose?


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40 Responses to This Blog…One Year On

  1. bangordub says:

    Congratulations Mr Fitz !
    keep plugging away, not everyone wants to comment but as long as your readers are increasing you’re doing something right. Think of it like a newspaper where not everyone writes in to the letters page but still enjoys the articles.
    By the way, the incomparable Con Houlihan, ex- Sports correspondent of the Irish Press among others, has passed away at the age of 86. One of my journalistic heroes. I doubt S. O’T. will mention him somehow.

  2. amy says:

    I read your blog based on my curiosity and interest in life in Northern Ireland. I am fascinated by how people navigate the places and social spaces where they live and enjoy your writing and man-on-the-street style perspective on local (and international) politics, not to mention your left leaning take on American politics. I am still learning to understand the intricacies of contemporary Irish politics and your posts are a great help in moving from news story to how people think about that news local

    I just started blogging and know how you feel about those readers that donLt post. I am terribly curious to read their ‘bios’.

  3. amy says:

    P.S. I read so many blogs that posting to each one would be a bit time consuming and I don’t always feel like I have anything productive to add to the conversation even if I appreciated reading it.

    • By the way I WILL be posting on yours. 🙂

      • amy says:

        The emphasis on that comment was meant to lean more heavily on not feeling as if I had any worthwhile input rather than being too busy to comment. Terribly worded in retrospect. But, now that I have committed to blogging, I will get to commenting as well and not make excuses.

      • You have much to contribute, not least if I am getting it right on stuff such as USA about which you will know more.The Amnesty event today……and indeed any event at An Féile (the West Belfast Festival) is very much my community on show to the “liberal” tourist.

      • amy says:

        You hit the nail on the head with all I have read on your USA stuff. Of course an outside perspective is always sound even if differing, if just for more distanced insight.

        Sorry I did not see this until now. I am not getting notifications of comments from WordPress. I know Blogger is as much of a pain to you as WordPress is to me, but are you able to comment on my Blogger account? There is actually a bit of response on there now that I joined IWSG and it would be great to scale back to one or the other. You can test it out at

    • Would actually add that I was at the West Belfast Festival (2 week long event today) and many Americans on the Falls Road.

      • amy says:

        I was there at the right time in 2006 when I took the QUB IIS summer course but unfortunately could not make it. Not enough time for everything I would have liked to do.

    • bangordub says:

      Amy, I’m a new blogger too, although a vocal one with FJH, Go for it Girl and welcome

  4. sammymcnally says:


    Very well done for getting up and running – and more impressively staying there – unfortunately it seems difficult to pick up passing/visiting trade. Slugger has dropped it’s ‘seen elsewhere’ tab at the side which would have been just the job for attracting new posters here (perhaps why it disappeared). I picked up lots of interesting sites/posts from that in the past.

    re. “Next target is to ensure my friends nominate Keeping An Eye on the Czar of Russia for Slugger O’Toole occasional Blog of the Year Award. How can I lose?

    Does that still go on?

    • I dont think there were any Awards last year.
      A few years ago Slugger awarded a Blog of the Year to a Slugger commenter………who then got banned for a while.
      They prolly dont want to do that again.

    • Actually just to add……I was at an Amnesty Internation Event in West Belfast today and will be posting later about that. I psted this blog “One Year On” after midnight and did not blog today……….and incredibly today the statistics are at 75% of yesterdays all time record.

  5. bangordub says:

    Sammy, I have a post awaiting moderation, probably because I have links in it (Or because I’m not forgiven for the Waldorf story…) Any how look at this

  6. sammymcnally says:

    Deputy Dodsy will not be best pleased.

  7. hoboroad says:

    Good news Alastair gets to keep his South Belfast seat. Bad news Gregory Campbell gets to hold on to his East Derry Seat.

  8. bangordub says:

    Yep Hobo, that’s what it looks like. North Belfast is the interesting one to me

  9. sammymcnally says:

    Net result – possible loss for DUP for Deputy Dodsy(NB) – that could give Nats half the number of seats (9) for first time.

  10. bangordub says:

    Exactly Sammy, It would also mean Unionists had less than half the seats

  11. sammymcnally says:


    Well personally I tend to lob the Alliance in with the Unionists – though techically you are quite right.

    Any impilcations for Council Reorganisation?

    • bangordub says:

      I think Nationalist Lights tend to vote alliance in the absence of a credible alternative but No implications for the councils unless the present reorganisation is reviewed

  12. hoboroad says:

    I see Pippakin has joined the Slugger O’Toole debate over on

  13. bangordub says:

    By the way my lost comment referred to the death of Con Houlihan, journalist, died yesterday

  14. FJH, congrats on your first anniversary with the site and what I at least have found to be some quite interesting perspectives on matters I have an interest in, and other matters I may not have but have been exposed to.

    Hobo re Pippa, saw that also. I have always been in two minds about her ‘musings’ on SOT or on Pie. I think she has a heart of gold and defends Southern Labour to the hilt (pink rag on a blue shirt) but regarding all things Northern I think many PULs loved her as she is a bit of a ‘useful idiot’.

    FJH, sorry for jumping the gun, but how was an Feile for you then or shall we leave that for the other thread?

  15. hoboroad says:

    Pippakin pops up all over the place anywhere the Six Counties is discussed there she is. Ulster’s Doomed! Jude Collins Slugger O’Toole has anyone ever seen her on A Tangled Web? I am sure she’s been there as well.

    • bangordub says:

      Not on my blog yet!

      • hoboroad says:

        Give her time she is a very busy woman BangorDub! I’m sure she will get to you eventually.

    • A Tangled Web? That’s Vance’s hate filled blog, right? No, I give that a very wide berth, I don’t want some tinfoil hat wearer thinking I care for their opinions, like how I avoid Dr Spaceman’s posts at all costs on SOT and have added Brian Walker to that list after yesterday.

      I used to look at Ulster’s Doomed but it went pretty quiet or am I mistaken on that one too? As for SOT, whenever she was there she was frequent re her posts. She could be occasionally insightful, often just giving her tuppence, sometimes downright boring or idiotic, like any of us I suppose. I did like sparring with her on some things (Irish medium schools and UVF terrorising the Short Strand last summer), though she would be minded to just repeat herself or maxims she believed in rather than actually expand on a point or explore something else as well as working on the quite pathetic Southern notion that ‘sure, isn’t each side up Narf just as bad as the other’, hence, why you have probably picked up on my wanting to like her but finding her hugely insufferable on numerous occasions.

  16. hoboroad says:

    Ulsters Doomed! Is gone it’s owner died. Some guy called Enda runs a similar site called Endgame In Ulster.

    • Thanks lads, I thought I heard that re Ulsters Doomed. Will have to check out Endgame in Ulster. Also, occasionally look at your man Andrew Gallagher’s site; kind of interesting though there is little I would ever agree with him on.

  17. bangordub says:

    Footballcliches, Ulsters doomed went quiet because the author died.

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