April 4, 2011
Written by C.N.
Believe it or not, this month marks the 10 year birthday of my website and blog, Asian-Nation.org. I hope you’ll forgive me if I take a few minutes to reflect on where Asian-Nation has been as it enters its second decade on the internet.
The Origins of Asian-Nation
Around 10 years ago, I was finished with my graduate school course work and was trying to finish my dissertation (‘ABD’ or ‘all but dissertation’ in grad school lingo). My wife, daughter, and I had just moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the calmer and less expensive environs of Albany NY where I lived previously when I was doing my graduate course work at SUNY Albany.
I just started a full-time job as a Research Associate at the Center for Technology in Government (an applied research center at SUNY Albany) in which I analyzed how state government agencies used information technology to improve their public services. The internet was also just beginning to realize its potential as a medium for groups and individuals to express themselves and to claim their voice in U.S. society.
I was also eager to kick start my dissertation-writing and my research on different forms of assimilation among Asian Americans. Also, I was (and still am) a firm believer in doing “public sociology” — making academic research and data relevant and directly applicable to addressing important real-world issues that people and our society face and in the process, not being afraid to take a stand on controversial issues, as long as I used objective data and examples to support my viewpoints.
With these factors in mind, I also saw a need for Asian Americans to represent ourselves in mainstream U.S. society, rather than allowing others to represent us however they wanted. In other words, I wanted to directly educate people about the Asian American experience myself instead of having them rely on distorted portrayals and ignorant stereotypes that were unfortunately common.
Throughout my life, I frequently found myself in the position of being one of the few Asians (or even pople of color) around. In those situations, I sometimes had to be a “spokesperson” for the entire Asian American community and educating people a little bit about Asian American history, culture, and issues at a time. So I figured, why not leverage the power of the internet to create an online resource where I can do just that as many people and as wide of an audience at once?
Putting It All Together
So I decided to create a website and on April 26, 2001, I registered the domain name Asian-Nation.org. Why did I name the site “Asian-Nation?” There was not one specific reason and actually, I chose that name somewhat on a whim and as a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. Basically I liked the sound of it and it generally represents the contributions that Asians have made to the history and culture of U.S. society.
My initial plans were modest — I was only going to put up a few articles on different aspects of Asian American history and culture. But the more I got into it, the more material and information I decided to include until I organized them into the structure that currently exists right now — roughly six main categories of static HTML articles (the articles in the “Ethnic Groups” category were added in 2008). Here’s one of the earliest versions of my front page banner:
Back in 2001, blogs were not as common and popular as they are now but nonetheless, in my “Issues” category, I had an article that I titled “Behind the Headlines” in which I regularly updated and commented on current events and news items related to Asians and/or Asian Americans, so it was basically an early form of blogging. In fact, the first such entry I wrote was in April 2001 titled, “War and Conscience” about Kansas Senator Bob Kerry’s participation in the Viet Nam War. In 2004 I switched my blogging from just static HTML entries over to the WordPress software that I use now.
Here’s to the Next 10 Years and Beyond
Over these past 10 years, I have received approximately 4,000,000 visitors (that averages to about 33,000 a month). My site statistics tell me that on average, each visitor stays a little less than 4 minutes on the site and views about 3.5 pages. But what is more important than the numbers are the reactions and messages I get from visitors, a few of which I list in the “What Others Are Saying” section of my main page. I always feel invigorated when readers from all backgrounds tell me not just how much they like my site but also that it’s opened their eyes to stuff they’ve never heard or learned about before.
As I celebrate Asian-Nation’s 10th birthday, I hope to continue to educate people one at a time about the history, experiences, culture, and contemporary issues of Asian Americans (and immigrants and people of color as well) and hope that people will still find it to be a useful information resource and perhaps even an enlightening experience for them.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Happy 10th Birthday to Asian-Nation" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2011/04/happy-10th-birthday-asian-nation/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=1732