So... I'm in the process of migrating my academic web presence, email and so on to this domain, and so it's a good time to think about my previous blogging experience. For a few years I wrote under the name radiator, every two weeks or so, with a focus on the way the media misrepresented social science.
When I got to the writing up stages of my PhD I stopped writing for this, but there was another reason I was put off. As I imagine many bloggers do, I was keeping an eye on the statistics of those who were visiting, thinking about what they were reading, and how they had found it. I was somewhat disheartened by the fact that a good 70% of my visitors were all arriving at one page, that asked the question 'are there ghettos in the UK?' I was making the point that the arguments of those who said yes and no were based on different units of analysis. At the time I argued that there were some concentrations of populations that could lead to mutual distrust, and disagreed with the arguments that there was no problem. Now I'd argue differently, as I believe a) it's the direction of travel that is most important, and Ludi Simpson is right that these concentrations are reducing, and b) the problems associated were exaggerated by the media, such that places where people of different backgrounds were mostly getting on were being painted as hotbeds of conflict.
However, what I found through analysis of those visiting the blog is that there seems to be a section of the public that believes in the ghettoisation thesis, goes looking for evidence to back it up, and almost wishes it to be true. Most of my readers were googling 'are there ghettos in the UK?', 'where are the ghettos?', 'UK ghettos', 'Somali ghetto' and so on: and the trickle of people reaching the site now are still searching with the same terms. Few people found me by looking up 'average earnings' or 'knife crime statistics', so I began to wonder whether my own contribution would perpetuate pre-existent biases, as posts that fitted with 'common sense' got more hits than those against the grain. But I'm ready to write again, so I'll see how it pans out.