6.03.2007

"No other story I can tell": Blogaversary #1

Visualizing the great unread: 12 months of blogging

The title of this post is a vague allusion to The Secret History, a trashy novel set at "Hamden College" (a thinly disguised Bennington College in southern Vermont) about an outsider who witnesses and participates in all sorts of depravity while attending a strange liberal arts college in New England. The quote is apropos for a couple of reasons: My 20th college reunion is this coming weekend, and after much debate I'm not going. And while I never witnessed any murders at Vassar it is very true that I don't think that I ever really fit in there and that my relationship with my alma mater is very ambivalent today.

Now that digression is out of the way, this post marks the one year anniversary of my blog. It is a document that revels in the trivial and inconsequential -- I've made it almost a contest, to come up with inconsequential posts, like shadows moving across my backyard. But, returning to the college theme, one of the reasons I started this project, was to reawaken some of my atrophying English major's sensibility, given that I don't have to write much in my current job (I've had positions in the past, where this hasn't been the case). I'm not sure that the blog has served this purpose, but occasionally I still sit down and try and bang out a few hundred semi-cogent words on some subject that interests me. I recently 'helped' write a term paper on a subject that I have no background in (medieval history) and I was able to string together something passable in a couple of intense hours of fast research and writing; it felt very much like blogging the black death.

When I started this project, I knew from the beginning that the quote "between the thought and the action falls the shadow" speaks pretty directly to me: I am more than a little prone to having ideas, and then sometimes the follow through isn't the greatest. So I wanted to see if I would keep it going or if I would procrastinate and find other (better?) things to do. With 200 posts in the past year the procrastination problem hasn't really come up too much.

The blog evolves over time, when I started I was like "Oh I'll write about books and movies and other big timely subjects." Instead what has happened is that I am taking lots of photographs (usually of the outdoors) and so there are thousands of images on my hard drive. I have a free Flickr account, but I have decided that I really don't like Flickr (or YouTube), or any of the the other proliferating websites where a user creates a profile and sets out collecting 'friends' and leaving usually inane comments about other user's material.

As a blogger account is really just some server space that one can use at will, I have started using this space as a free form photo hosting space. People seem to respond more favorably to the images than to the words so I will keep posting photos here. I am actively experimenting with my camera (trying different subjects, and using it in different environments) so I'm sure I will continue to post images here; in one year I have used less than 20% of the account's allocated space for image hosting.

The other thing that interests me about this document is it does allow me to peer into how search engines, particularly Google, work. I am very curious about how readers find their way into the site, and while no content here is truly 'popular', some subjects do seem to attract more attention than others. Because I have tried different web analytics packages I don't have a complete record from the beginning, but I think that the most popular pages on the site have been the cabaret pictures, the Valentine's day blizzard coverage, and surprisingly, a post about a painting I was given as a gift.

I guess I'll keep this blog going in some form or fashion, not that I expect that it will be ever widely viewed or 'popular', and I know that if it disappeared tomorrow it wouldn't cause the slightest wrinkle in the fabric of the Internet. Going forward, I want to make some changes to the look of the site and am thinking about trying to come up with a better methodology for labeling posts -- I once was accepted into a graduate study program in "Information Science" but then, fatefully, decided not to go -- so perhaps such obtuse topics interest me. I do know that I will be taking a short break from posting just to try and recharge and spend some time away from the computer outside in the 'real' world.

I guess that the impulse to mark one's territory is a universal male tendency:

2 comments:

Eva the Deadbeat said...

congrats on your one blog year anniversary! is there a hallmark card for such an occasion? enjoy your summer while it lasts! ;)

Jeff said...

Thanks Eva!