Blog Anniversary: 200 Posts!

As I sit down to write my 200th blog post on this platform, I find myself taking a moment to pause and evaluate my progress, as well as consider the future.

This blog began on August 27th, 2013 at 15:39 with a brief overview of some thought-provoking websites. Shortly thereafter, I failed the physical exam to become a park warden and was thrown into a torrent of self-evaluation, critical reflection, and anxious introspection. For some reason – perhaps because I was just finishing up my Master’s thesis and had a lot of leisure time available – I continued to work on the blog throughout this burn-out period.

Today the blog has garnered 4, 565 total views – a steady increase from 141 views in August 2013 to the height of the blog’s success of 710 views in March 2014. I continue to ask myself: who are these people? And why do they bother to read my stuff? I’m incredibly flattered – but my blog has found only two consistent thematic foci (hiking and books), neither of which tell you how to get rich or find happiness.

Although my audience may change (with a few consistent followers, who I love eternally for their readership), I do not. I remain thoughtful and secretly wishing that I could invest my time into a timeless literary novel, rather than a spurious blog that purports to be writing (but isn’t, really). I remain relatively uncertain about the doctoral process, in a state of semi-unemployment, and still massively opinionated on many topics. Some of my top posts (not including the static pages) have included:

I know that my articles on internet memes (like the doge) have been picked up by StumbleUpon and Reddit, allowing chronically bored and short-attentioned people everywhere to take a two-second view of my blog’s homepage.

I keep up the blog in tandem with my social media channels, which have also thrived. My Klout score currently sits at 48.29. Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence on a scale of 1 to 100. This score is fairly average, since few of my 59 Facebook friends, 440 Twitter followers, 32 Google+ followers, and 3 Instagram followers regularly engage with my content. But it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see this number, regardless.

It is, in essence, this warm feeling of being known (of being a somebody) that keeps me sitting down to write regularly on this blog platform. Like some of my Millennial brethren, I believe that modern technology offers us a unique way to broadcast our hopes and fears to the world, while chronicling our daily anxieties, frustrations, and personal experiences. It occasionally feels pointless in isolation, like thoughtless shouting at a blank wall, but I imagine that someday, somehow, it will all be worthwhile.

I do solemnly vow to continue with this blog, on a frequent or semi-frequent basis, so long as I am physically and mentally able, and anyone who wants to read it is a welcome visitor to my brain. 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. robertlfs says:

    Maria,

    Thanks very much for your post. Somewhat coincidentally, I have been having some other conversation with folks on another blog I post to (http://processnotevent.wordpress.com/). I am always impressed that there are folks I engage with in blogs, both professionally and socially, that I will never meet in person or even have a skype session with. For example, I had a very insightful back and forth with a museum professional in Australia who even critiqued a paper I ultimately published in a journal. My go to person for online education is someone in California whose blog I follow, we go back and forth on a range of things, from her children to new developments in education, but I don’t envision ever meeting her in person or virtually either. I am not even certain how i came across your blog initially, but I do follow and read your posts regularly.

    I view blogging in a couple of ways. First, most of the professional insights I receive any more are quite often at least initiated through blogs. I appreciate that folks are willing to share their ideas on a whole range of things without being concerned that this will count as publication or toward a tenured university position. Second, I see my blogging almost as a form of the old idea of penpals. I know that my life is enhanced by being in conversation, at whatever level, with folks from throughout the world. That is the big thing I really like about MOOCs too.

    I enjoy your photos and hiking stories, and your book reviews. I think it is particularly cool that a young person is reading some of the same books I read when I was in high school in the late 1960s like Sylvia Plath and Herman Hesse.

    I wonder how many folks turn their blogs ultimately into more book length offerings. For example, I had often thought of doing a website on all of the sites along the Natchez Trace down here. Seems that you have a good start on hiking trails in your area. Perhaps as an iBook. Think too how Dickens wrote his novels as serials chapters in weekly installments. Seems that is what a bunch of blog posts can be today.

    Keep writing!

  2. marialegault says:

    Thanks so much, Robert, for your wonderful comment! I am very grateful to have your patronage – indeed, you’re my most vocal reader/contributor at the present moment 🙂

    I agree that technology and the Internet have brought us an unprecedented amount of connectivity with other people living and working around the world. Not only can our blog articles be read by someone in another time zone, we can Skype with that person as well!

    Perhaps we’re in danger of taking this connectivity for granted. Debates over allowing internet access in protected areas (I refer here to Ontario parks in particular*) have highlighted to me the deeply conflicted nature of our relationship with technology. Do we expect it to blend seamlessly into our daily lives as a natural corollary of our ‘progress’ as an overall society? What does it mean for us to have something so abstract become such an integral part of our habits and routines?

    I imagine that all of these questions are being debated somewhere online right now, even as I type this reply. The behavior of social networks fascinates me – how do we end up on certain pages, reading certain articles? Why do some specific individuals rise to dominance in non-hierarchical, bottom-up social networks? (e.g. Wikipedia – this article is insightful: http://www.cs.rutgers.edu/~iftode/www11_socialhierarchy.pdf).

    I do find it interesting that the books you recall with nostalgia and pleasure from the late 1960s are the ones which give me so much enjoyment and reflection today. My most recent adventure has been to read Howe & Strauss’s book, The Fourth Turning (http://www.fourthturning.com/). You may already know everything about it, but the author’s make some bold pronouncements about the cyclical nature of our culture. Generations go through waves of different attitudes based on the cultural forces of their time.

    One of the outcomes of this rotating cycle of cultures and peoples is a connection between people one cycle removed from each other – so essentially, my attitudes would have less in common with my parent’s generation than with my grandparent’s generation. Might it be that our reading selections align because of this generational mix? It’s one theory, at any rate 🙂 (Both books you mention might just be timeless in their appeal and relevance).

    I also wonder how many blogs have become books! It is an exciting possibility to consider, as well as a strong motivation for me to keep on writing!

    I have been out conducting surveys at a golf event these past two days, and so write back to you in much discomfort from my sunburned legs! Truly, a lesson that will teach me not to eschew the sunscreen in future 🙂

    Robert, thank you again for your wonderful comment – I hope that your summer term goes very well!

    *See ‘Connected Camping’: http://globalnews.ca/news/1295900/connected-camping-parks-canada-wants-to-install-wi-fi-hotspots-in-the-wilderness/

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