Thursday, February 19, 2009
"Like a thousand points of light" (X 100)
So on this auspicious occasion –my 100,000 visitors—it’s time for a blogging retrospective. First off, I feel about blogging the very same way I felt about my first hip replacement surgery: what the Hell took me so long?
As for my hips, simple vanity: I was too young for that (and would rather limp badly and take forever to climb a simply set of stairs than spend a week flat on my back zoned out on pain meds and then six weeks on crutches)
As for blogging, I actually worried about not enough material for a decent numbers of posts per week (with my initial target being three or four.) Now I worry about too much material.
Yesterday for instance I did four posts (and actually had a 5’th—a photo of 'The Evergreens'--but never got around to it, besides Mary Carey scooped me on that although you can tell from her photo that she took it later in the morning because the snow is still showing in mine).
The thing I liked about radio advertising—either for my business but especially for politics—is the immediacy. I would cut a commercial and within an hour or two it was on the air.
Blogging is the ultimate combination of text, photos and video instantly uploadable. And you can go back and change anything and republish instantly. Plus, cheap point-and-shoot digital cameras are so easy to use and are small enough to hide in a pocket until needed (but only used on/from public property of course).
A rundown of the last two years highlights:
Highest number of hits: The day the Associated Press issued a national story about my blog bringing down former Czar…. what’s her name? Oh, yeah Anne Awad, ensconced in South Hadley but wanting to keep her locally elected town position in the People’s Republic of Amherst. (414 hits.)
And of course without this blog she would still be a sitting Amherst Select Board member (even though commuting to South Hadley) 'His Lordship' Gerry Weiss would still be Chair and 'Princess' Stephanie (the former blogger) would still be stenographer/secretary rather than Chair, with a “new majority” of fairly normal folks.
#2 (coming in around 375 hits): a tribute/post that I dreaded doing because it concerned a young Amherst firefighter David Pollack, who died suddenly at age 27. I rolled it into a mention of Homer Cowles, the ultimate Yankee farmer and former Deputy Fire Chief who died the week before (but at a more acceptable age of 83--if death is indeed ever acceptable), and my landlord and long-time neighbor Dick Johnson who also passed that week (and did more for this town than most folks will ever know).
But my sitemeter told me the vast majority of folks were coming to me looking for information about David Pollack.
#3: The death of a child. One by bus accident the other by drowning in a back yard pool. It just does not get any worse than that; as I stated both times, if you can think of something worse please don't tell me.
Post with the most legs, meaning it still gets one or two hits per day and every time I see it on my sitemeter I'm depressed. Let’s call it a terrible tie:
The suicide of Jenny Kim, a promising Amherst College student; and “Hall of Shame” where I simply list all Amherst Town Meeting members (by an overwhelming majority) who voted against flying the flags in town center to remember/commemorate 9/11, the worst day in the last two generations of American history.
Quickest response ever from a high-ranking town official to an upload: The 2’nd in a series of three posts (over six weeks) showing the People’s Republic of Amherst is too cheap to provide hot water at the lavatories at Wildwood Elementary school.
47 minutes after uploading a blurry photo of a brand new thermometer clearly showing a bathroom water temperature of only 70 degrees, Acting Interim School Co-Superintended Alton Sprague called me spitting-and-swearing, threatening to have me arrested (and suggesting I was a pedophile).
Only time I hesitated about hitting the “publish post” button: In China, last summer, after we had toured my first daughter’s orphanage and I could tell we took them by surprise and--unlike five years earlier--got an actual glimpse of the kids routine overcrowded existence.
And I could have sneaked a photo or two (the “guards” escorting us were not exactly highly trained) but I figured things were so bad I should be able to get that across with just words. But still, I did not want to put my family in danger either.
Biggest victory due to the 'power of the blog': The flags in downtown Amherst flew this past 9/11, for the first time since 2004 (that too had a lot to do with Ms. Awad no longer a player). And damn well better next year or there will be Hell to pay.
Oh yeah, that May 1, 2007 $2.5 million Override that I helped knock down and thus far has saved taxpayers over $5 million and counting.
Biggest regret? Lost personal relationship with media friends—reporters and editors—who probably now consider me the enemy because of this newfangled Blogesphere/Web that threatens their existence.
Plans for the future? A political revolution! And this time, I have the power...