Happy Blogday to Me

September 20, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

This blog is two years old today so I’m allowing myself one day of what Chris Uggen calls “self-indulgery.” In nearly every other post, I’ve tried to follow the rules for this blog that I started out with:
  • Posts would be something our undergraduates could read and would want to read.
  • Posts would have some sociological content, however tangential.
In other ways, the blog has turned out differently from what I first expected.
  • I set it up as a department blog, hence the name, but it quickly became a solo effort.
  • I thought that the readership would be mostly our undergraduates, but few, if any, of them read it.
  • I originally thought of posts as something like op-ed pieces – 700-800 words weaving together two or three related strands of thought. Now, I try to keep posts shorter, with more graphics, and with only one idea per post.
I never imagined that I’d wind up writing 300+ posts – three a week for two years. At first, I thought I might manage one or maybe two posts a week for at the most two months. That’s why I thought it would have to be a group blog. There were times times when I felt I had absolutely nothing left to say. But then something would spark my interest, and ideas for posts would pop out of every corner. I have a file of unused ideas, most of them past their sell-by date.

The rewards of blogging, at least for me, are two: First, as a friend put it, blogging is instant gratification. The turnaround time between writing and publication is zero. You get an idea or take an interesting photo or find some data. You write it up, you click, and it’s out there. Second, blogging has allowed me to make some contact, however minimal, with other bloggers, and they are a smart, funny, lively, and friendly bunch.

My main disappointment is that the readership is small, and the comments sparse (I was encouraged by Andrewska’s kind words on his blog). I feel like a comedian in a radio studio telling a joke and having no idea if anyone out there laughed or even if anyone was listening. If I do shut down the blog – and I have often thought I might – that will probably be the reason why.

I have now gone back and read through the posts, and I was surprised to find that I liked most of them. The list below is not necessarily the ten best. They’re just ten that for different idiosyncratic reasons I’m fond of.

The Pursuit of Bada Bing, April 13, 2007
I, You, We, May 14, 2008
The Institutionalization of Hysteria, September 29, 2007
Contributions and Attributions, April 18, 2007
Mendacity, October 27, 2006
Cheating the Executioner, November 5, 2006,
A Fine and Public Place, November 8, 2007
Sweat Equity and Magical Thinking, December 3, 2007
Moral Nostalgia and the Myth of the Authoritarian Past, February 27, 2007
Closed for vacation? May 15, 2007,


Anonymous said...

Happy Blogday! I'm subscribed to the blog, and enjoy your posts!

mike3550 said...

Jay - Happy Blogday! I, too, share your frustration of low readership and your comedian analogy is spot-on. Though, sometimes it also feels like I do when am teaching - I'm not quite sure if anyone is listening or getting what I am saying...but, I keep talking anyway.

yli said...

happy birthday!

tina said...

Happy blogday, Jay!

Anonymous said...

Happy 2nd, I still read it, I was never an undergraduate of yours but after reading a great number you've written I would have loved to have been.

Jay Livingston said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words. They'll keep me going for a while.

Faye Allard said...

Happy Blogday Jay! I love the blog - keep going!

trrish said...

happy belated Blogday, Jay :-)

A few months ago, I switched browsers and have been using Google's Chrome. But, my Sage RSS readers is in Firefox. So I have not been keeping up with any of my favorite blogs. You've had some great stuff here lately.