Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Third anniversary

The official third anniversary of Pole Hill Sanitarium was yesterday, but we had company arrive unexpectedly a day early and I didn't get to post anything. So I'm going to sneak in some observations during a few minutes' break from work.

Like many of you, I've noticed some changes at this end of the blogosphere in the past year. Some old friends are visiting and writing less, others have given up their blogs altogether. Facebook seems to have had a lot to do with this. For people who come to the internets primarily for networking, Facebook is arguably a better solution. It takes up less of your time, gives you access to a larger network, and there are plenty of games and memes that are fun and provide opportunities to meet people. Facebook probably serves most peoples' needs better than a blog. Several years ago, blogging was the only game in town, so everybody got into it. But good blogging is hard and time-consuming. You can scattershot your thoughts around if you want, but few people will read that sort of blog. The best and best-read bloggers know how to write and tell a story. If all you have is fifteen minutes at the end of the day after the kids are in bed, blogging can get frustrating in a hurry, and a lot of those folks are now dropping out. A lot of them are turning up on Facebook.

My traffic is about the same as it's been for the last year or so, but now it's more Google searches and fewer regular readers. A lot of this is my fault, since I haven't been visiting and commenting on your blogs as much as in the past. As life is slowly becoming more settled for me as I adjust to new routines, I hope to start getting around the neighborhood a little more often.

I've always said that I don't have the most readers, but I have the best readers. I still feel that way, and that's the reason Pole Hill keeps going, even if the visits come less frequently these days. I understand. I have gotten to know a wide assortment of people through this blog, a number of you who I like to think of as friends. I was most fortunate to have my blogging friends with me through one of the darkest hours of my life, and I will be forever grateful for that. Every day I am especially grateful for Jenn, for being able to reach out to each other when we needed a friend, and through our shared interest in blogging began a special love that continues to grow with each new day.

So, where to from here? As blogging becomes less a way to communicate among friends, it seems as though a good blog needs to be about something. But as I said, good blogging is hard. One of my challenges right now is finding the time to write good posts. I'm somebody who feels it necessary to find facts to back up my opinions, so a lot of political opinion that comes to mind never gets posted here because I don't have the time to explain what I believe. I'm hoping to change that a bit in the next year. The Album Project will slog on; I hope to get into some sort of rhythm with that, so I can do at least one album post a week. (I haven't started on The Beatles yet because when the remasters came out a couple of weeks ago, I bought the entire set, and I'm now in the process of hearing the old Beatle classics fresh, as well as being reminded of some tracks that I'd forgotten.) The obits will continue, though I want to focus more on the people that impacted my life and tastes, and not necessarily write on someone because they were famous. That's why you see Jim Carroll but not Patrick Swayze.

The key is time. Because of shorthandedness and a city-wide hiring freeze, my typical work week is closer to 50 hours than 40. Also, I'm helping to raise two children now, which I'm finding to be far more enjoyable than I first imagined, but, as you know, they need time and love. I threaten Jenn with quitting often, but I've got too much in this blog to hang it up now. I'm going to do the best I can to finish my album blogging within my lifetime, if nothing else. I'll continue to move along as I can, but I'd rather do three or four well-thought out posts a month than a bunch of quick hits.

But if I find more funny cat videos, I'll post them too.