As the title attests, I have learned well the Art of Hyperbole. For there is no Real Danger in blogging, unless one is blogging from downtown Tehran or Anywhere, Syria. For us bloggers in the unseasonably warm Mid-Atlantic U.S.A., the only risks we face are dry skin from indoor heating, the perils of non-ergonomic work stations, and the potential for embarrassment when we put ourselves Out There on the internet.
I blog, therefore I am. *
I’ve come to realize this is why I blog. There really isn’t any other point since I’m not seeking to get rich from it … yet. I write simply because I like to write. I tired of wasting what little I did write on office work and the occasional Letter to the Editor. Once you decide to put yourself Out There offering something, you take the risk of rejection. But when a reader mentions that you wrote something that had value for them, it’s personally confirming and gratifying.
I try to have fun when I write, taking a risk here and there with topics and the way I approach them. If it looks and feels like work, it probably is work; and what’s the point in that for an amateur blogger?!?
So, it’s been a year … almost, but close enough. 100 posts … over 55,000 words … The shortest post was just 14 words, the longest 1552. Over 5,700 blog visits, yet only 217 comments, not including the 2,517 spam comments that WordPress thoughtfully filtered out.
So, what did we do here this past year?
Cranky Man dabbled in the art of Literary Reviews, Sports Nostalgia, and breaking down elitist Northeast Cultural Barriers. He dove into Local and Regional Politics; and he extolled the potential legacy of a Much Maligned National Leader. When he believed the quality-of-life in his home community was being threatened, he launched into explanations of the Risks and Rewards of Sound Community Action, at times implementing his aforementioned well-honed skill by making his point via Futuristic Hyperbole.
He made attempts at Humor and invited the wrath of his Spousal Unit … uh … more than once. Cranky Man also got a tad sentimental when it came to Kids Leaving the Nest and his experiences in Philadelphia’s Catholic schools.
Cranky Man gets Preachy at times; and once he made a bit too much out of a brief, weird give-and-take between two strangers in a cold, dark parking lot. But he was also a Man of the Earth … offering The People what they really crave … Quality Lawn Care Advice! Even if it did mean “diming out” a neighbor or dispelling a few Lawn Misconceptions!
He also had a few WTF Moments dealing with Catastrophic Weather Events and the organizational needs of Breast-Feeding Mothers. But there were also opportunities to act as Travel Guide and Golf Course critic.
In short, our subject matter has been all over God’s creation in this blog’s short lifespan! Blog aficionados would consider such a helter skelter approach “a bad thing”. Blogs are supposed to target specific audiences with specific needs on specific topics. I haven’t figured out yet which direction – if any direction – to take with this endeavor. I really enjoy writing about whatever interests me at any given moment.
What are SOME of the things we learned?
Certainly we found out that Politics sells, especially Local Politics where media coverage is more than sufficient but commentary and analysis is thin. Without a doubt the posts that garnered the most interest – from site visit statistics – were posts on Community issues and County politics. Our most active day was when former Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews was arrested for perjury. (I retract earlier statements that described Matthews as completely worthless. He certainly made for good blog fodder.)
On a smaller scale, Horsham’s struggle over the future of the now-vacant Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove was also a significant topic of interest … for me and for my readers. So without a doubt, local politics and community issues are big draws.
My book reviews? Not so much. Just consider them a Public Service, like trash collection.
What challenges are expected for the coming year?
Of course, I want to further broaden my audience. To that end, you will probably see more written about local politics and community interests. We’ve had some success getting listed on local media sites. Hopefully more of that is in the future.
I want to upgrade the theme and appearance of the blog, as well as bring in some advertising. Hey, I’m a Capitalist at heart, even if my cover is Public Employee! I promise to do so tastefully without overwhelming my audience with some of the trash and clutter I see on other sites. (So if you know any reasonably priced web designers, send me their names!)
I would like to generate more discussion on the blog. Posts on politics or sports are more receptive to discussion. You may see more of the former and perhaps our first of the latter, but sports is not a particular direction I wish to pursue. That subject is just beaten to death, especially in and around Philly.
I also learned NEVER to fully trust Spellcheck.
Finally, I will lose 15 pounds before September! No, this is not the kind of revelation one would expect to see here. But I have been making this promise to no one but myself for years, and I have not been keeping myself honest. Now that this is also Out There, I risk future embarrassment should I fail to do what is really in my own best interest. (Why September? Because that’s when our oldest son will be married to the lovely Janelle Lynn!)
This should be an interesting year, especially if it ends up being the last year we on a planet purportedly just waiting for the right moment to collapse in upon itself. Should that end up being the case, the commitments made above won’t really matter.
Should be fun to see what really happens. So please stick around!
* more Hyperbole … See how it just pulls you in?