Category Archives: blogging

To Blog, to Tweet, or to Facebook?

When I first started blogging, which I think was in 2005, it was new and exciting and a great way to connect with people. My inspiration was a series of sabbatical trips to New York, and I wrote about my experiences going to concerts. Once back to full-time teaching, the pace dropped off. Two years ago, I was living in NY on my next sabbatical, and wrote again about going to concerts. The blog had some brief popularity; I’d meet people in NY new-music circles and they’d say things like, “Oh, you’re a writer,” and “I read your blog.”

“Life, the cello, and everything,” I originally subtitled the blog, which migrated from Blogger to WordPress and became my temporary website. I’d gone through various phases of frequent writing–often when I have time on my hands–and infrequent writing (when I’m busy or depressed or both).

When I write here, it usually takes some thought. Very often it’s an internal wrestling match, because ideas form while I write and they don’t present themselves in a nice linear fashion. It’s all twisted and turned and convoluted and I’m not sure what I’m trying to say.

The short life-and-everything sorts of things that I would post on the blog now go on Facebook (I only decline FB requests from what appear to be fake people who have no friends; often there’s a photo of a pretty young woman with a foreign name, and I know it’s someone fishing in the wrong pool). I tried Twitter out for a while, and occasionally I go through a bit of a Twitter burst–once again, when I have time on my hands, especially too much of it.

When I write here, it gets posted on Facebook and Twitter automatically. It’s interesting to see that blogging, unless it’s serious reporting or extensive commentary, seems almost anachronistic. I’d tell a young performer she needs a great Facebook fan page and Twitter account long before a blog, and maybe doesn’t even need a blog.

I’m involved in a big personal project, one that’s been going on for over two months. I post about it on Facebook every day–that’s actually part of the project–but I’ve never been moved to write about it here. Facebook has taken over a lot of what I used to blog about.

The project, exercising (heavy or light, but something) every day in 2013, is something I want to make more public. Where a few years ago my immediate response would have been to start a new blog or website, right now I’m thinking more about a Facebook page or group and a Twitter feed. Times change, I guess.

If you have read this far, you have probably deduced that I have too much time on my hands today. Yep! I’m having a nice long break in an airport, courtesy of snowy weather in New York.

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Filed under and everything, blogging, Uncategorized

The case of the disappearing blog post

This blogging business can be a little crazy.  I wrote a similar post to this one yesterday, published it, and now it’s disappeared.

I know I published because it showed up on my Facebook profile and Twitter stream of tweets (or whatever it’s called) automatically.  Now it’s gone (which I found out because someone emailed me that the link didn’t work).  My hypothesis, which I don’t know how to test, is that there was something funky in the code I posted.  Or maybe I inadvertently deleted it myself when doing the next post. Or maybe there was/is something funky going on at WordPress.com–when I tried to save this draft, it wanted me to log in again, then most of the draft was gone (luckily I had copied it!). Hmm.  That’s three hypotheses–let’s call them guesses.

Anyway, there’s a social-media site called Wikio, which among other things ranks blogs based on numbers of links to the site, etc.  All that stuff is rather beyond me.  Or, rather, more than I feel like learning about.  Be that as it may, Wikio’s algorithm  has determined that this is now the No. 14 classical music blog in all the universe.  Up from No. 15 in April. A nice guy at Wikio sent me the html code for the May list in advance, and that’s what I included in yesterday’s post.

I find that a little hard to believe, but whatever.  Ken Woods, for example, must have a lot more readers than I do.  But who knows.

Looking at the blogs high on Wikio’s list, I realize that this is the only one at least quasi-regularly covering NY concert life.  So, if I had a mind to, I could spin things to say I have the No. 1 blog about New York City classical music concerts.

Oh wait, I just did.  I’m number one!

That will only last a while, though, since I’ll be going back to my life in Indiana in mid-June.  But I promise to enjoy it (this New York stuff) while it lasts, and share as much of it as possible.

When I posted yesterday, the May listing was not yet up on the Wikio site, but today it is.  So just in case the code I posted was the problem, or there were too many links, you can check the list out for yourself.

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Filed under blogging, Kenneth Woods, Wikio

How personal to get in a public blog?

My first blog, which I didn’t even know was a blog, was a series of essays that I sent to a list of friends and others who ended up on the list.  I started posting them on a website, putting the newest on the front page by hand, then creating an archive page for the previous one, with a link to it in a sidebar.  That enterprise came to an end when I started writing about my complicated relationship with my father.  A family friend, on the list, who was unaware of my father’s drinking problems and dark side, became quite upset with something I had posted about my feelings about him (which she had misinterpreted, anyway, in my view).  My father never figured out how to do email or surf the web, despite being extraordinarily intelligent, so I wasn’t worried he’d read it.  My mother wasn’t reading the essays, either.  Some people found the essays touching and inspiring (at least at times);  one wrote me that she thought I was too personally revelatory.  In any event, this lady, who only knew my father’s best, social, self, was upset, and worried that he would be upset if he read it.

While I was sure he’d never read it, the issue of the privacy of people in my life became a big one for me.  I started self-censoring and the creative flow was blocked, and that project came to an end.

Privacy–one’s own and those of others–is an issue for those who do personal blogging.  This site is a bit complicated, since it is both a personal blog and a professional website.  For a while, I had a blog and a separate Eric-the-cellist website.  How personal to be here is a question, especially when it comes to writing about experiences, including professional experiences, involving others.

Once I wrote a post about an incident that had happened in a class, where I’d chastised some students for using “that’s so gay” as a derogatory term, in front of a student I assumed was gay.  It had been unsettling to me.  I wondered how the student I thought was gay had felt about my handling of the situation, but I certainly wasn’t going to ask him (some students who are obviously gay aren’t out to themselves yet, and many years ago I learned the hard way not to make any assumptions).  In the post, I put the whole thing in the past tense, as if it had happened years before.

But the mother of another student read the post, called her child, best friend of the guy (whom I had neither named nor described in the post) I assumed was gay, and asked, “Is ____ gay?”  And then it became a big thing for some of the students.  The student whose mother had called wrote me to say that ____ (whom I hadn’t named) wasn’t gay, and was upset when people presumed he was.  But he didn’t want me to talk about it with him, at least according to his friend.  I felt awful that I triggered any pain or embarrassment for him, and took the post down. I regretted not being able to apologize.  (Now that it really is some years since that happened I feel safe in describing the incident.)

The answer, I suppose, is to put the most personal stuff, and stuff involving others, in an anonymous blog.  But there’s something about anonymous blogging that feels like hiding.  And after all those years in the closet, I hate hiding. I like being open.  I like sharing, including my inner life.  When we share our inner lives with each other, it can, sometimes, be of great help, to the writer, a reader, or both.

All this is a preamble to my next post, about my mother, who has dementia, and some recent experiences with her.  In a way, it will violate her privacy.  But it’s a story worth sharing, and I really think that my pre-dementia Mom would have given her blessing to me writing about post-dementia Mom.

[Edited slightly a few times, hopefully for clarity, perhaps just making the thing wordier.]

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Filed under being out, blogging, privacy