September 10, 2006

One year assessment

Posted in Lessons Learned at 3:40 pm by mj

Last Monday (September 4) was my “blogiversary!” I didn’t even remember. That’s how much I suck. 🙂

So, in one year I posted a paltry 59 entries, going an average of 6 days between posts, and a max of 40 (during the winter holidays). Median time elapsed? 3 days. The mode of days elapsed? 1. Those stats sound much better, but are misleading.

Number of legitimate comments? 9.

Number of spam comments? I don’t know. I’ve manually deleted about a hundred over the year, but WordPress’ spam filter catches a dozen or more per day.

I can’t get WordPress to show individual post stats beyond the past two days (*sigh*), but, simply by sampling my stats page, my most popular post, by far, is last December’s Webshots and Flickr: A (possibly) more thorough analysis.

Similarly, from my own sampling of my stats page, the most popular search term that leads to a pageview, is…. sex. It wasn’t until a month after I titled by blog that I realized I could guess the consequences. I’m probably also penalized by Google et al. Maybe it’s time for a name change.

My dismal Technorati rank is 838,064. (This is the first time I’ve checked my rank.)

My lesson is: post more. post better. link more. link better. and blogger, promote thyself.

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November 7, 2005

Two Month Assessment

Posted in Lessons Learned at 8:43 pm by mj

A quick run-down of my blog so far, more for myself than anybody else.

Number of entries: 5 (up from 3)
Frequency of posting: about once a week (down from once every two weeks)
Longest absence: 19 days
Number of links: 13 (up from 2)
Number of links into ongoing conversations: 5 (up from 0)
Average length of entry: long
Focus of entries: Reflective
Style: Somewhat formal.
Voice: Still not sure.
Number of comments: 1 2 (not including my own)

My second month saw my first comment; oddly, this did not come from a trackback to an existing discussion, or referring a friend or colleague. For a period, I really committed myself because it was enjoyable, but then we entered crisis mode at work and I’ve tailed off (hence the reason this assessment is 3 days late). At the end of my first month, I vowed to start linking more to discussions happening “out there” and become less insulated. After my initial 19 day hiatus following that commitment, I got on track to do just that.

Blogging is many things to many people, and I’m trying to figure out which of those things it will be to me. Getting in on some of the great discussions happening, particularly in the software world, is probably at the top of my list of “enjoyable things about blogging.” But we’ll see.

My third month, then, will be about trying to contribute something, more than about trying to find my voice or reduce my shyness.

Update: Another lesson learned: refresh your “Write Post” tab before writing a new post, or it will publish according to the date you last refreshed the page.

October 3, 2005

One Month Assessment

Posted in Lessons Learned at 8:45 pm by mj

A quick run-down of my blog so far, more for myself than anybody else.

Number of entries: 3
Frequency of posting: about once every 2 weeks
Number of links: 2
Number of links into ongoing conversations: 0!!
Average length of entry: long
Focus of entries: Self, mostly.
Style: Somewhat formal.
Voice: Not sure.
Number of comments: 0

I’m not sure what other metrics to use, but I’d summarize my first month as a timid, uncommitted exercise that is too insulated and not reaching out into ongoing conversations happening “out there.”

I’ll act to change that in the coming month.

September 4, 2005

Obligatory Introduction; or: BS, BS, BS.

Posted in Lessons Learned, Me at 3:35 am by mj

I’m a software engineer in a smallish team acquired last year by a large media company. I haven’t had anything resembling a public blog for six years, and at that time I just felt weird writing about myself. (I’m not comfortable being the center of attention in any context.)

I was looking for a cheap place to get myself into the habit of writing regularly when a co-worker offered a wordpress.com invite. Bribes were proffered, and here I am, two weeks later.

So… “Better software. Better science. Better sex.” It’s a challenge to myself. Lke a lot of people at some time in their lives, I’ve fallen into a period of directionlessness. There’s been this nagging feeling that I’m not accomplishing what I could. After a couple years of coping with a persistent health issue, which has recently abated, and some turmoil at work, I’m looking for–or looking to create–interesting challenges. But the first part of meeting any challenge is gearing up, getting psyched, finding motivation. Hence, I’m challenging myself to be more professional and more critical of the world around me.

My original motto was, “Better software. Better philosophy. Better life.” But, like all good, true, mundane mottos, it suffered from a lack of vigor and charisma. So I chose the most interesting–and maybe provokative–subsets of my interests (software, science and sex), realizing that not only was it sensationalistic and, just perhaps, might lead to some readers…but it offered a great comeback for any detractors. So, remember, when you disagree with me, just proclaim: BS! BS! BS!

My interests vary. From search (very dear to my heart) to chinese politics (an interest I developed after meeting my wife); aging research (not that I’d be very good at living forever) to epistemology (particularly as it relates to political and scientific systems); social networking (and its applications to search/feedback/filtering) to theology (which you might consider odd if you knew I was an agnostic); I could rattle on in a vague manner, but it’s better if I save it for actual posts.

So that’s it in a snail’s shell. I am now ready to identify my first lesson learned in blogging: be more freaking specific!