Friday, 12 September 2014

Two years of RobVogt80s

Yesterday was the second anniversary of this blog, RobVogt80s, and it never ceases to amaze me how much I have learned.

Time flies
It is hard to believe it has been two years now. Somehow, I thought I would be much further along in the process. By that I mean I thought I would have a lot more entries posted than I do. Yet, so far I have a total of 166 posts and that’s actually pretty good, I think.

Out to the world and beyond
I cannot believe how the blog has filtered out into cyberspace. Pieces of my posts have been copied and pasted in other blogs and even on Facebook, and those are only the ones that people attribute to me. I am sure there are uncredited bits and pieces floating around too.

Permission impossible
I think I have drawn attention to some untoward material on the Internet. By that I mean several videos I embedded from YouTube have been taken down due to complaints of third-party copyright infringement. Two of particular note were the entire movie “Amos” and the entire album “Chicago 17”. It could be a coincidence, but deep down a part of me suspects I have increased traffic to those videos, which has led to complaints and subsequently the removal of that material.

What’s the inspiration?
I find it interesting what inspires posts. When I first started, I thought it would just be reflections on the 1980s. I never gave more thought than that to it. There were tons of memories and I would just share those. When the rubber hit the road and it came time to try and contribute regularly, the question became where to start? That has evolved into a lot of entries being inspired by events in the news, most notably birthdays, deaths, and anniversaries. When I watched the in memoriam part of the most recent Emmys, I counted the number of people I had eulogized on my blog in some manner. There was: James Garner; Robin Williams; Eli Wallach; Mickey Rooney; Ralph Waite; and more.

Harder than it seemed
Each post takes a lot of work, much more than I thought. Part of that comes from being a perfectionist, but moreso from being a journalist who wants to be accurate. So that means checking facts, spell checking, proofreading, and editing.

Good, but more importantly good enough
At the same time as being a perfectionist, there is actually publishing material regularly. Instead of fussing and fussing and delaying and stalling and procrastinating, there comes a time to just say enough is enough, ignore the internal editor, and publish. I have never been happy with even a single one of the 166 entries floating around the web. At the same time, reading them over a month or two after they were published, they were much better than I thought. The best part is that I can always go back and change them any time I want.

Worth a 1,000 words
Illustrations are important too, be it photos or video. As I do more and more posting, I realize I am using similar principles of design that are used in newspapers. Photos break up text, and are positioned in certain ways to achieve different effects.

Unrealistic expectations
It is ludicrous to try and set goals that are too lofty. The idea I could write 100, 200, or 300 posts in a calendar year, given everything else going on in my life is just not attainable. So far, I have averaged 83 posts a year, which is about one every four days. I have had moments, two in particular, where I came close to posting every day for a solid month. However, the lesson there is that I had to do a lot of advance preparation in order to publish 30 posts in a month. I wrote or started an entry every night on Microsoft Word hen when I had an Internet connection, added photos and/or video. The conversion from raw text to finished post requires editing and the addition of visual elements, but it can go quickly. The key is to keep a lot of grist in the mill. The ideal situation is finishing one entry and starting another daily but, again, that requires neglecting some of the other activities in my private time.

Parting thoughts
Time flies when you’re having fun, and I have thoroughly enjoyed publishing this blog. I am ambivalent about the amount of exposure it has and the number of people who read it. More exposure means more scrutiny, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

However, it has provided the outlet to write about the ‘80s and all those experiences I had, and how pop culture fits into them. I do not foresee winding up this blog any time soon. Instead, I envision reflecting again further when I reach 20,000 hits.

See you then.

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