Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Blogging Anniversary

A minor milestone, to be sure, but Sunday the 25th represented the one year anniversary of this blog. This cyber-journey had direction from the beginning, but its destination has always been unknown. While many blogs exist primarily to chronicle individual opinions and random thoughts, the goal of this site aimed at offering information and fostering discussion on worthy topics that impact the world of faith and church. Not knowing where such a journey would lead or how far it would go, I have been pleasantly surprised by the readership this little corner of the blogosphere has attracted and engaged, modest as it may be by standards of established blogging. While the topics are ultimately my own choosing, their choice has often been influenced by comments and feedback. Those who read and offer insights and even challenge my views have given me an interesting and invigorating experience in the task of public writing. I learned early on that the words one sends forth into the unknown expanses of cyberspace must be carefully crafted and arranged. Unlike some in blogging I decided from the beginning that my name and identity would be clearly known and attached to my opinions. This decision, I believe, helps to make an author assume ownership and responsibility for what they say. Too often anonymous bloggers can assume a caustic persona allowing them to lob angry invectives at those with whom they disagree, but without facing the consequences of the pain they may cause in the process. As a pastor this has never been a choice for me, so it never occurred to me to start doing that now.

So, lest I forget, please let me offer my thanks to those who take the time to read these entries and for those who respond, either positively or negatively. Blogging at its best, I believe, is an interactive process, but one that ideally operates with respect. This is a unique and unparalleled experience for me, since contrary to my regular life, some of those who interact with this blog are anonymous both in name and identity.

In the October issue of Christianity Today, I was initially taken aback by a brief article entitled "The Death of Blogs." He talked of "widespread blog burnout," and I thought, great, I jumped on a dying trend! "Tech researcher Gartner Inc. reported earlier this year that 200 million people have given up blogging, more than twice as many as are active." According to the author Ted Olsen, "blogging as peaked." However, he then adds: "Which isn't to say that blogging is dead. Quite the opposite. Blog aggregator estimates that 3 million new blogs are launched every month." Guess the bandwagon is still rolling....

Olsen then notes that while some Christian blogs are very good, what "tired bloggers are increasingly that it's not necessarily the quality of their blog posts that matter. It's matching their quality with frequency." Admittedly, as a blogger, I have struggled at times with how frequent one should post. In the beginning I shot for one post a day. However, being a working pastor, active father and husband, fire chaplain, Boy Scout leader, etc., this was not always practical, and this blog was never my primary vocation or avocation. Still, as one person noted: "You can't expect readers to show up unless you show up." So for those who have continued to monitor this blog despite some occasional extended absences - thank you again!

The motivation for blogging, it would seem, is too often the desire for self-glorification or self-advertisement. I certainly am not immune to such temptation or free of the guilt. And frequently the effort is a short-lived shot at a brief moment in the sun with ever so small bragging rights to accompany it. Olsen opens up his article noting:

"As weblogs proliferated earlier this decade, Andy Warhol's famous aphorism was modified to read, 'In the future everyone will be famous to 15 people.' Now it looks like Warhol was right: Thanks to widespread blog burnout, everyone will be famous to 15 people for 15 minutes."

I hope that I will not look back at this blog adventure somewhere down the road with that realization. My love of writing keeps me coming back to the keyboard, and in some way I hope that my own personal reading and reflecting offer others helpful information to use in the lives of those who drop by this little corner of cyberspace. To that end I look to my "new year" ahead and again offer you my thanks - even those I may never know.


Bob Hunter said...

Even if you do quit blogging at some point (I hope you don't stop) remember that as long as is in existence, and you don't delete your blog, your entries will be out there in cyberspace indefinitely helping others. I know they always urge people to post regularly to keep people coming to your site, but I've always felt the goal isn't to have the most web hits, but to communicate a message, even if it isn't on a regular basis. Quality should trump quantity. If someone is looking for information you happen to have discussed on your blog the search engines will find it anyways.

318@NICE said...

I enjoy reading your posts, thanks for writing them. I usually just blog when a thought enters my mind, or while reading something there is something I'd like to share with others. So its just based upon when I want to blog. I think if I purposely made my self post then I'd burn out.
But keep up the good work. Your blog is one of my favorite Lutheran blogs that I enjoy reading.

Oh, and Bob, I enjoy reading yours as well, when I need a good laugh, some of the weirdos that you dig up are just amazing.

Bob Hunter said...

Out of curiosity I checked to see when Heresyhunter began and it will be 4 years tomorrow, Nov. 30th.

Roxann said...

I enjoy reading your blog... I randomly stumbled on it while wandering through the Lutheran blogosphere once upon a time, and I have kept coming back since. I rarely comment, but I do read your posts. They often remind me of home (I'm originally from northcentral WI) and I also like the variety of topics you choose to post on- usually a different sort than the other blogs I frequent. So, thanks!

Rev. Don Engebretson said...

Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments!

To Bob: Congratulations on your own anniversary. I feel like a "blogging child" compared to your experience :)