Saturday, October 28, 2006

My life with a blog

When I began blogging more than 1-1/2 years ago, the blogosphere was an unknown and mysterious world to me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wondered who if anyone would ever read the stuff that I wrote. To my great delight, I have discovered a "community" out there, inhabited by interesting, intellectually curious people who enjoy exchanging ideas and life experiences with each other and who are dispersed widely here in the U.S. and abroad.

I have made contact with a Holocaust survivor, Ivan, who is a Slovak-born electronics engineer living in Ontario; Claude, a lady English teacher in Paris; Theo, a Dutch farmer with an extraordinary knowledge of American literature and politics; and Peggy, an American living on a farm in Scotland.

In this country, Ronni Bennett (Time Goes By), Saz, OldOldLady of the Hills, Chancy, Joared, goldenlucyd, Milly Garfield (My Mom's Blog), Norma (Collecting My Thoughts), Ginny, and a female rabbinical student are all frequent respondents. And, of course, there are those countless comments from apparently bashful readers using "Anonymous" as a cover. (One anonymous critic of my political views turned out to be a right-wing Republican cousin of mine who eventually sheepishly exposed himself to me.)

There have been two highly intriguing responses to this blog. In a piece published last year, I wrote that I was in the same college economics class 60 years ago at New York University as Alan Greenspan, the retired Federal Reserve System chairman. I made a brief but favorable reference to our professor, the late Dr. Jules Backman.

This produced a heated exchange between two of my readers. One anonymously disagreed with my opinion about the professor. He called the professor "an arrogant, pompous ass who bored the class when I was his student in 1951." Suddenly, the professor's grandson appeared on my blog to defend his grandfather. "With all due respect to your age," he wrote, "my grandfather won the Great Teacher Award from New York University not once, but twice. I suggest it was your mind, not the class that was 'bored'."

The other intriguing response to this blog was generated by an article about Leon Volkov, a Soviet air force colonel who defected to the U.S. after World War II and became a Newsweek magazine writer. The respondents were the former colonel's son and daughter. Their father died when they were young, and they were eager to know more about him. The result was a lengthy and fascinating conversation I had with the daughter in which we exchanged fond recollections about her father.

I have been fortunate to have such lovely people as Claude and Ronni who tout my blog on their own blogs. I have also benefited by being featured in articles about "elderly bloggers" in the New York Times and the Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and by receiving plugs in the AARP Magazine and WXPNews, an excellent on-line computer newsletter.

The result of this publicity has been overwhelming and very gratifying. I have software entitled "Blog Hot or Cold?" installed on my blog, which supposedly records the number of "hits" the blog receives daily. The program today reports that I had 42,811 "visits" during the past week, or an average of 6,115 daily. So far today, it has recorded 3,564.

In all candor, I am extremely dubious about these figures. I find the results so astonishing that I cannot believe they are credible. I have no way of knowing how long the "visitor" remained on the blog or whether he or she actually read the contents. I access my own blog several times a day myself, and these are undoubtedly among the "visits" that are recorded.

Nevertheless, my aged ego has been well massaged by the reception this blog has received, and I thank everyone who reads it and has e-mailed me comments. The blog has been a great source of pleasure and has brought a new world of ideas and personalities into my home.

I also thank my wife Sybil, a former high school Latin and English teacher, who functions as my editor, for her important role in publishing this blog.


Blogger Ron Southern said...

I had no idea you were so popular. I just read you because you're there and you write well. Now, I'll have to be more respectful, I guess. A man with so much traffic may start trying to sell us stuff next, though so far you've remained in the clear!

Saturday, October 28, 2006 4:40:00 PM  
Anonymous gr8face said...

It's amazing the people you come into contact with when you start blogging.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 6:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

I agree...I had no idea what the blog world was all about and I am enjoying it immensely. I even met a new blog friend last week in person. I am not surprised that you are getting a lot of "hits" since you write so well and about so many interesting subjects.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 7:07:00 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Mort, I agree.

This blogging world is interesting and quite addictive. I too have followed the links from Ronni's blog to others in Japan, France,England, Canada and all through out the US. One blog leads to another via the comments section or the links.

I am a regular reader of your blog. Thanks for sharing with us all.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Claude said...

Mort, you write so well about interesting things. No wonder you have more and more visitors. You don't need promotion, your writing does it!

Monday, October 30, 2006 1:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your blog is one of my favourite things!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 1:35:00 AM  
Blogger joared said...

I am not at all surprised however many readers you have. My first visit here left little doubt in my mind as to how much I would likely continue to enjoy your writing. Now, I know why, it's because of your editor! *smile*

Sunday, November 05, 2006 2:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Hi Mort. I've just found your blog while looking for the world's oldest blogger. (You and I are relative youngsters by comparison with the finalists).

I read you story with great interest, as I too have met many interesting readers who contacted me through the GuestMap attached to my e-book, "Life Begins at 80... on the Internet":

I'm an 87-year-old retired journo in Sydney, Australia.

Cheers, Eric.

Sunday, December 10, 2006 7:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Raphie Frank said...

You have done more than simply blog. You are writing history and in the process giving people back a slice of their own.

Kindest Regards,
Raphie Frank

( Grandson to Jules Backman )

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Claudia said...

Ny son insisted that I get the Internet (at 78!) He installed the whole system a month ago. He gave me three lessons. "You're good Mom. It's enough." I went here, there, everywhere. It was not always easy.At time, I despaired. But tonight I found your blog at 7 p.m. It's now ten o'clock. You're fabulous. I feel intelligent reading you. I'll be back. Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007 10:37:00 PM  

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