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.