A New Year

I started this blog one year ago today. I intended to post nearly everyday, but I only managed 43 posts. One day the blog got 117 hits, but the average is around 5 or 6 a day. The most popular post in terms of hits is the one about the “Roland-Ready Stratocaster,” which makes sense in a way because this guitar is very interesting to a very small segment of the huge population of people interested in more traditional Stratocasters, and there isn’t a lot of information on the web about it. In general, guitar-related posts got more traffic than rhetoric or teaching-related posts. I did get into one interesting dialogue with a scholar about what Walter Ong meant by “secondary orality.” This individual had edited Ong’s papers, so I lost that argument. Otherwise, most of the comments, 56 of them, were about electric guitars, amplifiers, and stomp boxes.

I started this blog mostly to learn about the rhetoric of blogs. I suppose I have learned quite a bit, but it was little by little. Some blogs are full of personal ruminations and observations on all and sundry, and are either a sort of gonzo journalism sent out hopefully to an imagined large audience or are designed largely for an audience of friends and family. Others are tightly focused on a narrow range of topics and issues and are intended to serve some journalistic or scholarly purpose. My blog here has been a little of both. I haven’t talked much about my day to day experiences, life events, and such, except in the context of another topic. I have offered information about musical equipment, teaching techniques, bicycles, travel, and other things. Looking back, I think that this blog is about too many things to attract any sort of steady readership. Instead, the hits I get come from people using search engines to find specific information. That’s cool, I guess, but I may have to rethink my plan. I could split the blog into multiple blogs, but since I managed only 43 posts in a year, that may be another path to non-success.

The year 2009 was not a very good year, for me, and for many others. When I told my wife, who was struggling with cancer, that I had started a blog, she was afraid that it would be one of those very personal ongoing accounts of dealing with cancer, full of emotion and struggling toward wisdom. She read it a couple of times to make sure that it was not that kind of blog. If I had been writing about that, and I certainly understand the temptation, she would have asked me to stop. After a four-year struggle, my wife passed away at home on March 16, 2009. I am still trying to deal with that loss.

As I think I have posted before, I have stepped down from my quasi-administrative position and will now teach full time. On Monday I will teach Science Fiction, Freshman Composition, and Literary Theory. I am looking forward to my new role. I wish everyone a Happy New Year, and may this year be a better one than 2009.

About guitarsophist

I'm a guitar-playing rhetorician professor.
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4 Responses to A New Year

  1. Julie says:

    Hi GS! 2009 was a low-post-count year for a lot of my blog reads and for myself as well, so much that I wondered if blogging was on its way out. Others have blamed it on the economy. To that I ask, if unemployment is high, shouldn’t people have more time to blog?

    I split up my blogging time between separate professional and personal blogs, mainly for privacy reasons, though I have revisited the divide many times, wondering if it’s really necessary. For now it stays. In the last couple of years I’ve further split my attention between Twitter and Facebook.

    Twitter allows short status messages for public or subscription-only consumption, and many companion websites have popped up that allow Twitter users to post other content, such as longer posts, photos, and videos. Twitter allows conversations among Twitter users through the use of @name, a syntactical feature that’s so recognizable, it’s become common usage among non-Twitterers as well.

    FB allows short status messages or links to other content, longer blog-like posts, photos, videos, and sophisticated privacy settings that allow you to make things public, private, or a split between the two. You can connect your blog to FB in a couple of different ways. One is to set up automatic imports into your FB notes. Another is to link to your blog’s RSS feed so whenever you blog, your FB friends see a link to your latest entry. FB allows conversations through the use of comments, or visitors can write on your “wall.”

    I link to my FB and Twitter accounts from my blogs. Most of my readers arrive on my blogs through searches as well, but a few arrive via FB and Twitter, and some go to my FB and Twitter from my blogs. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach on whether to continue blogging. For now I’m holding on to them, mainly because I feel strongly attached to the domain names.

    Happy new year! I hope you enjoy going back to teaching. I have fond memories of lit theory, and I know your sci fi class will be a popular one.

    • guitarsophist says:


      I tried Facebook because I was on a CCCC committee that wanted for some reason to hold meetings there. One of the first questions they ask is what high school you went to and when you graduated. I naively answered those questions and suddenly there were pictures of all sorts of people I hadn’t seen in 35 years in the sidebar and it was asking if I wanted to be their friends. I found this really creepy, so I started deleting information, and was surprised to find that everything I did was being written to my wall. I ended up disabling almost all of the “features,” and my Facebook page is pretty much non-functional. Even so, people find it and want to be my “friends.” I complained about this to the instructional designers in I&IT last quarter, and they said, in unison, almost in harmony, “Welcome to Facebook!” I am thinking of deleting the account. I haven’t visited it in several months.

      I haven’t tried Twitter, but last quarter I kept getting messages that purported to come from one of my students saying, “Jenny wants to follow you on Twitter.” I asked her about this, and it seems that she had inadvertently given Twitter access to her address book, and Twitter was using it to recruit new members.

      I guess I don’t trust either of these companies. I still find Facebook very creepy. I don’t like anything about it.

      You may be right that blogging is already old hat. YouTube seems to be what people want. Even when I post guitar tracks, a lot of people would rather watch a low-resolution video with crappy sound than a well-mixed hi-fi audio track. They want to see something. The visual is dominant, preferably the moving visual, and soon the 3D moving visual.

      My blogging was more about trying to be useful than about expressing anything. Perhaps it is not useful. But I don’t think that Facebook is the answer. I hope not anyway! If it is, I will pass.

      Thanks for your comments, though! You are undoubtedly right.

      • Julie says:

        John, I don’t know why WordPress didn’t tell me about your reply, but it was fun chatting with you this morning!

        I just added you as a contact on Facebook. Yes, I agree, FB is creepy, but as my husband put it, currently “Facebook IS the Internet.” So I go there to stay in the know, delete things from my wall regularly, check my privacy settings often.

  2. Janet Anderson says:

    John,we are sorry to hear of your loss. John asks about you and of course always mentions Binky..he has a great memory. I have a blog also and use it as a journaling tool more than anything specific. Please give our regards to your daughter

    Janet and John

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