I Blog Therefore I Am – Perhaps

           

I Blog Therefor I am Cartoon

I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone I would like to get to know better, one of my first questions is “what do you do?”   By “what do you do?” I am referring to occupation (or vocation), current or past.  Although I realize that this does not truly define who someone is, it provides a good starting point.

When I am asked that question, however, I find it problematic.  Telling someone that I am a sociologist is not as self-evident as saying that I am a plumber, a car salesman, or  an NBA star.  My father never quite understood what I did, although he did appreciate that I was some kind of teacher.  Many folks think that a sociologist is a socialist, or worse yet, a psychologist.  It’s been a struggle.

Being retired  is even more problematic on the identity front.  How can I justify taking up valuable space on this earth without being productive and contributing to the betterment of society? Merely telling others that I am retired is insufficient.  Claiming to be an obsessive road biker, or addicted to daytime soaps (are they still around?), or even quietly reading great novels will not cut it. 

the-flower-carrier-diego-rivera

My self image as a MiniBlooms “partner.”

The first serious post-retirement project for Ann and me was starting a modest gardening enterprise called MiniBlooms.  That satisfied Ann’s desire to be outdoors with her hands in the soil; I was along for the ride and quickly learned to my distress that plants cannot survive without water.  So I became the MiniBlooms “drip guy” (as in drip irrigation).   It turns out that planning and maintaining ornamental beds for local businesses and households was not only a fulfilling pastime, it was relatively simple to explain.  We plant things and make the world prettier.  My life had tangible value.

After some good years and experiences with MiniBlooms we decided to move on to something new.  Ann’s passion for cooking led us to our current foray into the blogosphere-  BigLittleMeals.

RaggedyAndyStories2

Welcome to Andy’s Corner

Now I can tell folks that I contribute to our BigLittleMeals blog.  Initially I thought that claiming a blogging expertise would make me seem hip (or, at least more hip than being the “drip guy.”).  Turns out that being a blogger is as difficult to explain as being a sociologist.  

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field seen with MUSE

Consider that in 2015 there were were an estimated 28.3 million “bloggers” in the U.S. and the number is projected to increase to 31.7 million by 2020.  That means that my contribution to BigLittleMeals is just a tiny speck in a vast galaxy of blog sites.  Pretty sobering.

Even more sobering is the estimate that on average it takes about 3.5 hours to write a blog and that blog readers, if they even bother to visit a post,  spend approximately 37 seconds reading it.  In fact, Facebook counts a view as 1.7 seconds.  I can barely click my mouse in that time, let alone view a site!

And,  if all that is not enough, even defining a blog is murky.  The term blog is short for  “web log.”  But there are many iterations of these web logs.  There are art blogs, video blogs (vlogs), music blogs (mp3 blogs), microblogs, and edublogs.  Some folks blog using sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  This  Wikipedia piece has much more detail.

DagnyCarlsson2013-07-04

Dagny Carlsson, well known Swedish blogger

However, there may be some relief for my blog-anchored identity anxiety.  According to GetCodeless.com, blogging is overwhelmingly the domain of the younger generations.  Well over half of the people in the blogosphere are between 21 and 35 and those under 21 make up an additional 20 percent.  Only 7.1% of bloggers are over 50.  I couldn’t find any estimates for the number of bloggers 75 and over (the age category of you-know-who), but my guess is that there are precious few. A notable exception is Dagny Carlsson, a Swedish blogger who just turned 107 years old.

Although neither Ann nor I expect to be blogging when we hit 107, we can take some pride in being among a small minority in our age group that regularly publishes a blog.  And, regardless of our format or content,  BigLittleMeals has been and continues to be a rewarding and motivating part of our lives.  We just hope that those who take more than 1.7 seconds to visit the site find it to be worth the time.

4 Comments

  1. WILLIAM W FALK says:

    I took my (retirement) time and read your entire blog! We oldsters dealing with these new-fangled things like blogs reminded me of my latest encounter with a technological challenge: the “infotaintment” center on my new Volvo, a fusion of information and entertainment. Just like your blog posts or, for that matter, our careers as college professors! Best,Bill

    Like

    • theRaggedys says:

      Sounds like you spent more than the typical 37 seconds of your (retirement) time to read the blog. That’s admirable and touching. Speaking of auto “infotainment” centers, Ann and I recently rented a car in Denver and when we got to our destination had to retrieve the manual from the glove compartment just to figure out how to turn off the blasted music system so we could leave the car without the battery draining.

      I never thought about it in that way, but your comment that our careers as college professors was a “fusion of information and entertainment” does make sense. Thanks for the input.

      Like

    • theRaggedys says:

      I am assuming you are referring to the painting of The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera. It was a very appropriate representation of my “partnership” status when we were still doing MiniBlooms. Appreciate the comment.

      Like

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