Part One – An Informal Quantitative Analysis of My Blogging History
Basic data about the website
- Length of time I’ve been blogging: exactly nine years and ten weeks, or roughly 3359 days*
- Number of posts written in that time: 1,292
- Average number of posts per day: .38 posts per day**
- URLs this blog has existed under: three
- Number of times I’ve changed the banner and layout: countless
- Number of times I’ve done this fueled by wine: countless
- Number of times I’ve had to ask Jason or Matthieu or Chris or Luke to look at my CSS and tell me what the hell is wrong: countless
- Jobs I’ve held since beginning this blog: 4
- Graduate degrees I’ve attained since beginning this blog: 1
- Time spent working on fiction whilst working part time: one year, two months
- Time spent working on graduate degree whilst working part time: two years, two months
- Time spent regretting my decision to walk away from fiction writing to focus on library and information science: approximately none
- Time spent marveling that by sitting patiently and not letting my manic drive get the best of me during my twenties, I’ve finally found a career path that suits me perfectly: approximately a lot
- Real life friends I’ve made entirely because of this blog***: 26 (and that’s only counting friends I’ve met in person and invited to parties, not to mention countless wonderful run-ins at meetups and conferences and drinks)
- Real life friends with whom I am also blog friends: seven
- Weddings I’ve attended (or will attend this week) for friends I met through my blog****: five
- Real life husbands I’ve met and married because of this blog: (my) one (and only)
- Number of times I’ve been talking to someone only to find out they know me through my blog or I know them through theirs: 3
- Number of times I’ve gotten an email from someone, saying they saw me and my friends brunching in Brooklyn and recognized all of us from our blogs: 1
- Number of times I’ve pushed past the awkwardness of explaining what a blog is, and why I do it: countless
- Number of times in the past few years I’ve qualified this explanation by saying “well, I don’t really blog anymore”: countless
*365.24 multiplied by nine, plus two leap year days, plus seventy days or ten weeks
** But let’s be honest, there’s a gradually diminishing frequency rate involved here
*** Simon, Kate, Mark, Anna, Bobbie, Karen, Pete, Adrian, Dave, Sarah, Daniella, Deb, Kristin, Leah (and Simon), Heather, Robin, Dahlia, Danielle, Bryan, Josh, Helen Jane, Shana, Penny, Matt, and Zan
**** I am counting Kate here even though I wasn’t quite there, because I was there in spirit
Part Two – A Qualitative Approach to the Same Quantitative Conclusion Reached by the Preceding Data Set, or, Why Commencement Is Terminus
I was awarded my undergraduate degree, with only decent grades from Sarah Lawrence College, nine years ago this week. I had already moved from my campus dorm room to my first apartment in New York, a sunny little two bedroom in Astoria, with a fun roommate and an exciting new job about to begin at a Big Photography Magazine. I had emotional angst over a best friend turned love interest (turned best friend again eventually). I had a lot of spare time to write some thoughts on the internet, and it seemed like the thing to do. So I started writing in earnest at petithiboux.blogspot.com, something I had begun on a whim during my spring break two months prior.
When I came home from my commencement that sunny day nine years ago, I hung my tassel on the doorknob. It wasn’t a deliberate choice exactly, but it did feel like the right place to put it. It was my door, after all, to my very first apartment, to the beginning of my shiny new life as an adult woman in her twenties in New York. It was where I always wanted to live, and here I was. So the tassel stayed on the door for the next five years, through wild parties and awkward romances, through my whirlwind romance with Stuart, until we moved in 2007. As my dad and I were packing up the apartment together one morning while Stuart was at work, he brought the tassel into the living room and asked me where to put it. I took it and placed it in the OPEN FIRST box, so that I could hang it in the new apartment. I am a sucker for things like this.
Yesterday, I arrived home with Stuart after a wonderful, hectic commencement weekend where I walked across two stages (awards convocation and commencement) to mark the end of my graduate degree program. I am fiercely proud of how hard I worked in this program, particularly considering some of hard times that have come my way since I started back in January of 2009, on the same day Obama started his new job. It has been totally exhilarating to find a career path I am so well suited for and so excited by, to find colleagues who love sitting around talking about better ways to facilitate learning, better ways to enable research, better ways to organize the vast stores of knowledge both extant and still to come. It has also been exhilarating to flex the muscles of my (sometimes lacking) discipline and find the energy and determination to do some really cool things and excel in some really great classes. I am not overly humble about my 4.0 because it feels empowering to have really earned it.
So yesterday I hung the 2011 tassel on my door. It made me think about the last nine years, and how I’ve gone from 21 to 30, and what has changed along the way. And this blog has been a huge part of it. It’s always been my online space and it has had a measurable effect on my life. There are all those friends. Like Kate, who came here from San Diego to be my interstitial roommate between my single life and my married life, whose very name in an email From field still fills me with delight, who is one of my very dearest darlings. Like Simon, who is wise in so many things and the best possible person to talk to about silly things and deep, meaningful things alike, who has become one of my dearest friends and greatest champions. There’s Stuart, obviously, who is the biggest part of the story of my twenties and this blog, and yet who is so much bigger and realer than the neat fairy tale story of how we met and fell in love. He is my life partner, he is the sunshine at the end of my day, and although we are so very far from perfect and we fight like any other couple, we are still so crazy in love.
I think we can all agree that this blog has brought me riches not measured in quantitative data (although I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try). It also has survived through the massive sea changes of blogging, which went from a hobby that very few people with the technical skills could engage in, to a way of connecting personal stories on the web, to a massive commercial engine that struggles now to retain credibility with the same readers who flocked to it before it gave out a dime. I have some blogging friends who started when I did who are making a living off their blogs. I have many others that have simply stopped doing it. I have always struggled with where I stand in this generation of early bloggers who never took it in the direction of monetizing this product, this brand, this ME. It is just not my thing, as I’m sure is fairly obvious. It was never the point of this space and I have no regrets about that, although it’s jarring to meet professional bloggers who have been doing this since 2007 and consider that a long history of online web presence. Hello, babies! Take good care of this sphere, I guess.
I’ve never wanted to write some post where I say “I’m taking a hiatus” or “blogging, I quit you”. Why, when this blog has given me so much, would I just delete it? And it goes against all my impulses as a preserver of information, as a believer in the public sphere of digital content. Plus, how else would I know exactly when I first went out for coffee with Kate, or how I felt when I first started school, or even the painful outpouring of grief when my dad died? Removing this blog from the web was never an option. And so that’s not what I’m doing.
But I will say this: I’m no longer blogging. I think it’s only fair to put this (admittedly long) post up as a way to say goodbye to this space, which is something I never wanted to do, but to remind everyone that a closed door doesn’t mean there isn’t still a window. Creating and maintaining an online network of presence is unavoidable these days and frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. We had blogs before there was Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter because we wanted to connect with each other, so isn’t it a marvelous thing that people have created all these new exciting ways to do that? You don’t have to like all of them, or use all of them, or even trust all of them, but they’re all just tools. We are the content.
So you can find me in all the usual places (listed below) and you can always find my archives here. I will primarily use Tumblr as a way to communicate personal things like photos or short blog posts because Tumblr has the feel the blog world used to have – of intimate and unfettered non-commercial communications between cool people showing, and sharing, cool things. I will always be a die-hard Flickr user because at this point, my Pro membership is the most valuable tool in my online arsenal, and still one of my favorite daily places to find many of you. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook (although I’m more stringent with privacy settings in these places so leave a comment if you want to join me there). And as always, my email address is on the About page. I hope you will come find me in all the plentiful corners of the web that have sprung up since I first opened a web browser and started a blogspot account.
So, yeah. It’s time to wrap up this post. This blog has been such a beautiful, hilarious, fruitful, silly, divine little facet of my life. One of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot, wrote at the end of East Coker that “in the end is my beginning”, and this seems like the right moment to live that line.
Thanks for everything. See you around.