My 100th Blog Post: Faceintheblue, 100,000 Readers and Counting

November 8, 2011

Hello everyone,

I started this blog on October 24, 2009, at the urging of a friend who has also dragged my reluctant self kicking and screaming into an appreciation of hip hop, Twitter, and e-publishing. Apparently, I owe him a great deal of thanks for his well-meant browbeating: This is my 100th post in a little over two years, and sometime early next week I can expect to welcome my 100,000th reader.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable ride so far. I am still impressed with the number of people who run a Google search for ‘Guns used during the Great Depression.’  I remain less enthused at the lack of interest in my long and rambling annecdotes, but as those are the bread and butter of a personal blog I’ll keep putting them up as the spirit moves me. One day, someone is bound to enjoy them half as much as I do.

I marvel at some of the people I have met through this site. Thanks to my post about one of my ancestors founding the town of Kenmore, Ontario, I got in touch with a 102-year-old fourth-cousin four-times removed who helped me trace one branch of my family tree back to 1720s Scotland. My deep and abiding appreciation for the Beatles on Ukulele project has put me in contact with the organizers and some of the artists. I’m long overdue for a new post on that site, and I suppose I’ll have to set aside a Saturday this December to do it justice. I’ve also connected with several people whose fathers and grandfathers served with my grandfather, Murray Anderson, on the HMCS Drumheller during the Second World War.

There are a number of things I’ve been proud to share with you all over the last couple of years: My grandfather’s eulogy, the publishing of my first novel, my love of notable quotes, everything I know about dancing, how men feel about barbers, and just about anything I have to say about poetry. Your positive feedback has meant a great deal to me, and  I would like to encourage you all to add your comments whenever you like. I write for me, but I’m also writing for you, and I’m happy to produce more of what speaks to you, whether that’s Canadian history or Russian art or things I’ve eaten with my fingers. I’ll do what I can to give value for your visits.

Anyway, that’s the update from FaceInTheBlue 25 months in. It’s been fun so far. Thank you all for reading. As I said in my 1000th Tweet, “Without you, I’m just whistling in the dark.”


November 17: A Day of Amnesty to Remove People from the Facebook Friends List

November 6, 2011

Hello everyone,

I’ve just posted the following on Facebook, and it occurred to me it’s worth putting up on this blog as well.

Last year Jimmy Kimmel declared November 17th to be National Unfriend Day, and I thought that was a great idea: There should be one day a year where we can just clean out our friends list without guilt, angst, or recrimination. In 2010 I believe I removed something like 50 people. Only one of them complained, and since I re-added him we have not exchanged so much as a ‘like’ to any comment or post. This year I’m going to shoot for 100, and I don’t think I’m wrong in guessing it will be a pretty easy process. For the sake of clarity, I thought I’d write a note ahead of time to explain my reasoning and also perhaps campaign for others to adopt this purge for their own purposes.

What do we really use Facebook for?

Facebook is about keeping in touch with friends and family and acquaintances of all distances and distinctions. I’m all for that, and I revel in the fact that we live in a world where I can remain in touch with childhood friends and old co-workers and people who I’ve never met in person but with whom I share common interests. The trouble is that not all Facebook friendships remain relevant or active after their first beginnings, but a window has been created into our lives that will remain permanently open unless we actively seek to close it.

As of the writing of this note, I have 426 Facebook friends. To my understanding that is neither an unusually high number nor a remarkably low number, but it is certainly not representative of how many people I care about, in all the connotations of that term.

I’ve come up with three questions that I am going to ask every name on my list on November 17th:

1) Would I feel comfortable congratulating you on a marriage or the birth of a child?

2) If I sent you a message or asked a question on your wall, would I expect an answer within a week?

3) Can I recall the last time we had a meaningful interaction –either in person or online– and do I hold out realistic expectations that we will do so again in the foreseeable future?

If my answer to more than one of those questions is a no, exactly why do we need access to our daily thoughts and activities? These questions speak to my levels of trust, comfort, interest, and respect. There’s no reason to feel perpetually awkward with people on your friends list.

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