Barry Smith: Irrelativity | AspenTimes.com

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

It’s mid-January, which means it’s time to start renegotiating those resolutions you were so passionate about just a few weeks ago. “Work out every day” becomes “Work out every day that begins with a T,” “Eat less bacon” is scaled back to a more reasonable “Eat more bacon but less often,” and so on.

Last year one of my big resolutions was to blog on a regular basis. I started a blog back in 2006 and have poked at it here and there, but I have always wanted to do more. My blog is called “Barry Smith – Mini-Photo Essays (with pictures).” Knowing that in 2011 I’d be moving to a new house and a new town, and that we’d be renovating the old farmhouse that we were moving into – well, talk about potential for mini-photo essays! Let the blogging begin!

That was the plan, anyway.

I’ve been living out of boxes since we packed up and moved in May. I lost my checkbook at some point in the early summer and haven’t seen it since. I’ve yet to locate the box with my clothes in it – it’s probably one of the ones labeled “stuff.” I’m not sure if the toothbrush I’ve been using is even mine, or if it’s even a toothbrush. And in the midst of my 2011 life-o-chaos, the thought of having any time to take funny pictures and write funny captions about said pictures seemed … laughable.

So I was less than excited to get this email from WordPress.com, the place that hosts my blog: “Our stats helper monkeys have been busy putting together a personalized report detailing how your blog did in 2011! Click here to view your full report online.”

Uh, I think I already know how my blog did. It didn’t. Still, I “click to view the full report online,” just like the email tells me. My computer screen fills with an illustration of a nighttime cityscape, the sky above it exploding with fireworks and ballyhooing klieg lights, and my blog title is pulsating right there in the center of it all. Hey, this looks promising. I scroll down.

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people,” it reads. “Your blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about four sold-out performances for that many people to see it.” Wow! Twelve thousand views! Amazing! Amazing because of how pathetic it is. Most “real” blogs get views in the thousands or hundreds of thousands … per week. 12K a year isn’t even worth mentioning. But you know, when you put it that way – the whole sold-out opera house thing – well, I suddenly don’t feel so bad about myself. These “stats monkeys” at WordPress.com have taken positivity to a new level.

Of my pathetic handful of posts that I did make in 2011, only one of them cracked the top five most read. Back in February, just as my tax forms were arriving, I removed the bag from my cup of tea and, not feeling like walking it to the sink or the garbage can, set it on top of one of my tax envelopes, where it proceeded to create a big brown stain. I thought this was funny, so I took a picture of it, wrote something about it and called the post “Teabag.” I can understand why it was popular, though I suspect that all the people who came to it after doing a search for “teabagging” were pretty disappointed. But rather than saying, “Hey, people are only reading your new crap by accident,” WordPress tells me, “Some of your most popular posts were written before 2011. Your writing has staying power!”

The flip side of the resolution coin is that at some point, even if it’s way in the back of your mind, you have to face up to how well you did, or didn’t, do. If you vowed on a loved one’s grave that you will read more books this year, and you just flat-out didn’t, well, some part of you has to acknowledge that.

But WordPress has shown me that there’s some wiggle room in this acknowledgment. Where I see crushing failure, WordPress sees “staying power.” I like that. I like that a lot. In fact, I’m looking into how I can send WordPress a list of my 2012 resolutions just so I can get their spin on my performance.

“Congratulations! Your bacon-eating has staying power! Click here for a full report.”


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.