Well, I have been blogging for longer than I expected.
I had a medical virus this week and was ill so I did not post but people still showed up. No one emailed to to ask if I stopped blogging the way people did during autumn breaks. So this is good.
Evaluation of posts after almost eight months.
1] I post random clipped items that I read because people ask me what I find interesting on the web They are almost always from blogs of other faiths or ethics. Now, there are new tools like “read something” to share articles but this seems to work fine. I tend to select lists. This is my cork board.
2] I post interfaith clippings of Jews or Jewish texts. These get steady hits and serve as a repository. These rarely get a publishable comment. (I don’t post the islamophobia and xenophobia.)
3] I post pieces on Jewish meditation, Zohar, and kabbalistic ritual. These are intermittent but always generate the most comments and the most personal emails.
4] I post long reviews of the most important theological works of the year. This has been the most surprisingly successful for determining if I have a book review to pitch to a journal and to determine if I have 1k or 8k words. These are the works that usually don’t get reviewed on blogs because the book was too complex for this format.
5] Finally, I post sociological observations on the Orthodox community in comparison to the other faiths as it appears on my feed. These generate the most links on other blogs and the massive influx of temporary readers but are not my major concern. However, when I feel I have come up with something, then I do theme and variations for a while.
6] Every 2 months I look at the wide range of Jewish academic journals and download the pdfs. I do this to professionally keep up with the field but have not had time to comment on more than a few articles.
Evaluation of the technical aspects of the blog
a] I could arrange this in magazine format as five topics, wordpress allows that but this is working OK.
b] If anyone has any suggestions for widgets or plug-ins, then let me know. I have not found a good widget for finding old posts yet. The cloud does not yield a sufficient index.
c] I have gotten used to receiving my best discussions and comments by email. I did not think it would. On the other hand, phone calls are a bit much and I do not then have a printed record of the comments.
d] I have not upgraded yet for a memory increase to allow mp3s and video. I am debating if I want to do file hosting here or at itunes u channel.
e] I get the most hits on snow days. I get the least before Hag.
f] Only a handful of readers ever click through to links.
g] When you are kind enough to send me typos, I correct them in the text. I do not bother posting the list of typos.
On Book old and new
I will be speaking and having a book signing at NYU-Bronfman Center this Monday April 26th at 6:30.
I will be speaking at DAVAR in Teaneck on MAY 8th after musaf, shalos seudot, and then book signing after havdalah. Order book in advance at $48 and you can pick it up before shabbos.
Finally, my first volume had an orange color on top; I will make the second volume light blue, magenta, or green. But should I change the text at the bottom of the cover? Rambam hilkhot AZ had 4 font sizes and was attractive on the page. None of the standard Talmud editions for AZ have the same eye appeal. Do any Rishonim have an attractive first page of AZ? Neither Meiri, Yeraim, nor anything by Mosad Harav Kook has better typography. Does it pay to switch? Should I keep the Rambam and just change title and color?