To blog to not to blog, that is the question. This is more than a lame excuse to misquote the Bard’s most quoted line. it is an example of Shakespeare’s timeless genius. In the communities of the year 2012 – family, local, regionally, nationally, globally – do I exist?
My wife and I moved to the country in 2003. The country, that is the exurbs of the city of New Orleans. 60 miles from the city, 30 miles from the nearest suburb, I sit alone most days in my study. I am luckier than most while remaining in lowest economic reaches of the 99%. I have my Mac, I am connected to the ‘Net. I have a meaningful project to occupy my time. And, most recently, last week I landed a part-time entry level job in a community near to my home.
So, referencing my wife; Yes, I exist. Locally, I exist more this week than last week. Regionally, not so much. Outside of my extended family, hardly anyone knows me in the New Orleans area, and no one ever contacts me. Nationally and globally, No, I do not exist.
In cyberspace? And more to the point of this blog entry, do I cyber-exist? Let’s review. In January of 2012, Apple introduced iBooks Author. This was a huge inspiration to my 1718 Project. This cyber ‘omage to the founding of my city, and to its upcoming 300th birthday in 2018 had been slogging along since the spring of 2010. Taking the form of a Website, a history book, and a cookbook, the project has been a series of up-and-down periods of intense activity alternating with periods of virtual neglect as the vagaries of physical existence have dictated. But as always, since 1988, in my cyber-existence, Apple changed everything. Here in iBooks Author, I found the impetus to jump feet first into the world of e-Publishing.
Writing books is hard. Writing books that sell is even harder. 2012 promises to be the year that history will mark as the beginning of the change-over from having to deal with an outmoded, profit-driven, and crony-based publishing system to the ability to publish your own work with the proverbial click-of-the-mouse. Anybody who wants one, now owns a printing press. Take note, however, I said publish, not sell. Selling remains as difficult, as aggravating, and as frustrating as it always has been. Herein lay the challenge of the new model.
All of this being said, to return to our theme of existence. My particular cyber-existence is rooted in the existence of the 1718 Project. 1718 has had a web presence since its beginning in the spring of 2010. The website http://1718neworleans.com is the foundation and jumping off point for all of the project’s activities and publications. Spinning out from the website are the chapters of the “pop” history book, the recipes and historical essays of the cookbook, the lesson-plans for introducing the topic to Middle School, High School, and College level audiences, and the extensions of the web presence to other platforms like WordPress, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc. OK, so now I have been into the social network big time since March of 2012. Here on the social network is the measure of my cyber-existence. While I do – in fact – realize that it takes time to build one’s presence here, the results so far have been most discouraging. The 1718 Blog has had some meager response; Linkedin, again some response, but not much; Facebook and Twitter are mostly a joke from the standpoint of meaningful communication. Apparently, I need to readjust my expectations. So I ask my blog readers, what should my expectations be re: one’s existence on the social network?
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
There’s not much to publish right now from the 1718 Project. As stated, I just got a new part-time job – not a biggie, just a bit to keep body and soul together – but I am still learning “how to run the store’ as it were. There is an essay on rice coming – maybe some controversy here – wooooooooooo?? When and how rice was introduced into Louisiana cuisine are among the questions covered. It’s research time on the historical matter. Specifically, the “Women’s Studies” chapter of 1718: A Tri-Centennial Memo tentatively titled “New Orleans’ Ladies”, Hopefully this chapter will appear in “cyber-print” within the month. So, my cyber-presence for early June is continued. I wonder if anyone will notice.