Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Wordhoard!

Today the Unlocked Wordhoard is one year old! It all began with a post that was supposed to be entitled "Hwaet!," but since I was still fumbling with how to blog, I accidentally left the post un-entitled, and "Hwaet!" is the first word. By total coincidence, the Wordhoard's Birthday happened to coincide with Bloomsday -- a fact that is unfortunate, since it would have been better if the Wordhoard's birthday coincided with an important day in medieval literature.

Then came the first month milestone. I had set a goal of at least 500 hits the first month and, if I didn't receive them, I wasn't going to continue with the blog. The days of having only 500 or so hits seem quaint, now -- as of this writing I've got 20,772. Small potatoes compared to some who get more than more than that every week, but since I don't blog about political topics, pretty good, I think. For a while, I was the first hit when you Googled "Medieval Blogs," but as of this writing I'm not any longer. In any case, I'm not interested in being the biggest blog out there, but I am interested in being a place where people can go and find smart stuff from me and commentors on the medieval, on literature, and on culture generally. So long as that's going on and I'm getting at least 500 hits per month, I'm happy.

Still, I was a blogging rube (some would claim that any blog still on Blogspot is amatuerish, but I poke such people in the eye). Steven Taylor wrote his Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging, and then a couple of people chided me for my miscreant ways -- no pinging the blogroll, no trackbacks, no nothing. Now I'm a good boy, and always ping. I trackback less, mostly because I'm finding fewer and fewer sites offer that option. It must be going out of style.

One big failure was my Unlocked Wordhoard Google Group, a service whereby all posts are instantly e-mailed to subscribers. My friend Les asked for the service, so I set it up ... and lo, all these months later, it's still just the two of us. Les and I are in a very exclusive club!

September 2005 was a strange month for the Wordhoard. When hurricane Katrina hit, the Wordhoard was briefly turned into a clearinghouse for service opportunities in the Troy area. It is hard to tell how much impact it had -- for example, a couple of people who showed up to renovate a house for refugees had seen my post on that, but I don't think anyone in Montgomery got involved in my church's efforts because of the Wordhoard. Now, nearly a year later, one of the few predictions I've made on the Wordhoard has come true. I don't personally know a single Katrina refugee who has gone back, but I do know some who have become assets to their new homes.

One of the most embarrassing errors came in October, when I conflated buckyballs with smartpaper. I still get hits for people interested in buckyballs, and no doubt mislead a few ... so I've linked the buckyballs here in this post to the correction, not the original post.

Now, for a few random things:
  • My post on Paraguay graffitti earned an angry comment from someone who either doesn't have good command of English, or doesn't understand irony. Every time I read this, it makes me laugh. Interestingly, after posting this, that stall exploded with ironic graffitti, with people writing in dark marker, and with attempts at cleverness. Others in my department have commented that it seems after reading my post, people thought I would be blogging regularly about toilet graffitti, and were auditioning their texts. I have stubborned refused to do it thus far.
  • My open letter to David Horowitz started an e-mail conversation between us. I found him personable over the e-mail, though I can't claim to know him, or even to have physically met him. He sent me a copy of his book, so I like him -- I like anyone who gives me free books (*hint to anyone out there with free books to distribute*).
  • I'm still mulling over the idea of podcasting. We need more good medieval podcasts.
  • I think my first plagiarism rant was about Joe Biden. Now, a year later, I'm sick of ranting about plagiarism. Now I recognize why Glenn Reynolds had trouble getting worked up about Biden. Just one year of writing on occasional plagiarism, and I'm exhausted!
  • As a result of this post on Rate My Professors, The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed me for an article. Unless I missed it, it still hasn't come out.
  • As of today, my post with the most visible Google profile is "On Blogging Job Seekers."
So, that's it, the year in review. Sing "Happy Birthday," I'll blow out the candles, and we'll eat cake!


  1. Congrats on a good year. And thanks for steering clear of politics. We all get enough of that on the rest of the Web, whatever our ideological persuasions.

  2. Happy Birthday, Wordhoard.

  3. Yay! Happy Birthday!

  4. Anonymous7:46 PM

    Happy Birthday, Wordhoard!

    Let's the spankings commence!

  5. Hypothetical -- If someone were to post "Happy Birthday" in Chaucer-Era English, would the estate of Mildred and Patty Hill still want their piece?

    Anyhow, happy birthday to (thee? thou?)!

  6. Happy belated birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday ... a few days late.

    Jeffery Hodges

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