Pomp in Circumstance

Jose Vilson Jose, Writing

A few notes:

– A few days ago, I mentioned how one of my favorite teachers / mentors / friends left my present school of employ. Today, I found out that another teacher, who was an icon in the building, passed away. It hurt my soul to see him go, because he was a staple for the school and like the first teacher I mentioned, contributed positively to the school environment. The one thing I can say about this man is that he always had a style about him that, no matter how outlandish or rough it may seem at first, you knew he had the soul of a gentleman. He had an energy unparalleled by most men I knew.

– Shout-outs to Slant Truth for giving me a “Brilliant Award.” As always, humbled.

– Blogs are not books. In Twitter, someone recently mentioned a statistic about how much the average book sells a certain amount of copies, and the person in question have quadruple that number in page views. OK, so let’s get this straight: if the number of books sold, hypothetically is 5000 (NY Times Best Seller number), and you get 4 times that, we’re looking at 20,000 page views. But that’s fuzzy math. After all, a book is on average, a good 2-300 pages, so we’re looking at anywhere from 1 million to 1.5 million page views. Is that really equal? Plus, if we subtract all the accidental views, all the views based on mistaken searches, aggregators, repeat visits, and people who are really just there because they didn’t know what the tinyurl was about, in reality, we’re looking at anywhere from 5-10,000 really. In other words, it’s a bad argument.

Plus, any author can tell you that, even if they had a high selling book that’s been recommended by tons of people, it doesn’t make you a celebrity. It makes you well known, and if you have a niche of people who really care about what you write, then that’s great for you. But celebrity is a whole different echelon where people actually post gossip about you, people want to follow anything with your name attached to it, people go out of their social norms just to have a little interaction with you, and you actually hang out with people who others would also call celebrities, not just celebrities in their own minds.

What blogs can do well is that they can give a really good writer a chance to express themselves in a public forum without the red tape of editor, publisher, funding, etc. The problem becomes, though, when the writer becomes so excited about his or her work that he or she lets his or her avarice speak for him or herself and thinks he or she can make ludicrous equations. What’s more, because of that perceived popularity, people support the ideas rather than truly analyzing what’s being said. People can have really popular blogs but never write anything of substance (here, I separate the bloggers from the writers).

As I am with school business, I don’t have any personal problem with other bloggers / writers. Yet, when I see absurdities like the aforementioned analogy between blogs and books, I need to speak up. With all the people reading blogs these days, though, it’s no wonder they’re not reading books anymore: we can’t count page views on any book until we read it from cover to cover …

jose, who loves getting letters from prospective teachers wanting to know more about NYC teaching …