Feeling Mathy: A Year of Living Owlishly
So, as I mentioned last week, the Owl has hit the one-year mark. This means this upcoming year 2 will be filled with toddler tantrums and Cheerios. No, not really. A year ago I was trying to learn WordPress, figuring out my tone (was I trying to be “real” news” or The Onion or something in between?) Categories included Trees Rule and History and all kinds of things I didn’t have a hope of carrying through. Off-line I was testing stories and ideas with friends. Bunches of ideas, little chance of most of them happening.
The early days saw me trying to attend every town committee and commission meeting. Whooooo…not a chance. The learning from this attempt: Weston has an amazing cadre…phalanx…virtual army of volunteers which gives countless hours to what they do. No one person can do what Weston does, or what its volunteers do. Or watch all the Weston Media videos. It’s not possible.
I loved talking with some of the Weston folks I knew of only peripherally: of Esther Tetreault of Trillium, Janet Kraus of Peach, Mike McGrath of Weston Athletics, and John Gibbons, Middle School Principal. Of the stories I have written, the profiles are my favorite. By far. Everyone has an interesting story and there are so many people still on my list to interview. I have three requests out right now to various people–ahem, you know who you are. I also have loved my visits to Weston places–Case House and Case Barn and the Josiah Smith Tavern. Backstage is always the most fun.
Yesterday I chatted with one of our newest Town employees–Anthony Senesi, the new Assistant to the Town Manager. We talked about how so much angst can be avoided if the communications are right. Because this Town and its residents are doing some really cool things–and also some uncool things–and also some stuff that is caught up in bureaucracy so I cannot talk about it (a Mustang Mach-E EV car is one of these, and it burns my biscuits I am not authorized to talk about it yet. It has UNBRIDLED MODE–it could be my biggest story EVER). We have cool stuff which I would love to talk about if someone let me and a fabulous K9 officer Knox, with whom I am obsessed and I readily admit it.
There have been many surprises this year: first and foremost how many people read this blog even though my stated followers number around 550 and WordPress followers around 330. I love it when someone says to me “I read [blog X] and I don’t agree with you and here’s why” or better yet “You totally nailed that one.” Another surprise: WordPress hates my grammar, and no matter how many times I edit a post, there is an 80% chance I have missed a spelling or grammar mistake. Or a statistic is wrong (thank you for the readers who check my math–believe it or not I was in turbo math in my MBA. I hated every minute of it and only passed because Mr. Owl saved me).
So, other learnings. In year 1, the most viewed post of all, with 1500+ reads was about horses. I get it. I found Iron Horse the most interesting place ever, plus horse-y people are clearly fanatics. Here’s that blog in case you missed it. The second most popular was a blog about changes at our public schools–1100 readers. That is a bit surprising. Here’s that one. Third, and here is my giant surprise, is a tribute I wrote to a Weston titan named Paul Penfield, who had recently passed on. 1000 reads. What to learn from that? He was much loved. My own short-lived resignation was fourth “most popular” followed by the blog about Police Chief Goulding’s retirement.
The least read were blog posts about events. There’s learning there–I think we’ll move to posting those only in the calendar on the home page. The fact is that I spend a lot of time on them and with 10 readers of them, well, I have other exposés to work on. Unbridled mode. The fire department dalmatian (no I haven’t given up).
Anyway, happy anniversary to the Owl. And thank you all for reading (or not reading, in the case of the events) and donating. We all learn. We all care. And now for my most-used phrase of the year: