David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
One pithy DWF and 200 solemn blogs*

June 11, 2013:  One pithy DWF and 200 solemn blogs*

This blog is my 201st original posting to this website (in terms of blogs or original poems).  I am not counting the original pages set up in conjunction with the book, nor am I counting the postings that are mostly just links ("People Who Get It") or are quick gags ("Headlines We'd Like To See").  As I sit back to reflect upon the previous 200, I can't help but think about the trite sayings related to measurement:

If you can't measure it . . . you can't manage it . . . or improve it . . . or fix it . . . or talk about it ad nauseam at a meeting

Your standard, overpaid, management consultant will tell you that you can't measure without some key performance indicators (KPI's).  What are my KPI's for the last 200 blogs?

1) Total words:  The previous 200 postings equal, using a very safe estimate, about 120,000 words.  It's All Academic is about 116,000 words.  That could sound impressive until one realizes that the book's 116,000 words were produced in about 8 weeks.  The 120,000 words were produced over 32 months.  Thank goodness, I don't get paid by a word by minute rate.  Of course, I don't get paid at all for this.

(Perhaps the adage should be,  If you don't get paid for it, don't bother measuring it.  I'm sure that's been the mantra of a lot of street walkers through the years.)

2) Allusions and references likely to be understood by my audience:  Everyone knows I am a popular culture junkie.  Here's how that plays out.

  • 85 musical allusions or references.  As to how many are understood by my audience, well, that is almost certainly a very low number.  Perhaps the new adage here should be, "You can't measure it if is too small too see."  (Maybe another street-walker mantra through the years.  Hmm?)
  • 62 references to television, probably a low estimate because I am convinced I missed some Fox News references, digs so essential to my world view that they represent linguistic connectors, similar to articles or prepositions, necessary for complete thoughts. Still, 62?  That scares me a little, as t.v. is the least interesting popular culture medium for me.  Sure, some of these references are for MASH, The Smothers Brothers, and Cheers, but nevertheless I know a lot more about reality t.v. than I would care to admit . .  or post publicly at a website.  "If you don't measure it, you can't be judged by it."
  • 52 literary references.  I feel like I have let my professional colleagues down.  More Monty Python references than William Shakespeare references?  Blasphemy!  "If you can't find it in the Norton Anthology, it isn't worth measuring." (Pythons and spears, eh?  Is there another streetwalker joke in there?)
  • 37 movie references.  This low number is almost a certainly a reflection of being out of touch with the movie scene for several decades.  "You can't measure it you wait for it come to cable first."
  • 15 sports references.  This is a small number that frankly doesn't take into account the entire blogs (or blog series) consumed by sports analogies:  the Bracketology of this recent March; a Masters' related blog; several tied to football.  "If you can't measure it, you need someone keeping score."
  • 55 "other" references, ranging from games (Dungeons and Dragons; Operation, Strat-o-Matic) to history (Bismarck) to Media outlets (NPR, Mad Magazine).  "If you can't define it more precisely, you can't manage it."

3) Impact factor: Not entirely sure how to measure the blogs for any true impact.   However, 70% of these postings (141) were sincerely aimed at higher education, many with a critical eye, but occasionally with sincere respect for people or places doing things right in academia. This also means that 30% of the time I was truly self-indulgent.  That may be more than I care to admit.  "You can't measure it if you think you are the measuring stick."  Unfortunately, I know a number of higher education leaders to whom this could apply.

So, where does this all leave me, but yet another self-indulgent blog.  I turn to Shakespeare:

They say, best men are moulded out of faults, And, for the most, become much more the better For being a little bad.

I turn to Dylan (Bob, not Walsh):

Sometimes you just find yourself over the line Oh, if there is an original thought out there I could use it right now

All seems right in the world.

*Obscure allusion to Ben Folds' song, right in character.