Monday, 9 February 2015

The Start of the Advent-ure

Where do I start? I’ve had a wonderful weekend rereading the posts that people so generously contributed to the Advent Blogs series. What an amazing selection of articles written by so many inspirational people. Thank you!

It is said that HR is bad at data, although Deborah’s post showed that some of us are naturally analytical when sorting out our lives. While perusing all the pieces, I created a spreadsheet to undertake some rudimentary analysis of the posts. So here is a little of what I discovered:

1.  The theme for the series was Paths and Perceptions – a number of writers tried to write about both, but most posts showed a clear bias towards one or the other (for example Ed was clearly a path follower whilst Meg, who kicked the series off, was concerned by the perception filters we each apply and Alex worried at our inability to put ourselves into others’ shoes and hence to appreciate their view points.) Paths were most popular, with 41 writers stepping that way, whereas 31 preferred considering perceptions.

2. There were 6 first time bloggers and each of them wrote with aplomb – congratulations and welcome to the blogging community. I am humbled by people’s courage to step into the unknown and to share intimate facts about themselves and their lives. Given her trepidation at writing, but the brave, open piece that ensued, Gina deserves a particular mention. I would also like to wish Susannah on-going success as she develops her career and life in a direction that suits her. Without my commenting on it in an intro, I would defy any reader to distinguish between a “newbie” and a “veteran”.

3. I had expected self-awareness to be the primary theme (indeed it was a topic covered in 50 of the posts – Andrew gave a clear depiction of what it is like to be a public speaker and there was a powerfully frank piece by the originator of the Advent Blog series, Alison Chisnell, which appeared on Christmas Day – Alison’s year took an unexpected turn, but she has learned to be thankful for the new life-affirming opportunities that have opened up for her), but in fact appreciation, in its various forms, was expressed in 52 of the posts. Appreciation is Dawn’s job, but she realised that we need to show how much we value people who are close and precious, but occasionally overlooked, as well as those in our wider lives.

4.  Authors were diverse - people in their teens (thanks to my son, Hamish, whose poem still makes me misty eyed whenever I read it), twenties (my other son Charles who urged us to think deeper than the superficiality of first impressions and the articles we read), thirties (it’s often easy to forget that, given the depth and breadth of his knowledge, David is in his mid 30’s – I would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best when he starts his new role as Head of London for the CIPD), forties (Jayne’s piece was all about the pleasure to be gained from being that little bit older – Confucius also felt that contentment and self-awareness need to come with age. I must confess that I am quietly pleased that my illustration for Day 57 was an early Heinz advertisement as, unbeknown to me, Jayne’s father worked for Heinz), and fifties (what a walk Chris gave us – showing the importance of belonging as well as inhabiting a space and feeling a sense of spiritual connection with others).

5. Posts originated from countries around the globe (including Australia (thanks Colin – what a great review of your childhood/formative years), New Zealand (Zoe – I’m so glad to read that you are settling well into your new homeland and beginning to make more time for yourself), Switzerland (Sara – I know that you are not as “flakey” as you claim - it was a beautiful post and I hope one day to meet Bean and Tiny), Scotland (Julie – what a challenging year on so many levels and yet you still manage to shine and inspire), England (Phil managed to find insight and an answer to a question that had troubled him for 700 days whist walking the streets of Leeds for a Street Wisdom session), South Africa (Janine – your girls are lucky to have you as their mum and I shall think of you as #7 going forwards) and the U.S.A. (I loved Christopher’s uplifting piece about dropping our expectations, taking time and acknowledging others to make life better for all).

6. There were 3 anonymous bloggers – each of which of whom were brave and honest. The first had personal information to share, in the hope of encouraging and supporting others, her piece shows that tough times can happen, even to the best of us. It was clear from the response that the second anonymous blogger received that they are not alone in finding the seat at the top uncomfortable – good luck with your new venture. The third anonymous writer wanted to protect his family – what an awful year, but as he said, he survived and I am pleased to report that he tells me things are picking up. I salute all three of you.

Total Views for Advent Blog posts in January 2015 were19835 and for December 2014 they were18513

During January the significant views by country were (2,803 views were scattered across countries around the globe but did not exceed 35 in any location):  

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand
South Africa

The top 12 blogs by page views will be disclosed in my next post

As you can see, I have not illustrated my thoughts and comments, which risks making this post quite dense and hard on the eye. As a result, I shall post the second half of my thoughts and supporting data later this week.

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