Wrapping up 2012

It’s been an interesting year–both in the apocryphal “Chinese curse” sense and in a more positive sense. So, what the heck, here are a few idle end-of-year musings, of no special import.

Better than 2011 (at least in professional terms)

Some comparisons with 2011 seem reasonable…and encouraging.

  • Speaking: My already-slowed pace of speaking invitations disappeared entirely in 2011, with not a single speech requested or given (after one in 2010 and two in 2009). In 2012, I spoke once (at Internet Librarian), in an odd sort of invited/requested situation. I’m pleased to say that at least one two-state group (or one committed person and groups he was able to convince) think[s] I still have something to say: I’ll be speaking at least three times in 2013, albeit all at the same conference.
  • Writing 1–Paid print columns and articles: This one’s less encouraging. After 27 years of having at least one (and at one point four) ongoing paid print magazine columns, the end of 2011 also saw the end of the last such column…with a single paid article in 2012.
  • Writing 2–Cites & Insights: For various reasons, some personal, some otherwise, I came very close to giving up C&I altogether in 2011, which saw the fewest issues ever (nine), the fewest words since 2002 (214,521), and the fewest pages since 2002 (274). I thought turning all my energy to book writing–for real publishers–definitely made financial sense and might make sense otherwise. That might have been the sensible decision, but C&I started creeping back in. 2012 was back to 12 issues (if not quite monthly, since a combined January-February issue was balanced by a special Fall issue), and relatively long ones at that (312,023 words in 394 pages–actually the second-highest word count, with 2009 higher, and the third-highest page count, with 2009 and 2010 higher). My goal for 2013? Do issues that I find fun to do and somewhat worthwhile; no specific goal for length (which has never worked out) or number. (Since the first issue of 2013 is a long 40 pages and the second is sure to be at least roughly that long, saying “16 to 24 pages” seems a bit ludicrous.)
  • Writing 3–Books: 2011 saw my first professionally-published book in eight years, Open Access: What You Need to Know Now. 2012 saw my second, The Librarian’s Guide to Micropublishing, and my third–Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries–should be out right about now. Having finally given up on books about liblogs and library blogs, I tried something more directly relevant to public libraries, Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13). The jury’s still out on that one, and I wish I had a way to market it to library trustees, who are possibly a natural audience for it. Here, 2013 is currently a void: I have no specific projects in mind.
  • Writing 4–Blogging: You can see the numbers in the right sidebar. 2011 was down from 2010; 2012 is up (slightly) from 2011. Admittedly, a lot of the 2012 posts are related to one particular project–but fewer than a third of the total for the year (49 of 188). I have a little list of posts I should write. One of these days, I will. (No, this ramble isn’t on the list.)
  • Social networking: I haven’t yet been asked to leave by LSW on Friendfeed, and I don’t think I’ve quite alienated everybody there. I continue to check in on Facebook, Google+ (where I started an LSW group as a placeholder) and Twitter, with relatively little actual activity on any of them…and, once in a great while, on LinkedIn, with even less activity. I don’t think I’m ever going to be an SEO-worthy Social Networker and Personal Brand Builder, and that’s OK.

Anniversaries and other oddities

In September, my wife and I attended my high school graduating class’s 50th reunion. Fifty years. (Thanks, in part, to George Lucas, who I never knew in high school and still haven’t actually talked to, the Class of ’62 continues to have large, lively reunions every five years.)

In October (I think) my wife and I attended her brother’s 80th birthday party.

And tomorrow (January 1, 2013), my wife and I will celebrate our 35th anniversary at New Year’s Day brunch–with a good friend of ours, at (oddly enough) a golf course restaurant in Livermore. Thirty-five years…and looking forward to quite a few more.

After more than 35 years of subscribing to the San Francisco Chronicle as a daily print newspaper, we became digital converts and tablet owners, largely because the print paper had just gotten too expensive ($559/year as compared to $71.88/year on the Kindle or $60/year on the iPad) and its arrival too uncertain in the morning. We’ve now owned a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for…lessee…eleven days. We had two weeks to try out the Chronicle Kindle version before deciding whether to drop that and send back the Kindle (and probably get an iPad); it took us four days to decide, cancelling the print subscription. The Kindle’s staying; next up is to get a case and stand. (My wife crafted a temporary cardboard stand that works beautifully, but it’s not a long-term solution and won’t do squat to protect the Kindle when we eventually start traveling again.) I’ve blogged about that once and probably will again. We’re still not ebook people; I downloaded the free Sherlock Holmes collection on the day it was free (which mostly means a free introduction + nicely-formatted Project Gutenberg texts of public domain fiction), but haven’t really looked at it. When we start traveling again, we might add some actual ebooks, but that’s not why we got the Fire HD–we got it as a newspaper, and so far that’s what it is. I miss the print paper…but not all that much.

The downside, at the moment: Our ^#T(* Panasonic HDTV still isn’t repaired, thanks partly to Panasonic’s apparent policy of delaying everything as much as possible (seemingly even replacement parts). Since October 7, 2012, we’ve had a working TV for 33 days and a big ugly sculpture for 51 days (from October 7 until November 1, and from December 4 until…well, it’s still not fixed). We are sick and tired of the whole situation. (Thanks to my brother, we have a 19″ Polaroid with which we can watch DVDs on the itty-bitty screen; it lacks a QAM tuner, so broadcast TV via cable isn’t happening.) The Panasonic had a great picture: I remember that. I also remember everything else that’s happened since it failed the first time… We will not be watching any NYE countdowns, but that’s OK.

We’re both reasonably healthy, we’re not starving, we live in a town and neighborhood and setting so nice that it really is like being on vacation all the time (one of several reasons we haven’t really done much traveling in the past 2-3 years)…and I hope that all continues.

I’ll see some of you in Vancouver, Washington in April; I’ll chat with others of you on Friendfeed and possibly elsewhere; I wish you all a good new year.

3 Responses to “Wrapping up 2012”

  1. Elaine Mayes says:

    And a Happy New Year to you and your family and friends. I read your blog through RSS (Google Reader) each time it is published. Your pithy comments and wry humor amuse and educate me. Thanks !!

  2. Angel says:

    A Happy and Safe New Year to you as well, Walt. Like Elaine, always get when you post something on the feed reader.

    Social Networking-wise, I don’t really check into FF these days. Use Fb in part because I have family members that use it, and in part for work (the library has an Fb page that does alright). Not planning on being a social media mogul neither, haha.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  3. waltcrawford says:

    Thanks both for your comments. Angel: Friendfeed for me is really mostly LSW, although I have indirect connections to some scientists and others as well…and LSW, for me, is probably my lifeline to the library field. So for me, it’s important, but everybody’s different.