Of Numbers and Systems: The 2011 Ultimate Blog Party Meets SchoolHouse Rock

Well, it's a wrap! The 2011 Ultimate Blog Party officially ended at midnight on April 8, eight days after its hosts, Susan and Janice, first opened the door to eager blogging party-goers. Of course, the blog lists will remain up indefinitely, and lots of party guests will likely continue to peruse the posts for weeks and months to come - and if any show up here, I'll lay out the welcome mat and pour some big glasses of peach tea.

But I hung up my party hat for another year a couple of hours before midnight - not because I wouldn't like to spend much more time meeting more fellow bloggers. But the reality is that I just don't have the time. Both last year and this, I've felt comfortable devoting a lot of my free time for one week to the pursuit - it's been a welcome respite and really fun to see beautifully-designed blogs, read inspiring life stories, and connect with like-minded women. And I'm planning to make room for it next year and in the future. But to everything there is a season, and one week for blog-partying seems like a good place to draw the line. Those I met during that time were those I was supposed to meet; those I didn't...well, maybe that'll come next year.

That said, I've compiled some interesting stats on this year's party:

  • By the time I "left the building" last night, 2,970 blogs had been listed in seven different categories.
  • In addition, 908 Facebook pages and 1,027 Twitter handles were linked. All tolled, that's one heck of a guest list!
  • The category in which I posted, Christian and Religion Blogs, contained 412 posts.
  • I chose to limit my hopping to my category...and, I accomplished my goal of visiting every one of the 412.
However, I didn't just go chronologically because I didn't want to miss seeing lovely blogs at the end of the list just because they were....well, at the end of the list. So (of course, with being "Miss Concrete Sequential Rou-Tina" and all!) I came up with a system - using, of all things, a song - "Three Is a Magic Number" - from SchoolHouse Rock.

Say what?

Well, my blog was number 73 on the list. Last year, a fellow party-goer had suggested starting with all the blogs ending in the same number as one's own. I liked the idea (because it's a system!) so I planned to use it this year, too. And then, almost immediately, my music-smart kicked in and I remembered this song. So...once I finished visiting the 3's, I started hopping through the 6's and then the 9's...and, well, you get the idea. And last night before I went to bed I hit the last of the 0's!

Now, if you're wired at all like me, you'll think that's clever. If God's set up your brain in a more abstract and/or random way, you'll think I'm daft. But that's okay; it worked for me...and I got to hum that hip SchoolHouse Rock song all week as a bonus!

  • About 20 of the posts were spam from two different sources.
  • A couple dozen real bloggers didn't actually write "party posts" as they were supposed to; each of those ladies just linked us to her whole blog, hoping we'd read recent posts even if they weren't related to the party.
  • Taking out the spam and those who didn't follow directions (sorry, but I am a rule-follower!), I think I commented on every other blog in my category - maybe 370 or so. Yep, I had a system for that, too!
  • I chose to start following almost 20 new blogs.
  • I don't know how many visited me, but as of this writing 104 folks from the party have left comments for me.
  • Though I didn't think to check my starting number before the party began, I know I've gained close to 40 new followers. As of this evening, that means some 205 people have indicated they'd like to hear more of what I have to say. Wow.

The party also gave me the opportunity to do some "spring cleaning" - not in real life, of course, because I was "carousing" all week. But at least here on the blog!

If you've been here for any length of time, you'll notice I have a new header, which was designed by my talented graphic artist husband, Jeff. That inspired me to change the look of my dates, post titles, and text font to match. And I spruced up my sidebar as well. Plus, you'll notice I now have a button you may "grab" if you'd like; Jeff designed it using the new header as a base, and my friend Betty Eisenhour helped me with the coding. I hope it's not vanity to admit this, but I really like looking at this new look!

I also did some downsizing of the blogs I follow (those listed under I Enjoy Reading... at the bottom of the sidebar). Of course, I added in the new blogs I started following from the party - but I also deleted 25 I'd followed in the past. Not because I don't like them anymore...but because none had posted anything in a long time - in some cases, not for a year or more. I was loathe to "dump" anyone, but I finally decided to let go of those who hadn't written in at least three months, hoping I'll somehow run across them again when they get back to their blogs.

That got me down to following "just" 165 other blogs. No, I haven't been very good at keeping up with most of them over the past year - on average, I've probably gone to my reader about once a month, at which point there have often been upwards of 800 posts available to read at one time. An impossible task. And that has meant that, unfortunately, I've simply missed a lot of great things my bloggy friends have had to say. But, from one writer to others, I plan now to do better.

Of course, that'll probably involve some sort of system.

I wonder which SchoolHouse Rock song would fit?


Melinda said...

It was fun reading your wrap up post for UBP. I'm one of your new followers as a result of the party. :-)

Courtney said...

Wow - thanks for putting together all those numbers! it really puts things in perspective.

Lisa said...

This was fun to read! Thanks for stopping by and following. I look forward to getting to know you!

Mitzi Eaker said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! i enjoyed reading your follow up blog about the party. I admire that you went to every blog in the category in one night. I hope to visit them over the next couple of weeks.

Conny said...

Oh, I like how you think!! :)
I can't remember if you were a part of it, but I recently gave away FREE DVDs of the 1st Narnia movie ... and I felt this insane NEED to make a chart of how many DVDs went to each state, analyzing which state got the most evelopes, etc. I like systems, numbers, patterns, etc. :)
Great post! :)

joelle said...

Wow that is impressive! Thanks for stopping by.

Alyssa said...

I'm glad you took the time to comment on my blog :). We've watched Schoolhouse Rock at our house, too.

A Little R&R said...

Wow!!! I am so impressed that you got a chance to visit all the blogs. I sooooooo wanted to do that - but I have a little 14-month old who wont let me. *big grin*

I did, however, get to visit probably about 2-3 dozen or so (maybe more) and I also found some of those who didn't write a post, and like you, I didn't comment on them. I am a rule-follower. haha!!

I am so glad you stopped by my blog for the party, and I feel really bad that I didn't respond until this morning. I totally love your wrap, and I am thinking of going back and visiting some more blogs, even though the part is over. What a great idea to grab ideas on how to spruce up your blog (you totally inspired me here!). I am following you, and I look forward to reading more of your posts. I totally find your blog interesting.

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

Wow, that was some summary! Very interesting to read. Thanks for stopping by during the UBP11! I'm a new follower. :)

Sara @ Embracing Destiny said...

We "met" through last year's UBP and I've been a follower ever since! It was fun reading about your system and the statistics from this year. Now I have Schoolhouse Rock songs stuck in my head! ;0)

Mary @ A Simple Twist Of Faith said...

I am impressed, I am j getting to visit the folks from the UBP!

rachel@thecupcakesprinklesinlife said...

It can be quite overwhelming to keep up with all of the lovely bloggers who we meet!

It's still nice to say hello to eachother, while in another time- we all would have remained strangers. :)

Diva Latina said...

This year was my first year in UBP and I was overwhelmed by all the blogs. I'm so glad they lift the list up. It will give me time to read on.

Also, I like your idea of making it a numbers game. I think I'll try it also.

I know I'm blessed because I met you also. I can't believe how much we have in common. I can't wait to get to know you more.



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