On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
How Do We Know If Are Making An Impression?
All too often in our daily lives, we are just guessing about how we are perceived by others. The impressions we make in some face-to-face encounters may or may not be important or even meaningful ones, but at other times those impressions are deeply personal and lasting. Thus, choosing our words and our thoughts makes a big difference in how we are remembered. If our personal legacies are going to be positive ones, we ourselves should take some time to be introspective and act positively.
Unless we have a personal fan club or a following that is tracked by media outlets, most of us have no way of knowing just what people think of us, in a general way; but especially on a deeply personal level. Since virtually all of us want to be respected, liked, and admired; it is entirely up to us how we go about making positive impressions.
By all means, we should be true to ourselves and project the image of who we really are and who we want to be. Of course, the two thoughts are not the same but there is always the opportunity to make amends when we offend someone, thus re-affirming the advice that we should not give up on ourselves just because we succumbed in a time of weakness.
All of this sounds a little too preachy, but making and judging by impressions need not be serious about all things. For example, making positive impressions with our writing may be flattering but is certainly not earth changing if we fail to impress.
Choosing a pleasing style with interesting content may be an issue, but making a positive impression makes the effort worthwhile
To be a writer, we must write…and write often. Before he died but just as he was retiring from the national spotlight as a TV personality, journalist Andy Rooney said that he had no intentions of retiring from writing. He said that he would continue to write on a daily basis because he was a writer. What other people thought about his writing was entirely unimportant to him. Yet, we lesser humans sometimes wonder if what we write and how we write make the kinds of impressions we hope to achieve. Simple satisfaction may be reward enough.
It so happens that the readers, writers, and subscribers affiliated with Legacy Stories.org have a way of knowing a little something about the “apparent” impressions that have been made by stories posted therein. The Traffic and Statistics counter is an objective monitor of the number of “hits” or visits to the home page of the individual contributor. And although the record of hits won’t shed light on who reads a particular story, why they do, or even the impressions they might have; their visits to your site or mine is sufficient evidence that thousands of readers come to Legacy Stories.org with some form of agenda. Reading is most certainly a key part of that agenda.
It may be assumed that most visitors to the pages of Legacy Stories.org are lurkers, those who come only to read but not necessarily to make their own contributions of stories, photo albums, or videos. Nor do the presumed lurkers make many comments, based on my own deduction of comments received, compared to the number of hits recorded. The 360+ published stories posted by the chronicler who calls himself the Footloose Forester have received over 344,000 hits to date, but only about a dozen comments from readers from all quarters. That is why the Footloose Forester does not seek reader approval as part of his rationale for publishing in a relatively open forum. He writes as a means to share his thoughts with others, despite what they may think of him personally, or the merits of his writings. That is not to say that he is immune to wondering how other people react to the nonfictional stories that he chooses to put into print.
To date, however; he is unable to conclude anything about what has been well received or enjoyed, other than to note that by mid-2017, more than 80 stories have gotten more than a thousand hits each. Since everything is dated, the numbers continue to rise. Without rhyme or reason, the most visited stories, as of this date, have also changed in their rankings.
Original postings, as of 2014 Updated to December 2016
Picking Magic Mushrooms With Jaelyn (Legacy Story) 1765 hits 4405
Hunger For Real French Bread (Motivational) 1418 hits 6104
Why Meeza Is Sooooo Cheep (Humor) 1383 hits 1838
We Built It….We The People (Ancestors) 1161 hits 1547
UPDATE: 22 December 2014
There is another aspect to the issue of communicating ideas with others. One day in late December 2014, the Footloose Forester posted a political cartoon through his Facebook account. The cartoon, shared with a limited number of family and friends, was about the rapprochement of the Obama Administration with Cuba. The very next day, he received two separate e-mails from people who were college friends and classmates, but did not, to his knowledge, have Facebook accounts. The subject matter of the e-mails was Cuba and the text of the short messages was to mention that one of Fidel Castro's soldiers had visited Rutgers University shortly after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. The local newspaper in New Brunswick, NJ had a photo of Major Ramon Guin, dressed in his olive drab fatigues, with two college friends of the Footloose Forester; and an account of that visit on 21 April 1959. But it was two other friends via their e-mails and a copy of the newspaper account that supplied details about the visit, some 55 years after it had taken place.
Completing the link of communication sometimes uses avenues that we are not aware of. And the political cartoon posted on Facebook got a response from old friends who then supplied the name of the Cuban revolutionary warrior in a photo taken more than 50 years ago. In retrospect, that link with Facebook did make an impression. We still wonder what kind of impression we make, but rest assured that we get someone's attention when we share our thoughts, photos, and news stories with others.
UPDATE: 17 February 2015
Since entries into the personal story pages by members of LegacyStories.org can be updated and changed at will, the internal editor is a good way to keep a running total of the number of "hits" or visits by readers. There is still no way to know who or why readers visit some story entries more than others, but it is certain that most of the readers utilize other web sites where the stories have been shared. To date in mid-February 2015, the number of hits on stories posted by the Footloose Forester had risen to almost 102,000.
UPDATE: 15 December 2016
As 2016 comes to an end, the number of hits exceeds 270,00. The eight stories that had reached more than a thousand hits each in 2015 have now climbed to 47 stories registering over 42,000 hits by themselves. There still is no discernible pattern as regards the subject matter, since all of the leading stories have been supplanted by others. Eleven stories have registered more than 2,000 hits each. In the interim, a short, half-page story about Rwanda, Burundi, and Genocide eclipsed all others with over 16,000 hits. In conclusion, although there are few comments made to the author by feedback loops, especially through this LegacyStories website, this site nevertheless is a broad avenue for sharing information through other computer links. Somehow, the readers at other sites find enough interest in the subject matter to make the whole idea of sharing legacy stories a viable one.
UPDATE: 30 November 2017
To date, the number of hits on stories posted by Footloose Forester has risen to 386,000. The top-to-bottom list of stories most read continues to change. That indicates that the sharing of interests spreads beyond the initial point of entry, which is this web site -- LegacyStories.org.