Sunday, February 15, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow stronger – or does it?

Hold on now. Don’t let your mind wander. This isn’t about my personal relationship - or even about my trip to Springfield – not really. It’s about my blog and my relationship with it – or lack of - these past couple days.

Way off track
I have so much to tell you about Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday of Bicentennial week, and I had every intention of doing so today … but I got sidetracked. Not just a little bit sidetracked, but totally derailed. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I lived more than 30 years in Galesburg (Ill.), where you can’t drive across town without crossing at least two separate railroads, where Carl Sandburg listened to the rhythms of the trains, where a huge railroad yard sits below a hump-backed bridge. I know what a derailment is, and how massive the equipment looks which is brought in to get the train back on the track. Could someone please call for the equipment?

My problem started just about where the last blog post ended – a coincidence which must have some sort of symbolic meeting. One of my Lincoln friends is quite into technology and very adept at social media. As we stopped to visit for a few minutes after the Abraham Lincoln Association Roundtable and before the Bicentennial Luncheon with Michael Burlingame, we talked for a bit about online communication vehicles.

Four-letter words
I mentioned to my friend that I’d hoped to twitter, but ran into some technical challenges when trying to do it from my phone. I think we talked a little about LinkedIn and about blogging, and then I heard that compound word I’d been avoiding. Perhaps it’s no small coincidence that it’s created by combining two four-letter words. Have you guessed it? Facebook.

I told my LinkedIn Lincoln friend that I’d been avoiding Facebook. He said, “You need to be on it.” I knew that. Lincoln Buff 2 is not just a blog, but it’s also a brand – an online presence, as it were. It’s my way of showing people I care about Lincoln, and I want to help them do the same. The title means just that. It's designed to say, “You’re a Lincoln buff. I am, too (2).”

Facebook is one more way to get the word out. Yes, it is marketing my product – an unending enthusiasm for the legacy of the 16th president.

My blogging takes a tremendous amount of time, but I think it has value. I’m telling people about things they may not know in the Lincoln world, I’m creating enthusiasm for Lincoln and creating awareness about the bicentennial of his birth. There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve just about maxed out the 24-hour credit card lately.

A broken record
Today was my first day post-Springfield. I had every intention of spending it catching up on the blog. But, I kept hearing my buddy’s words. “You need to be on it.” The echo started, “You need to be on it.” Again, “You need to be on it.” By then, the resistance had worn down…

So now, I’m on it.

The problem, though, is that so are scores of other people I’ve known and loved throughout my life – old college friends, former coworkers, extended family and yes, even Lincoln scholars. So, as evening settles in, my blog is still not caught up.

It’s all relative

But … I’m beginning to catch up with the Jens and the Kates and the Toms of my past – young parents whom I first knew as teens entering the workforce, now parents not a whole lot younger than I was when I first met them. Yes, I came up short on my blogging goal for the day, but I came a little closer to the words of a song I first heard as a Junior Girl Scout at day camp on the shores of a man-made lake:

Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is silver
And the other’s gold.

Through no small coincidence, one of my Facebook friends is the Senior Girl Scout who taught me those cherished words.

An unproductive day? I’d rather think productivity is relative. More on Springfield soon.

And don’t worry, my dear blog, I haven’t dumped you.

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