• Yehoshua Paul

2019 - Part 2: And the Winner Is?

One of the nice bonuses I got out of Sefer HaOmer is that I got a first hand taste of analytics. Just a taste though, for the most part I was hopelessly lost when it came to understanding how Google analytics worked. Facebook though was easier. It has a nice Insights page in which I can view how well my posts are doing. How many people they've reached, and how many people engaged with the posts by clicking on them or giving me a like or share

(it also keeps on trying to get me to pay to boost my posts, but since I didn't really know what I was doing I ignored that suggestion).

For me this meant that I could tell how many people were actually reading my posts, despite the relatively few likes and shares. For you this means that I now get to share with you which posts were the most popular.

I suspect the actual numbers are going to surprise many of you.

  • 1st place: "1932 - Brave New World". The post reached 1,612 people, got 254 clicks and 87 reactions, comments and shares.

  • 2nd place: "1907 - Ozma of Oz". The post reached 1,404 people, got 148 clicks and 52 reactions, comments and shares

  • 3rd place: "1937 - The Hobbit". The post reached 664 people, got 117 clicks and 48 reactions, comments and shares.

Honorable mentions go to:

  • "1923 - The Rats in the Walls". This post almost beat The Hobbit. It reached 707 people, got 117 clicks, but only 32 reactions, comments and shares. It was very close.

  • "1912 - Lost World". The post reached 597 people, got 109 clicks and 27 reactions, comments and shares.

These numbers only refer to the Hebrew posts on Facebook.

The posts in English weren't even close, the image below pretty much illustrates this.

Orange is reach, blue is post clicks, and pink is reactions, comments and shares.

My personal favorites were very different from your choices. For me it was:

  • 1st place: "1935 - The Circus of Doctor Lao". The only book, I would consider to be meta, and I genuinely enjoyed the research on that year, especially the antics of the American ambassador in Moscow.

  • 2nd place: "1948 - Prelude to Space". I loved the strong sense of the future this book gave me, and I loved comparing and contrasting the Zionist vision with the dream of space flight.

  • 3rd place: "1926 - Lud-in-the-mist". The writing of this book is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I can empathize this enough.

My personal list of honorable mentions is a bit longer, but they include "1908 - Red Star", "1914 - The Golem", "1915 - Herland", "1918 - Moon of Israel", "1929 - Gods' Man", "1931 - The 35th of May", "1942 - The Screwtape Letters", "1945 - Blow, Blow, Your Trumpets (book, not year), "1946 - Comet in Moominland" and "1949 - What Mad Universe" These in addition to the books which you voted as most popular are all worthy additions to any library.

So what happens next?

For the next few weeks - nothing. I plan on letting go of the website, focus on work, my kids upcoming birthdays next week, getting my house clean again, and catching up on TV (I'm looking at Good Omens, Umbrella Academy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Afterwards? Well I've got the domain now, the site exists (although it needs a search button urgently), and I do enjoy reading books and writing about them. On the other hand, there is no way I am going to put myself in a position where I repeat the intensity of the past seven weeks. Also, while this site advanced me a lot on a personal level, it did very little for me professionally.

Basically, the way I see it, I can do something completely different, or continue reading and writing about books, and in the process figure out how to grow the site and page and get everyone else more engaged.

Both directions will be fun, but I am going to be forced to choose.

Regarding something different, I am currently looking at Google's Season of Docs program for 2019. I am a technical writer by trade, and should I get my act together and apply within the next 17 days, I will be able to advance a lot professionally in many ways. However, it requires me to make a commitment to a third party, and I only have a very limited pool of extra hours to offer. If I were to do this, there would be no Sefer HaOmer next year because by the time the program were to be over, it would be too late to start.

Regarding continuing and doing the same, there are two decisions that I need to make: which years to do and whether to stick to the Omer framework.

The choice between the years is as follows

  1. 1951-1999: I have been requested by several people, including Tammy, to complete the century. I am definitely open to the idea. However, I would need to get started on it again soon so that I'd actually finish by Pesach next year. I'd want to budget 9 months for this so that I can do it and still maintain a semblance of a normal life. Other challenges involve creating the list. but that will be the subject of a separate post.

  2. 1901-1949: This is easier than the previous option. I'd say I've got enough material to do two more years' worth of Omer Posts that would be fun to read. However, I would still set aside nine months for this if I wanted to do it without being pressured.

The choice between the frameworks is as follows:

  1. Stick to the Omer: Same as this time, which is to publish 49 posts on a daily basis. I consider this to be a more intense and meaningful experience as the Omer is transformed into a journey through half of the twentieth century and the events and books which helped shape it. It's also harder on my part and involves receiving 49 relatively heavy posts on a daily basis. I might also write bonus posts during the year leading up to the Omer so the blog won't die out completely, but that depends on my schedule.

  2. Spread the posts out: Or basically read books write about them, publish something once every week or two. It can be 1950-2000, a repeat of 1901-1949, or something completely different, but I won't have a firm deadline I need to adhere to and I can do it without pressure. It also gives me more flexibility in creating bonus posts that don't fit into the Omer framework. From a reader perspective, I think it's also easier to handle as you won't be receiving so much so fast. However, you lose the journey experience of the Omer and Sefer HaOmer loses its meaning, requiring me to find a new name.

Both these questions will be posted as poll options on the Facebook page.

Will I do something? Absolutely! However, I won't know what for a while. Also it has been suggested to me that I take my posts from the past seven weeks and try and adapt them into a book for a wider audience. It's also something, I plan on looking into.

And if I continue, I'm going to need find someone to help me with the Hebrew (on a volunteer basis), figure out which online communities I should join. And, if there is some way to monetize what I'm doing that would be great to figure out. I've got no clue how to go about that, but that's a stretch goal.

If I continue, I will make an official announcement of some sort in the beginning middle of July. If I don't assume, nothing is happening.

Finally, did I get everything I wanted to out of this journey? Yes, in more ways than can be mentioned in the scope of this post. I read a lot of books, learned a ton, and had one of the most meaningful Omer experiences ever. I strongly recommend doing an Omer project. It's a lot of work, even if it's not a blog, but the investment more than pays off.


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