I always wonder just how wide of an audience we bloggers really have. Sure, I can get a rough idea by how many visits I have, and how many comments my posts receive, but that's not really the end of it. No doubt, some of our ideas get passed on to others in conversations as well. And that's what brings me to this post.
Two times, during Yom Tov, in different settings, people (without my prompting) brought up the concept that the best form of tuition control is birth control. What makes this interesting, of course, is that this was the talk on several of the Jewish blogs last week (including a wonderful piece of artwork by AirTime that made it's way on to The Knish.
This is not the type of thing that people would pick up from other "popular" Jewish sources (HaModia, Jewish Press, Yated, etc.) or even from a rabbi. The fact that people seem to talking about it makes me believe that we, as bloggers, are making an impact in the Jewish community. I just wish I had a more reliable way to guage how much of an impact we are making.
You are definitely making an impact. Why, some of you come up on search engines (anything from macher to answers.com)! To illustrate what a small world this is-
I wrote a piece on my blog about someone's Bat Mitzvah.
Someone found a comment of mine on Hirhurim linking to my blog and emailed me.
Turns out he had been at the Bat Mitzvah and knew who it was.
He then passed that on to friends and family, who all read my piece and were very happy.
stranger than you dreamt it
It would be interesting if someone with the time and training would do some kind of study to measure the impact of blogs on the Orthodox Jewish world. I have a hunch that its a lot smaller than some of us might think, but still big enough that its made some kind of impact.
I knew I was making an impact when people would mention to me my own blog. My favorite was a report I received that my blog was mentioned by name at a kiruv retreat.
Mentioned as what? A place to stay away from?
Chana: I haven't been to the Bat Mitzva, but I do know the family. The rest is indeed correct.
The Jewish blogworld is indeed a small place :=)
I'm not at liberty to say. Sorry.
I always write every post assuming no one is going to read it and it will have zero impact on anyone.
It is not just within one community but many that posts and comments are discussed. There is a lot going on around here that is very difficult to measure.
I can relate when my post on
oral sex al pi halacha
was shown to a famous Dayen in Monsey and he made his honest comments on
I'm curious what was said. (You don't have to identify the dayan...)
Another way we know this is a very small world:
R' Heshy Grossman was on the blogs about R' Slifkin. *I now strew question-marks everywhere* This is oddly disturbing.
And thanks for clarifying the Eruv issue, Sir Wolf.
Amazing - I heard that saying about tuition and birth control for the first time over yom tov, and my wife heard it for the first time (from someone who i suspect is a regular reader of mine, but hasn't connected my 'real' identity with my blog identity) last week! And this was in two completely separate context in two different states!
Regarding the influence of the blog-world the entire rally to the side of RNS, his increase in popularity, and the 'counterattack', if you will, originated in the blogs.
"O, that our reach should exceed our grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
The blogs may have some effect (but not mine because mine is tiny) but I think there's just generally more information on the net about skepticism of Judaism than ever before.
If people are looking, they will find.
What makes you think that the only thing that the blogs have contributed is skepticism?
You think they've encouraged renewed faith?
I see very few interesting blogs which exist solely to toe the party line. Hirhurim being a notable exception.
While I don't think the blogs necessarily drive people from Judaism, many of them do raise issues. And when people are aware that questions exist - there are many who will look for answers.
I heard that comment about tuition at least 15 years ago from a relative of mine who was explaining why he only had 2 kids.
Wolf, I will email you the comments of the Dayan
You definitely are making an impact, but it may not be making the kind of impact that you want in the Jewish community. See my comments on shlomy's blog please.
Jewish Action had a piece not tooo long ago,
about fertility choices in the orthodox j. community
that had the same line
It definitely is a small world. I can't give too many details, but someone forwarded one of my posts on a certain topic to OrthoDad, as an FYI kinda thing, obviously not knowing that it was written by his wife. Not someone I ever would have guessed was spending his time in the blogosphere. OrthoDad thought it was a riot. He emailed back to his friend thanking him for pointing out such an inetresting source of social commentary.
I'm actually worried about the long term effects of blogs on the deinsulation of the jewish community.
most of us would not want to be indentified publicly for $50,000!
Actually, Nuch, for $50K, I might.
If you go back and read earlier, you'll find that I waver back and forth on my anonymity.
It's hard to measure what kind of impact we have, but I've been shocked how many people have come up to me to tell me they read my blog. And quite a few who I'm sure do not share my hashkafa.
With regards to strengthening or diminishing faith: I'm not sure what effect it's had. I think I was in trouble before blogs, but I didn't analyze it in any detail. I can see by my posts and my comments on other blogs that I'm thinking through a lot of these issues more clearly now. I'm often suprised to find my self touting dogma that I never suspected I agreed with. And on other occasions, criticizing establishments that I've held dear for decades.
Whatever effect it's having, it at least makes people think.
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