Monday, March 05, 2007

Labels, Labels, And More Labels

Good Grief!! This day did not turn out the way I originally planned. Have you ever had a project take on a life of its own and suck you along a time-consuming path, while you watched in bewildered amazement? Well, that's what happened to me today. I never set out to spend hours and hours labelling my blog posts for the last six months, but that's the hole the day went down, and I, lulled by a belief that I could quit any time I wanted, followed blindly. I switched to the new version of Blogger a couple months ago. One of the features of the new-and-improved format is the ability to give individual posts labels, like "alternative energy" or "nanotechnology." These labels allow readers to click on a topic of interest, and the label tag will take you to a page where all the posts with that same tag will be pulled up together for easy access--the rub being that I have to go through each post individually to assign these tags.

If only I'd known what I was getting myself into. I had no idea I had written so much in the nearly-a-year that the Meow has been in business!! There are 388 posts (389, if you count this one), all demanding their own place in the new filing system. They're a vocal lot, too, let me tell you. (They inherited that from their mother.) I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the sheer size of the project, but I've come this far, dang it, and now it's a matter of showing the blog who's boss! My Internet connection was being oddly sluggish today, but I've made it through about two thirds of them so far. I will plug away till I have victory. Any normal person would just take things in stages, do a few at a time until the job was done, but I've never been good at letting go of a project once I start it, and I really don't like things that I feel are hanging over my head. I always spent the first two days of Christmas vacation getting my homework done, so that I could enjoy the time off without that nagging unfinished business tapping me on the back of the head.

In order to label them, I've had to skim through every post to refresh my own memory, so that I don't label something "alternative fuels" that's really a recipe for corn fritters, or something equally non sequitur. (Not that I have published any recipes, but you see what I'm getting at, right?) That stroll down memory lane has actually been a bit fun. I've gotten reminded of cool science stuff that I posted long ago, and I've gotten to see how much my approach to this blog has changed over the last year. For better or worse, I'm a lot more opinionated and wordy than I was at first. I really started the thing just so my husband didn't have to have his Inbox inundated all day with all the "interesting" things I wanted him to read. He kept telling me to start a blog, and so I finally did. What I've found over time, much to my own surprise, is that I really enjoy the writing aspect of it just as much as the reading aspect--which is why I have 388 posts to label!!

Anyway, my system isn't entirely scientific. Some labels are fairly random, but I did try to note major categories: Science, Technology, Politics, Nanotechnology, Iraq, Climate Science, Space Photos, Alternative Energy, and so on. I even started a label category called "bad ideas." It's a small category at this point, but I'm sure it will grow. Of course, there's a category called "Smart People" since they turn up so much in the Meow. I tried to make sure that I used at least one label per post that would connect it to others in the same general family tree, where that was possible. Thus far, I've made it backwards in time to July, so I only have a few months left. Some of my favorite posts have yet to be labelled; I haven't gotten to the best of the carbon nanotube articles yet. I'm looking forward to a review of that topic! I hope you find the labels useful. It will make me feel better about getting sucked down the time-consuming label hole if I can tell myself I did it all for you. I'll only be lying to myself a little.