Friday, January 16, 2015

My "About Me" Page

I’ve been thinking of adding to my WordPress “About Me” page.  It does get a lot of views.  I just wonder if people find it helpful, or if it encourages people to become readers or subscribers of my blog.

My “About Me” page says the following:

“My name is James Pate.  I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program.  I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.

“This blog is about my journey.  I read books.  I watch movies and TV shows.  I go to church.  I try to find meaning.  And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.”

This actually does say quite a bit about me.  It says that I study religion, specifically the interpretation of the Bible.  It says that I read books, watch movies and TV shows, go to church, and try to find meaning from all of that.

But there are also things that it does not say.  It does not say that I have Asperger’s Syndrome.  It does not say what my political ideology is.  It does not really specify what my religious ideology is.  Someone wanting to know whether I’m right, left, center, or whatever will not find out from my “About Me” page.  I also am not entirely sure if someone would find out what my blog is primarily about.  Who am I, what is important to me, what is my perspective, and why?  Does one learn that from my “About Me” page?  I can understand if someone answered “no.”

What exactly is my blog about?  Well, it is not about only one thing.  It has gone through phases.  During Presidential election years, I blog about the candidates.  In 2013, I blogged about Richard Nixon.  When I was studying for my comprehensive examinations, I wrote a lot of Bible and patristics posts.  There was a time when I was blogging about Christian movies.  Nowadays, I blog about evangelical Christian fiction and non-fiction.  Sometimes, I blog about my Bible reading, or a scholarly book.

I have wondered if this sort of eclectic approach helps my blog, in terms of getting it readers and subscribers.  My stats have done all right, but a lot of the views that I get are from people looking for information.  But getting more regular subscribers?  Suppose that a person comes here because he liked a post that I wrote about biblical studies, and he expects more of the same.  Instead, he finds me writing about Christian movies.  Will he stay?  Some people try to solve this sort of problem by having more than one blog: one for Christian apologetics and one for family stuff or sci fi, one for politics and one for daily life.  I don’t have enough time and energy to post regularly on more than one blog, though!

There are certain themes that come up often on my blog.  My resentment against evangelical Christianity for trying to make me into a social extrovert—-when I am not that—-is one.  My struggle to forgive others, and Jesus’ warning that God won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive others, is another.  Some may consider these posts whining.  Others find them helpful.  They are themes that come up here a lot, though.

I cannot say that my entire blog is about my social and religious struggles, however.  When I have geeked out on health care policy or academic Bible points, that has not been particularly relevant to my social or religious struggles.  It has just been me blogging about what I find interesting.

Anyway, I wonder how my “About Me” page can better communicate who I am.  I’ll be posting this post on my blogspot blog, even though this post is about my WordPress blog.  My blogspot blog has an “About Me” section, which is mostly like my WordPress “About Me” section, in terms of what it says.  My blogspot blog shows links to web sites and blogs that I like, but I am not sure what one can learn about me from that.  My blogroll has liberal and conservative blogs, and also moderate ones.  People cannot really pigeon-hole me when they visit my blogs!

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