“For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts, And Your Ways Are Not Mine” – 10 Years of YUTOPIA

YUTOPIA's 10 Year Anniversary SpecialDear Loyal Readers Followers,
It is with great amazement, appreciation, and gratitude that I share the following factoid: it has been over 10 years since I first started blogging. I actually remember sitting by the computer banks on 5a of Yeshiva University’s library on May, 15 2003 being first introduced to blogger by a friend who will still remain nameless. Since then, YUTOPIA has moved URLs and platforms three times[1. Blogger – remember HaloScan for JavaScript comments?, MovableType on YUCS, and finally WordPress on the current site], gone through several redesigns, and has integrated with social media networks which did not exist when I started.

If the tech nostalgia doesn’t do it for you, consider that when I started blogging Protocols was the major Jewish blog on the web and the source of most of my traffic.

As I’ve said in the past the main reasons for blogging were to provide a platform in which I could publish thoughts in a clear and rational way, and hopefully contribute something to a discussion which would otherwise go ignored. The conscious decision at the time to publish the blog in my own name ensured personal accountability, which in turn forced me to think before posting.[2. As it turned out, this was a necessary skill to develop in the world of Facebook and Twitter.] In fact when I started blogging I was finishing up rabbinical school and the “Rabbi” in the heading was still in quotes.

Eventually YUTOPIA spun off one post to www.JewishGuitarChords.com,[3. In some respects I consider this the most useful thing I’ve ever done. According to Google Analytics, JewishGuitarChords.com has amassed 151,442 unique visitors since Aug 4, 2008. While this is paltry compared to web metrics, I see it as having helped a significant number of people learn to connect with the Jewish heritage through song and music. Not bad for an intellectual techie, eh?] and eventually providing over 100 classes as podcasts which have been downloaded over 50,000 times [5. 50,552 as of this publishing. I was initially reluctant to record classes out of concern an offhanded remark I’d make would get me in trouble. Fortunately I’m not nearly important enough for people to hang on my everyone word and expound, “why did he make this joke and not that joke” etc.] The social media component of my web presence has attracted an even greater readership, with some posts receiving media attention, including national news.

Longtime readers might have noticed YUTOPIA has gotten much less personal, with the exception of vague references. This too was an intentional choice especially as the blog gained a larger following and I became more of a public figure in real life. The personal ups and downs over the past 10 years have been vast and numerous, and I have much gratitude for those who have been with me for even part of those journeys.

While I realize the only significance behind 10 years is the big round number theory, it’s a nice time to catch up, dig through some archives of things I have and haven’t published, and work through some current thoughts based on older works. Thus for the next month or so, this blog will be both a retrospective and an expansion of everything I’ve done here over the past decade and applying familiar principles in ways you may not quite expect.

Whether you have just started reading, YUTOPIA been following since the beginning, or joined somewhere in the middle I thank you for your time, patience, and simply for allowing me to be a part of your life in some way.[6. Even as a 5 minute distraction from that spreadsheet you really ought to be working on.]

It’s certainly been an interesting and eventful 10 years and I hope you stay with me for many more to come.

With many thanks,
Rabbi Josh Yuter


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