I’m working on an interesting project, well maybe only interesting to me, wherein I gauge pessimism and despair in the Nashville blogsphere. Full disclosure: I’m an extreme optimist, annoyingly so. If that isn’t already quite clear, it will be in a moment.
Now, I’ve always known that certain blogs I like to visit are downright depressing. I knew that at these blogs there seemed to be a preponderance of “things suck” posts – either personally, nationally, or world-wide. Some seem to border on despair. But, it was just a feeling.
Being a numbers guy, I thought it would be cool to quantify it.
So, I’ve come up with The Schleprock Index. Think of it as a quantification of the answer to the question, “How depressing is it to read my blog?”
For you youngins, Schleprock was a character on the Flintstones spin-off cartoon “Pebbles and Bam-Bam” which aired in the early 1970’s. He walked around with a cloud constantly over his head, mumbling “wousy-wousy-woo…”. He brought bad luck to all who came in contact with him.
The formula for the Schleprock Index is simple: in a given time frame, what percentage of posts are negative descriptions of the way things are? Examples might be a description of how one’s life personally is going through a rough patch, or societal “hell in a handbasket” posts, or lamentations of world affairs. The scope is not important; it’s the negativity I want to measure.
So, to get the Shleprock index, you divide the number of negative posts by the total number of posts. This gives you a percentage (which is what the index really is). My index does NOT count purely political posts, because what I want to measure is a negative outlook on life and the world in general, not on a particular political candidate or party.
The only imperfection to the index, which I am still working on, is that it does not account for tone: “I can’t find a date” and “we’re all going to die in the impending apocalypse!” both count the same. I need to find a way to statistically weight the results accounting for tone.
The index offers no commentary, simply holds up a mirror, and you can do with it what you will, or ignore it altogether if you enjoy spreading the misery. Some people do; that’s your business. I’m not saying that it isn’t important to point out societal problems. But I also think that man was not created to live in despair. He will not live in a place devoid of hope.
I’m compiling a list for April. My own index at Shoot The Moose is low this month, even for my optimistic outlook. I came in at a Schleprock index of 14.3 . Granted, it would have been a LOT higher in December when my wife had her cancer and surgery, but I would doubt if I ever would have an index of over 50 (which is the number at which your blog is considered “depressing” according to the Schleprock Index).
(On a side note, it would be extremely unfair for me to include Kat in my published results. There should probably be a personal tragedy exemption, I would think.)
I’ll post some numbers once I get them compiled. But, in my research, I found something that was eyebrow raising, to say the least.
Southern Beale has a Schleprock Index of 61.5 in April.
The Homeless Guy only has a Schleprock index of 38.5.
The rest of my research should be pretty interesting, to say the least.