"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." – G. K. Chesterton

Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

Readership

The site that hosts this blog, wordpress.com, provides each blogger with a page known as the “Dashboard”, which functions as a control panel of a sort.  My dashboard allows me to easily find all the tools necessary to organize my posts in any number of ways, change the blog’s appearance, and so forth.  It also provides statistics about my readers.  I can see how many people are reading my blog.  I can know how many are reading each individual post.  I can learn what people are searching for that leads to my blog.  I can even know what links there are from other blogs to mine.  (Currently there’s a grand total of one such link.)  I could doubtlessly get even more stats if I really wanted them.

Should I care about any of this stuff?  The high-minded answer would be ‘no’.  My blog is about self-expression, isn’t it?  I say what I want and everybody else can take it or leave it; isn’t that right?  Such is the attitude taken by many.  I recall Andrew Sullivan once said, “I’ve always assumed that losing readers is a good sign that you’re committing journalism.”  That’s the attitude, there.  If folks avoid my blog, then forget about them.

Well, I will tell you right now, that’s not my attitude.  Whenever I log onto my account here at wordpress, I go straight to the dashboard to see how many hits I’ve had.  Were I a proper, self-respecting writer it would be the writing alone that matters, but in reality I can’t deny that I get a little kick whenever my readership rises.  Yesterday it spiked to an all-time high: thirty readers.  Of course I can’t be sure that it’s thirty separate people, because someone may have logged on twice.  Nonetheless, thirty looks pretty good to me.  Huffingtonpost may get millions of hits each day, but that’s because they stuff their front page with trashy celebrity news and other stuff that caters to the lowest common denominator.  I have my thirty or so readers and I still have my integrity.

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What should I write here?

I started by blog on Friday and made one post.  Today is Sunday and I’m writing my second post.  I can’t really think of anything worth writing about.  I’m already out of ideas and running short of inspiration.  Perhaps this blogging project wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The thing is that I don’t want to fill up my blog with mediocrity.  I feel that an excessive amount of mindless nonsense spilling out onto blogs is one of the plagues of modern times.  Back in ancient times, people were well aware of the dangers of too much writing.  Seneca once said: “The world suffers from an excess of literature as much as from an excess of anything.”  Cicero: “Times are bad.  Children disobey their parents and everyone is writing a book.”  Even Plato worried that there was too much writing going on.

Of course this attitude didn’t last forever.  During the Middle Ages the Scholastics believed that books were generally good.  They wanted as many people as possible to be literate and they wanted literate people to read as many books as possible.  By and large, the modern world still accepts those notions.  People in the Middle Ages were generally quite sensible and we could benefit quite a bit from studying them and their ideas.

Nevertheless, I’m not quite willing to blow off Seneca and his ilk just yet.  Even if they fretted a bit too much about the plague of books, there’s still a certain amount of wisdom is judiciously curtailing one’s own writing.  So I’ll end this post right here.

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