So … I think I have only looked at the *statistics* section of cPanel only once or twice before in the entire time I have been blogging, which dates back to somewhere like 2002 or 2003. (That’s right, before personal blogs jumped the shark.) When I first started maintaining a website, the front page hosted a welter of connections to different pieces of my portfolio: essays I had written, projects I had worked on, documents people could download — like a fieldwork log sheet or a guide on how to ask questions — and the blog was off to the side. All that stuff is there, or soon will be back, but it’s now pushed over to the left, and the blog is front and center … er, right. Or, a little off-center and to the right. (The off-center is probably revealing, and I do like to think that I am mostly right about things I write about, but that’s not my decision to make.)
I should be honest and admit that I haven’t really cared about readers. There were several reasons for this. The first reason was somewhat rhetorical: if I worried about audience, I wouldn’t necessarily write about the things that truly mattered to me, and I wanted to give myself time to discover that, to cast a broad net again and again until I knew for myself what it was I wanted to keep. The second reason was that I wasn’t even sure that I wanted any public to care about my blog. That is, and this is still somewhat the case, I rather liked the idea of the blog simply being my own on-line notebook. There are just so many ideas and things that pass through my hands, pass through my mind, that I really liked having a notebook in which I could catch it all and then search for it later.
I am not entirely convinced that I really want to break from either of those desires, but along the way, I found myself with something I had not planned on … *readers*.
That’s right. The *Webalyzer* application built into my [hosting provider’s][aso] version of cPanel revealed to me that I have readers. Now I knew I had the occasional reader, mostly family and friends, and the occasional stray reader, but neither of those account for the fact that this website is now accruing over a hundred unique visitors a day — visitors that are not robots. (I was, to be honest, searching the logs in hopes of discovering that a [certain set of readers][iub] had dropped in.)
Now some of you reading this, or “reading” this, are either robots unknown to Webalyzer or comment spambots — and it really must be frustrating to those of you who are spambots that I have comments turned off — but that still can not account for the over 100 hits a day this site is getting. (As of late summer, early fall of 2009, the number is about 140.)
With readers come responsibility. I’m not in search of a readership. I don’t, at least as yet, have any desire to become an independent blogger. And I certainly don’t want to do it by posting about stuff I *think* readers will want to read about. Rather, I have always wanted to write about stuff that, well, I wanted to write about, and it’s nice to know that there are readers who are interested in reading what I want to write about. That’s not a selfish statement. Rather, it’s a way of foregrounding the idea that I when I write about something I am honestly interested in it and trying to think about it and that you are getting that when you read. If I have posted something, it’s because it matters to me — or is at least interesting to me.
There are more than enough people in this world who are willing to say anything or do anything to curry the favor of an audience. Some began with great integrity and then lost their way, either because they got to be popular and got caught up in the rush or because they are so desperately seeking to be popular, and some never had integrity to begin with. This, by the way, applies to all walks of life and not just bloggers. It applies to the business world and to the academy.
In fact, one of the realizations I have had is that people can be pretty much uncreative everywhere. Which saddens me greatly, but it explains a whole host of phenomena. (I’ll write about this at some point in the future, I promise.)
I hated writing that, but it’s balanced out by what I am about to say: that I am re-focusing this blog a bit. Having blogged now off and on for over six years and maintained this particular version of the site for about a year, I think it’s safe to say that this blog has really been about three things:
* the digital humanities,
* thoughts on things that happen in my daily life, and
I listed creativity last because it has been far less a feature of this blog than I would like — you’ll find it mostly tagged as “making” so far. (Give me a minute to clean up the tagging system and I’ll make that a link to take you to those posts.) I plan to write about these “discovered” foci in upcoming posts.
And thanks for reading.