The Thinker

Entry No. 200

This entry represents yet another milestone: my 200th blog entry. I suppose that’s not a big deal for many bloggers but it is to me. Why? Because I like to think that this is not just any blog. For me blogging is not about jotting down a few random thoughts and observations echoing or amplifying others’ observations. It’s about trying to create entries that (at least in my mind) have some substance, unique thought and meaning.

This is not always an easy thing for me to do. It explains why entries generally have two or three days between them. It would be fun to make blogging my career. Unfortunately except for a handful of people it hasn’t proven to be a profitable profession. So it is a pure hobby and one that I must make time for. It is increasingly difficult to make the time given my life is pretty busy as it is.

Of course I don’t always succeed in writing meaningful entries. And ultimately any impact my thoughts have come from my readers, 80% or more of who appear to arrive serendipitously as a result of search engine queries. The vast majority of you probably don’t bother to bookmark this place. I don’t know what percentage of my readers actually read an entry all the way through. Even fewer I suspect spend much of their brain’s CPU time pondering my insights. But perhaps I have changed a few opinions and opened a few minds.

This blog has no theme. The entry of the day is usually what is flipping through my brain on a particular day. Since I categorize each blog entry I can get a general idea of what occupies my blogging time. A simple character count of each of my category files reveals that politics and general observations about my life account for over 60 percent of my entries.

How am I doing in getting people to notice this site? Not very well. Marketing has never been my strong suit. I look at my wife’s blog, which she avoided for years and instantly comments inundate her. But most of her comments are from friends associated with her community of slash writers. It’s a fairly chummy bunch. I have a few dedicated readers (mostly friends or family). But in my case most of my readers visit me by accident. And overall they aren’t inclined to leave comments. (I have a total of 108 comments, so I average about one comment per two blog entries. Still I am doing better than many blogs I look at that seem to consistently get zero comments. ) For each comment I figure fifty to a hundred people are probably actually reading the entry, so I don’t feel bad. My thoughts are getting out there. As for my hits and such, I didn’t started metering my site until March. My statistics haven’t been as bad as I feared and seem to be improving. My Sitemeter report says I average 61 visits a total of 76 page views per day. I attribute the improvement partially to getting lucky, some word of mouth, but mainly because I have more content that is searchable.

Fortunately the goal of this blog is not to be popular. I can’t let my life get consumed by blogging. Poor Billmon’s blog got so popular that it appears to have strained his marriage. He couldn’t manage the hundreds of comments on political topics he was getting every day. A whole community of Billmon fans has formed and are putting together their own forum just to trade comments on his entries. I should be so lucky! But as a coping strategy for his popularity he just turned the comments off. And occasionally he has to disappear for a week or more to recharge.

Billmon knows what most of us bloggers have discovered: in the blogging business there is no relationship between quantity and quality. If Billmon posts three entries a week I know they will be excellent. On the other hand Steve Gilliard was much better when he did a couple entries a week. Now he is doing a three or more a day and largely repeats news items. Less is often more for those of us who are hoping to be taken seriously.

So it is unlikely demand for my blog entries will cause me to exceed my 2GB of bandwidth per month. If it does then blogging will become increasingly and perhaps prohibitively expensive. It would mean I have to pay more for hosting, or need to get a dedicated server. In either event I will have to spend more time managing the blog and less time on its content.

I am working on dressing up this place. I have determined that although I teach web page design (from a technical perspective) I have no artistic design skills. So through my friend Lisa I am having her goddaughter Lauren work on redesigning my blog. It will likely take a while since Lauren is working through an incident with cancer. Fortunately I am in no hurry. But perhaps in the next couple months this place will be more pleasant to the eyes.

My first entry was on December 12, 2002. Today is July 18, 2004. I figure my blog has been up for 584 days. With 200 entries I am averaging an entry every 3 days or so (actually 2.92 days). I try real hard to put up an entry every other day but it is of course not always possible. I need time to recharge.

I hope I can keep my blog a blog of interest to many of you. My motives are not entirely selfish. I consider myself a humanist and a man of peace. Every day brings more and more reports of man’s inhumanity toward man. I can’t be another Mother Teresa. But I can use the power of this medium that I know well to spread what I hope is a little enlightenment. Perhaps as a result I can make the planet a less hostile place. It’s not much of a legacy to leave I guess, but it’s a start.


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