Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blogs, Bloggers, Blogging

September 28, 2004 was the first post on Observations, at least on the Blogger version of Observations. It wasn’t quite my first post on a blog of my own, but the earliest effort was abandoned pretty quickly, and I’m certain there was a good reason for doing that, I just don’t remember what it was.

Being not too far from the third anniversary of my widely unread scribblings, I have begun thinking back over those years, going back and reviewing the early posts and how the site has evolved. I note that I posted three columns/articles on Day 1 and one on Day 2. I note further that no one commented on any of those. On October there were two comments on a short piece titled, “Terrorists Getting Desperate?” that were removed by me, indicating that they were SPAM comments. The first actual comment came the next day on a post titled, “The Debate – First Reactions,” as the election neared. The post was signed “Anonymous,” but I know the poster, and later on he began to use the pen name “The Windjammer.”

The next real comment came from someone who identified himself as “h~” that took issue with my position on Iraq war protests. After that I had comments from Conservative White Chick, Huston (with whom I established a decent, though short-lived blog relationship), Buffalo, Mr. Paw, Kenna Amos and JL Pagano before amassing a fairly long list of people that came and went, and a few that still visit, like Nuri, Brad, Steve, Lord Nazh, jules, Winfred Mann, the Kashmiri Nomad, Texas Fred, and a few others that drop by less often such as Kat, Leo.

I really look forward to comments and place a high value on the ones I receive, using that as a guage of how the blog is doing, although I know that some readers won’t leave a comment.

Of all of those commenters, as loyal as some were and are, the comment on October 16 by Buffalo is quite significant, for it was the start of a blogging relationship that endures to this day. Buff and I have little in common and agree on even less, but we have maintained a cordial and mutually respectful blogging friendship through the years.

Blogs are interesting things. Mine has evolved through various incarnations in appearance, with changes in type style and color, and some HTML modifications, the addition of photographs and an occasional video, and the putting up and removing of content items, like the photograph in the header taken from a mountain top overlooking my hometown. At one point I posted a thought for the week, which is a feature from my own weekly newspaper from a few years ago, and I also used to put up a weekly Bible verse, a feature of both my great grandfather’s daily newspaper, and my weekly.

I had Google AdSense ads on the site, hoping to maybe make a little money. I learned that it takes a lot more time and effort to produce a site that attracts enough readers to make money than I had available, however.

I replaced the Blogger comment feature with Haloscan’s, because it has more features and fewer problems, I added Technorati tags, and joined a few traffic-building activities along the way. I still keep playing with the code, adding links and such when the spirit moves me to do so, and I guess I always will.

Periodically I’ll post a list of places where readers call home. It’s truly amazing all the different countries that readers of Observations live in, like Australia, Britain, Ireland, Thailand, Canada, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Japan, Malaysia, Columbia, France, and, of course, the U.S., to name several.

Most of the folks that I met on Observations have moved on to other activities, having found blogging a temporary diversion. That’s too bad; if they’d hung around, I’d have a pretty healthy list of devoted readers (and commenters), but that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Like most of us, I have periods where the words just won’t come, or nothing moves me enough to write about it, and sometimes I get busy with life and abandon the site for a few days. But I plan to keep plugging away, hoping that a few people will like something they read here, or maybe learn something, or, best of all, be persuaded by something I have written.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit and participate in the discussion, and I hope you will continue to grace Observations with your presence.

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