Learning the Blogosphere


Checking the stats on my blog from time to time is a fun distraction.

I started this blog for me, to journal my pilgrimage as a priest over the course of my career.  EDR–Estimated Date of Retirement–is May 12, 2037: more than twenty-three years to go.  A lot will happen in that time, I’m sure.  But when I think back twenty-three years, to when I was 22 years old–almost exactly half a lifetime ago–not only am I tempted to plot out the rest of my life, dividing it neatly into fourths and thus giving me an anticipated death year of 2059, but also I realize that 23 (or my half-life of 22.875) years isn’t really a very long time at all.  Half my life ago I was a college student contemplating the call to Gospel ministry.  22 and seven-eighths years ago I’d met the woman who was to become my spouse, with whom I’d raise a family, to whom I’d grow closer than any other human in any of my circles.  Cliché or not, it feels like yesterday.

So you see already how I get distracted.  The point I was going to make when I began the above paragraph is that I began this blog for me, as a journal of my journey; so why even bother looking at stats?  Don’t blog stats simply report about others and not me–how many people, how often, and from where people look?  (Mind you, in case you’re wondering, stats do not show email addresses and other identifying information.  So, no, I can’t tell who is reading my blog–unless you post a comment.)  I’m writing to no audience but me, in other words.  So what do I care how many people read it, how often, and from where?

That’s why I call it a fun distraction.  Like video games, blog stats are not necessary; but they’re an amusing way to pass the time.

Anyway, when I’ve been in a distractible mood lately, one of the first stats I check is my comments box.  Comments are excellent ways to offer bloggers feedback; and every blogger I know appreciates them.  When they’re meaningful, that is!  I love to read something like, “Tim, I find your insights about [whatever topic] helpful, but I’m not sure you’ve looked at every facet.  Have you considered this one. . . ?”  Such comments lead to great conversation.

But consider this one from today: “I constantly spent my half an hour to read this website’s posts every day along with a mug of coffee.”

Yeah, an actual comment!

So, I am left to wonder several things.  First, what’s with the constantly?  By this does the commenter mean every moment of a half-hour was devoted to reading my posts, as if he or she was so absolutely riveted with what I had to say that she or he was perched on the edge of his or her seat entirely ignorant of whatever else might be happening around her or him in the space-time continuum for the full half-hour?  Flattering to say the least!

But, for that matter, what’s with half an hour?  Does this particular commenter get a half-hour-a-day break to read?  Or, maybe, does he or she have a mandated thirty minutes of reading time every day, like the mandatory daily piano-practice time I had when I was a kid, choosing graciously to fill it every day with reading my blog?  If so, this commenter should run out of reading material quite soon, since I have only written fifty-some posts in the life of this blog: enough material to fill a half-hour-a-day timeslot for a week.  Maybe.  Which brings me back to what she or he means by constantly.

Then what about along with a mug of coffee?  Is this commenter reading my blog and reading a mug of coffee for half an hour a day?  Coffee mugs generally have simple and random sayings on them.  Like the one I have at home that says “Alamo City,” under which appears the words “San Antonio, Texas.”  Or there’s that one my daughter got for Christmas which says, “I’m as happy as a bird with a French fry.”  Point is, coffee mugs are generally fairly simple to read.  Granted, Antonio is a four-syllable word, something that might prove difficult to a beginning reader; but it is the name of a familiar place, meaning it possesses sticking power.  But most others of all those mug-words are one or two syllables.  Simple, in other words, meaning the action of reading a coffee mug shouldn’t really take all that much time.  Unless you’re a beginner.

So, then, I wonder if my commenter is a beginner her- or himself in the ways of the word.  His or her grammar certainly suggests this.  And for her or him to read my blog and random and sundry coffee mugs for a half-hour a day everyday constantly for weeks on end as a mandatory assignment–yeah, I conclude, that must be it.  My commenter fan is most definitely a beginning reader.

Then I look at my stats page again and realize that this comment has been placed–wisely by the wordpress powers that be–in the spam box.

Oh well, I bemoan, at least it was a fun distraction while it lasted.  Now back to work!


2 Responses to “Learning the Blogosphere”

  1. Jeff Ewer Says:

    I read all your posts, Tim. I like them. I don’t drink coffee while I am reading them. And I don’t read comments. All your posts cause me to think, meaning they are not just personal drivel, but worthwhile chunks to chew on. Thanks. Many posts cause me to want to comment, to encourage you or interact with you in some other way, but I don’t often take the time. I expect as the sun warms the blacktop between us, I will pay closer attention to your subliminal messages about meeting in Little Rock. May the Lord continue to bless your work. Love, Jeff

  2. So you don’t drink coffee while you read them. But do you read coffee mugs along with my blog for half an hour a day? If so, Jeff, you’ve come a long way! 🙂 (Couldn’t resist.)

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