Friday, August 13, 2010

Contemplating: Who Reads This Blog?

When speaking with other bloggers the comment I hear most often is: "I can never tell if anyone is even reading this thing, because no one makes any comments."

I am no different when it comes to questioning the level of interest in my writing, because after 17 posts (not including this one) only 3 people have bothered to comment so far.

Although I could be disappointed by this, in all honesty the lack of response doesn't really bother me at all - for several reasons.

First, my underlying reason for starting this blog really had very little to do with how popular it might become. In reality, given my son's interest in doing what I do for a living I wanted to document as many of my experiences and life lessons as possible in the hope that this might somehow be of benefit to him. After all, to paraphrase Winston Churchill: "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them."

Second, for a long time I have wanted to write a book on the trials and tribulations of making a living as a full time furniture maker. Writing this blog has forced me to take a major step in that direction, because I am now compelled to sort through my memory databases, paperwork junk piles and photographic archives to assemble my thoughts and experiences into some kind of (hopefully) coherent story.

Third, despite the lack of actual comments this blog receives I am helped by the fact that I have installed a widget called Lijit here. What is Lijit? Lijit is basically a piece of software that provides metrics on what people see and like about the blog. In essence, it tells me a little bit about the type of reader who does visit, and why. (You'll notice a tiny map with flags in the top right corner of the main page, which highlights the location of recent visitors).

Lijit is actually pretty cool. While it doesn't tell me specifically who my actual visitors are, it does tell me what location blog hits are coming from - and why. For example, I know there's a reader in Denmark who has checked out my postings a couple of times because they Google searched "Furniture Society Faculty Selects". I have a couple of readers in Mexico, including Oaxaca; and two new readers from Germany and Argentina, respectively. Plus there's also someone in Kathmandu, Nepal who has checked in once or twice.

Nepal? Who would have thought that anyone in Nepal would be reading something here?

A number of hits have also come from Google in Costa Rica, plus others via Google engines in Australia, Brazil, Dubai, the Netherlands and UAE. Lately it seems that Google searches for the term "500 Cabinets" is one of the biggest drivers of interest.

Perhaps the biggest thrill of all came a couple of days ago when I suddenly found my Lijit page lit up with hundreds of hits. This happened just after my post about the New York Yankees boardroom table, and my first thought was that maybe I hit a literary sweet spot that piqued reader interest.

Upon further investigation it turns out that what really happened was that someone in California posted a link on a forum saying, in effect, that this was an "interesting blog". Thanks to that shout-out alone I have received well over 400 hits (and counting) in only a couple of days.

While none of these new readers have posted any replies, the coolest thing for me is knowing that my writings are actually resonating with people outside my immediate circle.

And, so, to the reader in California and to everyone else who have come here to check out these writings, I say: "Thanks". Your interest is an added boost that encourages me to keep writing.

1 comment:

  1. After I read this post I thought that I'd try 'feedjit' on my blog.
    Should be interesting to see the results.
    It is nice to know that someone? is reading them.