What's All This Then?

commentary on the passing parade

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I heard some interesting comments this morning by WGN morning man Spike O’Dell. He was talking about blogs and it was interesting to the extent that he was expressing his ignorance of blogs. He didn’t really know too much about them and had done some on line searching and uncovered Globe of Blogs - a site where one can register blogs and find blogs - and he was truly amazed at how many blogs are out there in cyberspace - if indeed anyone knows that number - and the uses to which people put weblogs.

O’Dell’s about where I was a little more than three years ago when I first ran across a blog that introduced me to the blogosphere and got me hooked as a participant. The difference between that day and this is the growth that has taken place and continues to take place.

I took a look at Globe of Blogs - and their invitation to register my blog - for what purpose and to what advantage I’m not quite sure - but since anyone wishing to register has to select a category that describes the subject matter of their blog, I passed on the invitation. My category, which is broad based and eclectic - simply doesn’t appear in their long list of categories. They do invite registrant wannabes to create their own category - but I don’t think adding "all of the above" to their long list would be acceptable.

I’m writing about blogs today because I think it’s healthy once in a while to sit back and muse about this phenomenon of which I’m a participant - but one in total isolation from millions of other participants.

Using Internet search engines, it isn’t that hard to track down print publications - those in the general news category and those devoted to a specific area of interest such as a science or a business category. If one wanted to devote the time and energy to doing so, I would imagine you could track down most of the world’s print publications. When it comes to their blog equivalents however, I think you could search forever and not get much past surface scratching.

But unlike print publications, blogs can exist and prosper - if only in the minds of the blog authors - without anyone reading or subscribing to them. That isn’t to say that print versions of blogs can’t exist if one has the time and the funds to churn them out - but if you don’t have an active mailing list, what would be the point?

I have no idea how many people read my blog. It’s not a large number I know, because I haven’t attempted to draw in readership which one can do in several ways. But I took up blogging almost as a hobby and it really doesn’t matter how many people look in on this site. As I wrote here in April of 2003, I was inspired to take up this hobby by the antics of a fictional television character!! and I’m enjoying myself and creating what I think is a fairly interesting and well put together body of work. And if anyone who stops by finds it interesting enough to dwell for a moment or two, I’m satisfied.

I do look in on one or two blogs from time to time. Israpundit, to which I link because I check it on a regular basis - though certainly not every day or necessarily every week. Riverbendblog to get an on the scene point of view from an Iraqi about the situation in Iraq. And local columnist Eric Zorn. Zorn and Israpundit link to me but I seriously doubt if any viewers come to this site through those links. Maybe I’m wrong but I think all those links are there for two purposes. Decorative - and to get a better ranking on Google. And perhaps to get "hits" on their site. And of course a "hit" doesn’t necessarily translate into anyone reading anything.

Every once in a while I do some random poking around to see what pops up in the way of blogs - and sometimes a blog will pop up as a news report in response to a search term - as did "wizbang" yesterday. Absent that response to my search for news reports of Jimmy Carter’s latest skewed vision of the never ending Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I doubt that I would ever have learned of this blog’s existence. Yet there it is, claiming a substantial readership and linking to better than 200 other blogs -perhaps three or four of which I’ve heard of. A blog existing in an island of blogs, for the most part separated from the millions of other blogs existing in their island group.

Do any of these people who link to each other ever read their blogs? I have a feeling that most bloggers are too busy writing to read the blogs to which they link. I know I have virtually no time to read blogs - and I don’t do that much writing on line. Heck - I can barely keep up with the news - let alone blogs. But some of the "stars" of the blogosphere are posting to their sites all day long. Some far into the night. And most of them have those long lists of links to other blogs. They would have to be cloned several times over to read the material found in the blogs at the end of those links.

But still I find it fascinating that there are millions of us out there - from teenagers shamelessly displaying their personal diaries, to newspaper columnists venting without editorial oversight - to self appointed journalists like me, pontificating on everything from the existence of God to political idiocy - never knowing who might accidentally come across my words of wisdom and be affected by them.

I note when Spike O’Dell gives his station ID, he adds the phrase "streaming world wide at WGN.com." And I think to myself - big deal. So am I - in a way. I’m blogging world wide at whatsallthisthen.blogspot.com!! Ain’t that a pistol? Me and a 50,000 watt radio station on an equal footing courtesy of the Internet!!!