Well, you passed the test. Or failed it, I suppose. Depends on your point of view.
Though there are many plugin applications available to track and catalog readers’ activity on web sites (though without any real information on the users themselves – relax), the data is useful but not always insightful. So while I know there are plenty of “real” readers out there (as opposed to the spammers, more on them in a moment), I can’t really tell much about your likes, dislikes, preferences or other opinions without some form of actual contact, either through the “comment” area of the blog or forum or in a direct email communication using the “contact” link at the bottom of every page.
On a lark, I decided to just simply stop blogging for a week and see if anyone “missed” it. The absolute lack of any contact or comment whatsoever was not totally unexpected, though also of little practical help. I recognize that you are primarily a silent readership, with either little interest in cross talk or simply not wanting to be the first person to “break the ice”…like the cheese tray that remains untouched at a party until someone has the courage to take the first piece.
One group that never shies from that piece of cheese is the spammers. You will (hopefully, if I do my dual job as webmaster correctly) never see their comments on the blog, since they are just a stream of never-ending nonsense designed to get their web address somewhere on my site. Some of their comments provide some unintended amusement, as it is clear they have never read the post the spam program placed their source onto.
Most of the time, my job is made quite simple, both as a byproduct of another web plugin to catch spam and the irrationality of the “author names” created by the spam programs. Once in a great while, the name is close enough to a real one that I need to take the additional step of trying to track down the server location, invariably falling into a couple recurring foreign countries. Even rarer still, I will approve some names simply for the whim of it, but these soon prove to be false, showing no effort to make comment or possibly posting something spam-oriented that I swiftly delete.
Is it any wonder, then, that I appreciate an occasional contact from a real being? There is some sense that a blog without discourse is somewhat less than successful, though I don’t post too many topics that engender commentary, being more in the form of storytelling than discussion points. Still, to go an entire week and not even receive a curious query from my most loyal readers was a mild surprise.
On the plus side, I had a lot more free time last week, which worked out well considering a number of scheduled lunches, additional tennis action and some other time-consuming activities. Frankly, this daily posting does present some creative pressure, quite different from writing a book.
So, pass or fail, the test is over and my ramblings begin anew. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice the absence.