Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Blogito ergo sum... I blog, therefore I am.

A couple of weeks ago I posted my misgivings about anonymity and blogging. Basically, although I'm cautious, I'm not anonymous. And although this is a worry, I do feel that the internet should be 'ours' and that we shouldn't live in fear of the loony lurker eager to photoshop all our pictures. Well since then I've been inundated by at least one request to say more about my blogging philosophy, and as it's changed recently - and as this is post 398 in a series of several thousand - I thought you'd indulge me this morning if I engaged in a spot of navel gazing.

Regular readers of this blog might've noticed that it underwent a bit of a makeover several weeks ago. Nothing fancy; nothing custom-designed. Just a simple pattern from Blogger's free range of new templates, plus a Picnic-created header by me. (Look I'm a Yorkshireman, ok?) The thing is, I'd been wanting to change for a while. I'd seen these new, sleek, stream-lined templates and I liked the look of them. But I was lumbered with a site I'd tweaked and modified, added to and otherwise messed around with and the thought of having to do it all again was just too daunting.

But then (and here's the clever bit) I thought... hey, I don't have to do it all again. I can just throw out all that old stuff. I don't need it. I can set myself free. I can cast it off like last year's coat and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

First to go was the DISQUS comments add-on. That was patched into the template, so as soon as I clicked 'change' it vanished. And I hardly noticed it. Now, I do like threaded comments and I miss not being able to reply personally to each and every one, but blog standard ain't bad. So, it's back to comment basics.

Next, there was the Google analytics code. Well, Blogger (which is part of Google anyway) now provide their own stats so when it's raining I can still amuse myself by looking up the weird and wonderful ways people 'land' on my pages. (Anyone else get an unfathomably large number of hits from a London coach company?)

Then, of course, there were those 'other' bits and pieces. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. Those strings of html we're all persuaded to patch in so that our blog can be 'ranked' by some new ratings site, or Wikio-ed or Klouted or some such. I admit, I've done it myself. Somewhere, there was something so that Technorati could 'claim' me (sounds special, but it isn't); elsewhere there were bits and pieces allowing anyone and everyone to trace me, measure me, rank me, compare me and otherwise size me up for something or other.

I can't pretend that being on 'ze list' and watching your name go bobbing up and down each month isn't fun. But surely, for the love of God, there can only be so many measurement metrics? And quite how or why a blog like mine can be so high in one and so low in another is a mystery. But then, I know next-to-nothing about the dark arts of SEO. And what little I know, I often don't do. I don't place 'keywords' and search terms in my titles. I like my titles the way they are. Which is how I like my blog, really. And if other people like it, that's a real bonus. Because - as I've said before - this is fun, it's engaging, and it's jolly entertaining.

So, there you have it. Scrubbed, stripped bare and presented to you as is, in all it's nakedness. No, not me - this blog. These words. Because - at the end of the day - that's what this is, isn't it? Not hits and tricks and link-backs. Words. Words read by other people. Words that are sometimes worth reading.

And if you have been, thanks. Because that's what makes it all worth doing.
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