Friday, April 4, 2008

Mission of a Blog: Readers or Comments?

April 4, 2008

The other day The New York Times' Cityroom blog published a link to this one. I discovered it by checking my Site Meter (which I do many times a day) and discovering that rather than the usual 12 or 13 hits by the usual suspects, I had 65 hits by lunchtime! These were visitors who stayed long enough to read at least one post, and they came from all over the country.

I told my friend Craig over at, and he emailed me that he was going to link the Cityroom link to his page, so my numbers went way up again.

It may be very uncool to get excited about such a one-shot development. Probably less cool to post about it. Easy come, easy go. But I've been blogging -- first at Finding Fair Hope, later at Finding Fair Food", and here since December -- for two years on a regular basis, and I've never gotten more than 30 hits a day, even when about ten of them were from myself, responding to comments. By the end of the day Tuesday I had 90 hits, and another 20 the next day from

It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, to say nothing that it was connected, however distantly, to The New York Times. (Thirty years ago I had a Letter to the Editor of the Times Sunday Magazine published, but this is as close as I've come to connecting with
The Grey Lady since. So I euphorically emailed a few people about it.

One who received the email was decidedly less impressed. "You were all excited about the numbers of hits you got on your blog, but the number of comments were only three. I'm a little confused here. I was always under the impression that when a blog stoked someone's fire enough that they wanted to comment on it, the better the blog."

Never mind the killjoy tone of that. I'm used to it from this friend; he is always one to point out the danger of being too happy about anything (the danger is that logic may be sacrificed). I tried to look the other way when I emailed him back that I don't write posts in order to engender comments; I write a daily journal of my reactions, my plans -- and with this blog, my life in a new city. I have no idea who my readers are or why, but I'm happy that 20 or 30 of them check in with me every day.

I've posted on why people comment, and why so many regular readers don't bother. At a certain period on Finding Fair Hope there was a lot of discussion, with as many as 17 comments on a particular post. From time to time I even get a comment or two on Finding Fair Food, a lighthearted recipe blog that averages a mere six hits a day.

I am not trying to stoke my readers' fires here. I sashay into the controversial from time to time, touch on politics every once in a while, but basically I am simply giving voice to my personal daily life. Why anyone reads it, I honestly am not sure. But my mission is to share what is mine -- and I've made some new friends by doing so.

Comment if you like, Readers! Tell your friends about the blog if you're so inclined. And if you have any friends on the NY Times, tell them what a good writer I am. I'd appreciate that.


Anonymous said...

Elias may be right–
23 skidooville, man.

Mary Lois said...

Now there's a comment bound to elicit many responses!

Anonymous said...

When I started my blog I did not think anybody would drop by. After two days I checked and had had 13 hits and two comments. To say I was thrilled was an understatement. I now average around 300 a day but not everyone leaves a message or comments on a post. it is just good to know that people from all over the world have dropped by, even if only for a glance.

I have dropped by at yours and leave a comment to say hello!