Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Flattery of Anonymous Followers - Part II

From time to time, I like to pause with the quotidian accounts of life at Venice Beach to consider the nature of writing and blogging itself. Especially when, like today, the weather has again turned cold, nasty and rainy, which means Alma and I shall be trekking to the mall for our daily walk.

I happened to take a look at the blog's statistics this morning and was struck by how worldwide the audience has become. There have been several visitors from Russia, from Slovenia and from Malaysia (among other places) since I began. It is so flattering that people from these different parts of the world are spending time with my words. I stop occasionally to wonder about what these visitors from distant lands find in my blog that brings them to it. I cannot believe that my words alone explain the draw. Perhaps it is Alma's wonderful beach photography that pulls them to the blog. Perhaps it is the mythic lure of California. Perhaps some combination of all the above. Or perhaps these foreign visitors merely skim the blog's contents before heading off to the proverbial greener pastures. (The statistics function on does not indicate how long a given visitor remained on the blog or, more importantly, whether they actually read any of the words.) Still, a delicious thrill steals through me when I think that someone from Denmark or Australia has read one or more of my posts.

I do wonder what Thoreau would have made of the technology of blogging, had he lived to see it. Methinks today that Thoreau would be one of those we see pushing a shopping cart down the boulevard, if he were not safely ensconced in some sinecure in academia. Today's world would have even less use for Thoreau than his own world did. That said, the universal demoratic quality of blogging would mean that Thoreau could get his message out to the world, provided he had access to the internet even at a public library. Thorea did view himself as something of an evangelical for his worship of nature, so I think he would probably not have completely disapproved of the blog as a means to publish to an ever-wider audience.

Foreign visitors notwithstanding, the vast majority of my readership appears to hail from the United State and from Canada. Even there, though, I know for a fact that one of my readers lives in landlocked Kansas. Perhaps she feels the same lure of the sea that I feel, the lure of the waves that drew me out here from the midwest 16 years ago, never to leave. As for my other American visitors, I can only wonder at what they find of interest in this humble blog. I welcome any comments any visitor wishes to leave and will attempt to address any relevant concerns raised therein in future posts.

To my readers, though, I thank you most sincerely. It means the world (no pun intended) to me to have you reading my words. Even though we may never meet in person, even though I may never even know your names, merely knowing you are out there and paying attention makes it all worthwhile.

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