Saturday, August 13, 2005

---State of the Blog 

I started my “HeartBreakLog” weblog originally as a place for my ideas, mostly Biblical commentary. The name is not particularly a religious metaphor, or anything---it originated from a Ricky Skaggs bluegrass number called “Heartbreak Hurricane”. I put the title on the aileron of my ill-fated .40 sport-pattern model airplane, where it turned out to be extremely appropriate. It later evolved into my regular computer-game “handle” for Q3, HL2, and a lot of other online/multiplayer experiences that I’m much too old for, and my regular user name. I named the blog “HeartBreakLog” mostly through a chronic lack of imagination.
I added a second page for regular news commentary, the “HeartBreakLogNews” a couple of months later. I had gotten into the annoying habit of sending emails to a small circle of acquaintances with comments on news stories, and it occurred to me that I might as well just post the comments to the weblog, where they could annoy numerous people across the world.
The SiteMeter data indicate that the weblogs have been read on such servers as EPA.GOV (at least it wasn’t FEMA) and EA.COM, in countries including Singapore, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
I recently added a third page, The Shining Pasture, as a place to dump a few short stories from time to time.
Publication and promotion of weblogs seem to be a hit-or-miss proposition. New posts are pinged to Ping-o-Matic.com and Weblogs.com. There is a steady trickle of newsreader traffic through FeedBurner, and browser traffic comes in from BlogsNow and Technorati, and a few other places. Feedburner shows news reader hits from engines I’ve never heard of anywhere else. Both weblogs are now listed on Google, AltaVisa, and AskJeeves. Despite the regular trickle of visitors and considerable effort to implement main-page comments, no one has been motivated enough to leave any.
The other places the weblogs’ listings show up demonstrate that automatic blog searching and aggregation leaves a lot to be desired. I used the word “fun” in a post about the Cassini mission, and was rated a “kid-friendly” site. I used the word “logistics” in a post about ISS, and was included in a listing of supply-chain-related sites. An off-hand reference to the cast of the movie “Outbreak” got me briefly listed as a Renee Russo fan site, presumably until they figured that I probably couldn’t pick the woman out of a lineup.
I am running short of ideas for increasing traffic. I suppose I could change the name of the weblog to “EpoxyLipsNow” or something more dramatic, or start writing everything in instant-message-ese. Maybe I could invent a social life and belabor dozens of people with embarrassing details, or act really depressed about it. I could post more dog pictures. I could threaten to start pod-casting. It really doesn’t seem worth the trouble, though. I seem to be getting enough entertainment out of the illusion of world-wide community, material for further sarcasm about the web, and the virtual hat rack that is my out-of-the-way corner of the bloglight zone. [that ought to get a few search engine hits.]

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