Once in a while I receive emails from people who either pass through Signsville or look in quite regularly and prefer to say something out of the box. And it's lovely to get these. I see that many more people look in than comment. In spite of having Sitemeter and Statcounter, I am not an accomplished stat-checker and unless it is made very obvious, I have no idea where everyone comes from, what pages they view or how regularly they visit. Since beginning the blogging, I have learned that some people will go to great lengths to hide the evidence of their visit and also to monitor and track the visitors that come to them. I suppose I can sort of understand the appeal of an invisibility cloak but I have never really got the point of the tracking thing - unless one is running a blog as a commercial enterprise, and then I suppose it might be useful.
Blogging, social networking and all - it's a new way of being in the world and it's still early days. We are learning about how it all might work, for and against us. On Youtube one sees strange, hostile threads that seem peopled by those who are looking for a place to offload their anger and resentment. But on blogs people mostly (there are always exceptions) make the effort to be courteous and thoughtful in comments and responses. To meet the other is not always easy. Unless one is constantly putting out platitudes there is the impulse to speak truly as one finds but this may sometimes involve taking issue with something and one then risks giving offence. Or there might be an impulse to make a pronouncement on a post which did not set out to ask for any such thing. There are spaces in the conversations one has online which allow for a degree of thoughtfulness not always possible in RL. But still, too much carefulness inhibits the natural flow and spontaneity. I do every so often (as some will know) wonder if I should stop blogging, and the end of last year could have been a natural point at which to end it. But having done this for four years it does seem to have become one of those things that I now just do, and it would feel stranger to stop than to carry on. So you could say it is in the realm of RL rather than just virtual.