Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Joys of Blogging

Well, I've finally made it! I'm Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2006, along with millions of others. We're part of a new democracy: Internet users who express ourselves on line. Time provides an extensive analysis of how "Web 2.0" has given all of us with computers and Internet access a place to interact and to present whatever we want (with some limits on obscenity, pornography, and libel) to whoever cares to read anything by and/or about us.

I've been a computer enthusiast since about 1984, so I'm glad we're getting all of this attention. I'm a bit old for MySpace and YouTunes and the other younger people's favorite Web sites, but I do write a few book reviews for Amazon.com, and I explore and contribute to on-line book sale, review, and promotion sites. And my six-month-old blog, "Never too Late!" has become a favorite hobby.

My blog is not one of those that attract visitors by the thousands every day, but in the nearly three months since I've had visitor statistics, there have been about 1,400 page views. Lately, the number of first-time visitors has averaged about five per day. I have no cumulative statistics, and none at all from the blog's first three months. However, I get the impression that the number of "hits" or visits has been growing slowly but steadily.

I've been asked what I get out of blogging. It's not money. While there are some small AdSense ads included, that is just an experiment. I'm learning how all of these things work. Million-hit blogs probably have readers who click on the advertised products and services often enough to provide some income, but my readers, some of whom are reluctant to order anything on line, are not likely advertising targets here. I do have a book for sale on several sites, but it's a small book with a limited audience. This blog may have generated some interest in my book, but most of my posts are about other topics, and there's no hard sell included.

So why do I blog? Writing teachers have long encouraged journal writing, usually with pen on paper, and I still keep a journal occasionally. But somehow, I like the idea of my thoughts neatly printed out for others to read. What’s extremely personal or embarrassing usually is relegated to my off-line pen-and-paper journal, as it should be, but I take pride in seeing my words flowing across the computer screen.

I love to write, and this is my way of keeping in touch with anyone interested in what I’m doing and what I have to say. Blogging makes me feel alive. A few friends and relatives are interested. So are a few other people. I’d like to write a "Seniors" column for a newspaper or magazine, but the opportunity has not arisen (nor have I pursued it aggressively). Blogging is a way to write what I want to write without worrying about editors and deadlines. I don’t think I’d mind either, but for the moment, blogging is free, easy, and very enjoyable.

One of the purposes of my book is to encourage others, especially my fellow seniors, to write. Perhaps they will begin by writing some comments here on any of my posts that interest them. I hope that in 2007, we can have some on-line discussions about things that matter to us. Feel free to express your opinions and to suggest new topics.

Copyright 2006 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photo by the author

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