Monday, September 25, 2006

Why I blog - and a great big thank-you!

Check this out! It's my latest blog post translated into Japanese at The New Clay Aiken Blog. How cool is that? I love writing. It's the main reason why I started this blog in the first place. Well, that and the fact that all my friends were doing it. Heh.

I write on quite a range of subjects - from geekery to gardening, literature to cats, politics to rugby, environmentalism to human behaviour, and from New Zealand to Clay Aiken. Since I started this blog in May my visitor numbers have gradually increased, and my Technorati ranking has got better and better. On an average day I get about fifty visitors, but on a good day - like today - I can get over a thousand. Wow! I started at 2 million and something on Technorati and now my ranking is up to 57,180. I've still got a very long way to go, but I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at after only four months.

The most hit-worthy subjects I write about are Clay and American politics - with Clay coming out on top by a very big margin.

I've had a pretty good month this month. My live-blogging piece on the Path to 9/11 garnered over 800 visits and over 1000 page views, and I got linked to from all over the progressive blogosphere. I did a diary about it over at DailyKos - only my second diary in those hallowed cyber-halls - and to my absolute amazement (and complete bethrillment [I just made that word up - good, isn't it?]) I was on the Recommended list at Kos for quite a few hours.

And then there's the piece I wrote on Saturday night about Clay and the never-ending media fascination in his sexual orientation. It's been my most talked-about and visited piece so far. Yesterday I had over 1000 visitors and more than 1300 page views, and today another 750+ visitors and 1000+ page views. A-mazing!

I've been linked to from right across the ClayNation over the past couple of days - it's been fascinating visiting all the URLs that have come up in my SiteMeter stats this weekend. The picture at the top of this page is a screenshot of a Japanese Clay fan site - The New Clay Aiken Blog. Check it out (you can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it)! It's a mention of my latest post translated into Japanese! How cool is that?

My blog translated from the Japanese version into Korean. Kewl! And look - here's a Korean blog post written by heyn6364, where the writer has translated the piece from the Japanese blog about my blog into Korean and included it in her blog! Totally, completely and utterly cool! I just had to include a screenshot of the entire page because it's so pretty. Click on the pic to see the large version. I got AltaVista Babel Fish to translate a bit of it. "Clay" translated as "lay" and "blog" as "blow". Heh. Heh heh heh!

I don't know exactly why I'm so inordinately excited about my blog being translated into other languages - maybe in this case it's the novelty and beauty of the Japanese and Korean characters, or perhaps it's the whole thing about someone caring enough about what I've written to take the time to translate it so that others may read it too. Whatever the reason, it thrills me to pieces - so, as I'm still getting visitors from both those sites, WELCOME, 歓迎 and 환영 - and THANK YOU, ありがとう, and 너를 감사하십시요!

I think what these two blog posts (the 9/11 one and the Clay one) have in common is passion - and somewhat controversial subject-matter. I don't always aim to be controversial, and I don't write passionately every single day (that would be exhausting!), but when I do, and when I get it right, it certainly seems to have an effect.

I guess what I'm aiming for is "good" writing, although I'm not entirely sure if I can always define precisely what that means. I see blogging as the "little sister" of journalism, in that we've both got a story to tell, or an opinion to share - and although many "real" journalists still look down their noses at bloggers, I think there's a place for us all in the big wide world of the media.

For me, telling a story means getting my facts right, and having corroborating evidence from a number of sources. The internet is absolutely brilliant for finding information, but I think it's important to ensure that I don't just go to a single source. I need to be sure that what I'm saying is correct - and that I have links and references to back me up.

When I'm writing an opinion piece, I do bring in facts to support what I'm saying, but my main aim in that case is to express how I feel or what I think about a subject, and to convince my reader that my point is view is at least valid, if not exactly the one they share.

In both cases I think the best way to get my points across is by developing a clear writing style, by expressing the story with a logical and easy to follow narrative, and by really personalising what I'm saying.

I think that last point is really important. Having been trained as a scientist about a million moons ago, and having been both a technical writer, a report writer and teacher at various stages of my career, I find myself often slipping into a rather impersonal style of writing. Then I read it back and realise I need to make it more personal - I need to link it to me. Why do I find this subject important? Why do I feel passionately about this thing/event/person/whatever? I think that's what makes a blog interesting - the response of the writer to whatever they're writing about.

I'm also a complete perfectionist - it takes me a few hours to write a piece and get it just how I want it, and I love good grammar, spelling and punctuation. In fact I'd go further than that. I cannot bear reading stuff that's misspelled - and as for incorrect punctuation? Aaaargggggghhhh! Apostrophes are easy, folks! You just have to know the rules and apply them properly and.... oh yeah, I know. Old-fashioned. I admit it! I even txt in complete words and sentences most of the time! Heh.

Anyway. This rather rambling piece - because I really have to go to bed and I really want to get it finished first (knowing me, I'll probably come back and tidy it up tomorrow!) is my way of explaining the thinking behind what I do in WebWeaver's World and of saying a great big THANK YOU to everyone who visits my blog, and and even bigger THANK YOU to everyone who takes the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it.

Starting this blog was primarily a way of expressing myself through the written word, and I'm pleased and thrilled to find that other people sometimes enjoy my writing too. Thank you!

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4 comments:

kit said...

Webweaver, I SO thoroughly enjoy your writings, particularly anything connected with Clay Aiken. I would love it if ALL your blogs were about him because you write so truthfully and intelligently about this incredible guy. Keep up the good work!

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

I love your blog and love how you are USING YOUR VOICE!

clayisouridol said...

keep doing what you do! I remember starting CDD with 10-20 visitors. Now we are averaging 1300 visitors per day.

hugs,
clayis

newclayaiken said...

Hi! One of my readers told me my blog was on your blog. Thanks!!
I translated your article 'cause I loved it. My visiters loved it, too!

I also have a fan site, The New Clay Aiken and it has a counter on Top page. The number is over 20,000 now. It's really amazing.

Keep working, and I will!
Love,
newclayaiken