Saturday, March 06, 2004

And revenge will bring cold comfort in this darkest hour. As the juke box says 'It's All Over Now'. And he stands and he screams - what have I done wrong? I've fallen in love with a little time bomb.

The blogging has got me.

It's got me good.

I started with a free blog. It seemed a rewarding way of spending my time. I like to write. I like to rant. And there isn't always someone around to listen.

It didn't bother me at first that maybe no one would see it. I didn't even forward the URL to friends. It was supposed to be a private thing and if someone out there in cyberspace happened across the pages then great - but that was never the plan.

But then I got greedy. I started reading the Guardian's excellent weblog coverage and I wanted to be one of those "UK weblogs we like". After much pestering, the wondrous Jane Perrone agreed to link me. I guess it was just so I would stop clogging up her in-tray

I had hoped to be in the company of the half dozen or so blogs listed at the top of that page. In reality I was added to a longer list, much further down the page.

Little matter. At the time I didn't even have the facility to count hits.

Then I happened on a piece of Blogger script that I thought would do the job. It didn't entirely, but it did tell me, vaguely speaking, who was visiting.

That was the start of it.

From then on the temptation to refresh the referrals page every couple of minutes got too great. But still the visitor numbers were minimal.

I checked out the superb Call Centre Confidential and it was gaining referrals from other blogs well into three figures inside 24 hours.

So I started linking other sites, hoping they would link me back. I joined the Blogger Forum so I could try and find out from the experts what else I could do.

Slowly, as I looked around other sites, I found little bits and pieces that I could add. First a comment facility, then a better site tracker, then a gizmo that tells you how many people are visting your site at that very moment.

I was intoxicated by it all. With every new link I'd refresh again to see if any traffic was travelling in the opposite direction. Could I ever match Call Centre Confidential or the brilliant Belle De Jour?

I was also getting increasingly cocky about what I could or couldn't do. I know my way around the net but don't ask me how it all works. But, after a while I was cut and pasting scripts, if not like a pro, then at least like a relatively confident amateur.

Soon it started to get stupid. I added a "Cost of the Iraq War" dollar counter. I even pasted in a referral tracker that would post the results on the blog page itself. Then I got worried because, for some reason, it also showed the link to my template page. Suddenly I envisaged the site being hi-jacked by Neo-Nazis who would use it to take over the world - or something.

So I had a clear-out and dumped some of the clutter.

Earlier I had also spent the best part of two hours trying to get the email referral link to lie flush against the right-hand side of the page. As you can see, I couldn't. Eventually I settled for it being down there at the foot of this page.

Again I refreshed and I checked referrers. And then I refreshed and checked referrers once more.

I missed three television programs I had been intending to watch. Eventually I did tear myself away for the Secret Life of Us, but still rushed over, during every ad break, to refresh and check those stats.

I guess the real worry. Other than that of losing my mind, friends and perspective, is that I continue to busy myself adding pointless gimmicks and forget about actually writing something.

So I wrote this.

And I'll post it.

And I'll refresh again.

Perhaps someone out there actually uses my Atom feed and will whizz straight to my blog. To be honest I don't even really know what it does or how it works. But there was a script available to be cut and pasted. So I did. It didn't seem to harm anything and someone, somewhere may know how to use it.

Anyway, since I put my new counter in place yesterday I appear to have 50 hits. Not bad, I suppose. Then again even the dullest most rudimentary sites I visit appear to have tens of thousands of visitors. Do they just mount up? Can we all expect so many hits - or am I missing the both the boat and the point?

One article I read today said you should include up-to-date news and fads just so you can catch the Google searchers. Hmm...Princess Di blah blah, Bulimia blah blah, Blair blah blah, WMD blah blah blah, Leicester City footballers blah blah, La Manga blah blah Justin Timberlake to duet with Slipknot blah blah blah. Ok, the last one was a lie - but maybe it'll bring in a new youth audience.

What if I add - click here for naked pictures of Scarlett Johansson? Would that work?

Whatever. I have resolved to stop messing around with the site. So far it all seems to work okay but I am sure to break it. Then I'll need a new one. As mothers everywhere will tell you: if you keep playing with it - it won't get any better.

So, if you're reading this - please use my comment facility, my email recommending system and can you think of an interesting way to re-enter the site by a bizarre link.

You have no idea how happy this will make me.

Love, light and peace,

BykerSink

I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.