For a long time I thought The Blogosphere was a network of personal blogs hosted by the blogging platform Blogger.com. Lonely people that found each other through blogrolls on the sidebars of poorly designed and now-embarrassing looking templates and commented on posts that were poems or short stories or reflections on current events or perhaps timeless archetypal expressions of ‘life,’ ‘tragedy’ and/or ‘change.’
I thought maybe LiveJournal blogs were included in The Blogosphere, and that all blogs that were aggregations of individuals posting articles under a common name such as The Awl or Huffington Post were vague ideas of internet magazines or things trying to be media outlets.
I understood this network of personal blogs as what people, what the mainstream media, spoke of when they referenced The Blogosphere. As this network was closed and did not seem to attract outside visitors, I often found it hard to imagine how one individual could be featured on CNN for her blog, for example. And how one might rise to such heights. To write a blog post that garnered 132 comments. Or to have a readership and a voice so powerful that his Blogspot address commanded over 10,000 unique visitors every day. It was the year 2007 and I was 23 years old. I was unemployed, single and depressed.
I maintained the blog brandon-alien-fine.blogspot.com (and still do) and one of my intentions was to drive traffic to this address. Typically I posted the poetry of a depressed young alternative male on my blog and within three weeks of creating the blog I could see that perhaps five people a day were visiting my webpage. To me this was a significant and exciting number. I had StatCounter and I studied the metrics of each unique visitor that happened upon my blog. I sought to know these visitors more intimately and I waited impatiently for their first effort of outreach. I commented on others’ blogs in an effort to make first contact.
Within around three months of creating my blog I had summoned an average of 20 unique visitors every day and sometimes these people would even comment on my posts and I was very excited when the number of comments reached over three. I began to take interest in unique visitors versus returning visitors and sometimes I noted patterns in pageviews and saw that there were instances of individuals Googling “brandon-alien-fine” to visit my webpage. I began labeling IP addresses when I had reason to suspect a link between a pageview and an internet persona who owned a blog. I felt more focused on knowing who my visitors were.