This morning I read Muzzy’s post at Blogizdat and was startled to see that he too is feeling some ambivalence over the traffic his blog has received since he first posted about Terri Schiavo (see 7 Days of Screaming Into the Wind). He’s been blogging a few months more than I have, but we’re both relatively new and I suspect that the combined amount of traffic our sites typically get in a month would barely compare to a slow day for the Instapundit or Hugh Hewitt.
Imagine my astonishment last Sunday evening when I looked at my Site-Meter report before shutting down and going to bed – 110 visits! What the…? With a couple of clicks I discovered that almost all of these were people following links from Google and other search-engines to a post I did last Thursday about Terri Schiavo. The next several days brought more than 250 visitors each and the number still far surpasses anything I experienced in my first month of blogging. Great news, right?
Then why do I feel like I’ve got the binocular concession at the Coliseum for Christians vs. the Lions?
Traffic is an affirming tonic for bloggers, though not quite the same heady elixir as having someone comment on a post or link back to your site. After all, as Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost has said, if you don’t care if anyone is reading your blog, then you don’t have a blog – you have a diary. The fact that this surge in visitors comes as a result of a tragedy, however, is sobering.
When I started blogging I had in mind urbane commentary on current events, poking fun at the deficiencies in liberal thought and maybe being able to start some spiritual brushfires in people’s minds. Then a real issue comes along and a topic I never wanted or expected to write about dramatically demonstrates the connectivity of this new media and my own responsibilities.
Readers came out of a desire to know more about the subject at hand, not to see whatever wisdom I may have, and I’m so happy that the main point of entry for them was the “What You Don’t Know About the Terri Schiavo Case” that linked to the National Review Online article detailing the shortcomings in her diagnosis and therapy. I’m glad that once I learned that this was the most requested story I could make it even more effective by adding updates that lead to even more information, such as the affidavit from Dr. Cheshire. I’m satisfied that many people have had a chance to get more information about this travesty. And I’m just so damned discouraged that this was ever necessary in the first place.
I couldn’t tell you whether or not anything that was posted here had an effect on those who visited. I can assure you, however, it has had an effect on me.