Next month it will be three years since I started writing posts on a new blog that in a moment of sweet madness I decided to call Diary of a Mad Patent Translator.
I am not sure why I did that, but I do remember that I was disappointed when initially there was no response at all to my posts for several months, and how happy I was when I received my first comment about 5 months later in response to this post. It took me quite a while before I finally figured out that the first comment was in fact a spam comment because at that point I had no concept of what a spam comment meant and what purpose it could possibly serve.
But as other bloggers about translation started linking to my blog, the modest readership of my new blog started slowly growing. Or in fact not so slowly because to my surprise, the number of readers tripled during the second year, and then also during the third year. I remember that the first link to my blog, which was probably responsible for most of the growth in the readership in the first year, was the ATA Blog Trekker.
After that, my webmaster (webmistress?) told me sometime during the second year of my adventures in the blogging universe to create a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account and put some “like” icons on my blog, which was a really good idea.
I think that the urge to blog springs from an old, rather primitive human instinct to swap gossip. People in the Stone Age must have found it useful as well as highly entertaining to stand around in front of their cave condominiums and tell each other stories about how they caught and killed a saber-toothed tiger the other day. The Japanese idiom 井戸端会議 “idobata kaigi“, which literally means “meeting at the side of the well” and can be translated into English as “idle gossip”, describes another precursor of blogging in old Japan where women used to stand around the well for hours happily gossiping before they finally brought some water to their house.
The women in my neighborhood are still doing that, except that nowadays they mostly pretend to be walking their dogs instead of pretending to be fetching water for their cooking. They can stand in front of my house “blogging” like this for hours! There is even one man who joins them sometime. (Moi, jamais!).
The advantage of a digital idobata kaigi is that the meeting is open to people living in different countries provided that they speak the same language. After I finally picked up 7 views in Mongolia last year, I am happy to be able to inform my readers that my blog is now read in at least 172 countries. I am now working on the remaining 24 countries where nobody seems to be interested in the important issues that I am analyzing in my posts, especially Kyrgyzstan and Papua New Guinea. My innovative blog already attracted 7 views in Kazakhstan, as well as 5 in Greenland and 86 in Iceland (86!).
Women in old Japan used to stand around the well jabbering about this and that because they needed to know what their neighbors were up to. And that must be also the main reason why people write and read blogs these days.
People need to know what’s going on, and we bloggers thus have the awesome responsibility of making sure that all of our neighbors, from Argentina to Zambia, are well informed.
It is a heavy burden to bear, but we bloggers try to bear this burden with grace, dignity and without complaining about it too much because we know how important it is to keep our digital neighbors on this planet well informed about the strange thoughts that go through our heads every now and then.