So the Happiness Engineers have obviously been tinkering. Again.
The blogging community is just getting on with it. Have we given up railing against the changes, or are we just grumbling away quietly, knowing we are at the mercy of engineered happiness? There is a spectre of doom and gloom hovering…
Since the reblog button went missing with all the ‘redundant code’ they deleted a few weeks ago, things have not been quite right around here. Blogs are being unfollowed arbitrarily… odd new functions have quietly slipped beneath the radar, minor-looking tweaks have been sneaked in with little or no warning and the available stats seem to be riding a rollercoaster without rhyme or reason.
Although that last is not unusual… stats do weird things. Go away for a few days and it is a real eye-opener. You can understand it if you just stay off the computer, write nothing and keep quiet. You would expect a drop in the figures. What I will never work out, though, is why, even if you leave exactly the same amount of posts scheduled as usual, have computer access that allows you to read just as many other blogs as normal and you manage to answer all comments in a timely fashion… the stats will still drop. I find that incredibly strange.
And it happens when your attention is simply called elsewhere too… when life imposes its demands and you just do not have the freedom to spend as much time at the screen as you normally would, even though you do everything you usually would! That is even stranger. It is as if, by some arcane process, the blogosphere knows your attention has been diverted.
In spite of all the weirdness, there are other, and equally incomprehensible factors that make blogging worthwhile. Disappear without notice for a few days and there will be emails from people you have never met in your inbox. Write about a problem, and there are helping hands reaching out.
These are people you may never meet… and yet who have, in this new and mysterious ‘virtual’ realm, become friends. Not just the generic, social media-esque definition of ‘friends’ either, but real people who know you, with whom you have ‘clicked’ and with whom you converse behind the scenes.
If you are lucky enough to actually meet them, these virtual friends are just the same in person… but, like the difference between a photograph and an eye to eye smile, their presence is warmer and richer.
When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, blogging is about the people, not the words. No matter what the programmers play with, what the stats might do or how much weirdness we encounter, it is the people who read the words that bring them to life… and, in turn, the words bring people into your life too.