Sunday, August 14, 2011

Roll up for the magical mystery tour, step right this way!

Welcome to the amazing miracle that is the Internet, everybody! I’m not saying anyone is new to it, but since I began writing my blog, I am being struck again by how mindblowingly fascinating it is... Not because my blog has made it fascinating, but because of, well, because of the things it can do! 

I began writing my blog because I love to write and kind of missed it. Frankly, I didn’t think too hard about it – I just went to the blogger site and registered and wrote something. I’m not sure where I got the idea... divine inspiration? Then I just started presenting a little essay not quite every day, with the thought in mind, “It doesn’t matter what I write because no one is reading it.” I felt it was a logical assumption because the internet is so vast – who would even be able to find my unassuming little blog?

But... lo and behold, a few people commented! Family members far and wide, old friends, former co-workers... I was, and still am, so flattered that ANYONE would read it! Then... I found – and became a little too interested in – the place on Blogger that they call “stats.”

This is where you find out how many people are reading - right now, by day, week, month or all time (1,486). How many read each entry. What country they come from. People from the US, the UK, Australia, Norway, Germany, the Philippines, Argentina, Canada, Italy and Kenya have clicked on my blog. They might not have read it, but they got there somehow for at minute! 

On the stats page, you can find out what sites are bringing them to yours, and even what browser and OS they are using (Mac and Windows are running neck and neck!)

You can also find out how much you are making on the ads on your page. When a reader clicks on one of the ads, you get paid, like, ten cents or something. So far I have earned a whopping $2.48! So... click on my ads, people! Since I’m talking about the ads... I’ve noticed that they have rigged it so that the ads go with what you’re talking about. My blog gets lots of Christian ads. When I wrote about fashion, I got some fashion ads; the post about The Help got an ad from Merry Maids... it's a tad creepy, but interesting nonetheless!

Another miracle of the Internet: YouTube. I saw a lot of obscure bands at the Cat’s Cradle in the 80s, and for all I knew, it was a one-shot deal. But now... you can find pretty much any band playing pretty much any song on YouTube. You can find old TV commercials, show your kid clips of the Six Million Dollar Man, or Evel Knievel jumping over stuff. Sure it’s all mixed in with clips of people lighting their farts, but I maintain that it is a flat-out miracle.

Also, the Internet makes it possible for people like me to work at home. Document transfer and email are a snap. We can make a living without ever changing out of our pajamas. Need to make a personal call? Go ahead. It’s your time. Got a sick kid? No problem. Make a little bed beside your desk, fix him a bed tray and give him some comic books.

The Internet has been around a while now, though, so we take it for granted. You should see how cranky a certain man  I know – I’m not going to name him, but he lives in this house – gets when the Internet goes out. He has everyone in the house rushing around trying to reset the modem, calling Time-Warner, or whatever else might appease him.

It reminds me of this clip of Louis CK called, “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy: (it’s not rated G, so if you’re delicate, don’t click on it!) This is a miraculous age, but we come to expect the miracles... We expect to all run smoothly, when, really, there are just more things to frustrate us! I mean, we’re sitting here in a house full of books, cds, dvds and, like, 5000 TV channels, and we’re flipping out because we can’t get on the Internet!

In the past if I wanted to discuss this miracle we call the Internet with you, I’d have to call you up, go over to your house, or write you a letter. Or for a larger audience, I’d write a book or a magazine article... which would then have to be accepted by a publisher, printed and published. Instead, you are God-knows-where – wearing God-knows-what!, reading this, and I did nothing but write it and click a button. So in this case, Louis CK, yes, everything is amazing, but I am definitely happy.

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