Been Here Lately?

There are currently twelve million bloggers online, according to a report by Felicia R. Lee in last Thursday’s New York Times (July 20, 2006).

That’s me: not just one in a million, but one in twelve million!

(What took Howard so long? I’m sure you were asking before I finally jumped into the swim last February. The 11,999,999 weblogs already available for perusal could hardly have been leaving you sated, after all. Only the addition to the mix of my own inimitable ruminations could possibly fill the gaping online vacuum that remained.)

So here I am, and a few people seem to be reading what I write. Some dedicated blog-readers even leave comments responding to my posts. God bless them every one, since each such instance of individual feedback helps reassure me that I am not performing for an empty house.

Usable data remains scarce, though, about what’s being most or least enjoyed by the larger (if not necessarily large) pool of silent visitors who may or may not find find old drawing from my files amusing or care to learn from me that my dog is cute.

Still, each bit of data is useful, so I took note when a friend told me recently that he resists posting feedback about my entries because to do so he would first be required to register his email address with an online service called TypeKey.

His unease is understandable, since giving one’s name and email address to any online entity brings with it fears that a fresh flood of spam will follow.

But for what it’s worth: the TypeKey authentication process comes recommended by Jason Bergman, the trusted friend who’s been my full-service web enabler for years. Indeed, not only is a registree’s confidentiality respected by TypeKey but the service also functions as a deterrent to twisted souls who might be inclined to maliciously undermine the blog itself.

"Spam became a major problem for me when I had free-for-all comment posting," Jason explains with regard to his own blogging experiences, "and I just got sick of it. With TypeKey, that’s not much of a problem. … Plus you can ban people this way if they post anything offensive. Again it’s rare, but it’s nice to have that power."

I give weight to Jason’s opinions in general, and there’s no denying that some blogs have been seriously — in some cases even fatally — overwhelmed by malicious flamers eager to dump truckloads of negativity into a weblog’s comment bin unless someone is checking IDs at the door. And openly gay bloggers like me can be especially tempting targets.

Hence my mild little TypeKey shield. But really, no one should mistake its presence for an unwelcome mat.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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