I entered the world of blogging 2 1/2 years ago at the suggestion of a friend. She thought this would motivate me to write on a regular, on-going basis. After a bumpy start-and-stop beginning and much input from other bloggers and writers, I now enjoy sitting down to post several times a week. Yep, this definitely provides a fun forum for writing and a little motivation to take time each day to pitter at the keyboard!
If you read this blog for very long, you quickly realize that mine is not a professional Deal-i-O. It is not topic specific, eg. high-definition camera lenses, porpoise training, or the documented history of Ferris Bueller's adult life. I write about everything from being fat-and-over-40 to childhood memories, from life lessons to theology. According to the experts, I'd get waaaaay more visitors if I'd narrow my focus (think Julie-Julia). This also isn't a commercial undertaking, although I could definitely use some income. And, as hinted before, I don't get the hundreds (or even thousands) of comments that many professional bloggers reap daily.
But, after last week, I finally have something in common with The Big Boys of blogging. A notch in my blogging stick. I have my first .....ummmm, how do I put this delicately?....well, my first Rather Unpleasant Visitor.
I read about this phenomenon over a year ago, while perusing tips and advice from professional bloggers. Did you know that some high-activity sites actually keep paid staff who do nothing but screen comments to weed out spammers, inebriated commenters, and such? Of course, I didn't anticipate this would be a problem for me. I mean, this is pretty much a personal blog, a means of sharing my thoughts with friends and family. And it's written by a frumpy, middle-aged woman whose daily routine is about as exciting as dusting ceiling fans. Honestly, I can't imagine that anything written on The Hurricane Report merits the attention and weird hostility of some stranger from cyberspace.
Au contraire! One morning last week, I poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer to check email. What in the world is this?! My in-box was FULL of comment notifications from Blogspot. So, I toodled on over to the blog and discovered....
Some sweet stranger had effectively vomited all over my blog. Recent posts. Ancient posts. Posts about the first time I saw a black big toe, my sister's recipe for chili, and grief at the loss of a dear friend. Totally. Random. Weird. Stuff.
Unsettling? More than a little. Especially since I didn't want to leave all that debris lying around for other visitors to stumble over. It was already time to start school with the kids, and I really did NOT want to spend an entire morning cleaning up someone else's poo. Alas! What was I to do?
Thankfully, Blogspot has this wonderful feature, hitherto unbeknownst to me - spam guard. Although my email inbox was full, all these comments had actually been tagged as suspicious and sent to a spam file at the blog site for my review. Blogspot would not post them until I approved their content. Cleanup was an easy click of the delete tab. Hallelujah!
This episode got me to wondering....Should I restrict blog access to members only? Should I eliminate the comment feature? Should I close the site, turn off my computer, and hide in the closet under the stairs? And who was this person, anyway? How did they end up stumbling across my blog in the first place? And why did they feel inspired to dump garbage everywhere?
Well, another blogger used his techno-savvy to find out a little more about my new "friend" - and, after what I learned, I'm more sad for the person than angry at them. Sad, because this life can be so very, very horrible sometimes. Sad, because without Christ, all the pain and heartache of this life are just the beginning of an eternity of even worse suffering. Sad, because, if nothing else, I want visitors to this blog to know that there is hope and freedom and unfathomable delight to be found in the person of Jesus, that even the most terrible suffering can be redeemed for good - but apparently this visitor didn't get that.
Still, I pray that a seed has been planted....maybe....
And I'm still blogging.