They say that the UK is one of the most surveilled nations in the world with CCTV cameras watching almost our every step. Who’s looking? Who’s listening? And what is being watched, or done, or said?
Big Brother, and paranoia, aside, it’s interesting for me, as a blogger, to contemplate who is reading my writing. Who’s peering at my posts? Who’s ‘taking a butcher’s’ at my blog? ‘Audience’, ‘followers’, ‘devotees’, ‘patrons’, ‘habitues’ (call them what you will) are important to a blogger because, much like a good dating agency, one has to work at creating as optimum a match as possible between oneself and one’s ideal, or target, reader. This alchemy may be assisted by bloggerly tools of the trade such as ‘tag’ words and ‘categories’ that help to cross-reference the preferences and interests of writer and reader. For a nosey parker like myself, though, it’s the ‘site stats’ toggle-on-my-toolbar (if you will) that is really rather riveting. Perhaps, dear readers, it is me who is ‘doing’ the watching of you? Quelle voyeur!
It’s fascinating to discover the online search terms that have resulted in visitors being directed to, and arriving at, my blog. Particularly curious examples include, ‘who is the girl in the apricot advert’ and ‘intoxicating frogs’. I also seem to have developed a ‘cult following’ in Russia since the turn of 2015, with a second highest ranking (behind the UK and ahead of the USA) for visitors to my site. Intriguing, huh?
Of course, all of my visitors, whether fleeting, misdirected, hardcore, fanatical or otherwise are highly prized. But there have been a couple of noteworthy overtures in the past few months that are worth mentioning here and, really, form the inspirations behind this particular blog entry. The first enquiry came from an image researcher last Summer, who had stumbled across my blog entries about Elizabeth Hawes whilst she was working on a project for the New York Times. We exchanged a series of emails and an article duly emerged in the Culture Issue of T magazine: ‘The Most Brilliant American Fashion Designer‘.
A second proposal arrived in my email inbox more recently, from Dr Rae Ritchie of the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW). Being already familiar with The Style Stakes, Rae encouraged me to contribute a guest blog about blogging for a collaborative project she was leading between SHAW and US Studies Online. So, that was an invitation to blog, for a blog, about a blog. And if you’ve managed to follow all of that, blog on over to that very piece to find out more: Blogs on Togs – Dress History Research In an Overseas Archive.