A couple of weeks ago I added two new elements to the NfN site : a pair of Google widgets which display details of the blogs I am following and people who follow my blog. Having seen Reg Keeland's blog I thought I might usefully point other people in its direction and then I added the "Followers" element just in case anyone wished to do the same with this blog. Well, that's the official explanation. Actually, I just wanted it to look as though I had friends.
I have always been jealous of those people with Facebook sites who then have half a mile of "friends" listed underneath. In some cases these are just silly teenagers with half-drunken smiles, but in other cases they look like the kind of people you would like to boast about having as your friends : men with intellectual beards and women with world-knowing faces. The fear that I could never attract such friends has always been the main reason why I have shunned Facebook and similar sites. I knew I was taking a bit of a chance when I incorporated the "Followers" element into the NfN sidebar, but after all, followers are not the same as friends. Genghis Khan had lots of followers, but not that many friends (well, at least, not many with all their limbs still attached).
So for the last two weeks I have sat back waiting for my many followers to declare themselves. And waited, and waited. During the long periods of boredom I have recalled the story of one of my favourite political philosophers, Saint-Simon, who in the early years of the nineteenth century became convinced that he had solved all the political and economic problems of the world. He hired himself a set of rooms in Paris and placed adverts in all the leading European newspapers inviting the political leaders of the age to visit him and learn to solutions to the ills of mankind. He too sat and waited alone through many a cold winter month until eventually, in the absence of any callers, he took a gun and blew his brains out.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not threatening to kill myself. I am not going to do a Saint-Simon. I have had visitors, plenty of them : I know this because I have also installed a clever element which tracks visitors to the Blog. In the last couple of days there have been people from London, Melbourne, Morrisville Pennsylvania, Wellington New Zealand, Blooklyn, Joensuu in Finland and good old Denver Colorado. They have all come calling at my virtual room, but nobody wants to follow me. Late last night, after pickling my sorrows in finest Single Malt, I went as far as signing myself up to be a follower, but in the cold and sober light of morning I decided that this looked just too sad and managed to get rid of it.
It's not that I am begging. It's not that I am desperate. But a few choice followers would be welcome. Nice people, good people, clever people, people with gravitas. Come on John Dee from Morrisville Pennsylvania, declare yourself.