Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Blogging Goethe: a Question for Readers

I will be traveling to Pennsylvania State University in a few weeks to take part in the triennial Atkins Conference of the Goethe Society of America. As always at these gatherings, there will be lots of panels and lots of interesting subjects. The title of this year's program is "Re-Orientations Around Goethe," Goethe Girl will participate on the panel "Afterlives: Goethe and Community" on the subject of "reorienting Goethe in the digital age." In other words, I will speaking about my blogging experience.

The blog has been in business since 2008 and has attracted almost half a million visitors. When I began I thought of the site as a place to post about my own work on Goethe. I discovered that  a blog is something that must be tended to and that invites opinion. Initially, I wasn’t sure how to approach the large subject “Goethe,” and I would often simply write about what was going on in my life. Since I live in New York, there were always plenty of interesting things to report on, especially art openings or street sights. It took me a while to get my bearings, but I think it was the GSNA conference in Pittsburgh in November 2008 that set me on the right path. After that I started posting regularly on Goethe, reporting on my own work or research, but also connecting Goethe to things going on around me or to something I was reading. In fact, since I have been blogging, I have become aware of how often and in how many unexpected context Goethe crops. Moreover, in the absence of any other online “fan” forums devoted to Goethe, even in Germany, it turns out that a lot of people “stumble” across goethetc.blogspot.com.

When I look at the stats concerning visitors to the blog, I have come across something that strikes me as an anomaly, and I would like to know if anyone out there who is reading this post can help me clear up my perplexity. Since early this year the number of page views from Russia has increased way beyond any other country. In a week, for instance, there may be over 1,000 page views from Russia, with only a few hundred from Germany or the U.S. in the same time. I would be interested to know how these page views are being generated. Mark me suspicious, but is there really so much interest in Goethe in Russia? Or the Ukraine, from which I have also had lots of visitors lately. There was even a blip in page views from Saudi Arabia during the summer, but those have now stopped.

Picture credit: Hoover.com

Picture credit: Hover.com

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