I’ve found the rhythm and framework of a daily blog helpful in adjusting to Dylan’s absence and focusing my reflections. I’m half way through my 100 day project and so far have missed only one entry (I didn’t post anything on the day Dylan and I went on a dawn till midnight steam train trip). Today, however, I decided I’d better put it on hold.
Something happened yesterday evening as I was writing about the 50th day. When I heard my email pinging and saw the blog stats climb I assumed it was for a post about chronological age which attracts waves of interest periodically. When I checked, however, I was surprised to discover that people were looking at a recent post (on Day 44) about my visit to Sylvia Plath’s grave. That piece is probably my least typical post in that it takes only a tangential glance at autism; the diary format of my 100 day transition project reflected the fact that my preoccupation that day had been something other than autism.
I thought, at first, the interest in the post must be due to its focus not being autism. Later, however, when I saw that a few people with an autism connection had left friendly comments on my blog, I hoped the post might be reaching a more mixed audience. When I checked my stats this morning, however, I started to panic. Something didn’t feel right about the views, likes and comments; in particular, I was suspicious of some re-blogs.
One of my posts was hijacked once before by someone who embedded hyperlinks to their own sites in my blog. It took me a while to find and correct these and for the traffic through my site to calm down. I was upset at the time; I spent ages trying to find a way of removing followers, thinking that the only way I would be safe was to restrict my site to the small community of existing readers. I discovered, of course, that there isn’t a way of removing followers (for which I’m glad as I would otherwise have missed some rich subsequent encounters). Still, I looked with suspicion on my stats this morning.
With good reason, as it turns out, as at least one re-blog is to an escort site 😦 I have found a way of preventing my posts from being re-blogged to stop this happening in future and I have marked comments I cannot verify as authentic as ‘spam’. I hope that this will reduce some of the inauthentic activity on my site and I am sorry if, in the process, I have removed comments made by genuine readers. The experience has reminded me how much I value the sense of community on this blog. This space has been so stable and settled that I’ve even learned to recognise some names (something I am not very good at in real life).
Although it’s lovely to welcome people with a genuine interest, I hope new readers and old will appreciate my caution. I’d be really grateful if you could let me know if you find any dodgy links on this site or you spot any of my material on other sites. Hopefully things will settle down over the next 24 hours and I’ll feel able to return to my focus. For tonight however – other than to note that I’m looking forward to seeing Dylan for a short visit tomorrow evening – my musings are on hold.
The mystery was solved the following day.