Well, Webb-ed Feet is just over one week old, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying being an active participant in the blogosphere, after many years as a 'lurker'. That said, you do learn a lot as a lurker, and you never cease being a lurker on some sites. I do think that having your own blog gives you more confidence to comment on others, and maybe commenting on others' gives you more confidence to blog.
However, one thing I've noticed is that I've become a bit of an addict, and I'm blaming it on my StatCounter/Feedjit/Clustrmap! It's hard to resist the urge to open the old MacBook for a quick peek, see if the counter's gone up, ultimately to see who, 'out there', is reading. I get a bit of a thrill seeing those little red dots pop up, and wondering who it could be in Venezuela or New York that's reading.
I'd love to hear from other bloggers out there - do you experience this as well? At least did you in the early days? Clearly those bloggers with thousands of readers are not going to jump up and down over one more red dot. Or are they?... Here's one example of similar sentiment, and the StatCounter User Forum even has a thread on this.
Thinking about my own experience here, I think when getting students to create their own blogs, I would almost certainly recommend that they put a Clustrmap on their blog. One of the key advantages of blogging as a student publishing tool is that it connects them with a real, global audience, and Clustrmaps etc, give them proof that they are being read, and hopefully will motivate them to write more.
Even better than red dots, however, are comments - a blogger's food. This to me is really what blogging is all about - starting a conversation and developing ideas as others add their perspectives.
So, as always, comments please!