I intentionally took a day "off" of my irregular regular posting schedule yesterday to chew on the blog frustration I've felt lately. The suspicion that I'd been writing posts from routine versus inspiration. That I was paying more attention to my number of readers than the quality of my writing. That I'd been reading posts elsewhere written more for marketing than entertainment or informative purposes. That unanswered comments and Tweets I'd left others had fallen into a black hole of indifference:
Worse, recent posts from you & you & you suggest that a number of you have recently had negative experiences, from hurt feelings to unbelievable deceptions, as a result of detailing your lives online. People being people, there's inevitably going to be some nastiness, both here and In Real Life. There will always be the trolls who read us simply to mock, if not worse, but watching Invisible Internet Friends go through the gauntlet has me worried. It's the risk we take in doing this online diary stuff - if we didn't want the attention, we'd be journaling at home - but between reading those posts and the flood of feedback from that Tweet above, I started to think I wasn't alone in my recent disillusionment. Have we - more to the point, have *I* - gotten off-base from the point of all of this?
I started this site lo these three years ago out of frustration. Isolated in a job where I largely worked alone and in a new town where I hadn't yet made friends, this blog and, later, Twitter, helped me to feel connected when I wasn't quite there yet in my real life. The comments I left with others, and the responses and return comments I received, were a lifeline. It also gave me a creative writing outlet, a welcome counterpoint to the
One baby, one blogging break, and three years later, I still find that sense of connectedness and release from my time reading your online brilliance and plagiarizing it here - mostly. It's just that the occasional ugliness - my own particularly - gets to me more. I miss those early days of community, back when it was more about the back and forth of comments and less about which blogs were "popular" and how to make yourself into a marketable "brand" (which, like "moist", should just be banned as a word).
Pointing the finger at others is neither Pretty nor productive, so instead I'm going to pledge to do the following:
- I want to do a better job of responding to reader comments and checking out your blogs. Unfortunately I can't read all of the blogs I'd like to, but since you're doing me the huge honor of reading my drivel, I'd like to check out your inspired words.. Leave me a comment with your site and, better yet, make sure if you're commenting using your Blogger profile that it has your email address and/or site linked to it.
- I want to write on topics I feel strongly about only when I feel I have something worthwhile to say about them. I struggle with this because it's only through the daily discipline of writing that I, on rare occasion, come up with a post I feel is worthy. I also enjoy checking in with many of you who write daily & can maintain a high quality at that pace. I'm not at all sure that I can do the same, so I may save more posts in the "drafts" folder until they're fully cooked.
- I'll try to mix up the "stuff", more material-driven posts with those of more substance - what little I have, that is. I'll still write the occasional
- I'll endeavor not to take it personally when someone never responds to my comments or Tweets. We're all busy people and can't always take the time to reciprocate; I'm very much as case in point here. Plus, this online stuff is a bit like dating at times - we find someone who intrigues us, put feelers out, and sometimes a person just isn't into the other or loses interest, no insult intended. We move on and find others who are interested.
- I will give others the benefit of the doubt. My better self recognizes that 99% of us are doing our best here; my lesser one percent gets irritated when I see what looks like secret blog marketing - despite Federal Trade Commission guidelines and good manners - and cliquishness. Most of us are striving to do good here, and I can simply stop reading the few who may not be.
I can't believe I, the alleged Ice Queen, am advocating something so cheerful here, but - let's be kind, darlings. Let's remember the fun of writing for its own sake, for connecting with one another when someone's writing - or handbag - matches up with your own makeup and nothing more.
*steps away from the caffeinated soapbox*