Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Mischief: A Big Hug and Kiss

I promise to resume my normal blogging tomorrow and cease with the spilling-of-my-guts! But, today I just wanted to send out a big hug and kiss to all of my friends and readers who did not take my "fishing" for feedback as a sign of weakness, but rather took it as an opportunity to share our experiences as bloggers and fellow humans -- both the pitfalls and the fulfilling bits! I am feeling very at peace today about the whole thing, and feel much more connected and in-tune with my readers and fellow bloggers.


I rarely allow myself to indulge or pay attention to negative emotions relating to my blog [it's supposed to be fun, right?]. But, what I found is that with the freedom and creativity that blogging brings you, a certain sense of ownership and dedication follows. It is this sense of passion and ownership that is often not translated to those outside of the blog-world. What results can often be a feeling of alienation or a sense that other people around us don't care or understand what an important part of our lives blogging is -- we work hard to create, research, organize, compile, collect, think, ponder, search, and explore -- but for those who do not read or write blogs, this does not necessarily come across or make sense. I have had so much excellent, productive feedback over the past few days, and I just wanted to share some suggestions people have given for how to deal with this issue of our blog-lives not interacting harmoniously with our real-lives:
  • Other folks talk about their lives, their interests, and their work, so when people ask about us about ourselves, we should talk about what we have been working on, blog included [seems obvious, right?].
  • When we write something that we think someone we know might find interesting, instead of waiting for them to read it on the blog and give feedback [which I've learned lots of people hate to do], e-mail them the link -- this makes it feel more personal anyway.
  • Just try to remember that for every one person who leaves a comment, there are probably a hundred who do not...but that doesn't mean there aren't people out there who didn't get something meaningful from a post.
  • Learn to appreciate the anonymity that blogging can provide -- it is a platform to share another part of ourselves that we might keep hidden away otherwise; this can be very cathartic and fulfilling.
  • Or on the other hand, just tell friends and family how important your blog is to you! They might not realize it unless you explain it. If you are kind enough to ask them about their jobs, their child, their hobby, their work, then they should be polite enough to ask about or check in on your blog every now and again!
  • Remember why you started your blog to begin with -- was it for personal fulfillment? To create a new community? Sometimes we just have to remember that not everyone in our lives can be there for us in every way...different people fulfill different needs, and just because they don't "get" what you blog about doesn't mean they don't love you!
  • Reach out to people [I'm so happy that I did]. This can actually draw you closer -- sharing your feelings and your anxieties makes you more human and creates a sense of intimacy. You discover that other people deal with many of the same issues and difficulties...and it makes you feel less alienated.
  • Follow the "do unto others" motto: the more you share, comment, conversate, show interest, and give feedback to others [both in blogging and in life], the more you will receive.
  • Lastly, remember that your blog is not "you." This constructed identity [no matter how honest we are on our blogs] is not the real YOU. It is only one fragment of us and our complexities as people. Do not allow the constructed "you" to stand in or represent your true self.
Well loves, here's to many more years of blogging to come...


MySpecialStash said...

What a perfectly astute and articulate post! You don't know how thrilled I am that someone as thoughtful as you has addressed this blogging conundrum- it's really brought me so much clarity to an aspect of blogging that I, like you, tended to ignore in hopes that my occasional feelings of isolation and disappointment would go away.

Despite really wanting to, I was hesitant to comment on your last post, because of the great confusion of my own feelings concerning blogging and identity. I'm naturally a very private person, and tend to recoil at any unnecessary exposure. For this reason, I've purposely avoided any conspicuous disclosure within the blogging world. As others commented on your last post, I've really embraced blogging as an anonymous outlet for my creative thoughts, regarding my blog as somewhere between a private scrapbook and communal offering. While this divide is normally what I relish in blogging, I think the balance and compromise of these two functions is also the main source of blogging frustration for me. Sometimes I'm satisfied with just re-reading my posts myself, like I love to do with my old diaries. As cheesy and self-absorbed as this sounds, it really makes me feel a deeper sense of connection to myself, a more sure sense of my interests and passions. But other times, depending on the post and my own mood, I really crave more engagement with an audience, and wish I could feel tangible evidence of being part of a larger community.

You addressed this so well in your post today- like everything else is life, it's your responsibility in the blogging world to really treat others as you wish to be treated, and to express the role you wish to adopt. In this way, you can really assume complete control over the volume and type of interaction you have with fellow bloggers.

I have to admit that you're one of the few bloggers I really enjoy keeping in touch with, because I really think that we genuinely share interests and I always love hearing your input. I'm reluctant to start commenting on other blogs simply for the selfish sake of receiving a comment back, regardless of whether there's a true sense of connection or shared interest. In this way, whenever I'm feeling disappointed that I don't have more feedback from readers, I really have to force myself to take responsibility- if I really wanted a great volume of feedback, I could definitely try harder to achieve that. But then I realize that that's not really what I'm after, despite occasionally feeling unimportant/unheard/unappreciated.

I suppose what this extremely long-winded comment is trying to express is that I am so in agreement with your opinion that we have control over our roles in the blogging community. The only hitch, I think, is being honest with yourself over your intentions and desires, and accepting responsibility for how your actions affect your experience. Sorry for babbling on, but definitely know that your blog is very much loved in this Toronto house!

Maggie said...

Hi Tara,
I'm just catching up on the last two posts so I'm a little behind in saying that I can certainly relate. I have very, very few people who are close to me that read my blog or check out what's happening with my shop(or even ask). It's hard not to take it personal but I also know that most of them are not that interested in Etsy or the "blog world" so I just try and let it go. But it does make it that much better when you find someone out there who "gets" you even if you've never met face to face. I know that I'm very comforted by the fact that somewhere out there in the big world are like-minded people.

Sam said...

All very good bits of wisdom here - thank you! I particularly like the last point: my blog is not me! ...and hey! Itis another universe isn't it? I remeber back to before I blogged and I totally found the whole concept a mystery -a big why and what? So, thank you for your advice - it was good to have a rant on your last post too! :)

Chrissy Foreman C said...

The thing I love about the last two posts (this one included) is that in your blog I feel like I'm connecting with a real person. I think that's the beauty a blog has to offer over a website. I've grown with you on this one, thanks so much for reaching out ~ we've all benefited.
C xx

Chrissy Foreman C said...

p.s. I've just discovered a free service called 'feedburner' that sets up a widget for your blog so that people can sign up for email updates :)

Anonymous said...

you have been tagged by me because I like your blog so much!

thank you for interesting reading!

[Tara] said...

My Special Stash -- Thank you so much for sharing!! I was like you too, very conflicted about certain aspects of blogging and about the notion of revealing myself too much, etc. I also consider myself somewhat private, but as I've gotten older, I've started trying to be less so. I guess the problem is that I reached a point where I began feeling disingenuous, as if I were being fake, because I wasn't sharing my interests, thoughts, preferences, etc. I thought my blog would be a good way to give voice to those parts of myself I often kept silent. Like I've mentioned before, it has often been exhilirating and eye-opening, but it has also, in some ways, heightened those feelings of alienation or solitude, because I often felt that I was still keeping the blog-side of myself a seperate part of my life from my "real life." I wonder if, as we get older, we crave a sort of melding or synthesis of all these areas of our life? I will have to think on that some more! I really value your feedback and your friendship [can we call it that? LOL.]

Maggie -- It is all so strange! I just can't believe how many people have experienced this same thing! It really makes me sad, but also makes me wonder about the gaps between the online world and the real world, and the ways that so many people seem completely cut-off or indifferent to online communities. In some ways, I wonder if we can fault them? Well, I think we can still fault them a little -- it's just words and pictures -- nothing too advanced there, LOL! Maybe it will just take a few more years before everyone has fully grasped what is going on in the world of blogging and technology...and actually be able to participate and relate a bit!

Sam -- Thanks! I really appreciated your rant in the last post; it articulated some things I wanted to say, but was a little afraid to!

Chrissy -- Thank you so much! I always try too find a balance between the personal and the aesthetic on this blog; I know that is what I love about so many other blogs. I am not near perfect, so I try to allow that come through ;)

Mothersvea -- Thanks dear!!

Wicked Halo said...

Great post girl, you were completely spot on with this topic, and indeed I too noticed the gap you mention, very few of the people I actually physically know seem at all interested in my blogging activity even though now I feel it's such an important part of me and an extension of my personality.
On the plus side, it has allowed me to connect with people who genuinely share the same interests as me, and that I wouldn't normally get to know, and that has been a great reward :)

lisa butterworth said...

well said!! sometimes, even if you know all those things, it's helpful to think about them consciously to put life in perspective. thanks for sharing!

MySpecialStash said...

Tara, that was so sweet of you- I would love to call our relationship a friendship!! hehe :)

Also really interesting point about wanting to meld disconnected parts of our identity as we get older- I'm glad that you've been brave enough to attempt to, and hope that I will be as I get older!


Paul Pincus said...

brilliant. i could not agree with you more!

ps more people should try to remember that your blog is not "you." i like that.