I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately. And not in a ‘I’m thinking about writing a blog post later.’ kind of way. More in a ‘Why on earth do I do this, and what’s it all about?’ kind of a way.
I started blogging in 2000. I was a junior in college, just 21 years old. Back then, ‘blog’ was almost a 4-letter word. Those of us who had these online journal-type-things would only talk about them in Real Life using hushed tones, so as not to freak out our families and friends who just wouldn’t ‘get it’. We were GEEKS, dude. Total computer nerds.
One marriage, 2 houses, 3 jobs, 2 careers, and 1 kid later… and the day I started my blog pretty much feels like a lifetime ago.
But I’m still blogging. Sometimes I can’t BELIEVE I’m still blogging.
Things are certainly different now in the blogosphere. There’s a conference every other week it seems, bringing bloggers together for all sorts of reasons- food blogging, mommy-blogging, business blogging, you name it. It’s no longer a Secret Thing We Only Do In The Dark Of Night By The Glow Of Our Computer Screens With Dorito Crumbs On Our Keyboard. It’s accepted and celebrated. FINALLY I DON’T HAVE TO BE EMBARRASSED ABOUT MY BLOG!
(My family is VERY happy about this, I assure you. HA.)
(And there still might be Dorito crumbs on the keyboard sometimes. Full disclosure, and all that.)
Because I’ve been blogging for so long, I’ve been able to watch the changes first-hand. It’s been… interesting. At times, it’s been sad and frustrating, because there have been some not-so-nice things that have come about in our little community (I’m lookin’ at you, BlogHer Swag Gate 2009) And other times, it’s inspiring and uplifting and amazing to watch, as near-strangers come together to support a fellow blogger.
The blogosphere is never dull.
Jen over at Playgroups are No Place for Children wrote a post a few weeks ago about blogging. She compared blogs to a window into our lives. And that’s exactly what it is, isn’t it? We open our lives- at least a little bit- to the public and let them see Our Stuff. Whether it’s pictures or stories or our opinions or our messy houses or whatever, we put it out there. And in the age of Google, once it’s out there… IT’S OUT THERE.
Beyond that analogy, the main point of her post was about the current state of the blogging community. Self-promotion, Big Name Bloggers, stats tracking, comment totals, feed subscribers, Twitter followers. And then the Big One: Comparing our writing with That Other Really Hilarious/Insightful/Well-Spoken Blogger With The Shiny Hair. She speculated about whether or not anyone would even notice if she closed up shop and left the Blogosphere (um, yeah. I’D NOTICE. Please don’t go!!) How she’s frustrated with the fact that she doesn’t write the way she wants to, how there seems to be a ‘right’ way to do this blogging thing (and also Twitter) and it can be overwhelming to keep up with it.
But the one thing that really struck me about her post was the mention of her Feedburner subscriber count. Over 1000. And how by keeping that number posted on her sidebar, that shows that she’s ‘somebody’! She’s Made It! And she clings to that, even though she feels like a Blogging Failure.
I found this fascinating because that’s EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT when I saw that number. Wow. 1000! She’s way too popular for me, she’ll NEVER want to be Bloggie-Friends with me! I only have like 200 subscribers! And she has way more Twitter followers than I do too. Oh gosh, I’m such a Blogging Loser. I SHOULD JUST QUIT.
And I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years.
I hate that I feel that way sometimes.
I tend to disappear and neglect my blog on a regular basis. I don’t self-promote very much. I’m HORRIBLE about leaving comments on the blogs I read. And I’m also pretty sucky about replying to comments on my own blog (but I read and cherish each and every one of them *mwah*) However, I love my little Blog Circle of Friends I’ve gathered. Sure, I don’t get invited to fancy parties by Company ABC and I have never- not even once- received a PR email from a company asking me to review a product. If I get 10 comments on a post, I am OVER THE MOON about it. And mostly, I’ve accepted the fact that most people in the blogosphere have no idea who I am. Next year at BlogHer (I’M REGISTERED!!! ARE YOU??) I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel like I made a huge mistake, at least for the first 5 minutes.
All of that is okay. I love blogging and I love the way in which I choose to blog. It’s not the Main Thing in my life, and I don’t make a ton of money from the ads on my sidebar. I love that I can come to this space and mind-dump and you all will chat with me, provide advice when needed, laugh along with me at the goofy stuff my kid does, and celebrate exciting things in my life.
But sometimes, I get jealous. I envy those who are Blog Famous. Some days, I wish I had the talent & energy to do it like They do. And then, after reading Jen’s post, I realize: maybe those same bloggers who I’m sitting here turning green over FEEL THE SAME WAY? At least sometimes?
(It’s a lot like high school. You know what I’m talking about- that group of kids that everyone says they hate but really everyone is secretly in awe of them because they’re just So Cool and Put-Together and they seem to know some magical secret about being popular? And then later, now that we’re all grown ups, we learn that those same Popular Kids who we all thought were GODS and GODDESSES of High School had the same insecurities as everyone else. They stressed over zits. They said something dorky. They felt like they had no friends. It’s tough to remember that: WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE.)
But I keep going. I just open up my WordPress every couple of days and write. Sometimes I plan what I want to write, and other times I just wait and see what comes out. Sometimes it’s awesome. Usually it’s just okay. But I thank you all for reading along with me.
Even if I’m not as Blog Famous as That Blogger. Or That One. Or That One Over There.