We are now entering a world of no judgement. Leave your inner bitch at the door people.
Very early on, when this blog was a baby, I remember joining a blog hop. Blog hops are touted as a good way to meet other bloggers and generate traffic. When the only readers you have are your Aunty and your cat, this seems integral to grow your audience.
Anyway, I found a blog hop I liked. I linked up one of my best posts at the time and waited for my large, awesome audience to arrive. They never showed! I kept checking that the World Wide Web had not, in fact, broken. I tipped the computer upside down, turned it on and off and still, no love. I felt horrible. What the feck am I doing? I have 3 kids to look after, and I am wasting my time on the internet. This isn’t worth it. I went to the bathroom and started scrubbing it through big fat tears. I’m a loser. Nobody likes me. I should stick to bathrooms.
Then Mr Karen told me I needed to get back on my pony. After a cuddle and a pep talk, I decided I was going to crack this little nut if I had to run over it with my car. Cue brainstorming session.
Maybe I needed to have a bigger voice? Perhaps I should have the loudest, most shocking, attention seeking voice imaginable? Perhaps I should talk about vaginas or poo or terrible things I’ve done to my husband? Maybe I should relay embarrassing tales of horrible things my children have done to animals? Maybe I should take lots and lots of photos of my house and my kids, even though that makes me incredibly uncomfortable?
No. I didn’t want to change my stripes. While I enjoy a good poo joke, I wasn’t going to ‘do poo’ here. And the personal stuff? Well, it was personal. I don’t want the world to see my house, or millions of photos of my kids, or my husband, or my cushion covers. Those delights are for me. They make me. So, my posts would be about life stuff that is important to me. Kids. Writing. Creating. Playing. Wondering. Listening. No potty jokes, no recipes, no cushion covers. Other blogs cover that stuff more than adequately. Besides, I’m not a happy cooker.
Once I figured out what I would and wouldn’t write about, I thought perhaps I needed to put my back into the whole social aspect of social media: visit more blogs and leave lots of comments? I could win the world over by being Mrs Nice.
So I started to comment as much as I could muster on other blogs. I did this for a long time – again, this is what ‘they’ say to do. I put on my biggest, nicest voice, and started socialising. I’m keen to not come across as a bitch here: I’m a very genuine person. I’ve got a lot of love to give, but I don’t give it freely. I’ve never left comments that weren’t true to my thoughts, but sometimes they had a little too much sugar. Perhaps my smiles had a few too many teeth? I was trying really hard to connect, but looking back perhaps I was trying to connect for the sake of connection, despite there being a tenuous connection between myself and that person. And guess what? Many, many, many people never came back to visit my blog, or if they did, they never left a comment. Ripped off, right? I think they only wanted a follower. They wanted my clicks, not my thoughts. And that made me feel a bit precious and protective about who I really wanted to be social with. Because if you’re talking to a wall and the wall never talks back, the game gets pretty old pretty quick.
Truth is, you never receive as many comments as you give out. In all likelihood, you’re spending 15 minutes on your posts and 2 hours on reading other blogs. Can we look at those maths again? 15 minutes of media creation, for 2 hours of socialising. Where’s the fun in that?
After about 6 months, I started to make friends. Real ones. Who have real email addresses and don’t just blow smoke up my skirt. I really like my friends. I think about them when the internet is switched off and tucked into its little digital bed. Guess what? When I add up all the friends I’ve made, it doesn’t add up to 100. It doesn’t come close to 1000. But I still feel validated.
When you write a post and it only gets one comment (from the cat), how do you feel? Do you get sad, or do you take it for what it’s worth? Was it a good post? Did you say what you wanted to say? Was it funny? Was it clever? Did it offer something unique? Did you show a special little piece of the world to itself?
If it was crap, don’t be crap again. Try harder.
The truth is, my readership is pretty much bang on when it comes to people that I would actually hang out with in real life *assuming I had a social life: Hello Saturday night on the couch with the laptop and Bert the Burmese*. When someone comments on a post and I visit their blog, I can usually see straight away something in common. Perhaps music taste, similar interests, same quirky humour. Maybe they like writing? Hey, I like writing too.
Personal blogs that work are uniquely crafted and have an individual voice. They don’t apologise for themselves. If you are always true to yourself, you’ll never have to cry those big fat tears in the bathroom. Don’t stay up till 1am to read blogs. Anyone who expects that of you doesn’t care about you very much. Take care of yourself, be true to yourself and your blog will be your happy place. Your blog is not your job. It doesn’t need you like your real life people do, like your friends do. Don’t let it get too big for its boots.
By the way, I recently changed by profile pic to a happy face (see above) and I instantly got 3 new subscribers? What’s with that? Must be all those teeth. All 48 of them!
This post has been cooking for a while. Hope it doesn’t make anyone cry. This post is for anyone who freaks about numbers. Seriously, it doesn’t matter. Just be you. What do you think? Am I being too harsh here?