I am a naive blogger.
The morning after my first blog post, I checked email and couldn’t believe my eyes. People in America had read and liked my blog. I was reaching THE STATES??!! Nervously, I peered round my bedroom curtain, unsure as to whether I would find hordes of journalists camped outside, waiting for the first words from an overnight Internet sensation. Had I gone viral?
In a word – no. I had not.
Over the next few days I began to realise that this was what happened in the blogosphere. You blogged, others liked you, you looked at their blogs, you liked them, and on it went. But this sat uneasily with me. I didn’t have time to read, let alone engage with, 100 different blogs – and, I suspected, other bloggers didn’t have time to engage with mine. I suspected that many were hitting ‘like’ or ‘follow’ without actually reading anything in full.
This bugged me because it had taken at least a year to start my blog. What held me back was the time-wasting aspect: people are so busy – did I really want to add to their busyness by throwing yet more words into their lives? Did I desire to be the source of people’s procrastination from things that really matter? And yet here were people wasting their time on my blog when they weren’t really interested, just so that I would waste time on theirs.
I would honestly rather people didn’t read my blog if they weren’t finding it interesting or thought-provoking. My own husband doesn’t regularly read my blog – and I’m fine with this. I don’t want people to feel obliged to read my thoughts; instead I want to connect with those who find it helpful to engage with the issues I write about. So, if you haven’t found this blog useful, please stop reading. You have my permission. Go help the poor instead.
However, I’ve become less cynical of the ‘you scratch my blog, I’ll scratch yours’ approach. Not that I do it myself, but I’ve realised that blogging is a means by which to create community, and if this is how people find their online community, then that’s OK. Many bloggers are isolated in one way or another – perhaps they’re travelling or working overseas; maybe illness prevents them from getting out and meeting people face-to-face; it might be that they work from home and rarely see other adults; or, like me, they might be parents, who rarely get the chance to finish a conversation with another adult.
I realise that my initially sceptical attitude to other bloggers was arrogant and negative. But I’m also not up for paying lip-service to other bloggers for no good reason. So here’s my idea: a small selection of hand-picked recommendations from a small but diverse community. To participate:
1) If you like desertmum, please consider telling one friend about it – someone you think might be interested.
2) Please leave a comment below, with a link to one other blog you really enjoy, saying why you like it. In return, if you have a blog, I’ll reply with what I value about it and who I think would enjoy reading.
Sound good? Please participate below!