Monday, February 7, 2011

On Blogging

I had a message from an old friend (and current blog reader) the other night that he was thinking about starting a blog himself and he wondered whether or not he could make it go. My advice was succinct. I told him that all my friends were really, really smart people...had to be if they were be friends with me (!), so of course I thought his blog would fly. :)

It's strange to think it's only been a few years since the concept of belonging to a virtual community would've seemed totally ludicrous. To many people of my mother's generation and to some folks in my own, the idea of interacting with strangers and baring one's soul for the whole world to see and comment on in the form of a blog is completely preposterous....a recipe for disaster. I guess it could be, but I think if one uses some circumspection before hitting the publish button, the chances of disaster striking go down pretty dramatically. At any rate, hiding behind closed doors and living meekly in the kitchen without venturing any opinions has never exactly been my style.

Just as they do in real life, online relationships evolve and change over time. Of the blogs I started following when Melissa and I began blogging a couple of years ago only one or two are still regularly updated. But in their place have come others which I enjoy least as much as I did the first batch.

It's funny how you get to "know" folks online and how the blogging community is similar in many ways to the real community in which I live. I have a handful of blogs that I "visit" nearly every day and another handful that I make purposeful weekly or monthly visits to. While I haven't met any of my blogging buddies IRL yet, I'm sure there are several whom I could get on quite nicely with. Both Melissa and I have made friends with a lot of folks online in various capacities over time. In cases where chance and circumstance have come together to permit a meeting (as has happened several times), we've never yet been disappointed in the outcome.

I'll end this post with a serious answer to my friend's queries about blogging. Having a plan is a great thing. Sticking with the plans you made is even better. But the best things in least in my opinion....tend to come about in spite of plans rather than because of them. When you have an idea that you think is worthwhile, write it down and share it with us ! Or with me (as the case may be). A readership of one is where each and every one of us started. That any of us have more than one reader now is either because six degrees of separation is correct and all our long lost relatives magically found us, or more likely because somebody out there actually likes what we're writing !


Funder said...

Yeah, you gotta give it a try. It's really hard til you get some readers, then you just have to remember to go fill them in on stuff (like making it home from SF... do as I say, not as I do). I remember when I started I was super paranoid about having my real name out there - now I'm just very protective of other people's identities, but not so worried that yall will learn my name. :)

I haven't met a blogger IRL who I didn't turn out to like, and there's quite a few people I hope to meet one day! It's kind of awesome having friends all over the country, but it kind of sucks that we meet so rarely. It definitely makes it easier to move XC - I didn't leave any of my friends behind in Ohio. You all came with me.

Owd Fred said...

We had a meeting of bloggers and posters last month on the Farmers weekly FWi web site, twelve of us met face to face for the first time, ages from eighteeen to seventy three. They came from all parts of UK from south coast and from Scotland and met at a hotel near the Welsh boarders.We all met early afternoon, had an evening meal together talked into the night, had two speakers the follwing morning talking about modern comunication(web sites, twittering, blogging & forums)
You can guess the ages or there abouts from the writing , but to put a face to a blogger you have spoken to in word only, is very interesting and we never had enough time over that twenty four hour to talk to all in depth.We are planning another for next year in another part of the country as a lot more would like to come but distance put them off

Kate said...

It's an interesting experience. I suppose it's like other forms of writing - you have to have an idea of what "style" of blog you want to have - every blogger and blog has a particular style and shape - and then dedicate the time and effort to make it work.

It's a lot of fun to read and see others' adventures from around the country and around the world. It would be fun to meet others who blog somedays - the get together in the U.K. described in the comments sounds like a lot of fun.

Kelly Mohan said...

When I first starting looking into the idea of moving out of the big city (Los Angeles) to start a simpler life, I did a lot of searching for blogs about homesteading and such. After following many back then, I now read just a few. One that I tune in to every month and highly recommend is
I am enjoying your posts, and it is good to know that some folks just north in our county are working at their dreams just like us.

SmartAlex said...

The internet community is a really bizarre concept to some. My husband often doesn't "get it" when I talk about internet friends as if they were "real" friends but they are. I have internet friends who I may "talk to" more often than my own mother. That has sometimes evolved into phone calls, and yes, I've met a few and hope to meet more. The thing is, that on the internet you can be who ever you want to be, and I've often threatened to create an internet alter-ego where things are always perfect, but being yourself really is much more interesting to people.

I've found many people with whom I have a lot in common and seem to find me either interesting or entertaining and that is very rewarding. I have expanded my social prospects from "Smalltown USA" to an IP address accessible to the entire universe and the possibilities are endless. You just have to be careful exactly what you put out there, as our local Congressman Chris Lee found out this week. Good rule of thumb... never write anything you wouldn't want your mother or your spouse to read. Because, guess what... they are reading it.

Sometimes it's weird to look at the faces of my silent followers and wonder who they are, what they're thinking and why they aren't talking back, but the ones who do talk back make blogging very interesting and rewarding hobby. I mean what better form of personal validation can you get than sending your subconscious meanderings and dreamings out into the void, and getting an answer back? And when you put something ou there and all you get back is the sound of crickets chirping... well, at least you didn't spend any money trying to get it published!

Jason said...

We really do live in interesting times. Had I moved to Tennessee a couple of decades ago, I'd have almost certainly lost track of 99% of my social network in Ontario. Letters and phone calls are nice every once and awhile, but I probably wouldn't have put the time into maintaining more than a handful of contacts. Thanks to blogging, Facebook and a few other sites, I probably know more about what's going on with people in the community where I grew up than I did when I actually lived there.

As long as the connection speed is reasonable, I'd say access to the internet has done more to make location irrelevant than any technology that came before.

Funder said...

Heh. G's #1 must-have for the house was high-speed internet access. (Mine, of course, was zoned for horses.)

Jason said...

And with regards to SmartAlex's comment about Sen. Chris Lee, looks like I'll have to rethink all those shirtless photo's, eh ? :)