We Are Not Alone

June 28th, 2006 · 7 Comments
by Booksquare

What is the estimate? The total number of blogs doubles every few months or so? A new blog is created every minute? There are more blogs than there are people? Something like that. It’s hard to be read in the crowd.

You can ask a dozen bloggers why they blog — helpfully, you’ll get a dozen different answers. Perhaps we are secretly a nation of frustrated writers, or perhaps we have a lot of pent up words in our systems. Maybe it’s that everyone is an expert on one thing and needs to share their knowledge with the world. There’s a bit of me-too happening here. And a lot of Dear Diary activity.

In the beginning, especially, you often feel like you’re talking to yourself. For many of us, this does not feel so unusual. After a while, you realize that someone’s eavesdropping. Sidling up, cocktail party style. Or maybe you’re doing the sidling. Eventually, the conversation ebbs and flows around you — you’re actively engaged this moment, standing on the sidelines and watching the next. There are always the popular blogs, the blogs everyone wants to hang out with, and sometimes you’re joining that crowd (or perhaps you are the popular kid).

The blog is your glass of wine at the party. It’s something to hold on to, contemplate, sip, refill, overdo, ignore. You don’t have to have the wine; lots of people survive just fine without it. Someone we know was asked when he’d get around to starting his blog. A blog is just a tool. It is not a requirement. You can have a happy and productive life without one. The species has thrived without blogs for a very long time.

However, the blog facilitates communication with others, and most likely you want to be heard, at least every now in then. It allows you to throw out a conversational gambit here and there. It gives you a chance to share something you know with someone who is interested in the topic. Nothing more. Do not worry about what a blog is or isn’t or how often your next door neighbor posts. There is no right or wrong here.

All that you need to remember is that someone is out there listening. Maybe they’re in constant contact, maybe it’s a bit of an echo effect. You are being heard.

Special thanks to The Happy Booker and Brenda Coulter for getting us started on this post this morning. They reminded us of the point we’ve been wanting to make for some time.

File Under: Square Pegs

7 responses so far ↓

  • Joan Kelly // Jun 28, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    And special thanks to Booksquare for making the point to me a little while ago, about there not being a right or wrong way to write for a blog, as it stayed with me and helps me not give too much of a damn about what I end up posting on my own blog now. I mean I definitely don’t want it to suck, but thanks to BS I don’t obsess self-consciously to the point of getting nothing else done.

    I am compelled to add that Booksquare, the site and the writer, disproves the theory that there is no “right” way to do a blog.

  • Booksquare // Jun 29, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Seriously Joan, if one is reading your blog regularly (tell me that RSS isn’t the greatest thing ever!), one would make an appropriately dirty joke at this point. Of course, I’m all class…

    I will say that it’s okay to suck — sometimes. We all have bad days (weeks, whatever) and part of the blog’s job (if that’s your tool) is to teach yourself to move beyond the “this is crap and I’ll never be any good” mood. I cannot begin to count the number of lousy posts I’ve forced on people, but I do know that each and every one of them has been read at least once — and since my mother doens’t read this site (at least to the best of my knowledge), it’s not family doing the reading. If I were a better person, I’d offer to do penance. I am not a better person.

    However, if I think too much about what I want to write, I don’t do anything (cue Jill Monroe and her constant nagging…).

  • KathyF // Jun 29, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    I’ve often noticed that those throwaway posts that take I spend little time and thought on are often the most linked-to and talked about. The ones I spend days agonizing over are ignored. Which says a lot about my writing, I suspect, and why my agonized-over, six-years-in-the-making novel hit with a thud on editors’ desks.

  • KathyF // Jun 29, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    …throwaway posts, of which this comment was one–take out that “take” in the first line.

  • Joan Kelly // Jun 30, 2006 at 12:09 am

    I don’t know, Kathy. I haven’t read your novel obviously, but lots of good books end up not-so-wildly-received by editors. I prefer to blame editors over your writing, as a preliminary gesture of good faith.

    And Booksquare – I feel like a dork for asking, but what is RSS? If it’s the greatest thing ever, I’d like to know, more than I’d like to maintain my dignity by pretending I’m already hip to it.

    P.S. I felt appropriately dirty after reading your refusal to make that dirty joke. Thank you for that.

  • Booksquare // Jun 30, 2006 at 8:18 am

    I agree with you on the deeply considered, carefully crafted posts. Thud.

    RSS, my friend, is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. This site, like most blogs, has an RSS feed, meaning it is capable of pushing content to subscribers. Because I am lazy, I put all of the sites I read regularly in my feed reader (in this case, I am trying Sage because I have not yet found the perfect reader for a Mac, something I find strange, but don’t think about too much). I can then catch up on my reading from a single place rather than typing in URLs all day long. You know the little orange button on many blogs? That is the link to the RSS feed (though many feed readers have the intelligence to determine the link for the feed on their own). If you scroll up a little on this page, you’ll notice buttons to make it easy to this feed to a variety of sources.

    I adore RSS, though like anything, it can get overwhelming because I subscribe to a lot of sites…

  • Joan Kelly // Jul 1, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks for explaining. It does sound like a neat thing, and I kept wondering what that “Syndication” stuff meant on your site. At first I thought it meant you were syndicated like a Dear Abby column, but without ever subjecting your readers to the phrase “good luck and god bless, love Booksquare.” Glad to know that it actually means something cooler than that as well.

    Happy America-tells-itself-it-kicked-England’s-ass-back-then Day.