The bad in the blogging is really quite good

Posted on Saturday~January 10, 2009

I find blogging to be a fascinating study in human behavior.

When I wrote my first post just over a year ago, I had absolutely no clue about the millions of blogs out there. I didn't know blogging could be treated as a business. And I certainly had no idea that blogging is a popularity contest, leaving people to feel bad about themselves if their stats, comments, or followers are lower in numbers than the next person.

In a way, this is like a virtual high school, or a playground, if you will. Complete with bullies and cliques, gossip and power struggles. Like I said, an interesting study in human behavior.

I had been in a bit of a blog-related funk because of this as of late. As the blog world grows and changes, I was afraid the beautiful things that come with it were getting all covered up (i.e. creativity, connection, community...).

But then I realized that this discomfort is really good for me, even the pressure and the popularity stuff. That sounds ridiculous, but sometimes the difficult aspects of the things I love are what I need the most at the time. The hard things are what help me recognize something in me that still needs some work.

Take people-pleasing for instance. It is so easy to prepare a post, all the while keeping in mind this group of people, or this type of reader, or that certain blogger, trying to be sure to offend no one. I try really hard to keep from doing that, but I'm normal (sort of), and the thoughts sometimes creep in. So blogging has been really good therapy for a recovering people pleaser like me. There is no possible way I could make everyone happy. There is no way to avoid offending someone at some time (or just boring them to death) and losing followers. There's no way to prevent receiving a snarky comment or email every now and again.

Making everyone fall in love with me is completely impossible (gasp!). This forces me to remain true to...well, me. And to write from my heart, telling myself people will have no choice but to take it or leave it. And if they leave it? Well, isn't that good for my soul? Really! I'm pretty sure it is. Just as seeing another blog with 153 comments a post is good for me. If not for those who disagree or quit following, and if not for other big-time bloggers, blogging would be a sure-fire way to grow much too proud of myself.

I need a creative outlet and I need this community. I love it. Apparently I also need to continue to work on my pride and my people-pleasing recovery. Truth be told, I'd rather be forced to work on these things while doing something I love, than to keep them as a blaring part of who I am.

So I'll take the good and the bad and continue on this bloggy see-saw, even if I know the person on the other end may occasionally jump off, leaving me to fall to the ground. I'll consider that uncomfortable plummet a lesson learned and move on.

If it weren't for these occasional bites out of my pride, I'd probably get too overwhelmed and full of myself and fly head first off the merry-go-round. No one wants to see that.

42 clicked right here to comment:

Annette Lyon said...

I could have written this verbatim. I've been thinking a lot lately about the high school aspect of blogging. Well said.

Tooj said...

When I very first started my blog, I thought I'd be worried about getting readers and comments and writing something that might appear interesting. Then I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed searching for new reads more than I cared if I received any comments. And I am appalled (literally baffled) that anyone would write snarky emails??? Seriously?

Heather of the EO said...

I didn't mean I've received snarky emails. I have had a couple of rude comments over the last year, but no emails. I was just saying that it's bound to happen in the blog world, especially the longer I do it. (:

Heidi Ashworth said...

I keep telling myself that if I am pleasing all of the people all of the time than I am doing something wrong. And I truly believe that. However, it still stings when someone actually takes the time to email me and explain why what I wrote was wrong. At the same time, I love the fact that people take the time to comment or email when they like what I wrote. It's pretty addictive. I'm sorry this is so hard at times--for you and starting to be for me. That's just the price of putting yourself out there, I guess. And I agree that it is good for our own inner development! Having a great positive attitude makes all the difference when it comes to absolutely everything! Love you and what you write!

Kristina P. said...

I talk about the high school aspect with a friend of mine, a lot. However, for some reason, this has been a great version of high school for me. I had a horrible experience in high school, had very few friends, and very little self-esteem.

I have met fabulous women while blogging and it has given me the social outlet I always wanted but never had.

I definitely get twinges of jealousy or feeling bad if I lose a follower, but I've gotten to the point where I let myself feel that way and then move on.

I have been very lucky in that I have never received a nasty email (that's not an invitation), and only had maybe 2 nasty comments. I have been bracing myself for the time when they come. It's inevitable, and to continue to know that for every one jerk, there are 50 people who I can count as friends.

happygeek said...

How boring would it be if we all agreed.
I do know what you are saying about the High school aspect of bloggin. This is why I do not follow my stats. At all. I like to delude myself that there are billions of people who lurk at my blog!
You keep writin it like it is.

Motherboard said...

I've been thinking about this very thing too. You took the words right out of my brain!

I love your blog. Its one of my favorite haunts! The meeting people and building friendships is what has made this blogging thing so rewarding!!

Just think, if we both hadn't been blogging-- we wouldn't even know the other existed... how sad would that be?


Growin' with it! said...

oh so vVERy very true! i've been thinking about getting rid of my "follow me" gadget. it can boost me or honestly guilt me in to not keeping up with everyone who is on that puppy! i've really taken a step back and have seen that "the bigger it gets", the times that it takes the joy out of it. i have selected the blogs i have made a connection with and for time sake, i'm sticking with mostly reading just those. but ya feel guilty that so and & so comments and is even praying for ya....on and on and on.

plus i don't want to miss a possible friendship that can be beautiful. like here for example! what if i'd never metcha!? boo hoo.

as for the "offending" part, i've reeeeeally had to let that one go. especially since finding out my husband's boss' WIFE found out about my blog and reads it. so i keep on posting about bras, where i am at, and anything else thats on my heart. now if i can just accomplish this "who cares if you love me or not" in the RL relationships, it'd be a whole heckofa lot easier!

transparent, right? a word i dearly love!

Sara@I.Sass said...

I'm with Kristina P. I had a not so fun High School experience. I also am a recovering people pleaser. AND I have indeed given a rude comment. I did NOT mean to, I think she didn't get my humor because we had only been "talking" a week before the bedhead carnival. I gave my comment, later when I didn't hear from her I went back and didn't see my comment. I got paranoid and thought. "Shoot what exactly did I say?"
Then I thought, maybe she hasn't approved them yet. Nope I went back the next day and it still wasn't on there. Oops. If she new me better she would have known the humor. I chose NOT to go back and make things worse by explaining.
I can only be me. Like me or leave me.

a Tonggu Momma said...

My husband and I were just talking about this. Blogging has actually - for the most part - been humbling for me because I always wish that I could right like Antique Mommy or you or Veronica Mitchell of Toddled Dredge. Unfortunately, I'm not much good at that kind of stuff. Sometimes God gives me profound, but mostly it's just fluff.

But blogging has taught me that people like transparency. And the people who are the most transparent are the ones who develop the strongest sense of community. That has been a powerful lesson for me.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

First - I don't know how you could be either offensive OR boring.

Second - this is pretty much an all around life lesson. We all need some reality checks - and knowing that there is always someone "bigger and better" out there is a no-brainer.

Great thought!

Willow Tree said...

Well said my friend.

Blessings, Carolynn

RosyRose said...

Hey Heather...I so get what you mean. I think for me it's so much about the connection! If I feel like I and another "blogger" are becoming "friends" I want to return. If I don't feel connected then I say...there are 1 million blogs out there, and only so many minutes in my day.
It has been incredible to me how many friends in my own community who never leave me a comment will tell me they love to find out what I'm doing or some thank me for ministering to them. They are just intimidated to leave comments. This gives me encouragement to continue even if I don't get 158 comments.
I also think some people just want to be close to some bloggers because they appear wealthy or are considered "celebritys".
So now that I've written my own post in your comment section, I'll shut my "pie hole":)
Thanks for the way you connect back to me! Hugs!

RosyRose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia said...

It's a little different for me. I was a member of an online message board for a long time. Now THOSE women know snark. I've been blasted there before and gotten snotty e-mails. I will say that sometimes I deserved the blasting because I was blunt in my opinion so you sort of have to expect that.

Since I'm used to that, I find blogging very tame by comparison. I might feel different if I get a nasty comment on my blog though- it hasn't happened yet.

I don't want to get too many followers because then your circle gets so big it's hard to really get to know anyone.

I do relate to having to check myself before posting something and make sure that I'm posting it for the right reasons and not to please others. That's a struggle for me too.

Kazzy said...

I never really thought about blogging as an extension of high school popularity contests, but I see your point. Just like in high school, though, I am going to exercise my strengths and just stick to what I do well enough. I can't compete with the funny bloggers, and I am only an average photographer. So...I will just be me, and hope for the best.

Jami said...

Other than my mother and my sister, I haven't gotten any negative comments. So far. But then I'm small potatoes. (Small yummy potatoes. ;)

I've been thinking about this very issue a lot lately. I do think it's very like High School, but thank heavens not too much like Jr. High.

I love the people I'm getting to know. Including you! And I love writing. Which means I love blogging.

Lisa said...

So true, so true. I can't believe you've only been at this a year. Glad you've decided to keep it up!

Melanie said...

Deep thoughts. Sometimes I stop while writing a post and wonder who I'm trying to please, anyway! :) (because I'm not forcing anybody to read it, right?) Keep it up, I enjoy checking in on your blog.

Lara said...

You are so right. I think we all deal with these thoughts from time to time, based on the comments you've received and how I feel. As soon as I start worrying about how many followers/comments/visits I have, I can get really obsessed over it and then I find my posts aren't really true to myself anymore. And the snarky comments have really really really knocked me down a couple times...so much that my husband couldn't understand how worked up I could get over an anon. comment! That is silly, and I need to stop that immediately!

Melanie J said...

"I need a creative outlet and I need this community. I love it."

And that's the truth. It feeds my soul. That doesn't mean I don't have to learn how to strike a proper balance, but I think this is a good a beautiful thing when in the hands of good and beautiful people. Like you.

The Three 22nds said...

With great writing talent comes great responsibility, huh? :)

I have few readers, and even less commenters so I don't quite "get it". But if I ever get more I can see it becoming a problem.

Now I am going to go delete my facebook friends so I can get a whopper... Just kidding :)

Abra said...

I blog because my family reads it. That's the most important to me. I appreciate the other people who have visited, and I have come to admire and respect a lot of people. I like the interaction and I would one day like to meet some of the people in real life who have become a part of my blogging life.
I always blog for me first.
It's kinda like my journal.
I think if I keep that in mind, then it won't ever lose that personal flair.
Great Post Heather!

Jennifer said...

You're so right! It's impossible to please everyone. I think I need to loosen up a little in that respect--I'm always so worried that someone might take something I said the wrong way.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I started my blog in August because I just kind of felt compelled to do one. I had NO IDEA about the overwhelming blogging "community" that existed out there. My brother-in-law said, "if you want to get out there, you've got to go read some other people's blogs and make some comments." So I did. I didn't even know how to find other people's blogs at first. Seriously. So pathetic. But it has been so fun, and I'm thrilled to have a hobby that I can actually do while I'm in my young-kids stage of life. I'm still amazed that people I don't even know drop my blog regularly and even say things to me. So high school or not, it still beats isolation, which is sometimes the alternative. Great post.

Heidi said...

You know, every so often I have to take a little break from blogging to get some perspective on what's going on in my REAL life. Because sometimes it's easy for me to forget that my blog life is only a PART of who I am.

Becky said...

"I'd probably get too overwhelmed and full of myself and fly head first off the merry-go-round. No one wants to see that."

This from the woman who once asked her people to post about their clumsy moments... :)

Blogging really is a funny little culture, isn't it?

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Blogging is like one non-stop roller coaster ride. I had to laugh at myself the other day when I found myself in a really good mood because we had added more followers. I mean, really, is that what I have come to? My happiness ebs and flows with my site meter? After realizing this, I had a long talk with myself and established what I am now calling "blogging within boundaries." I even started writing a post about it.

Based on the comments you received, it seems like you are in good company here in the blogosphere. Although the see-saw ride will undoubtedly continue, I hope there are many more up's, than down's.


Homesteading said...

I just started blogging a week or so ago. What an experience it has already been. I had no idea how low my self-esteem was until I checked my blog 10 times on the first day to see if anyone had commented yet. When the big moment finally happened I was waaaaaaaaaaay too happy about it.
I did feel like I was in high school again. Funny.

That Girl in Brazil said...

I'm too lazy to read all the comments but I'm sure they all say the same thing: I FEEL THE SAME WAY.

It kills me how the whole "blogging world" (and it is a world) is life in miniature. All the pettiness, the contests, the he said/she said and misunderstandings.

But it also rocks, too.

hope42day said...

I just started blogging. My goal in doing so was to write, write, write; learn more about what is inside of me and maybe make a positive difference in someone else's life. What is most exciting about blogging is what I pull out of myself and where my words take me. Yes, not everyone will like what I write or relate with my posts. However, what matters is how satisfied I feel after I write something. Selfish? Maybe Self Centered? Possibly...but if I was either of these, I would not read other blogs and leave comments that are positive and heart felt not degrading. I think, as women, we are taught to please others but in blogging I can please me and maybe make a heart to heart connection with someone.
Peace and Blessings...

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Heather, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I think this is something we are all tempted with to some degree or the other. I love the illustration of the bloggy see-saw and one jumping off, leaving you to fall to the ground. It's happened to me and will continue to, it's the way of the bloggy world (and life).

Blogging has opened my eyes to so many things about myself that I never would have realized otherwise...hey, my kids have done that too! So there is value in both. Keep it up, girl, you haven't lost all of us!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

So good Heather. I really get what you are saying.
Thank you so much for your wonderful and sweet comments. They always mean so much to me, but I especially appreciated the kind comfort at this time.
You have a very encouraging heart!

minnesotamom said...

It really is a social experiment of sorts, isn't it? I'd never really thought of it that way before (and why not? I don't know...). I enjoyed HS immensely, and for whatever reason, I've not ever felt tremendous pressure to be something I'm not (other than faking some maturity in my Christian walk before other believers from time to time--isn't that awful?), but I am still a people pleaser. A sarcastic one, however, which gets me into trouble when I don't mean for it to.

Thanks for the reminder to step back and evaluate what the purpose of blogging is.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

I love blogging too ... which is still just SO odd to me ... but I am glad to know others find it fun, satisfying, and somewhat addicting as well.

What is the weather in your parts -- horrible or really horrible? Come here PLEASE ... we want you.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Excellent post!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

You made me fall in love with ya lady. Keep on writing these rockin' posts.... :)

Beth said...

Oh my goodness, blogging IS a little like high school, isn't it?? Good post.

Kristen said...

So true! SO TRUE!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I have been struggling with this very issue on and off for nearly a year; in fact, it is something that I've been wrestling with even today. The people-pleasing . . . I can't even say I've started recovery yet. It causes no small amount of insecurity for me in the online realm!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Oh my word....Heather, I was just blog-hopping and happened upon this post. I relate to every single thing here (obviously, I'm a recovering people-pleaser too). In fact, less than an hour ago, I posted something in the same vein as this - I've been trying to sort it all out for weeks now. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone, and that it's ok for my pride to take a hit now and then. ;) I'm hooked, girl...I'll be back. :)

Peanut said...

I know what you mean. Even though I have a very small following, I sometimes can get wrapped up in the people-pleasing aspect of blogging. So I regularly have to take myself back to the reason I started in the first place: to journal stories so that I wouldn't forget stuff and to keep friends and family up-to-date.

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