I’m truly enjoying my new adventures in blogland. (oops, I think I’m supposed to say “blogosphere”, but that sounds sort of pretentious. Is it pretentious?) I have found unexpected support at times when it has been needed. I have found laughter when my spirits were low, allies when I have felt alone, great ideas when I have found myself in a rut. And let’s not forget the great recipes…..!
I love the feeling of belonging that I get when I refer to myself as a “blogger” or when I casually mention, in a conversation with friends or family, “a fellow blogger wrote….” It feels so good to belong to a group of people who you admire, doesn’t it? Hooray for me; I have cool friends!
But I find that I am worrying quite a bit about the etiquette of the whole thing. I want to get it right! I want to follow the rules and be a good girl. (Are they really rules? Should I say “expectations” instead, like I do in my classroom?) I am a woman; we generally aim to please. I am the oldest girl in a family of six children; we definitely aim to please. And I’m a teacher; I can’t help trying to do everything the right way. I can’t help hoping that everyone will like me and no one will ever be offended by anything I say, do or write. So I want to be a popular blogger. Not “popular” as in “my stats are going up”! I mean “popular” as in, “She seems nice.” (Um…am I allowed to refer to my “stats”, or is that vulgar?)
I don’t know how to behave out here. For example, after I had been writing for several months, I suddenly started to accumulate some “followers”. This was wildly exciting for me, of course, and I immediately clicked on everyone and “followed” them back. I also “followed” everyone who made a comment on any of my posts. So much fun!! But…..after a while I realized that my ‘in box’ was always full of enticing new posts and I wasn’t doing any of my slightly less pleasant chores (like correcting math papers or grocery shopping). What would a nice, well behaved blogger do about such a situation? I mean, do you ignore new posts, do you “unfollow” (will the blogger be told that I did that? Oh, man, that would be horrible!!!) How do you manage this?
And what do you do about commenting back to people? I am very chatty; I tend to comment constantly! Is that OK? I find myself wondering if other bloggers are happy to see my name out there, or if people think, “Oh, jeez. Here she goes again……” And how long are comments supposed to be? And are they always supposed to include a compliment, or will people realize that since I follow them and reply constantly to every single thing they post, it’s pretty obvious that I admire the way they write? Do I seem too eager, or too pushy?
There are millions of little etiquette issues like this! Am I expected to put in more photos? Am I allowed to mention personal information that would let people know where I live? Am I allowed to ask my new blogging friends where they live, or is that prying? Does it sound insincere when I reply to every comment on my posts with “Thanks for commenting!”, even though I really do mean it from the bottom of my heart? Gah!! I’m giving myself a migraine……
This whole situation is reminding me a lot of my students. (I know. Everything in my life makes me think about school. What can I say?)
It has reminded me of how hard it is for many kids to figure out the unwritten rules of classroom social life. Rules that some kids, like some bloggers, seem to infer and internalize without effort. Rules about when to make a joke and when to stay silent, where to sit at meeting without seeming either aggressive or pitiful, when to share and when to keep what is yours. There are a million invisible and unspoken requirements for “popularity”, and some children never fully grasp them, no matter how hard they try. There are facial expressions to master, shoe brands to memorize, games and jokes and songs and books. There are even trendy words that change from month to month. How often should you raise your hand in class without seeming too eager to be the teacher’s pet? What is the exactly perfect timing to make a funny comment during a lesson without making the teacher mad?
It’s all very confusing and potentially overwhelming. Fitting in, pleasing the crowd and learning how to be accepted. These are the skills and struggles that often define the lives of children and adolescents in school. These are the little things that are tripping me up as I venture into the world of internet writing.
I will try to follow the advice that I give to my students. I will try to be observant. I will try to always be kind. I’ll think before I speak (or post). And if I know I have done all that, I’ll try my hardest to stop worrying and just relax and enjoy the ride.
Happy blogging, everyone! I’d share my snack with you guys any time.
19 thoughts on “Figuring it out”
Speaking for all the writers at G&F we have loved your comments and getting to know you!
I was sort of fishing, wasn’t I? Thanks for the vote of confidence! At least being so neurotic gives me lots to write about….!
Just do what you feel like doing. I’m not crazy about the blogs that require an email. I don’t like them cluttering my inbox and I never read them from the email. I use the reader on the WordPress homepage and read the blogs I follow like a newspaper when I have time and comment from there.
Great tip, thank you!
See why I love being part of the blogging world?
I second what Rose says! Read what you want, delete what you want, and follow/unfollow at your discretion! I know how you feel, though; I just read the infamous “How to Get More Traffic” and I wondered if I had really replied to each of followers’ comments. You’re so right about this being like high school, too! Let’s just fit in and not stand out–isn’t that the majority of teenagers’ survival code?! Meh. I never liked that anyway. I say as long as you’re having fun, do your thing!
This IS like High School! And I was a Glee Club geek way, way, way before “Glee”. You’re so right; I need to just do what feels right and stop the angst. Trying, I promise!
“Thanks for your comments!” How’s that?
It’s hard to figure out, but just do what feels right. Sometimes I don’t have time to read everyone else’s blogs because I am busy with life. I read when I can and comment or like when I do. As long as you are polite, you will be fine!
Thanks, muddledmom! I keep telling myself the same things, but I am too wound up to just have that trust. I mean, really, what is the worst that can happen? I do something wrong and lose one reader….In my mind, though, I envision everyone other than me in a big room, with drinks in hand, talking about how inept a blogger that Momshieb is…….
I need therapy, clearly…..
Nah, people read and then move on. At least, that’s what I tell myself. I leave stupid comments all the time and then think, “So-and-so (and all of her commenters) must think I’m the biggest idiot!” I quickly write up something and don’t think it through clearly enough, hit that post button, and then scream, ya know? I think, like in high school, we are all just figuring it out. Some are just cooler at it than others!
One of the bloggers, a retired lawyer, says, “No rules…just write.”
However, respecting privacy is top priority – yours and other people’s.
Everyone adopts their own pace and style. WordPress has good advice and pointers, but it’s important to know what you want your blog to do, be, say. What talent, gift, strength do you have that you would like to offer or share? That rudder will keep you on course on days when you feel discouraged, unread, too busy…whatever. When you think you’ve just posted the worst possible article, write and post another. The world magically bounces back.
There, that’s my very cheap advice. 😀 You are observant…notice what do you like and note what turns you away.
We’re cutting new turf, PDD. We are turning sod in the world of self-expression.
I love your phrasing! “We are cutting new turf.” What a lovely image!
Thank you for your sage advice. This really is an interesting experiment in communication, isn’t it?
My wee blog is almost a year old and I confess to starting out on this journey having no idea what I was really doing. I think it is important that you do what you feel is right for you. I also think it is nice to thank people for their comments – I think that means a lot to people. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I think it is just grand. Keep on doing what you’re doing.
I think that, as you go along, you find that you build up a set of principles – much better than a list of rules. Keep up the good work.
Thanks! Sometimes I just get so caught up in “doing the right thing”, and I get lost trying to figure out what that “right thing” my be.
I love your blog, and as a “fellow blogger” I can empathize with your desire to have comments on your blogs, as I too search for the comments. Am I reaching anyone? Does anyone else have this happen to them? Can they relate to my blogs? Then I think about how cocky it all sounds as if I am trying to reach my “readers”. Do I have “readers”? Am I too eager for comments? Maybe no one even reads and that is why they don’t comment? However, I have had people tell me they’ve related to something I’ve written or that they love to read what I write, and these are people who never comment, and I had no idea they were even reading. So keep writing, share your thoughts, enjoy the comments, and know that even though there are sometimes no comments, it doesn’t mean you still didn’t reach someone. Was this too long of a comment? LOL
“Thanks for your comments!”
Its so funny; I think it real life I am more secure than I am out here in blogland. And that is a very weird fact, because I only started the blog as therapy and as a place to keep track of my thoughts!
I’ll read yours if you read mine, honey!!
Well Momsheib, I love your blog–you’re one of my favorites, and I really love it when you leave comments on mine because they are always so well written and heartfelt. I love the comments because they can become a story in and of themselves. That said, I agree with the commenters above and my philosophy is that blogging is supposed to be a “joy.” Once it stops being that, then time to move onto something else. Keep on having fun!
P.S. Yes, you did “do good” (in reference to those 3 gorgeous kids of yours)!
I’m absolutely going to print this out and keep it in my pocket!
I feel like I hit a home run, hearing such high praise from you, of all people! Gonna keep writing just for the joy, and I will keep getting my support and my laughs from you and the other wonderful bloggers out there!