Monday, March 22, 2010

Blabbing on Blogging

I was planning on having this be my Thursday blog post, but knew it wouldn't be up to par if I just threw it down in one draft like usual, so I stopped about three sentences in. Naturally, I haven't touched it since then, so we'll see how this goes. If this is anyone's first time here, I promise I'm not usually so deep and meaningful. If you could call this post deep OR meaningful.


For the last month or so, I've been sending out feelers into the world of blogging. I joined "20 Something Blogger" immediately on my 20th Birthday (and since posted the occasional response) and I've subscribed to 27 different blogs (give-or-take) that I enjoy and try to comment on all of them.

But in my three months online, I've come across dozens of fellow bloggers who ask "Why don't I have more followers?," spam Facebook with their posts, or simply wonder why they blog. It got me thinking about my relationship with my (three) followers, the blogging community, and ultimately why I blog. Here's what I've come up with so far:

For every blog with a few hundred or even few thousand followers, like the Sassy Curmudgeon or Hyperbole and a Half or the Badass Geek, there are twenty or so who have followers in the single digits, if any. Looking at Blogger's "Blogs of Note" list each month can be depressing for a lot of people, either because of this extreme disparity in admirers or because of a sheer disparity of quality. Sometimes its hard to look at the work of a writer that seems infinitely better than you and feel good about what you do.

So I, like it seems so many other bloggers do, have asked myself: why do I blog? What do I want out of this?

Back when I was younger (here I am, talking about "when I was younger" at the age of 20), I absolutely immersed myself in creating things, whether it be little doodles or stories, even the occasional song. But as I got older, I got busier, the same sketches of muscle-bound guys with big swords didn't seem as exciting, and reading, writing, and drawing took a backseat. And I missed it, and still kind of do.

I've tried to start a few other blogs before, but I was really inspired to try again and stick with it via two things:

1) A whole mess of time on my hands, as it was winter break
2) I had been listening to Kevin Smith's podcast, which I'd recommend to anyone and everyone with a comedic bone in their body (I've listened to all 111, hour-long episodes since the middle of January), which inspired me to explore as well as advertise my own funny bone.

And I immediately had a whole lot of fun. I blogged nearly every day during those first couple of weeks about all sorts of wonderfully nerdy things (including my first, epic Scott Pilgrim post). I spent hours combing through the Internet, finding blogs and coming up with ideas for topics to blog about. I spent hours and hours working on a crappy banner for my blog and
pouring over layouts that wouldn't be too offensive on the eyes of whatever readers I'd get. I wanted something that I could present to the the online world and not be ashamed of.

And in the beginning, that's all it was really about: being creative, making myself make time to explore things that I was interested in and tap back into at least a little of that childhood creativity. At the same time, though, I really really hoped that it would find an audience.

As aforementioned crappy banner and many other posts have divulged, I work for both my school's newspaper and radio station, so I'm used to putting myself in front of people to be judged and to entertain. For those, there's certainly a huge aspect of catering to what the audience want - it's pretty much the job description. But a blog is different, and that's something I didn't understand for a long time.

At the end of the day, blogging is for me, and me alone. It's about being fulfilled as a writer, and writing about what I enjoy writing about. I still hope it finds an audience, mostly because its a lot more fun that way. But if I get an audience, I want an audience who genuinely enjoys what I have to say, not ones who follow me so that I'll follow them back etc. Sure, I'll post on 20sb occasionally (I'll likely post this to see what people think about it, plus I know many of them wrestle with the follower "problem"), and post like a fiend on lots of blogs, I do it with a genuine interest and opinion on the post and not a desire to get noticed. I think, really, blogs have often been turned into products: let's take them back.


And since that was all text, which can get a little boring, I'll reward those of you who read the whole thing (or skimmed it) with a silly picture:

See you next time, folks.


The Illustrious D said...

I'm 25 andd sketches of muscle-bound guys with big swords are still exciting. Maybe it's just me.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Keep writing and they will come.

But doing it for you is the only way to be successful. If I didn't enjoy jibber jabbering about horror movies, my blog would have no purpose to me. So keep it up!

It just hit me that I'm too old for the 20 something blogger :(

soft nonsense said...

@D - Well I mean so do I. Just not drawing them. But I'm sure your excitement derives from the fact that you're...Canadian?

@HLBY - First, don't know how I feel about the way I shortened your name. We'll see what happens. Second, glad you agree with and live out my jibber jabber premise. It makes for the only blogs worth reading!

Thirdly, I'm sure they give a grace period if you are still 20-something at heart.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Haha the shortening confused me for a moment there but it's cool :)

And I think I'm like 13-something at heart. I need to find a group for that.

Very Top Five said...

Hey, I found my way over from 20sb. I agree with you about the blogs of note on Blogger. I have no idea why some of them are popular, and even less of an idea why they are chosen to be vaunted by Blogger.

(As an aside, I found the text of the article quite difficult to read, as it is grey on grey (I think it is, anyway; I'm colourblind). I don't know if others feel the same but I'd find it easier to read if the text/BG contrast was higher)

soft nonsense said...

Better sir? I always try to do my best to cater to my cone-maligned and foreign audience.

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