Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging--My New Insecurity

Good Day to you, whomever you may be that's actually reading this.

Last night I started preparing a post for today about my actual journey in writing and where I am at this point. But this morning I was reading a post on someone's blog about...well, about blogging. Yesterday another blog that I follow had posted about blogging as well and both of the topics seemed to focus on how to come up with topics for blogging and about blogging itself. 

Now, I'm a fairly new blogger. Never even heard of blogging or knew what it was until a few months ago. Crazy, right? Not really considering I'm not a facebooker or a tweeter. However, a good friend of mine from AW started one and it was awesome, but I was too overwhelmed and afraid to begin my own, even with her encouragement that I should do it. I'm not technologically savvy when it comes to the world of computers. I know how to do the things I need to do, but I scare easily when I can't figure something out. And then there's the little fact that I'm a SAHM with two, very attached, needy, can't-get-enough-of-mommy four year olds and I honestly didn't have the time to concentrate long enough to figure it out. 

Obviously, I eventually got my blog up and running, but I'm still trying to figure out all the millions of features that make the blog really come to life. I'm getting there, slowly, but surely and with the help of some of my other blogger friends (Thanks you guys, you know who you are! :-) ).  However, I have a new MAJOR problem. I have come to realize that blogging is making me incredibly insecure. Now, I was reading over at this other blog about blogging, a comment regarding comments. This person poses the question, "Are comments really an important part of blogging? If you're getting a lot of comments does that really mean you're getting a lot of readers?" They go on to say, "Explore the difference between a wide, general readership and a small, specific readership dedicated to commenting." I'm not quoting this person to counter what they are saying (which is why I'm not mentioning names), but only to explore my own feelings about this and my answer is, yes. I feel like it really is an important part of blogging. I mean, how do you know whether or not people are actually reading or interested in what you have to say if they don't leave comments. It seems an easier question to pose when someone is receiving anywhere from 30-50 comments on everything they blog about. Of course, I know that when people start blogging, it takes time to get a following. I get that. I really do.

This brings me to my next and biggest insecurity in the blogging world. Followers. You know that little box with people's pictures, photos, or  anonymous grey heads that tell you they've joined your blog because something you have written in one of your blogs really caught their eye or captured their interest and made them say, "Hmm, I think I'll join this person's blog because I have connected to this person in some way based on what they've said/written and I want more? 

Yeah. Ha. That's what I thought it meant to get a follower. Only, I've just recently discovered that sometimes this is the case and sometimes it's not. And from what I now know, the comments are the only way to differentiate those who follow because they are genuinely interested in what you have to say and those who follow because when you hit that "post a comment" button on THEIR blog, it automatically signs them up as a follower on yours. I didn't know you can even have that feature, but realized last night, that apparently, some people do. I even went to my features to figure out how they did that (not because I wanted to do that, I don't), but because I wanted to just know what button has to be pressed or what box has to be checked to make that happen. How did I discover this you ask? ( for those of you who didn't even know that can happen). Well, I posted on someone's blog last night. I had been a follower for a while, a reader, not a commenter, but last night I connected to their post and couldn't contain myself, and posted a comment. When I flipped back to my blog (which I check about 8,342 times per day, I'm an addicted newbie and insecure hahaha) low and behold, I saw that my follower number had gone up 1!!! Wooohooo. Yay! Now I have 23 followers (pathetic, I know. Not the number of followers, but that I would get so damn excited about it). So I look to see who it is and it happens to be the person I just posted to. Like literally, 4 seconds before. I really like this particular blogger and feel they have interesting stuff to offer (which is why I joined their blog in the first place), but at first I was like, wow, what a coincidence. I mean, here I am, posting for the first time on their blog (and hey, admit feels soooooooo good when you see that comment number go up. Even more so than the follower number sometimes), and at the very same moment they just so a minute. What is going on here? I check my comments on my last few posts and don't see the number has gone up. Hmm....are you thinking what I am? Yeah. It was an automatic something-a-rather that happened. This person is in no way following me because of something I said or wrote or thought (although maybe they will in the future, who knows), but because I hit the post button on their blog.    

And now back to being a Follower (which is totally related imo to being a commenter) As a new blogger (and maybe for some of the older ones), that "Follow Box" has become like my own personal "Security Box." The more that "follow" number jumps up, the more secure I feel. (and of course this ties in with number of comments) The longer those numbers stay stagnant and no one seems interested in following my blog or has anything to say, the more insecure I feel. Now, I'm not saying this because I want everyone to say, "Oh, poor, poor, Melanie. Let's follow her blog, so she can feel less insecure." (Okay, I mean if you really want to join on that basis, I guess I'll take what I can get.  Hahaha, jking...Or am I? No. I definitely am.). But the fact is, when I go to someone's blog and see they have 6 hundred followers, or 1,500 followers or 3,000 plus followers, my brain immediately goes, OMFG, Wow! 3 thousand people are interested in what this person has to say? Okay, granted, this person could have been blogging for ten years already. Or perhaps they have a lot of followers because they are a published author and therefore other writers trust what this person has to say and believes they can walk away with something helpful towards their own dream to become published. Some of these blogs are people who work in the industry and what writer wouldn't want to read and know anything and everything this person has to say? 

I realize this is something that I need to get over. It's something within ME because face it, blogging is a bit narcissistic. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I have learned so, so, so much since I've entered the world of blogging. Things that are greatly helping me to improve in this craft in so many different ways. This morning, I had a fleeting moment of quitting my blog and saying F@@K it, but then I realized that it wouldn't be fair because I do have some people who are following my blog and commenting because they do care about what I have to say or share. So, I will continue to blog, continue to read blogs and continue to try and get over my blogging insecurities and remember the real reason I began blogging in the first place: To chronicle my journey through the writing to published process.

ETA: Just want to re-iterate that I didn't write this blog for sympathy, but for the sole purpose to share with you my feelings about blogging and how it's made me a wee bit insecure. And for the record, I'm not generally an insecure person. I think it's just the fact that I'm very new in this writing business and simultaneously new in the blogging business and I think feeling a bit insecure comes with the territory. I'm just thinking that maybe there are others who feel this way, and wanted to let you know, you are so not alone.


  1. Wow - I did not know about that feature. That would actually kind of bug me, I think. Sort of a loss of personal control although I suppose it doesn't matter. It's always up to you if want to actually go visit the blog and check out their latest post. I do totally get what you're saying about the followers numbers though and what it does to your psyche. I look at some of these blogs where the followers numbers really go up and I wonder what the heck it is they're doing right that I'm doing wrong. Here's a funny thing - during the contest that I had, I got 15 new followers but only half of those actually entered the contest. So truth be told, it wasn't boosting my numbers as much as I thought it would and I'm still getting the same number of comments that I had before. The contest was fun though, so I think I'll do another one in a couple months. Anywho, keep blogging Mel. I'm listening at least.:)

  2. When I started blogging a year and a half ago (I shudder to think of how many hours I've spent on the web when I should have been writing fiction), I was really hung up on comments. Or should I say, lack of. Hardly anybody ever commented, and I used to get paranoid thinking nobody was reading, or that they were reading but weren't connecting to anything I was saying.

    Now I don't think about it much. The reason I started blogging in the first place was not to be popular or have a thousand followers (I only added that widget over the summer), it's to chronicle my journey to getting published. I write for me, and I write for my friends and family who I know are reading, even though most don't have Google accounts and most don't comment. I also wanted to carve out a space for myself in cyberworld in case I ever got published -- nobody likes an author with no web presence.

    Comments and followers are lovely, don't get me wrong, but I'm amazed at how many blogs I've read that are huge on followers and light on content. Not mentioning names, but I have read blogs that have upwards of 500 followers and all they ever seem to do is have contests -- which is probably why they have so many followers. Are they popular? Sure. Are their blogs interesting? No.

    But I totally understand the insecurity. I feel it every day too.

  3. Great post, Mel, and I totally get what you're saying. I echo much of what Jenny said (she helped me get past my own insecurity early on because of her total awesomeness). I'm in my third month of blogging and I have very few followers, but those I do have are absolutely fabulous. They comment regularly (like YOU!), they say such smart things that make me think, and they're loyal. I couldn't ask for more.

    BUT it's so easy to believe there's something wrong with me or my content when those follower numbers don't go up for weeks at a time or I'm getting only a comment or two. I had a big realization not too long ago - I often seek external validation for what I hope is an internal reality. In other words, I want people to validate that I'm a good writer, a good designer, a good person. And, boy, is that a lot to put on people! Once the realization hit, the solution was right there too. Now I blog, design, and write, not to gain approval, but because it makes me happy and because every word I type and every video I create gets me closer to that internal reality.

    p.s. You rock!

  4. I think those of us who aren't out just to get popular all go through those moments of 'maybe I'm no doing this right' when we realise that we have very few followers and almost no comments. It's hard not to get caught up in the feeling that after months of blogging you should have more followers, that each post you spend hours planning should get more than 1 comment and that no one is really reading along. I like to remind myself that I read blogs and don't comment so other people must do that too.

    I'd also like to point out that I've been blogging for over a year now and you have more followers than me and your posts always seem to get more comments than any of mine. Not that I'm jealous or anything. I should really work on my posts more, I know that.

  5. a blog I follow had 230 followers two weeks ago and now has 650. insane, right? they ran some competitions - book vouchers and bam! (they also linked their competition to a site that has 1000+ followers.

    but, i would much prefer people to follow me b/c they're interested in what i say. or... something :)

    it's a little humbling when someone follows you. i also like to get to know my followers back and that can be exhausting - reading and commenting on all their blogs. i guess i mainly comment on the blogs who are people who comment on mine and we feel like we have a relationship or whatever. (otherwise i could spend all day commenting on blogs)

    blogging is such a weird thing.

    i was surprised once i started that i had stuff i was pumped about that i wanted to share - and i like going on about authors and books and talking about them in a community of people who get psyched like i do.

    and i am so pumped you have a blog - i love the stuff you share and your thoughts on things :)

  6. Hey Guys,

    Wow. Thank you so much for your words of support and understanding. Each and everyone of you have made very interesting points. I have mulled over all your comments and I feel much, much better and have a better perspective on things.

    @Angie, you hit it just right. it totally messes with your psyche, but i'm coming to realize that blogging is not about what receiving, but giving. If I can pound that into my head enough times then i think i i will be able to put this insecurity in check.

    @Jennifer, you are so right. it's not a popularity contest and i need to keep that in mind. i also need to remember i'm still very new in this all and like any author, it takes time (and a real kick ass story) to develop a true following :-). and i also need to keep in mind that i ultimately started this blog because i read that it's important to have web presence and since i don't face book or tweet (as of yet), this is all i've got.

    @Joann, thank you thank you thank you. you are so so right. i'd rather have a small group of followers who really care about what i say (my regulars, so to speak) then to have some superficial number of followers who joined for their own self-serving reason or because of some auto button that joined them to my blog.

    @ Fiona, you right. i do need to remember that i read other people's blogs and don't always comment whether because of time constraints or because i don't feel i have anything valuable to add or for whatever reason i just didn't connect to that particular post (even though it may be very interesting). it's a two-way street. sometimes, i read, get the info i need and move on to reading the next blog on my list. it is hard to keep up with all of them sometimes, which is why i will keep my list limited. gotta keep it real, right?

    @Nomes, yeah, funny you should say that. i have been debating doing a contest, but i feel like i'd be doing it just to get more followers who are looking to follow to win a prize and not because they are interested in my blog. i think i will wait until i have more followers that i've earned on my blog content alone rather a contest. i don't want followers based on that. it's just not me. not saying others shouldn't have done it, but i'll admit, i have not joined one single blog for a contest yet. i think it's fake and sometimes it's a good way to intro a blog to others who may not otherwise know about someone's blog and has great info and posts to offer. i think that is exactly what happened with Angie's contest and what she was saying. She got more people who joined her blog but didn't enter the contest because there is this weird feeling that it seems kind of "fake" to become a follower just because you want something free. Chee-sey. (IMO). if i like someone's blog, i will join and follow and wait for the next contest when i feel like i'm already a interested in their blog.

    Thanks again guys. you have all offered me something wonderful. i feel much better and whole lot less insecure about the blogging world.


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