Wednesday, February 10, 2010

obscurity bliss...

I've read quite a few blogs of late that have been lamenting 'losing a follower' (or two), not having the time needed to post, read or comment on blogs. There were a couple that recently closed up shop altogether.

Many have been questioning the boundaries of their writing because people they know are now reading their blog and it has stymied how and what they write. "Will I offend someone?... Did I write something that bothered my audience, thus losing a follower?..."

I've had the same mind set of late myself.

When I started blogging, I wasn't clever enough to think up a pseudonym. Honestly, I thought it unnecessary. Other than a couple of friends, I figured no one would care to read my musings. What I write about is real, and if you know me, you probably know who the players are. But for the most part I've tried to not call out people by name. Unless warranted.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago which was followed by a mass exodus of followers. Now, this could have happened from clearing their cue, ridding the blogs that no longer carry significance for them. I've done that myself. But, for some reason I thought that they, the reader, might have been offended by my post. And it bothered me. A little.

It made me edit my subsequent posts more than I had in the past. Trying to anticipate public opinion. I thought, "Is this going to piss anyone off? Rile someones feathers too much?" If then answer was even a wavering 'Yes', I omitted it. Or rewrote to perhaps smooth over the possible offensive content a bit. And yet, I still lost yet another follower.

Then I gained one, lost two, gained three, lost two, gained two, lost one. You get the picture.

What this all boils down to is that damn sign you see posted with thumb tacks on cubicle clerks walls..."I can't please everyone, and trust me, today it's not going to be you."

I'm an inherent 'people pleaser'.
I always have been.

My trying to write to the masses probably won't work. For me.

But it will work out if I continue to write this blog how it started out. It' sole purpose as a medium for venting my thoughts. A creative outlet for what goes on in my head. Of late, I've been overly critical of what I write, and how. Wondering, before I even hit the 'Publish Now' button, of how it will be perceived. How it will be received.

My altered signage?: "I can't please everyone, and trust me, today it might not be you."

I love Lora over at Fever because she is. Is.
She's a little edgy sometimes. That's just her. If it bothers her that sometimes she pushes the envelope, it doesn't seem to show. C'mon...the girl just told the world that 'after her birthday she doesn't shave her legs below the knee!'

SuziCate at the WaterWitches Daughter had a post the other day about how she'd been 'found out' on her blog by those that know her. How it might change her tone of writing. But she worked through that probable change as she wrote...and then ended with "I write because I breathe, I breathe because I must."

Damned be those who don't like it.
Blanket apologies to those people.
Kudos to those that stay around.

I love that.

This morning I read an article which explained a common phenomena in the world of online communication. The article 'In Praise of Obscurity' by Clive Thompson in the February 2010 edition of Wired says: "When it comes to your social network, bigger is better. Or so we're told. The more followers and friends you have, the more awesome and important you are."

Perhaps that's why Julie at 47 and Starting Over left me a comment the other day of "Damn woman, you have 757 followers? I bow to your greatness!!!!" Although that is quite the compliment, I'm not great by any means. Seriously. I just lucked out.

My first two months of writing didn't get any comments whatsoever. I don't' think anyone even read them. Except Chrissy, who's my best friend and who started me blogging in the first place. There were a few comments left by 'anonymous' here and there. And a couple other fellow bloggers who stumbled upon my site accidentally. But I checked their profiles; all those from 12 months ago are no longer blogging, their sites either closed or not updated in the past year. Chris at Knucklehead was the first, still blogging, commenter that I had. And I'm grateful that he is still a reader.

I wrote those posts for me. About me. As blogging should be.

Clive Thompson goes on to state the case of a grad student who had started with Twitter at it's inception. It was a medium for conversational banter. She had a small group of friends. But once she amassed 3,000 followers it was like a little town; with the regulars conversing with each other through their 140 allotted characters. But once she reached 13,000 in the audience, the conversations stopped. The sense of community had evaporated.

"Why? Because socializing doesn't scale. Once a group reaches a certain size, each participant starts to feel anonymous again, and the person they're following - who once seemed proximal, like a friend- now seems larger than life and remote."

They stop talking, or leaving comments. Because they didn't feel they could make a useful contribution to the conversation.

I've done that. I read blogs and although I'm bobbing my head along to what they're writing, I can't think of anything that would remotely 'stand out' to mention it in a comment. I like to periodically read Mr. London Street, but rarely leave comments because the rest of his readers seem so witty. I don't think my two cents would leave an impact. I feel slightly threatened by some, a little left on the outside, if you will. He's a bloggy superstar now with over 1000 followers since his 'blog of note' shout out. I wonder if he feel the pressure of going from 200 to a 1000 within a weeks time? I wonder if it changed his outlook on his posts?

Over the last year that I've been writing and posting it on my blog, I have built a network of BlogBuds (thank you Kathryn for the term) that are my extended circle of friends. I've not met most of them, but have talked with a few on the phone, or exchanged e-mails with many from time to time. I feel certain that if I were in their neck of the woods (or they in mine), I could call upon them and we would share some face time conversation. And perhaps a glass of wine. Or two.

That's cool.

The article in Wired continues to verbalize another thought I'd been having. "As the network gets larger, not only do the audiences feel estranged, but the participants start self-censoring. People start writing more cautiously, like politicians."

If your huge, with a gazillion followers, your social network could possibly generate revenue. But if your small, your just chatting with pals.

Obscurity can be beneficial.

Because your not talking at people, but with people.

That's not just cool, that's awesome.
I love that more.

It's nice to be somewhat obscure, hiding in the shadows so as to not be judged. But known enough in certain circles that your thoughts don't fall on deaf ears. It's a big world out there. Overwhelming in scope.

But it's you BlogBuds; it's the banter, the comments, the camaraderie, the connection with those that I'd not had if not for this blog...

That's what makes all this (gesturing at the web site) worthwhile.
I'd like to say, "Thanks."

Now carry on---you've got better things to do than read my drivel.



  1. Kudos to you for this post. Its one Im saving

  2. This post was awesome. (: I applaud you for saying so. I often wonder if I would change my 'don't give a damn' attitude if I ever had like a million peeps following like you do. If I ever find myself hesitating...I'm rereading this post.

  3. Nancy, wonderful. It sort of feels like we have you back. I struggle with this too - as I gain subscribers from different areas, how can I keep them all happy? But I can't. I can only keep happy those who have interests that overlap with mine. So why do we try? Well, yes, pleasing, all that. Thank you for writing and I hope you carry on. Yours, Lisa.

  4. As soon as I realized that some of my students were reading my blog, I unconsciously started censoring myself. I wasn't smart enough or witty enough to write under a pseudonym, so it was pretty easy for a couple of them to find me. (A great deal of them know my nickname, GunDiva.)
    As my followers have grown, I've become more careful of using nicknames, but have decided that I'm not going to continue to censor what I write just because I'm afraid that I might offend a student. I have a right to have a life and activities outside of school.

  5. cheers to obscurity... I've got loads!

  6. You really identified some key issues about blogging and self-censorship and community... I agree with you-- we agonize over the loss of a follower, we rejoice at a new one. But are we focused on why we started doing this in the first place? As I've said before, I just wanted to get my stuff out there, but I can't deny that the sense of community that is born of the comments people leave has been the icing on the cake.

    I totally love your blog, and have been missing you for the past few days. This was a lovely return!

  7. You always say things so beautifully. Drivel? I think not!

  8. thank you for every word of this!
    i identify with so much of it..
    except for the large following...which I'm totally OK with :)

    Peace ~ Rene

  9. Wow. I do that too! I can't believe that I've started caring what I say-I've never done it before. (When it comes to being a "people pleaser", I tend to think that if you don't like me, then we don't have to be friends.)

    Thanks so much. You've made me remember what blogging is all about. I can always count on you for words of wisdom. :)

  10. I love reading your blog but admit I am often not able to make comments because well I have nothing of great contribution to offer here.

    We are so very different yet the same if you can understand that. I will try a bit harder at finding something to say.

    Keep up the great work! I enjoy your outlook on life and it keeps me sane sometimes.

    :) :) :) :)

  11. @Laurnie - Thanks darlin'! That means alot!

    @Gavin- Thanks to you too! Anyone REreading any of my posts I consider to be a true friend. :-)

    @Lisa (LPC)- It's odd isn't it? Trying to keep things balanced? But if we only had commited to what we KNOW about ourselves from our lives...'Be true to yourself', then it's a no-brainer. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to have YOU back!

    @GunDiva- I know one of my oldest followers had to change his site because of a parent at his school. Rather than fight it, he closed down his blog. There IS a fine line there...legally, I don't know where the boundaries lie.

    @AkaPJTheGreat - :-)

    @LeahRubin - I LOVE, really love the community that blogging has broght me. YOU being one of my inner circle, if you will. Thank you!

    @Renee- {{{blushing}}} Thanks. Shucks.

    @Not the Rockefellers - You know, sometimes when it was just me, Chrissy and and Chrissy, there wasn't any pressure. How do you write better and better and better stuff? I had a post that aomeone said, "This is the best post you've ever written." I hadn't thought of it that way...I was at my brothers describing the morning. But it gave me that sense that I 'had to do better.'
    Which maybe on one hand is good.
    But....the grass is always greener. Hmmm.

    @Oddyoddyo13- Words of wisdom? Thanks a hand grenade. But I thank you for your compliment! :-)

    @All Americanx5 - ALL contributions are GREAT contributions. THAT is what I was trying to say with this blogging being a community. Darlin'...YOU are part of my community. We've lots in common. :-)

    Gosh, I love you guys...


  12. Not that you need the exposure and not that I have many followers but I shared this on twitter.
    Your post really spoke to me and how I feel about my anonymity or lack of it.
    While I may not comment, I always read your posts and find something of value. Thank you for keeping at it.

  13. i love this post. i was just thinking so many similar thoughts today, it's uncanny!

    and, by the way, i really like your drivel.


  14. This is so interesting. I'm having a terrible time reading blogs and commenting while still spending time with my 3 1/2 year old. yes, I only have 200 followers but sometimes I feel pressured to comment back on every single blog, not possible. I've given that up, I know that when I look back over my life, I would be disappointed if I thought my daughter grew up staring at my back at the computer all day. She is much more important.

    I don't write anything for my "followers", it's all about what I feel like writing, I don't target an audience and I won't. If I spent my time worrying about who I was going to offend and who was going to stop following me, I'd rarely write anything.

    For me, my blog is my life, my journal, my business, if others enjoying reading it, they are welcome to say whatever they please. I don't censor.

    Popularity has never been important to me out here, I'm just happy to have a place to vent!

    Thanks for writing such a great post today!

  15. I needed to read this post. For whatever reason, I've had an influx of Christian mothers start following my blog (WTF?!). I was all set to write a snarky post about Sarah palin the other day and decided not to bc I didn't want to offend my readers. But...I think I just might write that letter tomorrow after all. Thanks for this post!

  16. Well said, although I am going to start whoring myself for cash. Hey, a girl's gotta EAT..

  17. I love this Nancy; so well put!
    I don't have many followers and I've been at it 9 mos. But I love the ones I do have. I try not to think about it too much. And this post helped! BTW, you know I love ANYTHING you write!

  18. I've read a few posts recently that touch in some way or another on this topic, Nancy. I think you put it perfectly. There are blogs that I could easily get in a snit about because they occasionally post something that goes completely against my take. But why throw out the baby with the bathwater, as my grandmother would say. Thank heavens everyone's different. It would be boring if everyone had the same opinion about everything, wouldn't it?

  19. Wow. I don't know quite how you managed to put things so exactly right. I've only been reading you a short time. I don't even do the "followers" thing on my blog. But I've read many people blogging about losing or gaining followers.

    The whole thing about that sense of community is so incredibly true. I hesitate a lot of times commenting on blogs that have huge masses of followers. Also I don't feel like adding another "you are hilarious I love you" comment which is all the comments seem to say at times.

    I like that I have between 10 or 20 regular readers because I know a lot about each one. Sometimes I do think it would be cool to have a ton of readers, but really, for what I want to get out of blogging, having my own little community is probably the best way to go.

  20. Great post, Nancy! As you know I wrote recently about losing a follower and how that hurt (a little). You gave me great advice through your comment ... keep blogging for me. I've been trying to remember that each time I put pen to paper ... or fingers to keys rather. :)

    And I may not always comment on your posts, but I always read. And enjoy.

    Keep on bloggin'!

  21. I'm pretty awesome with my 60 followers. It's my most offensive blogs that attract my favorite people.

  22. Hmm this really bears some thinking about. We start blogging to express our thoughts and soon censor our thoughts for publication. you hit it right on. I have written a couple of out there things and had one relo send an unpleasant txt so have been just a tad more careful. why? I am doing this for ME not them. hmm I am taking this as a challenge to just be me and if others don't like it, then that is their problem.
    BTW, I am thrilled that you are following my humble blog and I LOVE reading your thoughts. so much so that each day i scroll through to see if you have posted so I can read it before most others (I have a close friend who must be read first).

  23. I couldn't agree with you more! To me, I love my little community. I don't desire to have a large group of followers because it takes away the cozy feeling, ya know?

    Thank you for visiting!!!

  24. I wanted to comment, but have spent too long re-writing what I wanted to write so as not to offend anyone that may read it - what does that say about me?

    People pleaser? Moi?

    Spent a lifetime doing it and it's a hard habit to break!

  25. Thanks Nancy - excellent reminder. I also blog just to help focus the random ideas bouncing around in my head. It's a diary, for goodness sakes. Not exactly pulitzer material...
    Thanks for visiting me!

  26. I suppose I don't comment sometimes, because it would just seem redundant, but I love reading your blog. Don't edit or hold back, it's the truth that resounds with your readers. Please don't deprive us of that (even your lurkers). :)

  27. Wow, great post. I've wondered about all of those things too, and this post really put it into perspective for me. Sometimes I wish I could write wittier comments and then sometimes I'm on fire and there's no stopping me. I'm bookmarking this post to remind me to not worry about things so much! - G

  28. Like a breath of fresh air, you are. Always from the heart. Happy you write for you, and we get to take a peek.

    I just made up a word today and filed the copyright on-line. It's a tongue-n-cheek term based on the idea of 'followers'.

    Tweeenis Envy; The state of realizing you a have less than average sized Twitter follow list.

  29. I've been trying to write a comment but it might have to become a post. Short version, we develop a little community of folks who like our writing and encourage us. As more people come along, there will be at least some who joined for the wrong reason or who don't share the love. They may disrupt the conversation, or just leave. And some will enjoy the conversation but feel like late arrivals, so they don't comment a lot. The group dynamics change, and periodically the blogger has to stop and think about how to sustain what's important to her/him. Or something like that.

  30. *Twenis Envy. I even misspell my made up words.

  31. Okay, I want to comment because you struck a nerve but I always seem to be so late to the party that I feel like I'm just copying what all the other commenters said. But it did make me pause for a moment, I am trying to build my following, for reasons having to do with "platform" building for my memoir I wrote. But in reality I know I don't do it that well, I enjoy too much writing about just whatever interests me and not just about my memoir and writing (bleh). But, the first time you commented on my blog I was so excited. I love your blog, your style of writing and what you write about, I am one of your followers out there that is glad there is this online form of friendship, otherwise I would never have gotten to "know" you, and you seem like my cup of tea. Hope you'll come back and visit my blog again, it brightens my day. Write for you, because it shows in your writing and it is you we really like. Thanks Nancy for a great post.

  32. I have just started to blog as writing practice. I love your blog and agree with every word. Some comments and followers are needed though. Otherwise it all feels a bit silly. I know what you mean about feeling intimidated by witty comments. Took a lot away from this post...

  33. Good for you! Blogging should be totally about what YOU want it to be. It's the personal blogs that I like the most, where you are hearing about REAL people and their lives and thoughts. Thats why I like your blog!

    I don't have many followers or get loads of comments. It doesn't matter to me. I am loving getting to know the small community that do come and visit! It is certainly easier to keep up with and even then it can be a challenge!

    I am writing my blog for me, to document my journey and to help me become a better person. And meeting others, receiving and giving friendship and support and advice along with is a super super bonus!

  34. I think you're fabulous, and just because you're you :)
    Us people pleasers need to stick together. I've often thought the same about my *13* followers (who are fabulous too) and how I could get more. Then I remember why I started to blog in the first place - for me. And then I think of how I feel after a really good blog session...Fabulous!!

  35. Now there's too much pressure today to come up with a clever comment. Ackkk. Great post! (So much for clever)

  36. Excellent, Nancy. I love the way you cut right to the importance of blogging to you, yet you don't leave out the details that are important to know. Like you, my blogging life started with a friend. I had no idea what was in store. I owe much to you that people have found me. I love this cyber friendship of kindred spirits, and the acceptance I've found among peers. After what has come about with my blog being found, I have confronted my parents and printed out (as they are not computer users) my blog for them. I explained my intnetions (which actually was not even necessary) and they are thrilled. They understand why I tell what I tell and when I withhold, but most importantly they know that I will not lie, no matter the circumstance, and apparently that is as important to them as it is to me. What I never realized was that they respect and believe in me...who'd have thunk that?!So, thanks, Nancy, and I will continue to just be me and write for me and let the chips fall where they may.

  37. Hi Nancy,
    Since you and I discussed this not so long ago when I threw the same questions out into the blogosphere, I felt very much part of the group of your second paragraph.
    I haven't worked out all the kinks just yet. Suffice to say I'm not so much censoring as all out banning the writing of certain material, so as not to avoid a conflict with those that KNOW me.
    Certainly, not the best way to handle things. But until I come up with something better, it will have to do.

  38. Feeling no pressure with my 3 followers/blog.. especially after reading this. :D

  39. You keep it real and that's why we adore you. Don't change who you are or what you write about for the sake of a few followers. You are a gem!

  40. Hey Nancy,

    I've caught myself having the followers conversation with myself a few times lately.

    Much as my ego would love a Blog Of Note flag, I do wonder about all of the issues you've raised. It must be a mixed blessing.

    I have a small and happy hardcore of readers, all of whom I "know" and try to respond to on a personal basis. I like being able to do this.

    I have no idea what I'd do if I had 50 people replying to a blog entry overnight. I wouldn't be able to read all their blogs, and would probably only meaningfully connect to a handful of them if I did.

    As for content, my eclectic style means that for most entries I'm only appealing to a subset of my current readers. Not everyone likes funny entries or serious entries or picture entries. I mix it up because that's where the muse takes me. As a result, I occasionally lose a few followers, I gain a few followers. That's just natural churn.

    I try not to get distracted by the numbers. If I had 700 followers and they all loved what I do, that'd be cool. But if "only" 20 or 30 do, that's cool too. And actually, having twenty folks that totally "get" you and love what you write is amazing. I consider myself lucky to have that.

    As for censoring, I don't. Audiences are fickle, and unpredictable. Outrage will come from the oddest quarters from the most innocent of observations, and applause for the most banal.

    Be yourself; it's what you're best at - as Big James said, "If you built it, they will come."

    I'll be reading.


  41. No, you can't please everyone all the time. Don't even try. My blog lives in obscurity. Sometimes I love it and other days I wish to be famous. However, my parents are aware of my blog and visit every day. One day my father told me (in person) that he didn't like my tone on one particular post. I told him that my blog is a "self-select" item. He can choose to read it or not. I felt very empowered by making that statement. He hasn't criticized my blog again but he still reads.

    Still to your guns, Nancy!

  42. You have to write for yourself. I say that but I censor. My husband's mother and aunt read my site (unfortunately). Not that I would say someting bad per se but it does give me pause about how open I may or may not be.

    (You mentioned you're in Ohio when you commented on my blog. Please tell me the snowapocolypse isn't near Cincinnati. 15 days and it'll be my home. I can't take anymore snow!)

  43. I just responded to each and everyone of these comments and when I hit 'Post comment' I lost them all!

    You have got to be kidding!!!!

    So THAT'S how this day is going to go, is it? Hmmmmm. We'll see about that.

    But to summerize (becuase there is no way I'm going to try that again) THANK YOU to each, and every one of you for your wonderful comments!

    This seems to have been a reoccuring thread of thought with most of us lately. I'm glad though that we are all now probably stoked to continue writing for US. As it should be.

    And to those who left comments that usually lurk, I do the same. But THANK YOU for leaving a note. Because that's how I know you've been here. And it leads me to so many new enjoyable blogs that I wouldn't have known about before.

    So...geez, am I pissed at my computer server for that stoid that lost my thoughts. Bah.


  44. Boy do I feel ya on this one. I've had so many similar thoughts about such things. So many people want billions of followers....they want everyone they follow to follow them....but I don't follow someone because they follow me, I follow them because I ENJOY reading what they write, or I have some connection to this person...I actually WANT to know what they think, what they're up to, etc, etc. You being one of these people of course, or you wouldn't be getting this comment! lol

    This might sound mean, and I mean no disrespect, but I don't ask people to follow me....I might leave some comments on their blog and follow them, but I don't expect it in return....and I only return to their page IF I enjoyed my time visiting....

    I have had my blog since 2005. A lot of shit has happened since then....I mean, it's a big chunk of my life right there in print.....and people have come and gone, but I've remained.

    If you lose a follower....wish them well and know that followers are fickle! lol Well, some are. The ones that "get you"....really appreciate your wit, your charm, your soul...they'll be yours so long as you're theirs for the having/reading.

    Hugs & Luv,

  45. Thanks for making my friend, Jen, your follower of note. She is quite awesome and I love her so much! Her life is one powerful journey as you can see from her blog. She is the most forgiving, compassionate, happiest person I have ever known. I hope your spotlight leads others to her story. She deserves to be heard. Thanks again :)

  46. I'm still with you and don't plan on going anywhere. I enjoy your writing and occasionally hearing back from you. I think you are 100% have to write for yourself and let the chips fall where they may, staying true to your original concept about blogging.

  47. Oh this post was awesome. I have felt lost in the crowd on some blogs and yes I quit following some of them mostly because of that. I really like the smaller crowds where you still get to feel signifigant. Where your voice is still heard, instead of being carried off by the noise of the crowd.

  48. Awesome post, Nancy!

    The thing I found about blogging, is that if I allow myself to focus on followers and readers, I'm doomed. I've gained and lost readers so many times in the past 4 years, that I'm use to it. It's part of blogging.

    I don't read a lot of blogs, therefore my readership is just what it is, smaller and more intimate. But, thats also how I am in my life away from blogging. I throughly enjoy taking my time responding to comments because it's just what you shared....

    ..." your not talking at people, but with people.
    That's not just cool, that's awesome.
    I love that more...."

    You're a talented and gifted writer, Nancy.

    So continue to write for yourself.

    We're all ears!


  49. I've been reading your blog for a few months, but I haven't ever (maybe once?) left a comment. I get to the comments section and see that there are already 50+ there, and I balk. I just figure you wouldn't notice another one. And it's not just you. It's everywhere. If I can't be in the first 20 or so comments, I don't comment because I feel like everything's been said.

    But I feel you. I was once a small blogger. Then everyone at my college started reading my blog. I had 50 comments a day. Then I graduated and people moved on. Now? I'm lucky to have a handful of comments on any given blog. But I'm okay with that, because the people I am BlogBuds with are wonderful.

  50. Well - I enjoyed this post and have been grappling with these kind of issues over at my blog (albeit knowing how few my followers are in comparison with almost everyone else). That can be dispiriting. But you're amazing. You were blog of note and just look - you have over 50 comments. More than I could even dream of. More followers than I have. I know what you mean about Mr. London Street. I have commented a few times, but there's never been a response and I feel daunted by the high level of wit hanging around his patch. But I love to read him nevertheless.

  51. Amazing post girl! NEVER feel the need to change your style, your words, or your thoughts unless it is what you want. You can count your true friends on one hand and they are all that matter. Good ridance to the rest!

  52. oh man, i so relate to this...BoN, while a fabulous validation beyond belief does change things. i've had to remind myself of late that why i was blogging was because i wanted to write every day and because it's cheaper than therapy. i'm trying to return to that. people will stay and keep commenting if you're being real, that's what i believe. :-)

    so keep being real and it'll all be fine...

  53. Fabulous, fabulous post. So many of us write because it's just part of who we are, it's free therapy, it's liberating, it's one place we can say what we want and what we mean... And having followers is a double edged sword. Wow, we're validated by people who are choosing to read our thoughts. And wow, do we now have to be unguarded in what we say? Self-expression comes with it's share of fine lines. Great writers don't worry about offending people as long as they're authentic. But great people do.... What are we left with as a valid choice? :)

  54. Thank you for the reminder why I started my blog in the first place. I often get frustrated by the low number of followers or the lack of comments but this was a good reminder to me that I didn't start a blog for any other reason than to write down my victories and frustrations.

  55. Obviously this post connected with a lot of people! I can't add anything except to note that this is your blog and you should write whatever you damn well please. Those people started following you because they liked what you wrote. Censoring yourself would let them down!

  56. I just wanted to tell you that I have your blog listed in a very elite folder titled "Great Blogs". I don't place comments very often, and as a matter of fact, this is the first time I have written to you, and I understand your feelings of losing some readers, but the ones who really are on your wave length will remain. That's what freedom of speech is!

  57. honey I don't know who Mr London Street is, but if you feel like you can't comment on him because of his flock...well, to heck with him.
    You're my frog, and always will be!

  58. I love your words.It encourages me to keep writing, to be honest... to be me. Please don't stop. Thanks a lot!

  59. Blog forbid you actually write what you want to write??! You'll NEVER please everyone...

  60. I always enjoy your posts - and sometimes have nothing to say, since some of them are so "intense" and mind-filling. Kind of like drinking water out of a fire hydrant.

    I look at my 37 followers and your 758 followers and JennyMac's huge following and think, well, "class will tell". You and Mz. Mac are enormously talented and thought-provoking writers - and yet so different from each other.

    I'm happy so see a dozen comments or so - each post - it makes me - a single guy living alone - feel connected to some others - others of my own choosing.

  61. Since I started my blog on the suggestion of my parents, I write with the fact of every post being emailed immediately and directly to them in mind, but that truly is my only jumping off point, as well as a challenge to do my best and to try to get it right. I wrote a similar post to yours called '(B)logging the Forest for the Trees'and came to the conclusion that I like my small world for now, and if I am fortunate enough to be read widely at some time, I won't change anything. At all. Cheers, Nancy!

  62. I wrote those post for me ..about me blogging should be~~~~~I LOVE THAT!! and completely agree. I love your blog and I love blogs that write that way!!

  63. WOW... you so often leave me lost for words, Nancy... This was another one of those posts where you just tune in to what I feel - thank you for that - oh, and don't go offending one of my favourite bloggers, calling her posts 'drivel', or I will unfollow you. ;o)

    By the way, should you ever chance to be in Prague (again, as I remember reading that you took pictures of Charles' Bridge), I know of a few lovely places to get a glass of wine...

  64. I read you often. I have not blogged or commented much in a few months due to some major changes in my life, that have left me feeling less than thrilled with my current situation.....but I keep reading you and Chrissy and Ron, and some others, and I very much enjoy your mussings.

  65. Holy crap... I read this one twice. This is something I really needed to read. Recently, I redid the format of my blog, dropped the "website" part that went with it, so I could just focus on the the writing part... which is what I really love. Just like you, as I became aware of more and more people that read my blog, I started censoring what I wrote more and more. People often wouldn't leave comments, but they'd mention that they'd read my blog when I'd see them in person. I started trying to keep my audience in mind and tailor my words to their personalities. And you can tell too. If you go back and read my original rinky-dink little MySpace blog I used to have years ago, and read through the various "generations" of blogging up to now, you can see a vast difference. Part of it is because we all change as time goes on, but a lot of it is due to exactly what you described here. Thank you so much for writing this and reminding me why I started blogging in the first place.

  66. I love your blog, I love your honesty...I hate that I've stopped blogging a lot because my sister in law isn't talking to me after reading my's like being back in creative writing class at uni and hearing the tutor tell you can't write for crap - it kind of winks out your light of inspiration....thanks for chucking some kero on and lighting it up with a blow torch again :)

  67. I love to read your "drivel" and have never missed a post, though I don't always comment because there are always so many already, but I felt the need to comment here because you need to know that you ARE awesome and you brighten many people with your words. Please don't change or alter them for anyone--your superior writing is what got you BON, the followers who left are idiots--those of us who stay and look forward to each new post love you for you.

  68. - I started blogging anonymously and I will stay anonymous. I can be catty or not, as I please.
    - People I know DO read my blog. If I talk about anyone, it's never by name. And I never say mean things about people I know who DO read my blog. ;-) I may speak of something vaguely embarrassing, in roundabout terms, but never obnoxiously so.
    - Like you said, I write for ME. It's literary masturbation, really, and "literary" is applied very loosely in this case. But any readers, much less followers, much less comments, that I get, are all gravy.
    - I like to comment wherever I go, on personal blogs. I don't bother commenting on corporate blogs, where they write for a living, because I know they don't give a shit. But I always comment on personal, not-for-profit blogs, even if it's just a "Mmm-hmmm." It shows that I was there. Much more socially acceptable than peeing on it. ;-)

  69. Writing to the audience in a blog can happen pretty easily. Just like talking to the crowd can happen at a party. Popularity is enticing. I loved your post, and you hit home with myself and many bloggers. I too wonder does my posting appeal to anyone? But the reason I began my post wasn't really to get a following, although it is an acknowledgement that you are being read. The resaon I began to write is because I needed a place to express myself, to share thoughts. Sometimes it's easier to put it on paper. Sometimes it has to be said right now. Sometimes talking to an anonymous reader makes lets us be more open, more honest. We don't worry as much about hurting a feeling, or sensoring, or being judged. I always appreciate a comment, and find that readers will sometimes send me a private email instead of making a comment. That is when I feel a personal bond and that we have shared a hurt, a joy that calls for a more intimate exchange. I always like to stop by and see what's on your mind.

  70. Wow...there's like, a kazillion comments to this post! I'd almost figured it wouldn't matter if I commented or not...but given the topic and all-'s easy to feel like, "Why bother? They get plenty of comments...what's one more going to matter?"...but I know it does.

    My biggest challenge is making sure I take the time to visit others, as they've been kind enough to visit me. A few days of being sick, or a family emergency and I'm drowning! I worry often and intensely about hurting people and I'm notorious for watching that ever-popular follower number!

    I've been baaaad about visiting, but please know I'm always your blogbud....(you knew that, right??)

  71. Thank you for all the great posts from last year! I look forward to reading your blog, because they are always full of information that I can put to use. Thank you again, and God bless you in 2010.


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