Casting a wide net? That’s what I won’t be doing.

The Daily Post recently suggested utilizing social media to draw in more readers.

I’m not doing that.

Here’s the problem with my Facebook friends:  They know me.

Crazy, isn’t it?  But see, I’ve tried that before.  Or actually,  I didn’t try it.  People just found me.

Several years ago I joined a now mostly defunct social networking site that had a blog feature.  Joining was a way of connecting with my  young relatives.  Blogging was just something that found me.

I never realized I had so much to say.  But the blogs just poured out of me.  I was a new mother so I wrote quite a bit about that.  I told old stories from my life.  I explored my shaky relationship with my mother.  I touched on some sensitive family issues.  I shared food porn.  I mused over politics.  I made friends with some wonderful, wonderful people in the blogosphere.

And then…they found  me.

I already had a handful of real-life friends who read my blog.  But then social media started becoming attractive to more and more people, and the cat was out of the bag.  Family, friends, and colleagues started creating profiles and amassing friends lists.  They friended me.  They read my blog.

And then my writing started to change.

I don’t think I turned out bad writing.  It’s just that my writing became less than honest.  I didn’t put it all out there.  I held back, always conscious of my audience.  I didn’t want to offend anyone.  I didn’t want to reveal things that certain people did not need to hear.  On that site, I could have adjusted some settings so that only people on a certain list could read my blog, but then people in the blogging world who were not on my list would not be able to just stumble upon my writing.

It was quite a conundrum.  And then, use of that site slowly dropped off, and before long, I could sense that this wonderful community was reaching its conclusion.

And for a few years, I fell silent.  And then came WordPress.

And it’s starting again.  I’ve become part of this little community, and found some kindred spirits from all over the world.  I am finding more all the time, and they are finding me.

I have, once again, found my freedom of expression through blogging.  But this time, I intend to remain free…free to explore things that are on a need-to-know basis with certain people in my life.  Free to contemplate, for instance, whether to end a long-term friendship (more on that later, maybe.)  Free to unashamedly expound and pontificate.  Free to talk about my step-mother (she’s crazy, I tell you).  Free to make a complete ass of myself if I so desire.  And those who choose to stick with me through it all…those people make up my community, friends and family in this little corner of cyberspace.  And I love them for it.

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About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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19 Responses to Casting a wide net? That’s what I won’t be doing.

  1. I read somewhere a piece of advice that said something like when you find youself editing due to your concern about people may think, you are not being honest. Or something like that. Anyway, I hear what you are saying. I have encouraged family and friends to read my blog and I know that does require me to consdier their feelings. I occasionally get responses about someone not being happy about what I wrote though some ask me to put them in the blog.

    • Joyce says:

      When my stepmother found my old blog, it was all over. There’s enough dysfunction in my family to crank out blogs for years to come! Although I haven’t really tapped into that here. But just in case…this blog is just for me (and my blogging compatriots.)

  2. Sis says:

    I’ve been thinking lately about who to share my blog with, I think I’ll keep it secret for now anyway.

  3. Valerie says:

    I totally understand what you mean. I’m sure it depends on the type your blog if it’s wise to share it with IRL people, but for true writing, I’d say it’s probably best for it to be just the blogging community, as you’ve said. 🙂 I’m glad you found WordPress!

  4. Lu says:

    I hear ya!
    And agree with you totally on keeping your freedom of expression intact 🙂

  5. I’m glad I found you and your wonderful, honest writing! It’s always refreshing and interesting to see what you have to say!!! Have a great weekend! Melissa

  6. Hi I have just found your blog and reading this post I can totally agree with what you say. I used to write a blog a few years ago but real life people began reading it and I found myself watching what I wrote. I gave up blogging for a few years and only just got back to it on christmas day because someone on my facebook told me I should get back to writing.

  7. Alice Keys says:

    I found your blog in the “pool” for advice. I like this essay about how the audience can change what you write about. It’s important to consider why, for and to whom you write. It’s also good to consider potential risks.

    After my 90 year old dad took offense at my description of my childhood (he didn’t like the word “poverty”) it did make me stop and think about what I put out there. I’ve also blogged on a larger webzine enough about issues in my field to negate any chance of gainful employment for the rest of my life. Oops.

    Your blog is fine. I like that it’s not too complicated. I can find things. Your writing is clear and easy to follow. Not too long or too short. I would like to see a more personal picture header (if that’s what you call the pic at the top of the blog. I’m new here.)

    All the best and happy writing.
    Alice

    • Joyce says:

      Thank you , Alice! I just yesterday changed my theme, so it currently has the generic picture in the header. I think I’m going to create a composition of cookbook covers and other vintage images for the header, since that’s the direction that I’m trying to take in a lot of my posts.

      Do you mind my asking what field you were in?

      • Alice Keys says:

        I can’t wait to see your new header. The composition in your theme of interest sounds like a good idea. I always like having an idea what sort of things I can expect from a blogger.

        My field? Psychiatry. 🙂 There’s a link to the blogs I’ve written in that arena on my blog “MIA” tab, If you decide you’re interested in all that. I don’t want to clutter your comments with links.

        Now? Writer. Mom. Curious soul.

      • Joyce says:

        Really…I’ll have to take a look at your stuff. I’d be very interested in learning about issues in that field.

  8. I can totally relate. I started my writing in facebook notes. But at some point I had this steam to blow and I wasn’t comfortable undressing before my facebook family, real people who know me personally. That’s where blogging came in handy.

    A couple of months down the road, my facebook family followed me, they also introduced other people (because over 90% of my views came from facebook) and I started feeling stifled. I write mostly humor but most of my writing is really personal and self deprecating in nature.

    Much as I pretend that I’m comfortable talking about “not so cool things” in my past and try to make fun of them, many times I’ve found myself censoring myself because I feel I am revealing too much, a fact I wouldn’t care about if these these things were read by a completely different audience. It really sucks having to stifle yourself. It’s the reason I decided to stop publicizing my posts on facebook. It kills my stats page, but at least I don’t have to look over my shoulders, which I felt like was hampering my growth in writing and expressing myself freely.

    • Joyce says:

      Yes, I’ve decided that for this time around, my blog will be just for me, and if my audience finds it pleasing, then that pleases me too…but that cannot be the main goal.

      The one thing I do still hold back on and will continue to hold back on is my political stance. Mostly because that is not the focus of my blog and I truly don’t want to alienate my readers. And what’s amusing about that is, half of my views lean one way and half lean the other way, so I’d be sure to annoy half of my readers 100% of the time.

      I saw the mention of your stats on the “pool” page and I have to say, wow. I’m embarassed to tell you my highest hits in a day. But like I said, focus on the writing and the community. That’s what it’s all about.

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