I got a lot of likes from other bloggers on a recent post, My Next Big Thing. A lot by my standards, that is. My likes and follows have been trending upwards recently but this blog has not exactly gone viral.
After blogging for more than two years I am just now learning how the blogging community operates. My learning was delayed because I started out on Blogspot, where no actual networking went on as far as I could tell. I switched to WordPress last October for technical reasons and stumbled into the blogging community. WordPress has a number of features that promote networking. The main one is that when a fellow WordPress blogger likes your post you get an email saying:
“Soandso liked your post on the practical mystic.
“They thought My Next Big Thing was pretty awesome.
“You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!”
And then it lists links to three “great posts worth seeing from Soandso.”
Out of curiosity you may check out this fellow blogger who likes what you wrote and in the process you increase the traffic to his or her site (I should give up grammatical correctness and say “their site” since “they” thought my post was awesome). I’m sure a lot of liking goes on purely to increase site stats. But it also connects you to people who might share your interests and it lets you know who your readers are, at least in the blogging world, which may not mirror the real world.
I guess the true test of love is if the blogger who likes your post begins following you, that is, getting an email every time you post. I can’t imagine inviting more email unless you truly care. I now have 56 followers, very modest by blogosphere standards but more with each post.
Since I started getting more blogger likes and follows I’ve been acting more like a community member myself, visiting blogs, occasionally liking, commenting, and following. Very occasionally. There are some gems out there but they’re rare. I am handicapped in this networking business by my writing snobbery. My remaining life is too short to spend reading bad writing and most blog writing is bad: trite, clumsy, sentimental, too much information of the wrong kind.
This is not a reflection on the blogger, just on his or her (their) writing.
Writing I willingly read doesn’t have to be perfect, just show some originality of thought or style. Something genuine. Something promising. Or, of course, a good blog might offer something helpful like recipes, though I will not follow a recipe blog that is badly written. I would like to find more life blogs like my own that meet my snobby standards but so far I’ve discovered only a few. I haven’t been looking too hard because I already spend too much time reading rather than writing or getting material for writing, that is, living. But if you have suggestions, let me know.
I know my writing snobbery puts me on the outskirts of the blogosphere because many terribly written blogs get way more likes, followers, and comments than mine. On the other hand my favorite blogger, the nature writer David George Haskell, who writes extremely well and always has something interesting to say, gets very few blogger likes. Go figure.
This brings me to the question of why that one post got so many blogger likes. It’s not just that I’m generally getting more readers, because other recent posts, which I think are more interesting, have gotten way fewer likes.
Here is my theory. It is because I wrote about being stuck in my writing and I ended the post with a tiny plea for support. “Cheer me on,” I said. And my fellow bloggers cheered.
We all need to be cheered on. Bloggers have recognized this need, both in themselves and others, and they have learned to respond. They respond to the vulnerability, the need for support, the confessions of failure and stuckness embedded in the writing, good and bad, that is being sent out into the ether.
Am I right?
Or maybe it was just some kind of weird, organized like bomb.
Clue me in. Share!