I find writing a blog a bit like sitting on a wharf in the middle of nowhere, baiting a hook with some possible tasty morsels, and throwing it into a sea of ineffectual fish.
You just kind of… cast, and then… wait and see.
Sometimes you get a reaction, and it’s not the one you wanted. Sometimes, most of the time, you get no reaction, which is probably worse than getting an unwanted one, and makes you wonder why you bother in the first place. A bit like the old “hey, God, it’s me.. are you listening?” Only in this case the internet is God and the angels are your overly-intellectually stimulated audience who have seen everything you could ever write a million times before, added a cat with a caption to it, GIFed it, and watched it become a meme.
Was life more simple with paper diaries that we conspicuously hid beneath our matresses so our BFFs or a passing boy would find them and hold them out of our reach whilst reading them aloud with breathless laughter? (Probably not with mine, I have several notebooks from my teens filled with masses of angst and bad poetry, certainly no laughing matter, or so I thought at the time.)
My point is, I find it incredibly surprising when I throw my line over from that lonely jetty and actually get a bite. What manner of fish is this? Did I actually manage to say something, write some line that got the attention of the wordweary masses? How… odd. Even though that’s what I wanted, I linger in my shock and wonder where on earth to go next.
And now I’ve done that incredibly passe thing, and started to write about writing. That’s what you do when you don’t know what to write, you know. Like how we all thought we were being incredibly ironic and postmodern by making speeches about speechmaking in high school.
Maybe I should just go back to recycling lolcats from icanhascheezburger, the web default for anything that’s meant to be remotely funny. Or posting hipster polaroids of 70s wallpaper and half a couch in a haze of smoke, which is SO done, but I happen to love them. Or stealing other peoples’ poetry that says what I want to say but in a much better way.
I suppose, whatever we write, feline or not, funny or not, vaguely insightful… there’s never any guarantee we’ll catch an interested fish.
Such is the nature of teh interwebz. I do read every one of your blog posts.
lol @ speeches about speechmaking – teachers must get so tired of it.
I like your analogy but I”d refine it a bit and say it’s like fishing with a seine net – you know, those huge bottom draggers used to scour he ocean floor. It’s inevitable that much of what you pick up is dross when you cast a broad net.. Not surprising that sometimes you might not pick up anything at all that you’re looking for. I think that the problem is simply that there’s so much out there in the world of social networking that people become overloaded with info and are forced to become increasingly descriminating in comments if only to keep from going utterly mad.
Another way of looking at this is to compare it with standing on a hilltop above a town and shouting a message to the entire population. Stands to reason that what you have to say will be of interest to only a part of the town while the majority of folk will just pass on unheeding, as the message is seen as just one of so many that it fades into the background, like white noise.
To sum up, it’s a crap shoot. All you can do is focus on a particular audience; one that you hope shares your interests, and keep sending messages that you think are relevant and will stimulate a reply. It’s bound to be discouraging at times but there really are people out there interested in what you have to say. I know I am and obviously there are others. But it’s work and even a bit risky throwing yourself out there. At least you have the consolation of knowing that you have the fortitude and drive to try, unlike so many passive watchers and listeners who sit on their hands waiting for someone else to take the lead. Carry on, and damn the torpedoes!