Archive of ‘life in the blogosphere’ category

Have You Used Your Voice Lately?

Let’s face it. Blogging is a rather narcissistic pastime. We put our words out there every day, assuming others will find our lives as fascinating as we do (and leave us comments to tell us so).

But blogging can be much more than that. It can be a way to connect. A way to reach out. A way to embrace strangers and help them feel less alone.

A hand reaching out (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnsc/2768392379/sizes/m/in/photostream/)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about depression. A post I agonized over more than most. I’m not sure why—it wasn’t the first time I wrote about it. But as my audience grows bigger, the risks of exposing myself also grow. After all, I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym here. I am indeed Amber Page, and lordy am I google-able.

So I posted it, took it down, and (after a long talk with myself), put it back up. It made me uncomfortable to do so, but something in me told me it was the right thing to do.

A few days later, I got an email. From a stranger. A stranger who was experiencing many of the same symptoms I had, and who was having just as much trouble getting the help she needs. She asked me for advice.

I was floored. I mean who am I to try and help others? Not a doctor, or even a nurse. Just a blogger who spills her guts to the internet and hopes it never comes back to bite her in the ass.

But she didn’t need medical advice. She just needed someone who understood. Who would listen and tell her she wasn’t crazy. And that she was right to think her doctors were missing the boat. She needed someone to tell her she wasn’t (isn’t) alone.

I got the profound honor of being that person.

We emailed back and forth a few times. I gave her a little advice, a lot of pep talks and a great big virtual hug.

I haven’t heard from her since—and that’s okay. It’s enough to know that I helped (even if it was just a little bit). That my words made a difference to someone. That by speaking up, by putting myself out there, I helped someone else feel less alone.

That’s what it’s all about, people.

So the next time you’re about to hit publish on a post that scares you? That makes you feel vulnerable and exposed? Just close your eyes and do it.

Our words have power. Use it for good.

The Ten Stages of Blogging.

In the blogging world, individual blogs come and go faster than you can say, “I started a blog yesterday.” But those that survive? That hang on to their little piece of the interwebz, airing their thoughts and dreams for public consumption? All seem to go through the same ten stages of maturation.

1. Self delusion. When you first set up shop in the blogosphere, you’re convinced you’re going to become the next dooce. That readers will flock to your site, crash your server with their effusive comments and send all kinds of national sponsors your way. It won’t be long, you think, until you’re rolling in the cash money.

2. Depression. About the time you write your 45th post and, although you check your page hourly, realize you have yet to receive a single comment, you contract a serious case of the Woe-Is-Me’s. You feel invisible and think seriously about giving up.

3. Joy. Someone commented! Maybe even a few someones! God is good and the world is great! You’re on your way now!

4. Obsession. You begin reading everything you can get your hands on about how to grow your blog. You spend hours commenting on other people’s blogs. You get on twitter. Establish a facebook page. Start participating in memes and blog carnivals. Join SITS. And, of course, continue pouring your heart and soul into every post you write (and you write lots of posts).

5. Relief. All your hard work is paying off! You now have 50, 75…100… maybe even 200 followers. Someone likes you. Indeed lots of someones like you. But…

6. Envy. What did she do to get those 50 bajillion followers? Why does she get 45 comments on every post? You’re just as good as they are. Heck, you’re better. Why doesn’t the world recognize your magnificence?

7. Determination. Dag nam it, you’re going to be one of the A list bloggers if it’s the last thing you do. So you invest in a fancy design. Move to WordPress. Maybe even seek out a guest post or two. You continue commenting frantically, twittering endlessly and haunting social networks like BlogFrog. Your spouse begins to wonder what your face looks like when not lit by the glow of a computer. Your kids start feeling neglected. Your ass grows, as does your laundry pile. Your blog/life balance begins to feel hopelessly out of balance.

8. Burnout. What’s the use? It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the blogging world—it’s not like you’re getting anything out of it (except a fat ass). Who are you trying to be, anyway? You’re just a mom/wife/9to5er. No one would even notice if you stopped writing. So you do.

9. Loneliness. You realize how many friends you actually have in the blogosphere. You wonder what they’re up to. You miss your daily conversations. You feel lost. Disconnected from so many of the people who matter to you.

10. Contentment. You return to blogging. You clean out your reader—narrowing it down to the bloggers who actually mean something to you. You post, but not quite as regularly as before. You tweet—probably more regularly—but the emphasis is on cultivating friendship, not grabbing eyeballs. You accept your place in the blogosphere and resolve not to let envy get the best of you anymore.

11. Repeat steps 6-10

That, my friends, is life in the blogosphere—at least for those of us who have no hope of becoming the next Scary Mommy or Mama Kat. It’s wild, it’s crazy, it’s emotionally draining…but at the end of the day, it’s well worth the pain.

We are bloggers. Hear us type.

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