Don’t Read My Blog

Don’t read my blog; I’m not writing it for you.

I’m not writing it to please you and much less to please the Google search engine. I’m not promising to solve your problems in life or sell you the magic formula for… [you name it].


Blog, n
A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
Origin: 1990s, abbreviation of weblog.
Oxford English Dictionary

The Real Reason Why Blogs Die

People start blogs and within half a year or a year, they give up. Sometimes they carry on for five, six years before they give up. Many of these blogs were a total waste of cyberspace of course but many weren’t. Why do people blog? And why do they stop?

If you research why blogs fail you will find loads of advice from blogs that make a living out of advising other bloggers. And this advice is all about statistics, growth, success measured in unique page views, in the number of e-mail subscribers… money making potential. I didn’t start this blog to make money, to sell advertising based on clicks or to tell you how you should live your life. I don’t want to become a cyber-Jesus and save mankind; most of it’s probably not worth saving anyway.

Through this blog I make sense of the world that I like to inhabit beyond the daily slog at work and the demands of family. Because I’m not just a mum or a wife or an employee; I’m a human being with ideas in my head. It’s a blog about books I read, history that inspires me, art that I admire; I jot down ideas that would be otherwise crowded out of my mind by the business of living. It’s a private journal – except that it’s public; it’s a student’s notebook. It’s not so much for your benefit as for mine. If it entertains you or teaches you something, I’m glad; if it doesn’t, move on. Life’s too short to read blogs that bore you.

This blog started out entirely private. It was originally only published to the desktop of a computer; then it was uploaded onto a tiny back-up box cum server in a corner of a dining room solely because the configuration of the said server needed to be tested by uploading something to it. In the end, the tiny server couldn’t cope with traffic and I couldn’t cope with the amount of breakdowns and I moved to wp.com.

The blog is now two years old and last night, actually, I considered making it private again.

Why?

Because it was only ever meant to be a bit of fun and I suddenly realised the fun was going out of it.

Inside the Hamster Wheel

I would have to be stupid not to notice how Google rewards me for writing any old s**t. Whenever I publish a post, the views spike. Within ten minutes, the number of views goes up. Natural, you’d think? People come to read the new post? Like hell. It’s just Google allowing people to find old posts. The same old posts they couldn’t find ten minutes earlier. The subsrcibers – well, some of them – read the new posts but on that day, Google rewards me with other readers.

Well, Google is a business and it does what businesses do: it makes money. It would be stupid and futile to hold this against them. The problem is not that Google rewards an ‘active’ blog in comparison to a ‘defunct’ one; the problem is that we let ourselves influenced by this. We want readers but readers only come when we publish a post: before long you’re writing every day although you have neither the time, nor the inspiration. Because if you don’t write, Google punishes you. Is this what you wanted?

It’s difficult not to be influenced, even subconsciously, by the statistics. After all, they’re right there on the front page every time you open up your blog. Killing your blog, unless you can distance yourself. Unless you can remember why you started doing this in the first place.

Why Blogs Survive

But we don’t have to be a slave to the follower count or the Google search engine.

When I started out blogging I didn’t even know what a blog really was; I never read a blog myself. I was not on social media and I didn’t know that you can have followers. I just had fun writing about something that interested me. I remember the surprise and the delight when I realised that people, somewhere out in the world, were actually reading my posts, that my blog could be found on Google, that some people even liked it well enough to subscribe.

I’m still hopeless about social media and about promoting the blog. Perhaps I should make an effort because if 300 people like reading what I write, perhaps there are 300 thousand who’d like it if they knew it existed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have 300 thousand followers?

Well, yes. But no, not if it means compromising who I am; and I’m not a salesman. I also don’t have unlimited time: it’s either blogging or promoting.

Through a unique combination of millions of cables crisscrossing the world, you managed to connect to this blog. You may be in Peru or Antarctica,  you may be rich or poor, young or old, male or female, religious or an atheist. What connects us is a shared interest in books, history, travel or art. You and I may have something to talk about. When that happens, that’s great. It gives me reason to blog some more.

In the past two years I met people whose blogs I admire because they are far more talented than I am. I met people whose comments make my day. I met people with really interesting jobs; I got to see how other people live, the places they travel to. I interviewed a genuine author of a genuine book, something I never thought I’d do; I hope to interview others. I met people who recommended me books that otherwise I’d have never read. Amazingly, I met people who enjoy to read what I write. And while I wrote, I learned more about history, art and literature and diverse other subjects like HTML coding or photography. So to all of you who read, liked, commented on or shared my posts in the past two years and to all of you who shared your world with me: thank you. Together we make the world more interesting.

Friendship… is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…”

(C. S. Lewis: The Four Loves)

 

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15 thoughts on “Don’t Read My Blog

  1. I like your blog precisely because it’s a personal indulgence. I’m a seeker of diversity and I like that you are unafraid to reveal how different you are.

    Google Analytics and whatnot are only helpful if you’re running a business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do question sometimes whether I add anything worthwhile to the vast collection of websites already existing and the truth is I probably don’t. But by leaving it public, there’s the chance to talk to likeminded people. (And if I ever manage to convince at least one person to read Herodotus, why, I’ll be very pleased!) 🙂

      Like

  2. oh who cares if what we do with the blog we write is “worthwhile” to someone else? Seriously I would worry if I was trying to sell something or somehow suck money out of people, but I don’t. I, like you, blog for me. Other people seem to get something from my stupid babbling and that makes me feel good, but if they all stopped tomorrow it wouldn’t bother me at all. I like reading what you write. I see myself sometimes in what you say..sometimes I see my younger self and smile..sometimes i cry. For what it is worth I would miss reading what you have to say should you go private again…but believe me, I get the desire for the privacy to return.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. stephieann8

    I needed to read this today. Thank you for the reminder that we should blog for ourselves. I put so much pressure on myself to post that I end up going weeks without because I get brain block. My problem is that perhaps I shouldn’t have invited so many of my personal life to know about my blog. I fear that a part of what holds me back is the fear of offending someone in my real life. I wanted people to read my blog and spread it because I was concerned about views. It took me some time to start ignoring the stats. Now I need my writing groove back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s why I blog anonymously… I didn’t want to worry about who might or might not get offended or if I give away too much personal details or not. It did mean I started out with zero followers but at least the followers who are here are genuine, rather than just friends and family humouring me. 🙂 Anyhow, I think one of the commenters here put it the best – the stats only matter if you’re trying to build / run a business. I’m not and I don’t think you are either.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you decided to stay open – I love popping in, because you write about interesting books I might never have thought about or even come across.
    I have the same feeling about social media; infact other than my blog, I stay well clear of it all.
    I remember making a comment on it about the images I post being what I like and if others enjoy looking at them, great. So I can well understand your feelings about Google & stats, along with messages saying I can increase my visit numbers or make money by advertising; if i wanted that, I’d open a shop.
    Please don’t go making it private, because what you write is inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, David. It’s nice to know that you enjoy it. (Although calling it inspirational is perhaps a bit strong! 🙂 )

      I know what you mean about the messages as well, it’s just such a waste of my time weeding them out even if Akismet catches most of them!

      Like

  5. I’m delayed getting back to this but enjoyed reading your writing as usual. Like many others who’ve commented already I would miss your individual voice in the blogosphere if you weren’t blogging. I enjoy the variety and your conversational style of writing and how efficiently you convey reflections on reading, topics you’ve been exploring and so on. Hope all is well with you and yours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All is well, thank you, Colette & it’s nice to know you’re enjoying the blog. I meant it simply for a book blog & it turned into a blog of discovery but I learned so much (& continue to do so) & met such nice people that I’m quite happy with the way it turned out to be.

      The important thing is not to become a slave to statistics, I suppose, just carry on the way you want!

      Like

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