Blogging is not for everyone.
But we’re certainly hearing a lot about it. It’s kind of what we do now.
Got something to say? Write a blog. Want to start a business? You’ll need a blog. Found the secret to parenting that everyone should know about? Blog it.
Much like the invention of the printing press, the internet has increased the spread of information. And blogs have increased the spread of opinions.
Bloggers can be professionals, experts in a field, even educators. They can also be loony Uncle Charlie, warning us about the mole people.
I’m not saying bloggers are crazy, but I’m not not saying that either.
I mean, who are these people that think nothing of spilling out intimate details of their lives across the cesspool of the internet?
Oh, I said cesspool alright.
How else do you explain duck face, cyberbullying, Instagram, the dreaded ‘fake news’, and pop-up ads?
And yes, I’m aware that I’m a blogger on the internet. My hypocrisy knows no bounds.
I should mention that if you’re not reading this with a heavily sarcastic inner voice, you’re not doing it right. I’m not really a jerk, I’m a sarcastic jerk.
If blogging’s so terrible, why do people do it?
It’s all ‘bout that hype, hype, hype.
The idea that every online endeavor has to include a blog. Blogging for business I get, that’s how I got started. But the idea of personal blogging doesn’t even make sense to me.
It’s like an online diary. Diaries are supposed to be private. A place to confess your secret fears, illicit desires, and megalomaniacal tendencies. You know, your plans to take over the world.
Those shouldn’t be for public consumption.
Yet there it is. A shout into the wilderness. It’s when the wilderness shouts back, that a blogger is born.
It doesn’t take much for a blogger to become giddy with self-importance.
For the most part, a beginner blogger can expect crickets. Then comes that first comment from a stranger: “you’re so interesting, I never thought of this before.”
Yaaasssssss. I am interesting. Tell me more, luminaries of the internet.
This is exactly how I moved from business blogging to opinion blogging. With the idea that I do have something to say, dammit, and people want to hear it! It’s more likely going to be lost in the void, but hey, I’m interesting. That’s what matters.
(Sarcastic inner voice, remember? Don’t let me down.)
It’s intoxicating to think that our words and thoughts are getting out there, being heard, gathering an audience. For me, that lasted about two seconds, before excitement turned to terror.
People are scary. Like, don’t-make-any-sudden-moves scary.
People believe what they want to believe, regardless of facts or truth. They’ll become enraged over a difference of opinion, a perceived slight (real or imagined), or an improper turn of phrase.
Or because it’s Monday.
People in America are extra scary. We love to beat our chests and growl about freedom and our rights. As if freedom gives us the right to do whatever we want (it doesn’t).
I’m ‘Merican. I do what I want, say what I want, think what I want.
Which means that every time I hit publish on a new blog post, my heart starts racing. Could this be the one? The post that gets noticed, goes viral? ::shudder::
We all want to believe that a post will go viral because people love it. They’ve connected to our words, they want to share them with the world, they’re our peeps!
Whoa there, Nelly.
That could happen, but don’t forget the internet cesspool.
Being a blogger means dealing with trolls and bullies.
An internet troll is simply a person being deliberately offensive. Their sole purpose is to disrupt and provoke. Engaging them is what they want. Don’t.
Bullies are more common. They’ve got to make their point, prove themselves right, and they’ll snare you in exhaustive circular arguments that mean nothing and go nowhere.
You ‘don’t know’ if mole people exist? What don’t you know? What do you mean by ‘exist’? If you don’t know, then you’re saying it’s possible? You didn’t say it wasn’t.
Attracting bullies is a good sign that your audience is growing. That’s good – you want an audience, otherwise you’re just journaling. You don’t need to be online for that.
Bullies are a sign you aren’t boring, also good. Boring bloggers are soon-to-be retired bloggers. Trolls and bullies are inevitable, but not fun.
In fact, you should know…
Bloggers really do get death threats.
Something about the internet makes people want to threaten each other. Nah, that’s probably just people.
If needing everyone to like you is important, definitely don’t become a blogger. Because there will be people who don’t like what you have to say or the way you say it.
One viral post can send a relatively unknown blogger into the internet crosshairs. Name calling and harassment can escalate to cyberstalking and death or rape threats (if you’re a female with opinions and such).
It would be nice to say these are extreme scenarios, but they happen too often to be left out of the discussion.
Even without going viral, no blogger is safe from the ever-present, casual, internet cruelty: This is totally unoriginal. Learn to write, loser.
Of course, it’s the internet, so it probably says looser.
Well then, what is so great about blogging?
That depends on why you’re doing it.
- To establish authority. Show yourself to be an expert in your field or on a topic. Blogging as an authority gives you totes legitimacy.
- To attract an audience. Reach more people who you can market to or partner with, and drive those people back to your website. More traffic is always good.
- Search engine ranking. Regular blogging makes you more attractive to Google, which puts you closer to a page one search. If that’s important for you.
- To share your knowledge or expertise. Making a difference in someone else’s life feels pretty damn good.
- To become a better writer. Practice makes perfect and all that crap.
- To stand out. Stop me if you’ve heard this one – only 1% of internet users actively create new content. The remaining 99% simply view/share it.
It certainly seems like there’s more than 1% of internet users creating content.
A new blog is born something like every second of the day. More content was created in the past two years, than in the entire previous history of the human race.
I’ve barely seen a fraction of that content, and much of it is not good.
I guess my point is if you don’t have to blog, don’t.
If you’ve read as many books as I have, which is hundreds, you know that not everyone can write. Except it appears that everyone is trying to be a writer.
It’s okay not to be.
Do what you are good at, not what the internet tells you to be good at.
If that’s not blogging, so be it.