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I Can’t Keep Up: a Blogging Manifesto

I am the Lorax.  I speak for the blogs.  I speak for the blogs, for the blogs have no thumbs.  And I’m asking you, readers, at the top of my lungs” — she was very upset as she typed, red-faced and bitter — “Please don’t give up writing your blogs for Twitter!
–to paraphrase the late, great Dr. Suess

The comments on the ghost blog post made me think deeply about this.  And I want to start out by admitting that this may be a difficult post for you to read.  It may make you squirm.  I hope that you will read to the bottom instead of quitting in the middle. Hopefully when you get to the end, you will agree that it isn’t anti-Twitter. Rather, it’s pro-blogging.

I’ve made a decision that for the time being, I’m not signing up for any other social media site.  I have a Twitter account and a Facebook account, and I use both for about ten minutes per day total.  I jump on, see what streams past, maybe leave an update myself, and log off.

It’s a conscious decision to give my attention purposefully.  If I’m out with people, they have my attention.  If I’m on the computer, the words on the screen have my attention.  Which is not to say that I never glance down at my phone as I feel new emails come in to see if they’re urgent.  And I’ve certainly sat in the passenger seat on a long car ride and read a few emails.  But I try to make that the exception to the rule rather than my norm.  I like to give my best self to every task or person, and the only way I can do that — personally — is to compartmentalize and give each task or person their fair amount of uninterrupted attention.

This is precisely why Twitter and Facebook and the like don’t work for me as well as blogs.  They are all written on the other person’s time line rather than my own.

It’s the difference between getting your news from a ticker tape and getting your news from the newspaper.  If I’m getting it from the ticker tape, I need to stand in front of the building and read and read and read or I’ll miss the news.  Of course, I can make the choice to step away and do something else, but it’s understood that the words are marching on without me.  And while I stand in front of the building, reading the ticker tape, I am only half paying attention to everything else around me.

Newspapers are on my time line, except for the fact that they’re only printed once a day and in the morning.  I sit down and read them when I am ready to read them, and they sit, waiting for me, until I’m ready to come around.

The same can be said for the difference between social media sites and blogs.  If I want to keep up with another person on Twitter, to know what is happening in the lives of my friends, I need to do it on their time.  If I don’t, the words will pass off the screen by the time I come around to log in.  Whereas with a blog, the post sits in my Reader until I am ready to dedicate the time to read it.

Twitter is wonderful for the quick question and the quicker answer.  It is wonderful to jump on when you are having a terrible day, declare that you are having a terrible day, and reap some comfort.  But too many people leave important information on social media sites and then get cranky when people miss their news.  People are ditching their blogs because they don’t feel like they have the time to write a full post, though they can quickly throw something up on Twitter.

But I didn’t get into blogging for the ability to throw something up quickly any more than I got into cooking so I could jump into pulling together fast food.  There are nights when I need to phone it in with a bowl of cereal because it’s all I have time to make, but it would make me really sad if that’s the way we ate most nights.  Cooking matters to me.

Blogging matter to me.

I am the Lorax, and I speak for the blogs (for the blogs have no thumbs), but I think we all know that I’m really speaking for myself.

*******

When I got into blogging, I got into it because it was about writing and I was a writer.  Even if I wasn’t a published author at the time, writing was the fine art medium in which I best connected with other people.  The Web gave all people the ability to dabble in their chosen art form and get their work out there to a vast amount of people — a task that felt nearly impossible prior to the advent of the Internet — whether it was in the form of video, podcast, music, or words.

What happened to the idea of getting your writing out there?  Of blogging as a writing exercise?  When did it stop being about piecing together the best paragraphs possible, conveying your thoughts with words?

Because while Twitter may contain words and there may even be some clever 140-character phrasing that I’ve found moving or funny, it is far from a writing exercise except within the idea that you need to parse down your phrasing to as few words as possible.  I would give a nod towards those who use Twitter in the same way that poets use haiku, but so few people on Twitter actually go into their status updates with that kind of mindfulness.  With that kind of sacredness given to the choice of words.

Not everyone went into blogging with the intention to write masterpieces.  Some went into blogging simply because they wanted to get down what happened in their day.

But inadvertently, due to the emotion imbued in the words, masterpieces did take place.  Someone may write a post about going to the beach, but their words, what they describe, the story they tell transcends the intention simply to record a trip to the beach.  Everyday, bloggers inadvertently create what is a masterpiece in another reader’s eyes.  I find dozens of them weekly.  I pick out my four or five favourites for each Friday Blog Roundup.

Twitter was supposed to support what blogs started rather than replace it.  It was supposed to be a way to additionally express creativity.  But now it seems to have devolved into what amounts to a public IM conversation or a way to advertise — either the self or a product or sometimes the self as a product.

Blogging, a medium that started about writing, has devolved into branding and chasing followers.  Blogs — that actual meat, the protein — are being ditched in order to spend time exclusively with social media — the carbs.  It’s fast.  It has a lot of energy.  But it doesn’t stick with you.  And I would argue that as a writer, it certainly doesn’t make you grow.  As a reader, I’d be hard-pressed to accept an argument that it furthers your creativity.

 *******

I am aware that the last two paragraphs may have pissed you off.  Raised the hairs on your back.  You are free to click away, but I hope you read on and don’t leave misunderstanding how I feel about social media.

The fact is that I’m sad to hear people say that they ditched their blogs for Twitter because it’s faster and easier.  And I gave you fair warning in that opening that I’m red-faced and bitter.

I am bitter because I feel a tug-of-war between blogs and social media (rather than a supportive collaboration), and it makes me unfairly lash out at Twitter, ignoring its good points and focusing solely on its underbelly.  But also — to be fair — Twitter has a fairly large and exposed underbelly.  Would Twitter have catapulted to success if the number of followers you had remained hidden, known only to the user?

Or is part of the draw of Twitter because we can easily grow our reach fairly quickly.  Follow someone and they most likely will follow you back.  Read someone else’s blog and comment on it (a task that takes a lot of time) and they may or may not follow you back.  But I think we all know that Twitter numbers are fairly meaningless.  I have 2000+ followers.  How many of them do you think really read my status updates?

Shit.  I’m doing it again.  I meant to beg you to stay and read the rest of my thoughts, but my frustration with social media rears its ugly head.  It is such an ugly side of my brain at the moment.

*******

I am also aware that this post makes me sound like a curmudgeon, shaking my stick at the younger generation.  In my day, you wrote blog posts, and you liked it (and you had to type uphill to the computer both ways).  And certainly the Once-ler saw the Lorax as an old busybody, getting in the way of his fun.  And maybe the Lorax did come across as fun-loving as my militant, AFL-CIO-preaching ex-boyfriend, but wasn’t the Lorax right in the end?  Even if he spread his message in the most insufferable way?

I may be an insufferable fool, admittedly unable to keep up with this newfangled technology, but I also fear that we’re not using the mediums afforded to us well enough.  Writers have an amazing opportunity to not only practice their art, but to send it out there and get feedback on it.  Without this blog and my ability to prove that people respond to my words, I doubt I’d have two books out on the bookshelf.

This is not an anti-Twitter rant (or an anti-Facebook or anti-Google+ or any of those sites rant) — as I said in the beginning, I have a Twitter account and a Facebook account, and I’m not planning on ditching either.  Though I’ll continue to use them as I’ve been using them: sparingly.  And I’m not signing up for the next big thing that comes down the pike.

And despite what you may think from the words above, I’m not anti-branding or collecting followers.  On the contrary, I am going to do a sponsored review post soon for a brand that I believe in.  An opportunity came up that fit who I am and gave the twins items I possibly couldn’t have afforded otherwise.

At the end of the day, without meaning to monetize this blog, I have inadvertently monetized this blog simply by writing it.  PR people offer me free things and I have gotten many paid jobs on account of this blog.  As I’ve already said, I probably wouldn’t have two books out if not for this blog.

Making money doing what I love AND getting the life I want with the twins is something I understand and support when I see other people attempting to get it too.  Therefore I support people who are trying to make a living at this.  That’s not really the problem I’m writing about.  I’m talking about those who are ditching their blogs in favour of something faster.  Of a place where they can collect more followers.  Where they can point at their numbers and have that mean more than the quality of the writing.

It’s a fine line to walk, but I think you can do it.  You can take the opportunities and enjoy them, or monetize your blog AND still write something that is enjoyable, that changes how people see the world, that touches people emotionally.  I can point to many bloggers who do it well.

And there is a lot of good that comes from Twitter.  There are revolutions that have come from Twitter, though if we’re going to say that, there are also revolutions that have come from blogs.  I think we need Twitter, we need Facebook and the like.  But we also need balance, co-existence.  Not one for the other.  I get sad when once rich blogs lie fallow, their authors now streaming all of their words from their phones in 140 characters.

*******

Not everyone on Twitter started out on the blogs.  Not everyone wants to write or be a writer.  Sometimes people just want to let their friends and family know what they’re doing.  Sometimes people start blogs solely to monetize it and try to make a living at home, and they’re not using blogging as a writing exercise.  Sometimes people simply lose interest in blogging and writing is not a worthwhile use of their time.  Those are all valid reasons to remove the focus from the blog world and put it on Twitter.

This post is not for those people.

It’s for those who started out as writers, who got into blogging because they like to write and they want people to read their writing.  And they still want to be writers, but they’ve stopped writing.

*******

I want you to take five minutes today to write down why you got into blogging and stick it over your computer.  As a reminder.  Because sometimes we need to remember why we entered the game since we’re spun round and round by new information once we get inside.

And I wrote this as an admittance that I can’t keep up.  I can’t keep up with the new social media sites that pop up daily, forcing me to learn new software and build new circles.  I can’t keep up with the existing ones — with Twitter or Facebook — and their constant stream of information.  I dip into it, but I miss more than I catch.  I just can’t keep up.  And I’m not going to try.

I started blogging because I wanted to write.  I wanted people to read my writing.  I wanted to connect with a community of people experiencing a similar situation to my situation.  I wanted to give support and information to others.  I am going to a blogging conference in a few weeks and I hope to connect with others who came to blogging for the same reason.

Why did you get into blogging?

And are you going to write a post today?

67 comments

1 Janey { 07.19.11 at 7:55 am }

Blogging was like writing a secret diary of heartache… but with the knowledge that someone somewhere might find it. Read it. Send back comfort or reassurance or just acknowledgement.

My blog was a message in a bottle. Are you out there? Does anyone understand what I’m feeling? Have you been here? Will it get better?

I didn’t actively promote the blog or seek followers but a few kindred spirits did find me, follow me, support me and offer peace that I couldn’t get from the ‘real’ world. Now my life is very different and I’m considering ending my blog. But I’ll definitely be starting a new blog about my new normal.

I don’t think Twitter could have done any of this for me.

2 N { 07.19.11 at 8:02 am }

Why did you get into blogging?

For the support.

And are you going to write a post today?

Possibly. Probably not. But that has more to do with having been up until 2:30 this morning, and having to work today. I did, however, write a (very small, very meaningless) post on my non-TTC journal last night, so I feel like that ought to count for something. XD

None of it is a writing exercise, though I do try to not put out crappy writing in either place. For me, it’s not either/or, and the reasons I’ve been posting less have very little to do with twitter, and I’m certainly not abandoning the blog. I’m sad to hear that other people are doing so in favor of twitter, because they’re such different creatures.

However – If I don’t, the words will pass off the screen by the time I come around to log in. – this (often) isn’t the case for me. And I’d argue that it sometimes is still the case for blogs. On twitter, unless I’ve been away ALL day (I do try to check it several times a day; even with a large feed, that allows me to do it fairly quickly), I scroll back to the last thing I read. The words aren’t gone. If I leave it too, too long, sure, they are. But the same is true with the blogs I read. I mean, certainly they’re not GONE, but gone is my ability to sit down and give them attention. If I log into my reader once a day, I’ve got about 120 new posts. And some of them get the short end of the stick. And how many people do you know who just leave things in their reader unread for weeks and then just mark them as read without reading them? I think that, though that is a problem that is, perhaps, more apparent with twitter (especially as people often go there for instant advice or support), it’s not in any way restricted to twitter.

And don’t get me started on the branding/advertising/chasing. I could (if I had the time and attention span, har), write a book about how that annoys me (and have spent a lot of time the last few weeks trying to figure out why it does bother me quite SO much, past the idea that it’s not for me (which is usually where my caring ends; I usually am not bothered by what other people choose to do for themselves). I’ve considered writing a post about it, but I’m about 99.9% certain that my feelings would piss most everybody off, so I haven’t. Plus the time and attention span thing. XD

All of which is to say, I like this post. I’ll have to go back and read more closely the comments to the other one.

3 N { 07.19.11 at 8:14 am }

Oh! I also meant to say: Don’t take this the wrong way, please, as I have no problem with it in the reality of my daily twitter feed and my friends, but as I do view twitter as a community and a place for give and take, it’s hard for me to read somebody saying that they would only pop in if they need an answer or support. To me, the best people on twitter are not just those who are asking or facilitating the communication, but those who also put back. Not 24/7, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I know that I certainly feel guilty when I’m not giving back, in addition to taking.

(Also, as an unrelated sidebar, for me personally a big non-community-related draw of twitter is following the people involved with shows and things that I like. But I still have lines there, and will only follow somebody if they seem like somebody I’d like, based on what they ARE putting out there. But it still bothers me even when people like that are all about the branding. I’m not going to follow a celebrity if all they do is talk about their own brand; like anybody else on twitter (or blogs), I want to see what they have to say of substance.)

4 Lollipopgoldstein { 07.19.11 at 8:19 am }

I agree, N, I’m definitely not really part of the community aspect of Twitter as I am with blogging. Maybe that is what bothers me — it feels empty sometimes to me based on the way I use it. But I also don’t see enough protein there to use it differently.

5 Blanche { 07.19.11 at 8:19 am }

There are certainly some bloggers I read whose writing seems to have become secondary to the brand. ( The most blatant example starts with a “D” and rhymes with Moose.) But I find myself still reading or at least checking in for that now very occasional post that returns to the writing that captivated me before the “brand” became more important.

For myself, I have found that I do spend more time on FB and twitter because of the immediacy of the medium. My blog posts, excluding the monthly updates on our Little One, had become more and more sound bites and less thoughtful, which is why I switched to the other mediums as something like “Hey trucker the speed limit is 70 not 60″ didn’t really reflect depth worthy of a blog post.

As for why I got into blogging, it was a great way to kill some excess time at work, then it became my outlet and connection to others in similar predicaments for the IF issues we were having, and now, well, it’s just hanging out there waiting for the times when I do have something more thoughtful I want to express than can be contained by 140 characters or a 2/3 line update. As such, I have no plans for a post today (except for this tome).

6 Heather { 07.19.11 at 8:20 am }

I am done with social media other than Twitter and FB too. There are too many other options, and I honestly don’t have time to do much other than wipe my own butt some days.

Will I blog…not right now. I’m in the middle of a cross roads in my own life and I’m hoping we’re going to come out on the side of greatness, but I don’t have time to adequately write about all of it. Nor do I have the words right now.

I don’t think you’re becoming an old lady. I think in the end we’re the smart ones…too many people turn to SM for their needs, then neglecting those sitting next to them on the couch. I’d rather hold hands and watch a movie, than worry about what the rest of the world is doing at 10PM. ;)

7 jodifur { 07.19.11 at 8:21 am }

I’m not going to blog today, but because I wrote a really emotionally draining post yesterday and I’m kind of tired. But otherwise, I agree 100% with what you said. Lately I’ve been really missing the “no niche” personal blog.” And yes, that is what I consider you, and me, and most “mommy blogs.” Grr. I started blogging because it was fun, and I always say when it stops being fun, I’m not blogging anymore. There are some fantastic writers out there why aren’t really writing and it is all about, promote, promote, stumble, re-tweet, FB. I miss the blogs of yore. (How old do I sound? I used to blog uphill in the snow both ways.)

8 VA Blondie { 07.19.11 at 8:28 am }

I got into blogging because I needed an outlet for my infertility journey. I thought of it like an interactive journal. I continue to blog for myself. It is somewhere for me to put my thoughts and work things out.

I may write a post today, depending on how the day works out. I love having the prompts from Calliope’s summer camp. I did write a post yesterday explaining that I was sick and felt miserable, so I have sort given me an out, should I not feel up to it.

I like to write. There is something about it which is helpful to me. I need more than just a twitter feed to satisfy me, apparently. Writing on a blog forces me to have a bit of structure, which in turn helps me work out what is really going on. My writing has improved considerably since I started blogging.

I am similar to you in respect to Twitter and Facebook, though I am not nearly as regular about checking in. Twitter and FB allow glimpses into what is happening with the other person, but blogs allow you insight into the blogger’s perspective on the situation. I think that is important.

9 liljan98 { 07.19.11 at 9:36 am }

Guilty as charged, is all I can say about me and it’s freaking me out a little bit how well you put the whole dilemma into words. I’m one of those who doesn’t blog as much as I used to and use twitter for a lot of stuff I used to blog about. The hassles of daily life and such. In this case I still think twitter is the better medium for me because I of the instant action/reaction. But, and that’s the important part, over the last few months I miss writing longer pieces. I always tell myself I’m too busy or I don’t have anything important/interesting to write about, but that’s not all that true. For one: I obviously have enough time to keep checking twitter a lot! And secondly, when I started blogging I paid much less thought on if my blog posts were “important” or interesting, I just felt the need to put my thoughts out there. (Or to actually put my thoughts into words, publishing those on a blog was just the second step). And becaue I felt this need, I didn’t really care a lot if anyone would read it. It’s different now and if I’m honest I don’t like that attitude in myself.

So thanks a lot for this post and for making me think about the whole situation. Or to be more precise: For kicking my butt and make me want to start writing more :)

10 Sarah { 07.19.11 at 10:32 am }

This post spoke to me in a way few ever have. I didn’t realize I feel the exact same way. I have been telling people I hate FB, but when they ask why I don’t have much of an answer. Just… it feels false. I do like twitter, but I ALWAYS feel behind. Like I am missing things becuse I JUST DONT HAVE TIME. And then I sit down to write on my blog and I feel like I always have time for that. Like that is where my time should go.

I don’t know, I haven’t ever walked away from my blog for other social media. I have never found one that is a voice like bio girl is for me. I love writing. And I think I always will be here at this blog, typing away. Even if nobody is reading. I like to do a few extra things here and there, book reviews and such, but really that is because I love words. I love to read, so it’s an easy fix. Just like I am thinking about posting recipes, but really only because I enjoy cooking so much.

I don’t know, I guess I am standing right there behind you, totally agreeing. Thanks for writing this. Now I am going to go share it on twitter :) but I have learned from posting my own links that just like you, my readers aren’t all reading. Very few are actually.

11 serenity { 07.19.11 at 10:34 am }

How do you always DO this – write something that’s at the forefront of my mind right now? You scare me sometimes.

I joined FB and Twitter because someone convinced me to. I like Facebook, but lately I’ve spent little to no time on it either.

Twitter makes my head hurt; I can’t keep up with the discussions. But community-wise, when I post that I’m hurting, I get love and hugs and a quick “thinking of you” that I don’t get on my blog as much anymore.

I started blogging because I had this thought that I was going to be a writer; I was going to chronicle my life. I’m at an odd place with it right now; working through so many emotions about being done with family building, unhappy with my career but not certain of the next step, the ups and downs of parenting a VERY three three-year-old, the marathon training, which has been great, but sucks time from my life. I suppose, ultimately, I just don’t know where my blog fits in right now.

I think about writing a post and I get TIRED. Because I say the same things over and over, and I’m sort of tired of hearing myself talk.

Yet walking away doesn’t seem right either, because I’ve been blogging for so damn long and I hate that there are so many bloggers that have faded into the ether. I just need to find my mojo, I suppose.

I guess I could post about this today. :)

xoxo

12 Peg { 07.19.11 at 11:24 am }

Honestly, I have no interest in twitter and never have. I don’t get it. I do have a facebook account and I have enjoyed keeping up with old friends from college, etc. I tend to use facebook for funny quips about the kids, etc. and posting the occasional picture. It has been great during the women’s world cup to post with friends I played with in college while watching the games. I have to say I like facebook.

I started blogging because I needed an outlet that was only mine. I needed the ability to pour out my feelings in another place besides once a week on my therapist’s couch. I’ve read blogs for years and saw the support those writers have gotten from their internet community. At this point in my life I need that. Since I started, I write posts in my head or hear a song on my ipod and see how it could connect to a good post. I don’t see myself becoming an author professionally, but I need my blog to help me get through this difficult time in my life. Lately, it seems my blog is the only thing that I do for myself.

13 Peg { 07.19.11 at 11:29 am }

Oh…and I might write a post today…our 15 year old just started dating and it’s thrown us for a bit of a loop. I might need some internet feedback :)

14 HereWeGoAJen { 07.19.11 at 11:29 am }

Twitter has been annoying me lately. It seems like so many people are using it for things that I don’t understand and I am not at all interested in reading about. (I’m thinking like that location thing, where you tell everyone where you are to earn points and that television show thing where you tell everyone what you are watching.) And some of these people are people that I love. But I am thisclose to unsubscribing to them on Twitter because that is all they seem to post about now. I am hoping it will disappear soon, like that (thankfully) short lived phenomena of the automatic “What I Tweeted Today” blog post. People stopped doing that when they realized that it was incredibly annoying.

That being said, I do like Twitter in general. I love it for funny things that happen that are too short for a blog post. And I love reading everyone else’s funny things that happen.

And to answer your questions: I got into blogging because I wanted the community and the support. The writing is a huge part of that because that is how I connect. And yes, I will definitely post today, maybe even twice. :)

15 sushigirl { 07.19.11 at 11:40 am }

I hate Twitter – I just cannot get into it at all. I used to be on Facebook all the time but I can’t be arsed with it either. Not because of all the baby photos, but just because my feed is taken up with one or two people who seem to believe that because their brain has generated a thought, that everyone else needs to know about it. All bloody day, everyday. Pass the curmudgeon stick!

16 Tigger { 07.19.11 at 11:47 am }

I use FB and Twitter as a place to rant, or drop a thought that is only a few sentences long. I started blogging initially as a place to put a few pieces of information that I wanted to be able to see if/when they panned out. It took off from there, 5 years ago. I’ve had a harder time blogging over the past couple of years, whereas when I started I was posting almost every day. Life has changed, gotten busier, and I don’t have TIME to write all the posts in my head. Or when I have the time, I don’t think people really want to read. I’ve never had many followers and that never used to bother me, because I was writing to remember things. It bothers me more now, however, because I feel that after five years I should have more people interested in what I have to say and I don’t. I feel like I’m constantly shouting into the void. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate my few readers – I do. I like getting comments because then at least I know I’m heard by someone and they cared enough to say something. For the longest time I was blogging when I needed a place to rant and I just don’t need to rant as much anymore as I am coming to grips with my temper.

I have the same problem with FB sometimes. I write status after status and some days I get no response. I have over a hundred friends there, most of whom I actually KNOW IN PERSON! Some are friends of friends that I’ve gotten to know and like, and a few rare exceptions are there because of some game or another. As for Twitter, I could care less if people respond to something I said. Whatever I put out there doesn’t really need a response most of the time. If I have a question for a specific person, I will address them. If I get RT’d or replied to, I am thrilled…mostly when it’s an author or artist that responds to me, because then it’s “omg a famous person responded!” And no, I don’t follow any BIG names – they are webserial authors, a blogger/writer, and a webcomic author. They are still famous. :)

I may or may not write a post today. This post has triggered a few things and I may go write. Then again, I also need to shower and do laundry and work on baby food and handle the Boy and…

17 Rebecca { 07.19.11 at 11:51 am }

Very interesting.
I have to admit, I’ve never felt I was a “writer”, or very good at it, anyway. But I do feel the same in some ways about social media sites. I can’t keep up either. And I always wind up feeling like I felt in fifth grade when the girl who was my friend picked someone else to be her friend and because that friend didn’t like me I lost my first friend. It’s so incredibly “clique-ish”. And most of the time, childish. It’s frustrating in some ways, but I think more of my disillusionment is because so many people seem so fake on those sites. And not to seem “holier than thou”, but I just can’t make myself follow, friend, or whatever, someone when every other word out of their mouth is the F-bomb. My Twitter time and FB time ebb and flow, depending on what is going on in my life or my day. Same with my blogging.

Which leads me to your question, why did I get into blogging?
Well, my first blog was a weight loss/general life/knitting blog. Then it morphed into a IF/general life/knitting blog, heavy on the IF.
Now I’m trying to find a balance and a niche where I fit in and a direction for my blog. We’re not actively TTC, but we will be in the next year (YAY!!!), so I’m still an IF blogger. I write about my knitting projects and other hobbies as well as general life stuff. And as my faith is growing and I become stronger in that aspect of my life, my blog is reflecting my faith and religion as well. I blog mainly for me…to get the swirling random thoughts down before they at times overwhelm me. Sometimes I blog to entertain. Sometimes I blog to share projects I’ve worked on or photos or special events. Sometimes I blog because I just feel the need to write.

And I’m sure before the end of the day, something will pop up on my blog. :)

Thanks for another thought provoking post. :)

18 Esperanza { 07.19.11 at 11:57 am }

Wow, you know that post you put on Promptly, the one where you asked for social media posts? Well I think mine will actually answer these questions. I wrote one draft but I think I’m going to start over and do it again. I’ll email when I’m putting it up.

I do want to say this though, as someone who has a very popular blogs and more subscribers than I have Twitter followers, the experience you get of being able to share your writing with others and get responses in return is very different from my own. It might be hard for you to know what the newer, unknown blogger is up against in the over-saturated blog-market of today, when everyone is clamouring for an audience so that someone can just READ their work. I long ago abandoned any dreams of monetizing my writing, that seems like a lightening strikes kind of situation, but even just getting people to read my work is hard. I’m not saying that Twitter (or other social media) is where to go, I’m just acknowledging how hard it can be for a blogger who really is interested in the meat of this thing we call writing when there aren’t enough people willing to come to dinner.

19 Finding My New Normal { 07.19.11 at 12:10 pm }

I started blogging as an outlet for my grief. I just needed to get it all out there. I had no experience in the world of blogging beforehand. In fact, I didn’t read any blogs until I had my own. Slowly but surely I made connections and people started following my blog.

I still don’t do sponsored posts or have any advertising. It just doesn’t feel right for me at the moment. In fact, I rarely read other people’s sponsored posts. If I see one in my reader I just skip it. I really don’t care if this brand of sippy cup is good or not. I want to read what people are doing and thinking and feeling…. not what they are reviewing because someone sent it to them for free.

I started a twitter and facebook page for my blog because I figured I should. I do find value in my twitter page, it’s another source to connect and find some great bloggers. I still haven’t figured out what my facebook page is doing for me. I’ve considered shutting it down but want to give it another month or so.

But in the end it’s the blogging that does it for me. Everything else is just an accessory.

20 KeAnne { 07.19.11 at 12:20 pm }

You aren’t a curmudgeon! The death of the blog at the hands of social media has been greatly exaggerated. Most of the bloggers I know use Twitter as a tool to drive traffic back to the blog. It’s a sound bite, another channel. But there are relationships and conversations there too.

I love Twitter. I am a Twitter addict, but I feel like a part of me is missing because my blog is rather ghostly right now. All my twitter followers know about me comes from my tweets, and that seems very reductive right now.

Having said the above, as I said yesterday, I am itching to get back into blogging. I started blogging not because I am a writer but because I needed to communicate. What I needed to communicate at the time was my frustration and hurt over infertility. The small community of friends I found were great, and I hate that I let my IF blog become a ghost. It wasn’t intentional. Now that I’m finished with grad school, I find that there are a lot more things I want to talk about.

I’m not looking to become a brand. I’m kind of turned off by those kinds of blogs. I need to talk, to write, to get my thoughts out there. I have a book blog I abandoned too that I hope to resurrect.

There’s been a lot of changes in my life over the last 2 years: one or two very good changes and two deaths. I’m hoping this year will be the year of resurrection.

21 marilyn { 07.19.11 at 12:37 pm }

I hope this is not a warning you will be leaving blogger. You have inspired me so much! Your writing, your books, your community. I can not tell you how much I appreciate your writing. I started writing( blogging) to get support with Infertility. I wrote almost everyday…I crying through my writing, and found my voice. Through that, I changed jobs to blogging for a company. I still do not know what I am doing completely..but my experience with blogging at Trying to conceive has opened the doors for me! :) Lately..I have noticed that I write..and others my 56 followes do not comment. At first I was shocked, but I do not really care. I write because now I realize I do not have the same community that i am pregnant. That does make me feel a little sad..now that i have written that. But I understand it might hurt others dealing with infertility to hear about my excitement about my pregnancy. I should probably post about this later..I have a flood of thoughts and feelings as i write this sentence. But I too need to control my time on facebook and twitter. It is a learning experience to not want your followers( your supposed friends and followers) to congratulate you when your are sad or happy, or just support you.

22 JDragonfly { 07.19.11 at 1:03 pm }

At this point, I am a consumer-only of the blogosphere. (Sorry! I feel badly about that but I currently work full time and attend law school four nights a week, plus am dealing with sustaining and strengthening my marriage while undergoing IF treatments – so, I don’t have the time or energy resources required to think deeply about issues and to craft well drafted, intentional blog posts.) With that in mind, here’s my perspective on this topic:

My IF journey began fairly recently and I’m just beginning to fill my reader with blogs to follow. I am careful about which blogs I select. I do not choose Twitter-ish blogs. If I wanted “stream of consciousness” writing, I would be on Twitter. But I want help analyzing and working through what I’m experiencing in IF. I want relationship and community. So, I read blogs.

Because of how vulnerable my heart is right now in my IF journey, I need the authors I read to be thoughtful… I want the real thoughts and emotions of others’ experiences, but filtered and packaged so that they help me rather than hurt me. And I sure as heck need more depth than can be conveyed in 140 characters.

There is something very valuable about writing that is well considered and developed. Such writing belongs on blogs. The other stuff – well, that can migrate to Twitter as far as I’m concerned.

23 jjiraffe { 07.19.11 at 2:17 pm }

I’m at the airport on my I-Phone so please excuse bad grammar and auto-correct. But I could not wait 12 hours to respond. (Although, I probably should.)

I want to publish a book, and help others do the same and so much of the feedback I have received from those in the publishing know is that publishers and agents now look at three things: Blog traffic, how many twitter followers you have, and Klout scores. (And Facebook to a lesser extent.) I continue to put my main focus on writing my blog and commenting on others, but these other methods are kind of making me frantic. I like Twitter: I have “met” some great people on there but you cannot be away from it for more than a day, or you are totally out of the loop.

I don’t know what the answer is for me, but I’m really glad you wrote this. I needed to hear it, right now. Now I’ll get on my plane and really dig into my thoughts on this.

24 chhandita { 07.19.11 at 2:26 pm }

Thank you so much for this post! I signed onto twitter because everybody was doing it and it was just like IM! I could’nt keep. I deleted my twitter account.

I started blogging because I needed an outlet for all my pent up emotions. Writing had always been my refuge. And no I wont post today. Tomorrow definitely :) Thanks again for this post. I dont feel so bad about not having a twitter account anymore

25 Chickenpig { 07.19.11 at 2:44 pm }

I started blogging because I felt terribly lonely. No one among our family and friends new what my husband and I were going through. I couldn’t blog though, because I felt my words were important, and sometimes I was in so much pain my words sounded like “AAAAAaaaarg ow ow ow ow AAAaaarg!!!!” It is very much the same reason I stopped practicing the flute, because I was so out of practice the sound of my playing was painful to my ears. Now that I am no longer in as much immediate pain, I can take more time to think about what I’m saying, and how I say it.

You bet I’ll be posting something today. Something deep and profound that will change the Universe forever ;) or not.

26 JustHeather { 07.19.11 at 3:36 pm }

So many of you have said the exact same reasons for why I started blogging: an online journal and connectivity. And the comments to this post show exactly that! I think the very first comment by Janey sums me up the best.
And yes, I did go quickly write a blog post for this. I was wanting to write something today, but nothing had struck me before this. http://rowan6.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-i-started-blogging.html

27 stephanie { 07.19.11 at 3:46 pm }

I started blogging because I wanted to tell the story of me becoming a mother. And as I see that as a lifelong process with inevitable ups and downs, I figured there would be post fodder for years to come. I started out writing for my mother, actually. She lives about 350 miles from me and I wanted her to read about the antics of her grandchild. But I also wanted her to get to know me in a very personal way. I wanted to put my inner self onto the page so that she could now me in an adult way. Not just as her daughter, but as a woman with a child of her own, trying to figure it all out. Just as she had done. I started to write and I found that I loved myself and my mother more. And my son. And my husband. It tied me to reality and let me process things on the shit days and celebrate on the great days.

Did I want people to read my blog? Sure. And I have a handful of readers that I know of. Mostly family and friends. People already invested in my life. Every now and then, though, a stranger will comment on my blog or mention that they have read what I wrote and a jolt of electricity flies through me. “Really?” I want to say. Did it make you feel like it makes me feel when someone really nails an experience? Was it a sillier post and you found me funny. Do you like me, huh, huh, huh?

It feels like with Twitter and FB, there is no possibility for that. No possibility for someone to get to know me. I am limited to 160 characters. Nothing that I experience can be summed up in so few words. I am a woman that spent 10 minutes talking about a cupcake once. I love life and Twitter and FB give me the impression of abbreviating my life and experiences. But my life and my experiences are not an abbreviation. I need to wander and meander and take my time because I only get to walk this sphere once. A blog post can do that. A tweet? Not so much.

And am I going to write a post today? Ummmm, no. Because I am SUPPOSED to be on an internet break. Damn Panera wi-fi.

28 Elizabeth { 07.19.11 at 4:12 pm }

I meant to write a post today, but instead I used the window of time I had to skype with a dear friend in another country. So I used the Internet to connect through words, but with only one person and orally. But it’s funny – we both mentioned things we were thinking about blogging about soon :). (Oh, and this was the friend who got me started blogging in the first place!)

I use Twitter like mental potato chips: purely for entertainment. Not for keeping up with people. Most of the people I follow are comedians (Paula Poundstone is awesome on Twitter!)

29 Barb { 07.19.11 at 4:29 pm }

DITTO!

30 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.19.11 at 6:18 pm }

Love love love your analogies, and how they will make me more aware of where I put my energy. Into protein? Or into carbs?

Also, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the metrics of blogging success, alongside the actual writing success. And then Lily Tomlin pops into my head:

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

Which means, to me, that no metric is worth a writer’s soul.

31 Erica { 07.19.11 at 6:36 pm }

There’s a lot of meat here. I guess that I use twitter and FB (and now Google + – hey, don’t look at me like that!) for very different purposes than I do blogging. They’re my (often admittedly shallow and/or self-promoting) way of keeping in touch with coworkers, friends and family.

My blog is for me, the one place where I can write about grief and it’s aftermath without worrying that I’m worrying my family or friends. I started blogging because words are how I process things, and I needed a place to play with them and pour them out, and I needed a place where there was at least the chance that someone would hear me and let me know I wasn’t alone. I also needed a place where I didn’t feel like everyone was watching me anxiously and saying, “You’ll be okay, right? You’ll be okay?” Because the pressure to reassure those I loved most sometimes made it harder for me to process what I was feeling and thinking.

If blogging has helped me grow as a writer, well, that’s a happy accident. But what really strikes me about my about blogging, and about the community it’s helped me find, is that it’s helped me grow as a person, to see myself as part of the human condition and to feel more compassion and camaraderie with my fellow human beings. What used to be all about my grief is now – often – about something bigger, and I don’t think I could have found this kind of healing and self-expansion anywhere else.

Will I post today? No. Today’s blogging time is being used for commenting on others’ posts, which takes me longer than it should.

32 JJ { 07.19.11 at 6:40 pm }

I love this:

This is precisely why Twitter and Facebook and the like don’t work for me as well as blogs. They are all written on the other person’s time line rather than my own.

-So true-

I have been NOT blogging as much because I felt like it was more of a job than a joy and it makes me so sad. I need to remember to blog for me…

33 Mo { 07.19.11 at 6:54 pm }

I’m so with you on this Mel! I barely check into twitter – it’s just to overwhelming, and I only joined up a couple of months ago because of the encouragement of a fellow blogger. The funny thing is, I deal with social media for a living, so it’s not the tech that turns me off. I’m like you – I like to catch up with things in my own time. Plus, I’m incredibly verbose and I find 140 characters very constricting. I started blogging as a way to work through my feelings, with no intention of getting followers, and without even knowing about this community. My followers are icing on the cake and a huge source of comfort and support. But mostly, I blog to work through my own feelings, in the hope that I may gain some wisdom, and hopefully, perhaps, help someone else in the process.

34 slowmamma { 07.19.11 at 7:27 pm }

I find myself very much in agreement with this post. I feel rather strongly about the relative merits of quality over quantity in a lot of aspects of my life and I know that I can’t, nor do I want to, keep up. I even abandoned my FB account because, although I have fb “friends” that I love dearly, I prefer to focus my limited time on cultivating the friendships that are right in front of me.

I began blogging as a kind of self-validation. The act of blogging allows me to listen more carefully to my own voice. The community aspect is not lost on me at all, however. I already felt strong connections to many of the people who’s blogs I follow and I feel that writing opens the possibility of strengthening those relationships. To me, blogging means becoming a more active member of this community.

35 loribeth { 07.19.11 at 7:32 pm }

I can’t keep up either; in fact, I don’t even try. :p It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. This reminds me of an article I saw on Salon the other day, which had me both chuckling & nodding my head:

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/07/16/tyranny_of_google_plus_digital_exhaustion

Someone on Prompt-ly (& it may have been you) posted a link to an article about the decline of message boards.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/remembrance-of-message-boards-past/

For me (as for many of you, I’m sure) message boards came first. I’m not as active on them as I once was, but I still have a few (mostly small & private) that are near & dear to me where I check in regularly. I love the regular give & take among like-minded people, some of whom have become very dear friends, even though we may or may not have met.

Blogging for me is an extension of that world. I see message boards almost like an exchange of letters among friends on different topics, or a virtual coffee klatsch — whereas blogging is more like writing essays or in my journal (albeit knowing that others may be reading & commenting). Blogging speaks to the writer in me in a way that message boards don’t, even though I cover many of the same topics in my blog that I discuss with my message board friends. Finding blogs — yours & Pamela Jeanne’s and others — showed me the possibilities of the medium. I was also keenly aware that Pamela’s blog was one of a very few addressing the issue of coming to terms with a childless/free future after infertility. I felt like I could add something to the discussion.

I joined Facebook, reluctantly, about a year & a half ago. I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. While I do have FB friends from the blogging & message board worlds, I see it more of a way to keep in touch with distant relatives & friends. I don’t play any of the games, which is ALL that some of my friends do with it!

I don’t Twitter, & hearing about Google+ just made me feel tired. I don’t text message either, or IM (I turned off the chat feature on FB). Maybe I’m showing my age here, but it seems to me there are just so many ways we can get our messages across now, & so little time. It’s just impossible to keep up with it all. I think the thing is to find a few things that work for you & use them well.

36 Esperanza { 07.19.11 at 8:29 pm }

Okay, so my post won’t be up until Thursday but I wanted to say a bit more on this in the meantime. I started blogging to exorcise my demons of grief. I continued blogging when I found a community of women who understood me and cared to listen. During this time my blog was more of a diary, chronically where I was in my day-to-day life and my TTC after loss journey. When I had my daughter my blog had a bit of a personality crisis but by some sort of happy accident it ended up becoming a place where I was writing “to write” more than anything else. Instead of journaling my daily life I started posting (what to me felt like) actual pieces that tackled relevant issues. I had always fancied myself a writer but my failure to actually write much convinced me otherwise. In the past year I feel like I’ve really fleshed out the writer in me and I’m certain all the time I’ve spent was worth it for me to prove that I am, in fact, a writer (in some small way).

I’ve found that recently I’ve spent more and more time fashioning each post. I’m writing a lot and I’m realizing that I’m not sure what the end-game is. I think for a short time I vaguely hoped I could be a “writer” but I no longer think that is a viable plan. And if it’s not I’m not sure where that leaves me. I certainly can’t keep up my current pace and I feel I’d have to participate in some kind of training or workshop to improve my craft (I need to learn how to write shorter posts, that is really hard for me). So basically at this point, for me to grow as a blogger I feel like I have to put in more time, effort and money than I am currently, which is already more time than I SHOULD be putting into it. I feel very stuck.

And I must admit, as Twitter provides me with much of the community my blog once did, it wouldn’t be nearly as hard to walk away. I would miss writing the good, meaty stuff but I would still have friends to communicate with and support me. I don’t love Twitter, it took me a long time to “get it” but now that I do I find it has real value for me in my life. Having said that, there have been times when I’ve wanted to learn more about a “Tweep” (I’m sorry, these terms are so ridiculous!) and was disappointed to find they didn’t have a blog. I don’t feel like I can know people very well with just Twitter and most of the people I follow have blogs that I follow too. So maybe if I left my blog I would find Twitter sorely lacking as a community building tool. I’m not really sure.

I can’t seem myself walking away from my blog but I also don’t predict it’s current incarnation will be satisfying for much longer. I’m really perplexed with what to do. The post I’m trying (and failing) to write is about that.

Thanks for posting this. As others said, it popped up in my reader on precisely the right day and has helped clarify some things for me. As always, well done.

37 Mali { 07.19.11 at 9:25 pm }

I got into blogging as a writing exercise, doing Dan Waber’s x365 project (writing a specific number of words – ie if you’re 40, write 40 words (no more, no less) – every day for a year, each day about a different person who touched my life in some way.) I loved the discipline of that, and the creativity, and the people I met through the project, and so continued blogging, starting an everyday blog and a travel blog too. I’ve only recently started blogging about IF issues, as an aside because it didn’t really fit into my other blogs. Blogging allows you – or rather requires you – to think about what you want to say, and how you want to say it. I don’t find Facebook or Twitter can do that.

Am I going to write a post today? Perhaps. I’m stocking up on posts at the moment so when I go on a trip in a few months, I don’t have to worry about blogging regularly.

38 Farah { 07.19.11 at 9:46 pm }

I love this and I found nothing squirmy or anti anything. I started a post last night that I am working through tonight before I post it. it is loosely on the same topic as what you wrote about. THAT is what I enjoy about blogging. I am not a writer. My posts are full of less than average words, poor grammar use and a bit all over the place. I know there are much better writer’s are there but I Enjoy being able to share and discuss my in my own way.

SO, Yes, I am planning on posting today. In fact, I have posted just about 7 days in a row again. I recently started blogging again and I am addicted … All over again. I am just blogging about different content so I am trying to find my comfortable blog voice

39 Justine { 07.19.11 at 10:26 pm }

So here’s irony: I got into blogging because I wanted to write, found a community, and am having trouble writing because I’m trying to be a good and frequent commenter! :)

Really … I’m completely serious! My posting has slowed of late, partially because my first priority is other people’s blogs, when maybe I should seek more balance …

40 Farah { 07.19.11 at 10:35 pm }

http://fertilizeme.blogspot.com/2011/07/street-cred.html

Here is the link to my post I was mentioning that is loosely related to your question/plea

41 Geochick { 07.19.11 at 11:57 pm }

Ok, I’ll admit I didn’t get past the part where you called yourself a curmudgeon. I’m unabashedly a curmudgeon. I don’t have a Twitter account, I hate Twitter. When I made my sorry-ass attempt to follow people on Twitter I felt bludgeoned with information and couldn’t keep up. I would much rather read something (and write!) that was thought through and that contains more detail than 140 characters can allow. And that lets me slow down and really think about what is being written. Meh, just my two cents.

42 Missy { 07.20.11 at 1:04 am }

I write to expel my emotion in words, because if I didn’t? I would be crying or punching holes in the wall all the time. I liked myspace. Does anyone remember that? I liked it for the music and being able to listen for free while I surfed my friends profiles. I deleted my account and now I hear Justin Timberlake has plans to revive it. Stupid me for being a follower to the facebook, which I rarely get on for the same reasons most other people dislike it. I would kill it if not for the connections to fellow blm’s. Twitter scares the crap right out of me so I just stay away. I will go no further either. I am already super annoyed when people we are trying to hang out with play games or check messages on their smartyass phones. It’s not that deep people. I think I just ranted on your blog and for that I apologize!

43 md { 07.20.11 at 4:13 am }

i did write a post today, thanks to your prompt! i’ve been meaning to write it for a few days now (related to your friendship post in fact), but just didn’t get around to it! so thanks for the nudge :)

i started blogging as a way to articulate my thoughts on random topics (polsci, current affairs, life, books etc) and share them with like minded individuals. i think i’ve done ok in articulating, but unfortunately the sharing/feedback part has sucked. i don’t know whether i’m too boring, or i don’t write enough about one particular topic in order to beget a gathering. i read this post yesterday about doing one thing really well (http://zenhabits.net/one-thing/), and i wonder whether i need to apply it to my blogging too. but i like writing about different things.. anyways..

as for twitter, never got into it. and the majority of people i know on twitter are in fact those not at all into blogging..

44 May { 07.20.11 at 5:15 am }

Why did I start blogging? Like many of your commentators have said, out of loneliness, as a place to express my grief and frustration and anxst without driving everyone around me batshit, out of awareness that my people ‘IRL’ simply didn’t get it, couldn’t get it, and were therefore often of as much support and comfort as a bollard. And I have been bloody lucky, in that blogging has brought me friends, actual real live wonderful friends.

And, I started blogging about my infertility because I wanted a place to laugh about it. It’s the dirty secret, isn’t it? Infertility and loss aren’t supposed to be FUNNY. But they are, or at least, my idiosyncracies, neuroses, general nerdy overthinking, made it funny to me. Funny, for ME, was a far better way of dealing with treatment waiting lists and incompetent nurses and lost appointments and having complete strangers stick things up my lady-parts than horrified wailing or dignified repression. But no one in the real world thought it was funny at all. They thought it was horrible, and could I now shut up.

So I went off into my little corner and wrote, hoping, maybe, to get a comment every now and then from someone else who shared my sense of humour, if nothing else.

(Caveat. I’m not always funny, not by a long stretch. Mostly I’m peculiar).

As for FaceBook, it’s very good for keeping in touch with friends and relations now widely scattered across the face of the Earth. And for sharing political issues I care about, but which have nothing to do with my personal journey. And for bitching (discreetly) about work. Twitter just loses me. I feel like I’m drowning in other people’s disjointedness. If I’ve missed an earlier tweet, the latest one makes no sense. I often end up hunting back and forth along twitter feeds trying to work out what the HECK is going on. I can’t do snippets. I’m all about the narrative. And I do not have the nack of twittering back. And I’d sooner poke myself in the eye with a chop-stick than tweet ‘having Chinese takeaway for dinner!’ I mean, *I* don’t care if I’m having Chinese for dinner. It baffles me that anyone else WOULD care. And I’m paranoid about boring or overwhelming people. At least, on my blog, if people don’t care for a particular post, they needn’t stay. On twitter, people are popping up every few minutes, forcing their dinner on you, as it were, and yet you have to hang on because sometimes they DO tweet interesting, amusing, or important things.

Aaaaaand, I do go on. Sorry. Another reason why I’m untwitterable. Brevity is the soul of twitter. I can’t abbreviate.

45 Pam/Wordgirl { 07.20.11 at 8:53 am }

Hi Mel,

I think you and I came to blogging in similar ways — I was actually trying to heal from the MFA program and getting my writing completely torn apart — I wanted to love writing again — and it happened to be that I was beginning to struggle with IF — it was a confluence of events that kept me writing, made me fall in love with writing again — and brought with it the blessing of an unexpected community (thanks to you, I might add).

A funny thing happened on my blogging adventure — blogging began to turn back in on itself the way the act of writing had when it became commodified — the idea of being “successful” eclipsed the love of the act itself — and, for me anyway, started sucking the lifeforce out of my writing. I had to have a stern talking-to myself about it — in part because I always made a delineation between my blogging and my writing — and I didn’t want to lose the rediscovered excitement for the act … I didn’t want to lose my community — but I didn’t like the lurking feeling that I wasn’t “successful” enough — that this was another arena in which I’d failed. Ugh. It depresses me now to think about it.

I just had an interesting revelation after three weeks offline which I’m trying to blog about soon –after three weeks completely offline (and most of my good friends knew I was away) I returned to … nothing. Nothing interesting in my email box, or on FB, or Twitter — I had a few notes from my beloved friends I met through blogging — and that’s what I take away — the strongest bonds of the few women I’ve connected with — the mutual admiration of a handful of others — but ultimately my time online was not equal to what it was giving me in return — and it took stepping away to realize it. I was using it, I think — as one uses things – as a filler, a distraction — it was an ersatz version of living my life. I am trying, having returned, to re-inhabit my life and to dial down my immersion in social media.

XO

Pam

46 -K { 07.20.11 at 6:41 pm }

I laugh only cause if you read my blog it’s no better than Twitter (140 characters). A paragraph is all I can muster, my grades in English class from college all the day down attest to that. I have all the social media accounts but never actually check my Twitter, lol. I got into blogging to become a better writer but as I only do about 3-5 sentences once a week, one could argue I may never get there. Don’t be bitter, just treasure the blogs that have chosen to stay cause those are the folks who love to write.

47 missohkay { 07.20.11 at 10:52 pm }

I love this post. I started with twitter because I needed support. And I started my blog (I thought) to help the people from twitter get to know me better. Twitter felt like I was suddenly enveloped in a community that understood me. The instant support is overwhelming. When I had my third miscarriage, I told a close family member about twitter and said I probably had 60 messages of comfort waiting for me. I was wrong – there were over 200. I love blogging for other reasons. It’s my therapy. It’s my hobby. It’s my creative outlet. I may not be able to post as often as I’d like, but when I post, I really dedicate time to it. I read and edit it dozens of times. It’s something I’m really very proud of. I love twitter just as much as my blog but not for the same reasons… I can’t imagine life without either one now :)

48 Elana Kahn { 07.21.11 at 12:29 am }

Here from ICLW.

I joined Twitter long after I started my blog, and to be honest I don’t read it very much and almost never post – except for the auto posting of my blog posts there. I love Facebook, although the stream goes too fast for me and I miss a ton of stuff. Buuuuut I’m really bad about updating my personal blog because I never feel like anything interesting happens in my life, so what do I need to post about? I need to become better at finding the interesting parts of my life to share with others rather than just deeming it all boring. :-)

49 Gloria { 07.21.11 at 4:50 am }

I think that Twitter, blogs and Facebook are good ways to escape from our problems. Which is good. Because sometimes you really need to escape and forget about everything by concentrating on your thoughts and ideas. When you write this thoughts in blog or in a diary, you start to understand yourself better. And quickly find ways out of your problems. Thank you for the post.

50 Somewhat Ordinary { 07.21.11 at 1:08 pm }

For the last couple of hours I have been TRYING to write a blog post about my frustrations over not blogging or writing in general in my life anymore. I hadn’t gotten much written and decided to take a break to go through my reader which is terribly neglected these days when I got to this post. Not sure if it is ironic or coincidence although I’m trying to believe these days that things happen for a reason and this post was a little kick in the butt.

I had always loved writing to get out facts, to get out feelings and it was so much fun and relaxing for me. I started my blog as a way to make sense of the thoughts in my head as they related to our TTC struggles. My life has changed so drastically since starting the blog and most of the time now I have so little time or energy for much more than 140 characters.

I want my writing mojo back!

51 Jen { 07.21.11 at 4:31 pm }

You have summed up exactly what I have been fighting for over a year now. In fact it seemed as if social media won because I couldn’t keep up with all of it and backed off from everything, including blogging. When someone invited me to Google+ recently I was so resentful. Dutifully I logged in and hooked up with the same circle of friends but for what? I still don’t know. I would love to use that paragraph about carbs in a blog post on this very subject, with links of course. Thanks for a great post.

52 Deathstar { 07.22.11 at 12:33 am }

I actually posted a bit about this today. http://awomanmyage.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/knock-knock-whos-there/

I just started cause I had so much stuff to get off my chest and had no one in my real life who could listen. Twitter can’t contain what I need to get out of my head. Period. End of story. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t get it out in less than 140 characters.

53 luna { 07.22.11 at 1:47 am }

I can’t keep up either. and I love twitter (mostly). I’ve actually made new friends there, people whose blogs I never would have known about had it not been for someone highlighting them on twitter.

see, the thing about the tickertape and papers is, neither are ideal outlets. no one can stand there and read a constant stream, but news on print is old by the end of the day. still, no doubt blogs offer a far superior outlet for expression, creativity and interaction.

I’m guilty of it myself, writing a few lines here and there when I don’t have the time or energy to reflect and write a thoughtful post, or when I’m not quite ready to share something yet. and the response is often immediate, sometimes even moreso than blogging. it’s consistent interaction that I’ve come to treasure, even when I can’t keep up. and I don’t try to.

I still follow blogs so as not to miss real news and to enjoy the fruits of a thoughtful post and conversation, but honestly my time for reading and writing is more limited these days.

btw, did you see that john mayer interview where he revealed why he abandoned his 4mil followers on twitter? he said it made his mind “smaller” and that he couldn’t think beyond 140 characters — ie, he couldn’t write songs anymore. so there you go.

54 Bea { 07.22.11 at 9:18 am }

Oh hey! So I actually did write a post, as it turns out!

I am with you, so far as speaking for myself goes. I have long ago abandoned my twitter account and I use facebook mainly as a telephone book to keep in touch with friends who, in this exciting and global world in which we live, are too often not where you left them. I may eventually catch up with some snippet of their news through the site, but I wouldn’t rely on it, and if they’re going to get upset about that it might be best not to friend me.

I started on the message boards and found that they weren’t my medium. They were too twittery. Each member of the “group” would post their “status update” and a quick reply to others. I was writing posts in the middle (beginning, and end) of each thread, and it wasn’t falling apart, but it was clear I was out of step with the way the group communicated. I was like you, in that I wanted the late-night conversation over a virtual coffee or in the aftermath of a fair dose of wine, in the fullness of my own time, and I was getting, basically, a weird kind of small talk that I had to run to keep up with amidst a whole stack of other distractions.

And I guess I like to write (and I think the blogging did help a lot, and unfortunately I can see myself slipping again there… ho hum.) As an aside, I prefer to hire DVDs than watch TV, so, at least I’m consistent there.

All that said, I think there is a place for twitter (and message boards, and facebook… less so twitter, obviously, since I still use the others but not that one… but Mr Bea follows some people on twitter and seems to see it as a sort of water-cooler type conversation but one where you can drink from a really selective water cooler, or something, so I suppose I can grant that it has its place.) To be honest, I think if you’re ditching your blog for twitter maybe that’s all fair and good in the end. Few of those from my message board group wrote blogs or followed mine – it wasn’t the type of interaction they were after. Then again, I would say they didn’t really want to write, as such. They weren’t interested in doing that. That’s fine, we all got we wanted, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out what form suits us best (and some crankiness may be involved).

The really good thing about twitter/facebook/etc is that it exists for those who like twitterish media. That means the internet includes those people, and that means they can be reached by anyone who actually wants to talk to them. Because really, the bottom line is if you want to tell someone something, you have to use their preferred media, not yours – like speaking their language. If you want to express yourself but you’re not too concerned who listens or you are seeking a like-minded group, you choose what suits you best. And you mix and match, according to the give and take of relationships everywhere, even before social media, sometimes listening actively, sometimes waiting to be told, sometimes telling specifically, sometimes just putting your thoughts out there to see what becomes of it.

Bea

55 Bea { 07.22.11 at 9:23 am }

…and sometimes demanding to be listened to. To be fair, I should add that one, since I made my family read a private blog updating them on my IVF news, to save myself having to converse with them one by one. I guess most social media would have worked there, but it would have been my choice in any case.

56 kim { 07.22.11 at 2:29 pm }

Blogging for me is about being raw. Being real. Opening my soul. Twitter can’t do that. I only have a twitter account so I can be a celebrity voyeur. Beyond that and the occasional contest entry, I’ve never learned, read, written, or discovered anything by way of twitter that I didn’t either get from somewhere else already.

I read blogs voraciously. I will blog surf and stumble upon someone whose wit or sarcasm or soul-baring touches me. And then I’m devoted. It’s the same way I book shop – I pick up books and read the first few pages and if it bores me I put it down and try another. Twitter doesn’t give me enough meat to decide if something is worth continuing to read.

I struggle with my blog because I want everything I write to be “of substance” and for me, blogging about the crap I deal with at work isn’t what I want to read about so it’s not what I want to write about. So sometimes my blog goes a few weeks untended to. But I’m always reading.

Facebook is another thing. I think there’s more “actual” interaction on facebook than on twitter, at least for me. But even facebook now, it’s so peppered with surface relationships that none of us really know each other. Two line statuses aren’t windows to the soul. 500 word blog posts are.

57 Lisa { 07.22.11 at 3:08 pm }

I got into it initially to document our adoption journey to far-flung friends and family. Several years later it has morphed into the on-going journey to adopt, our unexpected pregnancy and musings as a new SAHM. It is what keeps me sane as I no longer work (for money anyway!) and is a cathartic way to end most of my days. Truly FB and titter could never meet this need.

58 Lisa Manterfield { 07.22.11 at 7:32 pm }

I started blogging to find a community that didn’t exist for me at that time. I committed to writing 6 days a week, which I realize now was way too ambitious, but I haven’t missed a day yet, so maybe it wasn’t.

For me the blog is my way to express my thoughts, provoke conversation, and work my way through my own mess some days. It’s also turned out to be a good training ground for writing to a deadline, generating ideas, and testing material to take elsewhere. As a writer, blogging is invaluable for that. Committing to write a blog post means a much deeper level of thought and consideration that a 140 character tweet. Quite often as I write a post, I write my way into an entirely different point that I hadn’t understood fully before. That wouldn’t happen in 140 thumb taps.

I see Twitter (and to a lesser degree Facebook, because I actually keep in touch with friends that way) as a pure marketing tool. I have my blog posts automatically tweeted there to let anyone who happen to wander past the “news ticker” that I’m talking about my topic over on the blog, if they want to drop in.

On top of all this, blogging is better for my thumb nails than tweeting. That’s reason enough to keep writing. :-)

59 Eileen { 07.22.11 at 10:32 pm }

I started a blog as a writer without an outlet. I continue it because it’s the outlet for what I have to write but that nobody might want to pay me for. I write because I have to.

And I did post today, much earlier, though probably not as early as your twins woke up. And I write about something about a beach town, but that’s just a coincidence. I like to think that what I write on my blog might move people. And I’m certain that what I write on twitter doesn’t. It’s not bad, but it’s not writing. Agree, ten times over, agree.

Is it wrong if I now go and tweet this? Because I really want to. I’ll revisit it, too. Thanks.

60 Myndi { 07.24.11 at 5:49 pm }

I got into blogging to participate more actively in the IF blogging community. I had been reading for a month or more, had started commenting, and I saw what a rich resource of support it could be for me, as well as a fabulous outlet for my own emotions. I’ve always found writing cathartic. Better than any shrink I’ve ever met.

No, not today. Since the triplets were born, I have a hard time keeping up with it, even though I know how much it helps me, and how much I owe the community for their previous (and continuing) support. Have to find more time!

As for FB and Twitter: I used to be super-active on FB, but now I maybe check it once a month, or use it to update pics of the kids for my family and friends. In terms of Twitter, I honestly don’t get it. I signed up for an account and checked it out, and I just don’t understand what the purpose is. It seems like most people post useless drivel. I haven’t the time nor the interest to read useless info, nor to post it myself. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed to post 90% of what people post. People really care that you’re at the grocery store? Really?

61 Keiko { 07.26.11 at 2:09 pm }

It’s kind of funny that I’m just getting to this post this week. I too feel like I can’t keep up. But I want to find a way to make them all work. I try to use FB and Twitter as a way to promote my blog, but I also use it as a way to keep in touch with a lot of IRL and online friends too, so it gets complicated.

But I’m not hte kind of person who can just totally unplug, either. I also find that my reader is so full of blogs that I start to lose track of who is who. And then if I’m not reading on a regular basis, I miss big announcements. I’m still figuring out how to make this work.

62 Mary Lou { 07.27.11 at 9:29 am }

I have a blog which I tend very infrequently and its purpose was to connect with my traveling husband. Flipping back through old posts is as enjoyable as going through old photo books. I am pulled into blogs by the writing and I expect I always will be. Twitter and Facebook are fine for communicating facts but they are without nuance. Not every story can be told in 10 words or less. Loved your post.

63 Joy { 07.29.11 at 3:22 pm }

I appreciate this post not because I am a writer, but because I am a reader of blogs. I’m getting frustrated with the lack of writing that actually happens. I get excited when there’s a new post in my reader, but a lot of time, it’s not writing. It’s things like, as someone above mentioned, sponsored posts. Or contests. Or descriptions of conferences/online classes/ebooks (I mean when that’s the majority of the recent content of the blog; I understand that bloggers need to mention these things). Or “tips” that are really vague and not helpful. I read blogs to get to know the person and to get some insight into my life from learning about theirs. So thanks for putting this out there!

64 Calliope { 08.01.11 at 10:29 am }

mmmmmmm. This post is like dark chocolate. I couldn’t take it all in at once. I am, of course, totally trying to have it both ways. I love writing more than anything. I blog because I either have stuff I want to say, stuff I need to process, stuff I want to share, or stuff I need help with. I am a needy blogger. I love the satisfaction of really working on a heartfelt post, but oh the crash of feeling like it is a tree falling in the forrest is hard. Twitter is not about my blog even though my blog does get fed into twitter. Really twitter happens because I can do it on my phone. I can’t really read or comment on blogs on my phone (oh the captchas!! oh the blogspot blogs!! OH DISQUS!!!!) But I can read tweets and I can banter with friends and feel like I am connected to people when chances are most of my actual dialogue of the day is toddler speak.
I enjoy some aspects of social media but I also don’t feel like my site has a place in it because it isn’t a Mommy blog or a marketable blog. (disclosure: I do have ads and those do help feed my family)
So it’s all a weird grey area for me.
I’m also still in the early phase of working at a job from home so finding time for meaningful writing is something I very much need to get better at doing.
I believe I just wrote a blog post in your comments. How do you like them apples?
xo

65 MLO { 08.12.11 at 4:30 pm }

I got into blogging because of two things:

– I had an insanely boring job that left me with access to the internet.
– I couldn’t keep track of the books I was reading very well. (I don’t want to count the number of times a new cover fooled me. I do blame this partially on the infertility drugs.)

Then I added the private blog so I wouldn’t have to tell my family what was going on over and over again. I opened that up to a select number in the IF community.

After all the losses, I opened up further when cancer struck and I learned how many women die needlessly of Ovarian Cancer because women and physicians are not alert to the signs.

I have found a new path of creativity – card making – which I have been trying to blog about. But, then, family matters come to the fore and the blog lies fallow. For that matter, my reading of blogs, Facebook, email, and all sorts of things suffer. I’m also supposed to be working on stuff like my job.

I think Twitter and Facebook are, in some ways, a representation of how much faster our lives seem to be going by. How little time we have to get things done. Which is easier / faster? Post on Facebook, or write a well-thought out piece on a blog?

I don’t think that is the sole reason, but I think it is part of what is happening. After all, the generation after us seems to think phone calls and email take too long and expect you to text them.

66 iamvulnerable { 08.29.11 at 11:27 pm }

Mel, I’ve had this post open on my iPhone since you wrote it, and I’ve been thinking about it the whole time. I’m not sure I can properly convey how grateful I am to read that you, too, struggle with keeping up in the world of social media. I’m not even on Twitter, but I struggle with keeping up with blogs and Facebook, though I only really feel badly about not keeping up with blogs. Truthfully, I would love to quit Facebook but it is just a convenient way to stay in touch with my family and people I know in real life and am trying to get to know better. I have done major purges of my friends on FB but it still gets all overgrown and weedy – just like my garden…

What really speaks to me in this piece and what I really want to respond to is the question of what got me in to blogging in the first place. For me, I didn’t start blogging to write, though I’ve always written and always loved to write. I started blogging to be part of a community, this community for which you do so much and care so deeply. And this community has sustained me and carried me through so much, and I am so grateful and fortunate to be a part of it.

Lately, I feel that I’ve not been adequately sustaining the precious friendships I’ve made in this community. And I feel shitty about that. And I really want to try to make some changes in my life along the lines of what you say works for you – i.e. to give each thing your undivided attention as much as possible. I know I could do better on this front, and I also know I need to cut myself some slack because I have a lot of other stuff going on and there is only so much attention, divided or otherwise, to go around.

But to get back to the question – why do I blog? I have found that as the urgency of my emotional need has faded and I’m no longer in the throes of IF, I take much more pleasure in writing. I’ve never been much of a polisher – I tend to get it down on screen, give it a quick once over, and hit publish. But I find now that when I have the time to write a post, I linger over the words a bit more, I think a little harder. There is really so much pleasure in that – it takes me back in a way to when I wrote poetry in my teens and early twenties.

So thank you for this post – for letting me know that I’m not alone in my frustration at the deluge of social media. Though I know people who do it well, I share your concerns about the role of branding and monetization and the impact they have on the medium, but on the other hand, I am also quite a Luddite about those things and am (mostly) satisfied living on the margins of that whole scene. Like Pam/Wordgirl, I can get caught up in thinking that those things matter and letting them make me feel inadequate, but then I remember who I am and know that if I tried to turn blogging into a way to earn money, I would quite probably never blog again. To me, it is only valuable because of the pleasure and the love and the insight that comes from writing, reading and being heard.

Anyway, this is a long and exhausted and very belated way of saying thanks. For this post that is still knocking around my brain, and that lets me know – even though I didn’t know that I needed to know, but I did need to know – yet again, that I’m not alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

67 FireMom { 09.01.11 at 5:06 pm }

I started blogging in 2001 because I needed a creative, safe writing outlet in the midst of the non-creative hell that is college writing. My early posts are horrid, and when I do share them, I edit them. Horrid.

My blogging has taken different shapes and forms over the years. I appreciate each phase for what it has been and accept that it will change again. I don’t have much time on twitter or Facebook right now, nor do I seem to be really embracing Google+.

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