Blogging Experience

Salted Caramel asks the question What has your blogging experience taught you?

Well, good question. In blogging age, I’m an old timer. WP has been a second home for eight and a half years now, so I’ve been around a bit.

Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories

I think that through my blogging experience I have learned to get my thoughts out better. When I first started blogging, I hadn’t done much writing for quite a long time and I found the process cumbersome. Not the writing itself, but the thinking required to get a thought out in a streamlined or cogent manner (or maybe I’m just getting old). Whatever the problem was, blogging has been good for my brain. Writing, and in particular, reading the writing of others, has helped to keep my thinking sharper.

It has also taught me a lot about socialisation. I’m an introvert; in some ways, a rather big one. According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an INTP. The I stands for introverted. I don’t like parties, crowds or big gatherings. It’s not that I have any kind of discomfort; crowds don’t scare me or worry me; it’s more that I prefer to be with others in twos, or threes, or fours, and especially with those I know well.

Another thing is that I’m inept at small talk. I can’t stand around with a drink in one hand, a canapé in the other and wittily hold forth on the merits of Camembert over Brie. At a big party, I feel like I’m nowhere. I’m the one who will be sitting alone, reading my phone and wishing I was somewhere else having a glass of wine with a good friend.

But WP allows me to be in a crowd without being in a crowd. I don’t have to do small talk (I REALLY don’t like small talk). I can read interesting posts and then leave the room. 😉 There’s a lot about blogging that works well for an introvert.

Caribbean Sea, Dominican Republic

But my blogging experience has also taught me that there are drawbacks to it, too. You get to “know” someone, and then they disappear. Sometimes, they will say in a post or comment that they are leaving, but most of the time, there’s just … silence. Cue the tumbleweeds.

But that’s kind of the point, right? In blogging there’s an element of non-commitment commitment, like it’s not real life or a real thing. And maybe the person you’re chatting with isn’t real anyway. The “person” could be a construct, a complete lie designed to fool you, confuse you, or otherwise mule you.

And there are other issues. Issues that are made of people’s worst characteristics.

I had only been on WP for a couple of months when I saw a “takedown.” A blogger announced in a post that another, very popular blogger had made unwanted sexual advances to her over email; apparently, he was taking advantage of her as a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I had only recently started following the popular blogger, and found him to be witty, funny and irreverent, but … I also found his comments section to be clubby, exclusive and arrogant. And there was something else, too. A sort of jockeying for position among the commenters that I found off-putting.

Pacific Ocean off North Vancouver, British Columbia

Just as I was thinking of dropping the popular blogger, the complaint around the unwanted sexual advances occurred. I had no idea who was right or wrong and felt very uncomfortable as people started taking sides and voicing their opinions back and forth.

So I backed off. I later learned that the popular blogger removed his three WP sites and stopped blogging, at least here or at least under that name. As a result, I considered dropping blogging altogether, because I wondered if this type of situation was more common. As someone who had fairly recently extricated herself from a relationship with a malignant narcissist, I was cautious.

And I suppose it is common. Like any other situation where there are humans, contretemps can, and does, occur. Blogging is a microcosm of the wider world. And as in the wider world, there are always going to be those who try to manipulate, obfuscate, lie, cheat, and otherwise cause mayhem, so you have to be as on guard as you normally would be in the real world while you find your feet in the blogging world.

And you? What has your blogging experience taught you?

29 thoughts on “Blogging Experience”

  1. So very well expressed, Lynette. I agree with all you have to say on this issue. The really basic issue with much online communication is that of anonymity, which gives those trolls, and other unpleasant people, the freedom to be cruel, unjust, judgmental and destructive. Of course, the obverse of that coin is that it allows the shy and retiring the ability to praise, congratulate, raise important issues, and express an opinion. Like so much in life, there is good and there is bad, and then there are people!

    1. Thank you very much, Stuart. I agree – the trolls just try to take the joy out of it, although the situation that I encountered in my early days didn’t involve the traditional troll type. If the accuser was right, this popular blogger was a very sophisticated predator, but we encounter these types in the face-to-face world occasionally and have to deal with them. That’s life.
      Haha – I like your last line. 🙂

  2. I love the way you have described small talk at parties ” glass in one hand canape in the other….

    Although I don’t mind socializing, I much prefer hanging out informally with a few good friends. I guess all of us bloggers enjoy interacting with each other since we are on the same wavelength.

    I guess I am lucky in that I have not yet had a bad experience on WordPress.

    1. Thank you, Dr. Tanya. 🙂
      I am definitely not a small-talk person. I find it boring and a sort of waste of time, but many feel that they are connecting and they really enjoy it.
      Except for that one experience very early on, I haven’t encountered any other similar events, I’m happy to say!

  3. I’d swear you were describing me there for a bit. I’m so much happier being behind the camera than in front of it. The same goes for nearly every aspect of my life. I do much better behind the scenes than being a part of the scenes. Blogging allows me the comfort of that position with just a toe in the pond that stands in the spotlight. It allows me to share my art or photos or whatever in a way I’m comfortable with. I have run across the occasional drama or troll over the years, but after 17 or 18 of those (I still can’t believe it has been that long since I first started a blog), I’ve seen a lot less of than that the good parts. That may be because I tend to avoid the more clickish kind of blogs in the first place, though. That feels way too much like high school and I’m too old for that kind of game playing and one-upmanship that tends to go on.

    1. Introverts sure recognise each other! It’s really amazing how similar our reactions and behaviours are. I have more in common with other introverts than I do with most members of my own family, many of whom are big extroverts.

      You have been blogging for 17 or 18 years? Wow! That’s a very long time. Agreed, except for that early example, I haven’t seen much trollery. 99% of the time, I’ve encountered great people here, same as in face-to-face life. Now and then we have to run into a bad apple just so that we remember how good the rest are. 😉

      1. I had about a 3 or 4 year gap in there between iterations of my blog, but, yes, it has been that long since I first started.

        I’m lucky in a sense that my Hubby and my kids are more introverted, so things stay mostly comfortable around home.

  4. That whole popular blogger scenario put me in mind of a site I used to belong to when hubby was still alive. But that was the POINT of the site – to form ‘friendships’ of an ‘adult’ nature. Since joining WordPress I’ve never encountered any aggressive stalker creepy sexual themed sorts, everyone I know is sensible, respectful, and adult in their dealings with other bloggers. The trolls soon show themselves and are banished off my site because who needs that kind of crap? I’m sorry you experienced that, and I’m glad you stuck around even so!

    1. I agree – who needs that crap? I haven’t experienced much in the way of stinkies from trollville since that first time, and I wasn’t directly involved, either. I was very definitely on the periphery, thankfully. But the situation gave me pause as I wondered how widespread this sort of potentially predatory behaviour might be; if true, this popular blogger went well beyond the garden variety troll activities. However, I’m glad I stuck around, too, because I otherwise wouldn’t have had the absolute pleasure of “meeting” you and Brian. 🙂

  5. These unpleasant scenarios can happen anywhere, and these days with so much social media in our lives, it can happen more easily. As you say, the anonymity can embolden people to do things they might otherwise not try. I often think, as I publish a post, “soandso” can read this and I’m leaving myself open for ill treatment, but then I decide that I’m not going to let other people’s thoughts or actions take away the pleasure I feel in communicating with so many more good people that I’ve connected with on WP. So far, the good experiences by far outweigh the bad.

    1. Yes, they certainly can. I agree completely that the good experiences outweigh the bad. Except for that early example, I haven’t otherwise had many problems with trolls – few and far between.
      I have occasionally found myself worrying in a general way about a post’s content but have usually decided to just let that go.

  6. As we’ve previously discussed, we share many similar traits and I would imagine I would get the same letter-grouping that you did on the Meyers-Briggs evaluation. I’m not a fan of big parties or small talk, much preferring gatherings of three or four good friends.

    As for blogging, I’m still enthralled after… has it been 13 years? Something like that. Hang on. [Sounds of mouse-clicking as I review dusty spreadsheets. I always have spreadsheets.] Yep, my first blog post was in May of 2008. I relish the immediacy of response to my writing efforts as well as the satisfaction of the terrific comment conversations they often trigger.

    I’ve (virtually) met some wonderful folks over the years, some of whom I consider good friends, and I hope you realize that I consider you one of those good friends. I treasure the fact that we stumbled across one another.

    If I’m pressed to mention downsides to blogging, I suppose there are two. Okay, maybe three. One, I’ve had some run-ins with those bitter trolls who lash out simply because they are unhappy in their own lives. It’s part of the territory and the anonymity-angle that Stuart addressed, sure, but it’s very annoying at times.

    Two, I enjoy sharing my micro-stories so much that I often neglect the bigger projects, like my books-in-progress, some of them languishing for years in the oven. I’ve yet to work out a balance between the two, and the books usually suffer.

    Three, and this will come off as a bit whiny when compared to other bloggers who are struggling to find an audience, the number of followers at Bonnywood has become overwhelming. Because I always respond to every comment and check for new posts on anyone who even “likes” one of my posts (to me, it’s the courteous thing to do), I spend an enormous amount of time simply “following up”. This lessens the time I have for my micro AND macro stories.

    It also means that I often don’t have the time to comment on the posts others have made, though I do read them. And this, to further hone my belabored point, is the reason why you don’t see me comment here as often as I would like to do so. But I wanted you to know that I enjoy everything you share, despite my absence in the comments. It’s not you, it’s me.

    I actually somewhat miss the days when my blog was a tiny blip in the giant void of blogging, with just a few faithful followers, which brings us back to just three or four friends sitting around a nice patio on a pleasant summer night…

    Sorry for the rambling. You managed to hit just the right comfy button with me, as you usually do.



    1. 13 years? It’s been that long? Wow! Congratulations. 🙂

      I like the comment-chats as well. I will often go back to various posts or blogs (I do this a lot with yours) to see what has lately been added to the comment section.

      I agree. Trolls are joyless people who just want others to feel as crappy as they do. (Why should you feel good when I feel bad?)

      Like you, I respond to all comments, but you have a lot more than I do! How do you find the time? I don’t usually check the new people who “like”, only new followers or new commenters. That may sound a bit tough but I have to limit my blogging time. That goes for the number of people I follow, as well. I want to be able to really pay attention to what people post, and that means not spreading myself too thinly. So don’t worry about the frequency with which you leave comments; I think I understand. You can only comment so much!

      I never feel like you’re rambling! I soak up every delightful word, turn of phrase and witticism. Although I would miss your posts, I hope you do take up your macro projects, but it’s hard to make these choices if you enjoy how things are right now.

      Thank you for your lovely kind comment, Brian. You rock. 🙂

  7. As an introvert, I can relate. I like having some time to collect my thoughts and then put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and write up my posts and comments. It’s upsetting how there are people out there who lie, cheat and deceive others, whether online or in person. Glad to hear you didn’t stop blogging though or disappear. I’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse into what life is like in the North through your posts.

    1. Thank you very much. 🙂 I am very much enjoying your park series.
      I’m glad I didn’t leave either, or I wouldn’t have had such a rewarding, happy experience here as it has been for the most part.
      I thought you might be an introvert just because of the way you put some of your post comments. I wonder how many WP people are introverts? I think there might be a lot of us here!

  8. I fully connect to what you said as an introvert and discomfort with small talk. I’m an INTJ. I’ve been very fortunate so far as a blogger, I’ve only met wonderful kind people and only witnessed positive interactions. I started blogging in 2008 after taking a Community Journalism workshop led by David McDonald, a former bureau chief for Reuters news service. I wanted to tell more of our Positive local stories; the nightly news terror was exhausting and I wanted to change that. But I wasn’t as good at it as I hoped. I quit blogging for a while, and restarted a few years ago. I’m always desperately searching for good and decent people, and the blogging world seems to offer that more than any other platform I’ve utilized.
    Another thing I love about blogging is there aren’t ‘rules’ – we don’t ‘have to’ read, like, or comment in the same way instant reactions are necessary on other platforms. After I’ve read an about page and handful of posts, I feel like I have a good idea what’s important to the blogger. I certainly don’t expect anyone to respond to everything I write. As a Jane-Of-All-Trades, I write about many random things. I try to put my best thoughts out there and if anyone agrees, yay! If not, oh well. No one has time to respond to all the things. And I certainly don’t have time to get upset, or track who’s doing what. Perhaps that’s an inappropriate action to gain fame, but I’m not here for fame. One of my favorite aunt-in-laws once said, “I do what I want when I want”, I found it a great insight and try to follow it often.
    My blog is a casual pastime, more focused on my grandbabies now. It’s not my life’s work or necessary source of income. For me it’s just easy and fun to see all the cool things so many other creative, adventurous people have to offer. 😊

    1. First of all, my apologies for missing your comment! I’m not sure how that happened as I make it a point to respond to anyone who leaves a comment.

      Except for that one negative experience when I first started, I have “met” really great people. I did encounter a few trolls when I posted more regularly about narcissism, but that hasn’t happened for a long time now. For me, blogging was never about making money or leveraging it to become famous or an “influencer.”

      I have a very busy and stressful job, so blogging is a relaxing place for me, and you’re right, we don’t have to jump to or react to posts or comments in an instant (I certainly took my time with this one! 🙂 ).

      Have a good weekend and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  9. your post resonated well today Lynette. thanks for patiently penning this. may want to respond another time to your questions as I just wanted to thank you for this post right now. keep going. you’re doing well.

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