Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Internet Suburbia

I'm a white guy with my hat turned sideways, a gold chain dangling hard and the crotch of my pants hanging just above my ankles. I consider myself pretty fly for a white guy....................... Most fantasies really are in our heads.

"What it is!"

Bro, I'll tell you what it is. I've been hanging around this Ghetto they call the Internet for what? About 12 years now? It has been awhile. I started in newsgroups and used emoticons that were real emoticons - ;0 - :>) , etc. Not those silly ass smiley faces I refuse to use. I am a forum veteran who learned to tear down my opponent, disembowel him and then laugh as he suffered the agony of superior pwnage. As there are always bigger and nastier gangsta fish in any sea, I learned that I too could be pwned.

So here I am in the blogosphere now. Have been for 3 & 1/2 years. A kinder and gentler place. Call it the Internet Suburbia. A community of people who are into interaction but have built nice little yards and fences around themselves to keep the riff raff out. A place where self indulgence and pontificating can be practiced to the extreme without interference or comment if they so choose. They can make their little homes exclusive. Only members may enter. They can pick one subject and beat it to death. Or expound and expand on anything and everything under the Sun. They have control over their domain. Perfect for a white kid like me raised in middle class denial.

I started my blog in late 2004. Since Google had made it idiot proof, I figured it would be a breeze. And considering the high opinion I had of myself, I just knew I was gonna make waves, make folks all over this globe sit up and take notice. I did this after visiting no more than a half dozen blogs found by hitting the "next blog" button at the top of my own page. The first few were either in Sanskrit or pimply faced juvies rambling on about who lusted after who in Mr Jenkins' English class. Man, was I going to make an impact.

As I said earlier, most fantasies are really in our heads. After a year of blogging, writing words I was sure folks would enjoy, I noticed one day, "Hey. No one is stopping by. And if they are, they are not commenting. Whazupwiddat?"

I began a concerted effort at finding out why I had no audience. I visited many blogs. Hundreds. I was sometimes amazed at the depth of thought. I was often underwhelmed by the lack of thought. The quality and effort that went into blogs was all over the map. Some dazzled me with their accessories. Videos, fancy backgrounds, lists of all types, and images that really grabbed me. Others like Baghdad Burning and Fumbling Toward Divinity awed me with their writing.

I sat down with my critical eye screwed in place and really tore into my blog. I re-read my posts and came to an unpleasant conclusion. First of all it had no accessories. No hooks to draw folks in except my words. And unfortunately, as much as I would like to consider myself another Steinbeck or Asimov, being able to spell is about as close I will ever come to them. My blog had no focus. Blogs like vintage chainsaw collection and Noah at KC Bike Commuting had focus. They did one thing and did it well. My blog was about nothing and everything. No continuity. My blog had no bells and whistles like gjg is adding by the truckload to his blog. It was as the cartoon at the top makes fun of. I had nothing to say and gleefully shared that fact on a regular basis.

I brooded for awhile. I stopped blogging for awhile. Blog envy and my intermittent low self esteem had gotten the better of me. But eventually the manic part of my soul kicked me in the balls and I returned to my blog. I knew I wanted to write. I had been writing and filling spiral notebooks for years. And since this blog thing was the best receptacle I had ever found to hold securely thoughts I might want to re-read at some point, I began anew. I gave up caring if anyone stopped by.

But really. Did I stop caring? Hmm. Seems that denial thing of a white middle class upbringing was working overtime. I did small things to my blog on the premise that I wanted them. They were not for an audience that did not exist. I learned to add images. I began to visit other blogs and actually leave comments before I left. And I subscribed to a blogger forum to glean the hints and allegations of other bloggers more successful than I.

Now I am enjoying some visitors. How this has happened I have but the fainest idea. It certainly is not because my blog is dazzling in a visual sort of way. It is not because I have worked hard to make it better. I haven't. I think it is because I took the time to connect with other bloggers. Stop by their blogs regularly and really read what they had to say. I have not connected with everyone, but I have found friends out there in the blogging wilderness. I guess that is what this whole blogging thing is about. Connecting. And if I was not willing to make the first step, why should they? You can't make friends if you don't say "Howdy Neighbor" first.


Wendy said...

taking a step to stop and say HI!

I enjoy reading your blog, occasionally I will comment, will try to do better.

Blogging is about what you want to write about, not what others think, heck if I cared what others thought i would never put anything out there.


GJG said...

somethings never really change---in the olden days, one had to go out to where people congregated, and ya had to smile and say hello to meet and make new friends----well here in the Bloggosphere its the same drill---a smile, a complimentary comment left,the equivalent of a "hello", and yeahh one begins to meet people----aint that just amazing?? (PS, thanks for the mention in your blog)

Apertome said...

I always enjoy reading your blog ... I never know what I'm going to find here.

And I never would have found the vintage chainsaw collection had I not read this post. Wow, just wow.

Missy's Blog said...

That's how I found your blog ... I was visiting Gary's blog and found your comments entertaining ... so I decided to visit your blog. And then you left a comment on my blog. I think I started blogging in 2006 and just recently have I noticed a jump in traffic to my blog.

Do you use Site Meter? ... it's a fantastic free service you can add to your blog that keeps track of where your visitors are coming from. I love it.

MRMacrum said...

Wendy - I stopped by your blog after this post and you had already posted something in the vein of this post. Blog Hoppin indeed.

gjg - I have enjoyed your efforts to gussey up your blog. You are willing to try something and if it doesn't work, toss it. Watching one from ground zero or close has been interesting. And I also enjoy your Raplh's market pieces. The grocery store can be a real trip. I wrote a post about one tough trip there a few years back.

Apertome - I have enjoyed your blog also. It was your photos that fired me up to take my own. You, Midnight Rider and Noah were the first blogs I hit on a regular basis and left comments behind.

missy's blog - I found yours by blog hopping as wendy up top posted about. I clicked your comment and that's how I hooked up with you.

goplacia said...

That first cartoon reminded me of John Cages speech on nothing. He begins the speech by saying "I have nothing to say and I am saying it"