January 7, 2010

(B)logging the Forest for the Trees

My dreams are most often a lot of nonsense - a string of unrelated scenes from my day jumbled up and reassembled like some psychadelic linear puzzle. This morning, however, at the most inconvenient hour of 5 a.m. I awoke suddenly, from one of those crystal clear, bothersome dreams that leave me confused and concerned once awake (and thus, sleepless for the rest of the morning).

I dreamed that a fellow blogger, who will remain nameless, and who started her blog around the same time I did, suddenly had twice as many followers as I did, and it REALLY bothered me. The fact that it really bothered me in my dream, concerned me when awake and got my mind going. What did it mean?

On reflection and after a good breakfast, I think it means I was reading blogs right before I went to bed last night, which is always a bad idea because it gets me in writing mode and then I cannot fall asleep for hours; I think it also means that, not so deep down in my subconscious as I would like to think, I am just a wee bit competitive, non?

I remember when my daughter was in grade two I volunteered at her sports day. My job was to count the number of children from her team that made it through the obstacle course and back to our line. While I was busy counting and cheerleading, my sweet little daughter revealed a side of her nature I had never seen before. She had her eye on everyone from the other teams and would frequently yell things like, "Sam's cheating!" and "Hurry UP!" and when it was her turn to run she exploded into action with all the determination of an Olympian (except that she was dressed in a grass skirt and lei). Well, her dad is pretty competitive in sports, I thought. She must get it from him.

As I type this I am well aware that in my dreams I do not have the advantage of reason. When I am awake and blogging I know that it doesn't really matter if said fellow blogger has more followers than I. On average I spend a couple of hours a week 'marketing' my blog. My way of doing this is simple: I explore the blogrolls of bloggers I like, looking for something that will catch my eye or spark my imagination. If I like what I see I usually leave a comment on the blog, and invite them to visit mine. The blogger will generally return the visit and about 1 in 5 will become a follower of my blog and vice-versa. My method is a far cry from that of another blogger, who shall also remain nameless. He staged a mass marketing campaign, actually soliciting hundreds of followers in an 'I'll follow you if you follow me' fashion, and it worked for him - very well; however, as ambitious as the aforementioned dream might make me seem, that just seems like too much work to me.

As much as I would love to log on one day and see hundreds of followers suddenly appear after I have been declared Blogspot's 'Blog of Note', (who wouldn't?) I believe I need to concentrate most of my energy on the actual writing of the thing if I want it to be worth reading for the fine followers I do have. In the meantime, I am quite content to explore blogs and gain followers much in the same way as I make friends: one at a time and at my own pace. After all, as the ghost in Field of Dreams said, "If you build it, they will come."
The photo is from the David Suzuki Foundation website, and is of genuine Canadian trees.


  1. Hey, didn't I start my blog the same time you did?

    I checked. I currently have one more follower than you and he joined up this morning.

    I do have three or four regular visitor from Dublin who never follow or comment. They just lurk. Do you think I am being stalked? :)

    The only reason I have any followers at all is because you sent me a note after I left one over at Milkmoon. Ciara never returned the favor by the way, but she's left a comment for you. Not that I care or anything. :)

    Isn't it funny how human nature works.

    I have also found that I can not blog too late or it keeps me up. Thinking.


    P.S. Sorry I referred to where you live as the Pacific North West. I was comparing it to Port Angeles Washington.

  2. I can really relate. Shortly after I first began blogging it seemed like this monster in me started thinking the point was to get more followers. Well, of course every writer wants readers, but the point is *to write.* I don't want to be a promoter! Luckily, thankfully, at some point not too far into my blogging life, I became quite happy -- really grateful, actually -- with the handful of regular readers I have. Why do I need more?

    I went to a social media workshop for work not too long ago, and the presenter said that whereas the last century was about everyone getting their 15 minutes of fame, this century, or at least decade, is about everyone getting fame among their 15 followers. So, we're in a good place, right? I never even got my 15 minutes of fame, anyway.

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  4. Hey, Becca, I read all my blogs through Google Reader, so I don't use the follow system. But I'm following you. So! One more for your count. :) Blogging's an odd, odd, thing. I blog craft stuff, and do it mostly for myself, since I'm pretty sure hardly any one reads. But that's okay, because I refer back to what I've blogged a lot. And that makes it useful to me.

    (sorry about the delete, I had meant to add my name)

  5. Hi all. Thanks for commenting!

    Tracey: My husband calls my followers my "Stalkers" by the way. He thinks he is being funny. You ARE the one who was to remain nameless, Tracey - I'm telling you because I was sure you would figure it out! I left that comment about "The Pacific Northwest" on Carolyn's blog because I am a smart alek. It's such an American name because in Canada it would technically be the Pacific Southwest.

    Barbara: I appreciate your comment very much. I have heard so many famous artists say that their best time was when they were small-time. Their creative sharing felt more intimate and meaningful then, which is how it feels for me now with you all. I guess that is what I was trying to say.

    Hi Valerie! I saw the new 'face' on my list and when I saw who it was I was happy, happy. I'm sorry I'm not presently following your blog. I am not a knitter (though I did monogram some hankies for my dad for his birthday last week.), but I have checked it out because it is you! If it would make you feel good, I could become a follower. See you on fb!

    xoxo everyone!

  6. Hey Rebecca, you were right; I did like this entry. I'm not a tit-for-tat follower, and would have instinctively NOT followed the guy who did the marketing campaign. I'm a Brit, we don't like being told what to do. (Plus, I'm a Scorpio, and we all know what we're like - most of us are murdered eventually). But I will follow here, because I like what I've read. So there. Indigo

  7. Blogging is an evolution of discovering what you think and how that relates to the people who read what you think. I have been in the woods before too and now I rarely look back. I try to look at the beautiful and amazing things right in front of me...and write about them.

  8. Women have a competitive nature, who knew.
    Yeah right, you lot are way worse than men.

  9. Welcome Wrath: I guess I'm a Brit, too then! Glad you liked what you read here.

    Carolyn: You are so right. I suppose there are various plateaus that one reaches, and I guess I just reached one. Thanks so much for you thoughts.

    Vince: And here I thought I was being lighthearted and funny. Believe me, I know how competitive women can be!

  10. And Rebecca I thought I was being lighthearted and funny also, maybe a ickle bit tongue in cheek. Sometimes on these little comments I wish I could put in one of those smiley faces.
    Mostly though I think we should aproach the human condition with a rye smile

  11. Too true, Vince. Instead of an 'emoticon' I just put one of those punctuation faces, ie. ;) or :D, that I learned to make thanks to my children. That's the trouble with explaining oneself in a short written comment - we have all the advantages of instantaneous connection and all the disadvantages of being too easily misunderstood by the lack of inflection in our voices, twinkle in our eye, and barely perceptible twist of the mouth :)

  12. Yes I know what you mean. I've never been out with a woman that did not have dancing eyes.
    On the punctuation faces, I'm a little worried as I'm unsure of correct usage.

  13. Rebecca, after I read this post I go to thinking...I have never really marketed my blog.

    I have followed blogs I thought I might want to read, and that is the only reason. In fact, I avoid like the plague commentors who drop their blog address all over the place. Phooey on that!

    And then I got to thinking some more, and I thought, I should really spend less time reading blogs and more time writing one. So, that is what I decided to do. In theory. But I have found time to write very little on my own blog, yet here I am making a comment on yours. Wondering when there will be a new post. (Taps foot impatiently.)

    There must be a blogger growth curve that we will go through. We seem to be at the same place at the same time.

    Happy writing. (Oh, and even it I do stop reading so much, I won't stop reading YOU.)

  14. Hi Tracey! As my next post brews away at the back of my mind, I'm enjoying having my husband home for a few days. We are getting lots done around the house-he even swept the cobwebs out of the corner of the ceilings-recycling,cleaning out the garage, going shopping and out for lunch, etc.

    I think we will all do this blog thing differently depending on where we are in our lives. All my children are at school during the day, and when I'm not working I have lots of time to brood and to think and formulate. I enjoy reading several blogs (including yours!) but I'm finding myself becoming more discriminating as I go.

  15. It's quality, not quantity that matters. That's what I tell myself when I see blogs with hundreds of followers and dozens of comments.

    I had a blogging dream a while ago, too. Only in my case, all the bloggers i 'knew' came round in person. Made an awful mess of the house!

  16. Well, Tim, I am a big fan, for what it is worth!


I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!