I’m not a particularly social animal. By nature not by circumstance. As such, the social component of blogging, although very important to me, has never been the *most* important or only aspect. But as time goes by and hopefully I mature a little as a blogger, I’ve come to appreciate it in different ways. Ways I would not have predicted when I started on this journey.
I am a bit of a strange duck as far as they go. My tastes are all over the place which means that my influences and references are as well. My brain constantly works to create patterns using those disparate references and goes off in some rather dubious directions. I’ve always been like that, so it took me a long time to realize that not everyone is. Some people construct neat linear thought patterns using only relevant information. Bonkers, I know!!!
But because I’ve always been a bit unusual in the way I see things and assimilate information, I’ve always found connecting with others to be a bit of a challenge. I’ve never really met anyone I could just talk to without regularly stopping to explain what I mean or going back to walk them through my thought process. Everyone I know has called me weird at some point.
I’m not complaining about this mind you. Heck, maybe it really is the same for everyone. All I know is that I have some friends that can just talk to anyone. They start of a conversation and it just flows freely and easily without anyone getting terribly confused half way through.
When I was younger this was a source of mild concern. I made a conscious effort o try to “fix” my issue. I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not like it bothered me to be called weird or to have to explain myself. But I figured it was important to at least try to be a little more conventional. I have some deep conformist streak in me. No clue where it comes from, certainly wasn’t raised that way…
So I tried for a while. I *studied* popular media so I would have something in common with most people. I tried to stop my thoughts from going on by themselves or at least tried to learn which are the ones I say out loud and which are likely to get me strange looks.
I quickly found out two things. My odder thoughts are probably my more interesting ones and if I filter them out all I’m left with is shallow small talk that is going to bore everyone in the room, first and foremost myself. I’m deeply sorry to anyone that had to put up with it for the sake of my little experiment. At least it wasn’t a complete loss, as inane small talk is a skill I still regularly use at work and has doubtlessly helped my career trajectory at some point.
I also learned that my actual friends, that had stuck with me and enjoyed my company, did not seem to have any interest in the “most popular media”. So that one was a fail on all counts. I just ended up with a lot of information on shows and music I didn’t actually like…great!
So what does any of this have to do with blogging? Hang on just a bit longer, we’re almost there. Through the years, I’ve made peace with my limitations in connecting with others. Something of that sore spot remains, that’s why I always advocate for more communication but as a general concept, not necessarily for me personally. And when I started my blog, I really didn’t expect anyone to read it… possibly ever. But I was also discovering a new world so I was still a little cautious. Point is, I hadn’t really considered “how” I would communicate on this blog since I didn’t know if communication was something I even had to consider.
But amazingly, little by little, people did start to read my posts. It was surprising and thrilling and brought the communication issue right back up to the front of my mind. Should I edit my posts and make sure they are at least somewhat accessible to readers or should I let my weirdo side go wild?
For the record, I don’t think editing myself is in any way a bad thing. It isn’t censorship, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. It’s not the post equivalent of stripping all the substance out of my ideas and leaving only the formless small talk (small post?) behind. It’s simply reordering and clarifying my thoughts so people not in my head can understand them as well. Deleting all those obscure references and weird jokes only I find funny to declutter and cut down on the post noise. I think proper communication occasionally takes genuine effort and that’s worth it.
And although that all sounds great in theory, it’s not very easy to do. That’s why great editors are priceless. I had never really done any large scale editing of non technical writing. And I found that I often had a tendency of neutralizing or taking myself completely out of my own writing when I did. And although the posts were decent and some of them had great response, they weren’t really “me”. And I thought absolutely nothing if it. This was in line with all my experiences up until then.
But then something unexpected happened. I started watching shows I had strong feelings for but that had no really apparent fandoms. Those posts were largely ignored so I slowly started going free in them. They went off in crazy directions. I started talking to myself through those posts, interrupting myself mid sentence. I would pull out some really odd references. And I had a blast.
And slowly, very slowly some people started reading those posts as well. Even left some feedback. Once in a blue moon someone would catch what I thought was an inside joke with myself. People I had never met just sort of got it.
I started to let more of the messier side of me seep into my regular posts. Before I knew it, there was little distinction between the two. And yet readers stuck around. Started conversation.
Once in a very long while I get an email through my contact page from someone who just wants to tell me they like my blog or they resonated with a particular post. And these are treasures to me. Often they read like a note from an old friend. There’s something almost unnervingly familiar in the choice of words. They really sound as if they know me. For a person like myself, that’s magic.
I would never have dreamed that a blog would allow me to be *more* sociable. There’s this whole thing about how the internet has brought us further from one another but it has had the opposite effect on my end. That’s pretty amazing, I would say.