When I started blogging, I thought it'd just be me and my laptop. I'd just be posting interesting items from my online shopping experience here, and I'd have a million readers who'd thank me for showing them the way with gorgeous stuff for their babies, toddlers and themselves.
Come back when you've stopped laughing.
Right. As I was saying.
I didn't really give a thought to those 'readers'. Who they might be, where I might get them, how I'll make them come back. I thought I'll just post something and they'd come.
Duh. Just a couple of weeks into blogging, I discovered communities. Commenting. Twitter. Connections. People. Readers.
I went about plugging my blog. Blog hops (urgh), commenting, and tentatively entering the Twitterverse. My PR hat was on. I did what I thought I had to do to bring my readers in.
And then, my writing changed. I did writing prompts, linkups, memes. I stopped the hops, and concentrated on reading and commenting. I refocused myself and started writing about what I know, what I love. I wrote from the heart.
Blogging stopped being about the statistics. It was now about the people.
I made connections. I had readers, and occasionally, people commenting. I had 'tweeps' to chat with on Twitter.
I allowed myself the luxury of thinking I was a blogging force. For a day or so. *ahem*
Then I got to know people. The women behind the words. The minds behind the gorgeous blog design. The sense of humor behind the 140 characters. The hearts behind the computers.
When I say I got to 'know' people, I don't mean I've met them in real life. I mean we've connected through each other's blogs, Twitter and email, and gotten to know each other as wives, mothers, daughters, friends.
When we blog, we put ourselves out there. Some of us a little more than others. Our personalities come through by the way we weave our words together. The photographs we take and share. This is who we are, we declare.
From there, we form impressions of each other. We develop bloggy crushes and friendships. We collaborate and sometimes, are able to come together to make blogging and social media a career, a profession.
We get on our computers every day, connecting with these people we think we know, through what they put of themselves out there.
Or do we?
I'm sorry to rain on your parade. Not everyone you 'meet' online is the person you think they are.
You may jump in here and say, "But Alison, you haven't MET any of these people, how can you say that??"
My answer? How you conduct yourself virtually off your blog does matter.
When you agree to be a guest blogger for someone else, and you don't send your post within the stipulated deadline. It matters.
When someone writes you a guest post, and you do not do your best to get it out there to be read, almost like you don't care, because you didn't write it. It matters.
When you say you'll send someone information, offering to help with something, and you don't. It matters.
When you never, ever visit another blog, or make a single comment, or do a tweet or retweet of their post (well, because you never visit their blog), despite their continued support of yours. It matters.
When you don't at least acknowledge someone's email or tweet. It matters.
When you don't thank someone for a small kindness. It matters.
I know we are all busy. We have lives outside of the blog. Things that are more important, like looking after our children. Cooking dinner. Laundry. Taking the kids out to the park, to school, to activities. Spending time with our spouses, parents, siblings, friends.
But we do have this other life, this blog. Where we've invested time, money, thoughts and emotions. Where we have real friends. Where our actions (or non-actions) matter, and can hurt or lift.
Where it does matter.
I did not expect to be hurt by blogging. But I have.
I did not expect to be loved by blogging. But I have.
I did not expect to be pouring my heart out about how blogging has affected me, because hey, I was just going to write about awesomesauce products!
But, here I am.
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