This blog has been in a three month hiatus due to me just getting tired of the political dialog. I have made some basic changes to prevent that from happening again. One thing is that while I will continue to allow comments, at least for now, I will not reply to many of them. I know this is not good blog etiquette but that is the way it has to be for me to continue here and keep my sanity. This is my longest running blog and has over 2,000 posts so it has become an important part of who I am. While I will be drastically trimming down on posts about politics I will continue to occasionally post in that venue. There are many other topics included here that I didn’t want to abandon… so here we go again…
Those of us who blog have many tools at our disposal to see just how many people are reading what we write. Those statistics are always lurking on the edges of the page we use to generate our daily posts. They seem to be whispering “look at me”. How can we not do push the buttons?
There are also hundreds of books out there telling you what you need to do to increase your post visits. They tell you to blog about niches where others don’t and you will be toward the top of the search engine listing in that category. They tell you how to add tags and such to increase your site’s chances of being found. I admit that I do pay some, probably too much, attention to these things. After all we all want to know that someone is taking the time to read what we write. For those so inclined there is a lot of emphasis about getting your post counts up so you can make more money via advertisements on your site.
It all comes down to why we blog.
Do we do it for money?
Do we do it for fame?
Do we do it to get a point across?
Do we do it for fun?
Do we do it for ourselves?
I believe I do blog to a degree for the last three reasons. I want to convince as many as possible that looking at things from different angles will allow us to make better choices. For that reason I do become somewhat discouraged when some posts that I think is awesome in that regard gets less views than one I simply jotted down in a minute. Sometimes I just fall in love with my own words a little too much.
But I also blog just because I like to play around with “words”. Saying things just the “right” way is a challenge to me and I enjoy when I think I get it just right. So in that regard I do it for myself and post count shouldn’t matter…
I admit that I do get discouraged when only a few visit my page on a given day. That is especially true when I see some of the blogs I visit have many times more viewers than I do.
But then I look at all this from a different angle. Thomas Jefferson was perhaps our most prolific founding father. His library was the foundation for our current library in congress. He spent his post-presidency years reading, studying, and writing. I have several books on my bookshelf behind me and on my Kindle reader to attest to the fact that he wrote thousands of letters and personal journals that were never read by more than a handful of people during his life. Was he discouraged that more people did not read what he wrote? I don’t think so. He wrote because he had to, it was just part of his nature. I like to think I do the same thing so I have to get over my sometimes obsession with post views and to appreciate the fact that, unlike Jefferson, I always have more than an audience of one…
It seems that many of my blog friends are falling by the wayside lately. They are slowly disappearing from cyberspace. I used to read a dozen or so blog posts every day, now I read less than a handful. Some who seem to have maybe a thousand followers or more are calling it quits. I wonder what is happening? Many of these past blogging friends say it is just time to move on to other things. Some I imagine expected to make spending money from their writing and that just didn’t happen to any degree. Some maybe had grandiose thoughts of being recognized as the great writer all us blogger hold in the back of our minds and that didn’t happen either.
Here I am approaching 2,000 posts and five years blogging here at RJsCorner and while I admit I have thought on several occasions of just giving it up I always back away from idea. I have discontinued several other blogs that I have had because their time had come so to speak. The one that meant the most to me was RedLetterLiving. It was about living the commands of Jesus Christ instead of just believing a set of man-made beliefs. I do keep it up but seldom post there anymore. I started that blog as I have for most others with a question seeking an answer. After five years I finally at least to a degree found the answers I was looking for. It then seems redundant to continue posting on that topic.
So, what makes RJsCorner different from the others? One answer to that is in its diversity. It is not about one particular topic but instead is more like a “public” journal of my life and thoughts. That concept allows me to cover a wide variety of topics. But, In order to maintain variety I do have a general topic category for each day of the week.
The writings of Will Rogers, which inspires me on several different levels, continues to be a significant part of what I post here and will probably continue to be so. Will was such a prolific writer that he left thousands of sources of inspiration for me to glean. RJsCorner continues to use the technique of his invention. That is to use something that I have read as a beginning point. One of Will’s most famous quotes is “All I know is what I read in the newspapers”. Another quote is “I never met a man I didn’t like”. In that regard I try not to be mean-spirited to anyone or any topic that I write about. For the most part, except maybe for the idiotic politics of today, I usually manage to keep Will’s quote in mind.
Finally, I never seem to run out of blog material. My draft queue, which are snippets clipped from various sources is constantly more than one hundred deep. Some of these ideas mature, some might say fester, for several weeks before the right words come together for a post. I don’t think I will ever run out of material. The world is just too interesting….
One of the first books I read as a young man was Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. The opening words of that book has been in my mind since that time. It would not be the last book by Dickens that I would read. Many of his books were about social reform. When his father was thrown into debtor’s prison Charles had to step forward. I think maybe my avid social conscience was at least partially formed by my early exposure to his writing. But as usual, the main topic of this post is not about Dickens but about the best of time happening concurrently with the worst of time…
One of the good things about this blog, at least from my standpoint, is that since RJsCorner is not a niche blog I can go just about anywhere with my posts and as you know I often do just that. I don’t have a set pattern for what and when I blog about a particular topic. Will Rogers is a major part of my being here. He is indeed one of my heroes but this blog ventures way beyond that arena.
In some ways the variety I offer in my posts here is also one of the worst things about this blog, especially when it comes to readership. If RJsCorner were a niche blog addressing a particular topic such as UFOs, conspiracies, retirement living and such it would probably get more readership. When I for the most part, left the political arena recently I lost a significant amount of daily views. Some people just gravitate toward those types of posts. I am not lamenting that loss of readership because of this decision as much as I am enjoying my life a little more when very partisan politics is not part of my daily menu.
I like to think that even though I post on many different topics that this blog has some central themes. Those are:
- to always question things
- that our diversity is the secret to our peaceful existence
- to love your neighbor as God told us to do.
I think I have learned those lessons in life and hope that a little of those experiences rub off on some of you. Life’s choices are almost never made in leaps but instead by a number of very small nudges. I hope to nudge you a little that way.
Sometimes I wonder why I put so much effort into my blogs when relatively few people actually read what I write? Some of it certainly has to do with my lack of social interaction in the world around me. Being deaf is very isolating, utterly so sometimes. So, maybe I blog where most people would just call up a friend for some chit-chat. I know I like to write. It is a strong part of who I am. I kind of like to think that when you read my words we are just sitting around my kitchen table with a cup of coffee shooting the bull. I greatly miss that part of my life. I really don’t know the core answer as to why I blog but I do know that it is just part of who I am now and will continue to be so. I just hope a few people enjoy what I write and maybe even get nudged a little…
The last post I gave you some reasons why they say people blog and how I fit those categories. This time I am going to give the three main reasons why I blog. Some might think the contents of RJ’s Corner and my other blogs are a mishmash of topics but I think they hold a few of common threads.
1) I blog to give a voice, even if it is a very small one, to those who are the most affected by our collective decisions but for various reasons have little time, resources, or experience to have their input heard. I blog because I have a very fundamental empathy for “the least of these”….
I often blog about politics and particularly the Republican variety because I think that party has for the most part lost its empathy and replaced it with fear. Instead of loving their brothers they now seem to fear him/her. They also seem to be anti-everything and pro-nothing. Like it or not politics has such an inordinate effect on our society at large. If we want to see change happen most often must occur there first. What happens in Washington and the fifty State houses determines so much for those who have little voice in the matter. I try to lend my voice for those who can’t.
2) I blog to try to get others to look outside their box. We should all regularly expose ourselves to new experiences and thoughts. To do so is to grow; to fail to do so is to become stagnant. Looking at the world from a different angle, some call that a contrarian view, is important to me and I hope I encourage my readers to also look beyond their current worldview.
3) I blog because I think the world for the most part needs to lighten up. Too many of us take ourselves too seriously. Will Rogers is among the top-tier on my hero list. He had an extraordinary talent of poking fun at some very serious issues. I try to emulate him in that regard. Almost everything I post has at least a small element of jest so don’t take my words too seriously.
I am very happy I decided to address why I blog with the last two posts. Sometimes my posts drift off topic. Sometimes I blog about things for no apparent reason. Keeping in mind the three main reasons I blog helps to center me. In the future I will strive to always look at what I post with these objectives in mind. That doesn’t mean that I won’t intentionally stray off topic once in a while but this list keeps me from going too far down a less productive and maybe darker path.
My young Romanian blogger friend Cristian Mihai stated recently that one of the reasons he blogs is because he is lonely. Another is that he has to blog/write. To not do so would deny his very existence. After reading those words and others from various bloggers I have started to think at a deeper, more fundamental level, just why do why I put so much energy into blogging.
- Some Blog for fame. My readership is meager by many standards so I do not blog for fame. Fame seems to corrupt most that accomplish it anyway so maybe the lack of fame is really a good thing. I need to stay humble to do my job here on earth.
- Some blog to vent their anger about what the world is doing. I am not one of those. I think those that do that are actually blogging more from fear than anger. I will not let fear or anger have that much of a hold on my life. I actually pity those who blog for that reason. I don’t blog from anger but sometimes I do blog from frustration.
- Some say that bloggers are just lonely; they want to interact with others. There might be some truth to that for me. Being deaf it is hard to have these kinds of conversations with others in a face-to-face manner. It is more than hard; it is darn near impossible. I think that being lonely is one of the reasons I blog but it is only a minor reason.
- Some say that they blog to vent their feelings and to maybe add a little to the overall conversation. I think I fit pretty comfortably in that category. I know that what I say here will not change much about the things I discuss. But even if I just put a micro-nudge in someone’s mind to look at something a little differently I would be satisfied.
- For most blogging is a very personal matter. To be good at it you must blog for yourself and not others. When I try to self-censor myself in certain areas I feel that I have somehow defeated the purpose of the time I spend in front of a computer. Yes, I must be true to myself but in order to be read I must also blog about things that are of interest to others. I must blog about things I am passionate about. I must write things that people can relate to on a personal level.
This last week I have been on hiatus. It has given me time to reflect just why I spend so much energy blogging. Next time I will give you the three major reasons why I blog and will probably continue to blog for my remaining years….