When I began blogging, I read one blog, Dooce, and I had only found her two months prior. I had no idea there was a community and a ranking system and support and cliques and friends and frenemies and conferences.
Blogging is found at the intersection of personal and business, ideas and reality, fans and friends. The lines are blurry and for most people, the ease of friend to business partner and tweet to cocktail party is simple and fun.
For me, I wish that there wasn’t a blogging community. I wish we were islands reading islands.
By nature, I’m a one-on-one person. I’m not comfortable in groups and sometimes our sense of community feels like standing by a big group of people wondering if or when I should jump in and how to control how I come off in 140 characters or a brief comment or a few paragraphs when there is so much more to me.
Even when I’m standing inside the group spitting out one-liners or getting into a heated debates or silly lovefests, I can feel alone and unknown. And the shock of finding all these bloggers and groups and rules has not worn off over the years because I was so sure that blogging would be me sitting in an empty room with my laptop.
I didn’t create my blog to find friends or community although I have found people I consider friends. I’ve also lost people who I thought were friends. But I don’t blog to be intimately known. I blog because I like to write and tell stories. Because I want people to read them. Because I was tired of dreaming about becoming a writer. So I did want to known but not in the blogging community. I wanted to be known by the elusive reader. To make people laugh. To encourage people to think. To use my words.
And I have been read, gotten jobs, made friends, chosen business partners and even found writers who don’t blog much. I have learned that these writers also have a community of sorts. It’s smaller and less aggressively touted than ours, but they have people who help them write and edit and makes contacts and secure jobs and throw one-liners around. And I find myself disappointed again that I cannot do this on my own.
So I participate in small ways and shoulder shrug and wait to see how long I can get away with growing my blog without fully embracing the blogging community. And I worry, if community is my only choice, one day I’ll have to change. Or stop blogging.