I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. It was prompted by an article I read somewhere. I think it was on Hello Giggles but I’ve been searching for it, and can’t find it again. Maybe it was on someone’s blog, or another site…
Anyway, I think whoever wrote the article was writing about their parents’ divorce, and they were trying to shed some light on the real reason their relationship ended. The article then applied this to relationships in general, and the point was that a lot of relationships end not because people stop loving or caring about one another, but because they lose interest in the other person or the relationship.
I was likely reading a bunch of other things at the time as well, and when I first read this, I remember thinking, yeah, that’s a valid point, but then I moved on to whatever the next thing was, and didn’t ruminate further on it. Some time later – maybe a day, maybe a week – thoughts about the importance of interest in a relationship resurfaced in my mind. It was probably after a pleasant interaction with a fellow blogger because my mind linked the ideas from that article to the blogging community.
I’ve seen several bloggers write that they believe “blog people” are better than “real people” i.e. that they like their blogging community better than (some) people they know in real life. There have been times when I’ve agreed with this (I’ve “met” a lot of wonderful, thoughtful and inspiring people through blogging), and I have theories about why blogging is so enjoyable, but this article about divorce gave me something else to consider.
Not sure why I’d never thought of this before, but there is a big element of “interest” in blogging too (or maybe I had thought about this but not with these words?)
Think about it: You start a blog to write about whatever you want. You write a few posts, then go exploring to find other like-minded bloggers i.e. people who share your interests. You follow their blog, they follow yours, and you become interested in each others’ lives. You “like” other people’s posts, and leave thoughtful and pleasant comments, and you receive the same from others.
But you won’t like every blog you come across. Sure, they’re pretty cool in their own right, but they’re not quite your style or they don’t post about the things you want to read. So you don’t follow these blogs, and that’s ok. Sometimes you’ll follow someone else’s blog but they don’t follow yours, and that’s ok too. We’re all busy with other things (and real life) so we can’t follow every like-minded blogger and read every post they write.
In the end, you have developed a blogging community of sorts – one in which there’s shared interest, and that interest is expressed in one way or another: comments, “likes” or repeat visits. (I’m someone who believes that love unexpressed is not love, but that love/gratitude/respect etc can be expressed in many ways.) And all this feels good, right? So dopamine, or whatever other reward hormones there are floating around in your brain, tells you to keep blogging.
I’m sure most people have heard that thing about how people like talking about themselves, and a surefire way to get someone talking is to ask them to do exactly that. And maybe this is because it feels good to feel as if someone else is actually interested in our lives.
And then you have blogging, which, for a lot of people, is a lot of talking about our own lives, voicing our own thoughts and/or sharing our creations (poems, stories, artwork, etc). And to have other people take any interest in these things that are inherently so important to us is both amazing and gratifying.
I’ve noticed that the more I get to know someone (in real life), and the more a friendship develops, the more likely I am to tell these people about obscure thoughts and mundane details of my life. This is probably because they’ve showed some capacity for being interested in my life, so I have some basis for believing that they won’t judge me and/or get bored of these minutiae. (And it works the other way around, of course, being on the receiving end of other people’s random thoughts and minor complaints.)
Need I say more?
Probably not, but I will anyway. Just a bit more.
As warm and fuzzy as all this seems, I feel like there’s also a certain level of detachment when it comes to blogging, particularly if your blogging community largely consists of people you don’t know in real life (which is true in my case). What I mean by this is that I’m aware that everyone has lives outside of blogging, so we are invested but also not. I don’t feel slighted if a blogger doesn’t reply to a comment, but I will wonder why a friend hasn’t replied to a text (even if it’s not about anything important).
The only other thing I’d like to add (for now) is that blogging, being online and technological and all, kind of makes it easier to refine your community. You can silently breeze through and follow all these interesting people. Then, if someone you’re following occasionally posts about things you’re not interested in, there’s no obligation to read it. You just keep scrolling and wait for their next post.
I don’t know if this is usually the case, but, in my case at least, I write for myself and an undefined audience. This post, like just about every other post I write, simply exists – it’s not directed at anyone in particular, but is here for anyone to stumble upon and read. If people read this, that’s great; if not, I just keep writing anyway.
All this isn’t quite so easy in real life…
6 thoughts on “interest pays”
I think those of us who had a World Before the Internet have a special vantage point than those who’ve always known it but it also gives us more pause. I question “how real” it all is, blogging included and struggle sometimes to quantify its legitimacy so far as relationships and genuine feelings go. Maybe the degree of detachment or lack thereof depends a lot on the particular individual doing the writing.
Hmm I have previously questioned how real/genuine some of these connections are, but for the most part I just accept it, trying not to put too much weight on things. But the differing vantage points based on being either side of the World of Internet – I hadn’t considered that as a variable before…
I think that, mostly, we do write for ourselves. The bonus of having readers, finding common grounds and feeling like you are surrounded by a community of friends is a wonderful benefit!
It’s definitely a wonderful feeling, and I’m glad we’re a part of each other’s communities 🙂
I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months or so and I’ve connected with/spoken to more people in the virtual world than I have new ‘real’ people in the actual world in the same amount of time. I approached this venture with a great deal of gusto. In real life it takes me a long time to develop relationships with people so any relationship for me is a big deal but in the virtual world I’ve found myself being uncharacteristically familiar with people I don’t know. But that doesn’t mean I’m not genuine. I’ve also found myself spending A LOT of time deliberating over a comment before posting and on some occasions deleting it completely after a change of heart. If this all sounds a bit confused then that’s probably because I’m still trying to make sense of it all. To conclude, I started blogging because I wanted to make connections with people and I’m doing just that. So great! I almost deleted all this. And sorry it’s a bit long.
It’s good you’ve been able to make connections with a lot of people through blogging. I suppose it cuts out all the small talk, and trying to find time to meet up that you’d have to deal with in a “real life” relationship, so that might make it easier.
And I totally get what you mean about commenting. There have been times when I’ve written out a comment, and then deleted it without posting because I thought it was unnecessary or didn’t add to the discussion. Sometimes a simple “like” is sufficient to show support/agreement. And don’t worry about comments being too long – I like well thought-out comments like yours 🙂