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…