Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aloof in the Blogosphere or Why I Blog

I've seen a lot of chatter lately, far and wide, about how many bloggers are tiring of blogging! That is, they get trampled down by controversy in the blogosphere or perceived popularity contests, etc. As a five-year veteran of the blogging community, I've been thinking about this issue a lot.

There have certainly been times when my blog has waned or it's suddenly become "unfun" to blog. I think every blogger goes through it whether it's sparked by issues at home or bigger issues at play in the community at large.

Over the past five years my feelings have changed a lot, and my approach to blogging has changed a great deal. The #1 difference? I'm somewhat aloof! And I kind of like it that way.

First, I should disclaim right about here and point out that I have no problems with ANYONE in the book blogging community or the way they run their respective blogs. I approach blogging in much the same manner I approach my job: I come to work/blog, I do my work/blog, and I go home. While there's often a shitstorm of drama swirling around at work, I usually float right on by, none the wiser. Such has been known to happen in the blogosphere, too. I usually hear about the drama way later or never at all. Why? Because I'm aloof. Somewhat reserved, to myself, just focusing on whatever I want to focus on at the moment.

Now, there was a time when I was smack in the middle of everything. I founded Estella's Revenge (the 'zine) and rode that train til I was sick and tired of editing though it saddened me to let it go.  I wrote for Bibliobuffet until life smacked me in the face and said, "Take some time off already!" And I've probably participated in every imaginable meme, award, and event known to book blogging kind at least once.

You know what I discovered? A whole lot about my own personal habits and joys. I don't particularly like meme's anymore after years of seeing the same ones. I am HORRIBLE at hosting personal giveaways because I cannot physically make myself go to the post office to mail anything. I join challenges but rarely pressure myself to finish because I understand my own finicky (frustrating) reading moods. That's just a sample.

Another disclaimer: I love the book blogging community. I love reading blogs, commenting on blogs, finding new-to-me blogs, but I guess I tend to resist some trends simply because I know I'm too set in my own ways, lazy, or otherwise pulled in differing directions to participate in some of those popular aspects of blogging. And I'm OK with that. I don't let it damage my love of the writing, of the reading, or of the bloggy experience as a whole.

So, in short, that's how I keep things fresh for myself around here. I read, I review, I rant when I want to, and I throw in non-book material because this is, first and foremost, a chronicle of my life. I've never been good at journaling or writing in a diary in "real life" so this blog has become an artifact of who I've been and who I will become in life. And that, my friends, is wayyy more important to me than anything else.

It's why I blog.

Why do you blog?


  1. Such a wonderful attitude, Andi! I'm going to print out your post and pin it to my wall. I feel the same way most of the time, but I do let things get to me and then. You're post is a good reminder.

  2. It sounds as though you have the perfect attitude! I think letting things wash over you and doing what you want to do are the key things to keep yourself sane in the blogging world. Allowing yourself to get caught up in any storm is the worst thing that can happen. I'm with you *puts fingers in ears and sings*

  3. I think I feel a lot of the same way. (unless I'm getting personally attacked. ;)
    I'm also tired of memes, never finish challenges, etc. I do organize BBAW though...that means I'm not entirely detached doesn't it?
    I used to get caught up in it, but lately I just want my blog to be a place I enjoy. I need it to process all my thinking bout books and reading. :P

  4. I enjoy my blog and the community be steer clear of all the drama - I have enough to deal with in real life with adding anything in my virtual one.

  5. I had to sit down with myself and have that mental conversation because it was starting to get really tiring posting every day and reading quickly to write about things, etc.

    The new blog? Totally aloof. And it's been so much fun - I actually want to read and write when I don't have the pressure on my back to do it!

    Sure, it means fewer people visit knowing you post rather sporadically, but I've found that the people who *do* stick around are the ones I care about (:

    Loving this post!

  6. Wendy, thanks! I think it's one of those age things for me personally. My priorities have changed a lot in the last year with everything going on. It goes along with not letting my mother-in-law push me around. LOL :D

    Jackie, amen to the singing! I've become a master at letting things wash over me. Well, except my mother-in-law's crap mentioned in comment above. I'm still working on that one.

    Amy, yeah the personal attack thing sucks. I'm far enough on the outside nowadays that that doesn't really happen unless it's the occasional snide comment. And I'm not completely detached. I'm not opposed to helping with things either. I'm right there on Twitter with everyone else. I think it's just become an issue of priority in the last year. It's amazing how this mom-to-be situation changes attitudes toward EVERYTHING. I'm much better at prioritizing my frustration these days. I save it for electronics that don't work and very carefully chosen family members. ;)

  7. I completely support this attitude, Andi. Keep doing what you're doing!

  8. Amen, Kathy!

    Lena, it's very liberating! At first the decreased visitors hurt my feelings, but not anymore. I got tons of hits years ago when I was a bit of a snarky asshole, and I don't really want to go back to being miserable just for the buttload of visitors. lol

  9. This is a fantastic post - and I'm so heartened to find a kindred soul in the blogging world.

    I started my blog with wide eyes and a grand plan. Only six months later, I wouldn't say I've become cynical - because I too, love the book blogosphere - but I'm tired of the memes and the challenges and paranormal urban romance and the Honest Scrap award. I'm sorry if that makes me an elitist asshole, but I started my blog to talk about what I am reading, and post topics of interest. I love the comments and value my readership, but when the sun goes down, I'm blogging for me - as a creative outlet.

    Anyway, thanks for your post - at some level, it feels great to know I'm not alone. :)

  10. I agree. I get involved with people and fun stuff but I let the rest of it roll. I am no good at meme and features, not even my own and I just do as much as I can and want to when I am available to do so. I want my blog and the community to be a fun experience and I do a fair amount of sticking my head in the sand to keep it that way.

  11. I need to borrow your attitude today. I got the blogging blaws. I don't know what to do with my blog. I kinda bored with it and want to perk it up but don't know what to do with it.

  12. Well said! I must say I'm indifferent to it myself but that is because I'm always a bit behind the times. Doesn't seem to bother me in the least :) With 3 kids what do you expect? Lol!

  13. Wow - when did you crawl in my brain and decide to post my thoughts?? Seriously other than the Editing the Zine and Writing for Bibliobuffet, and the fact that I've never been a meme fan, I could have written this post.

    My blog started out as my online reading journal that I could share with a few close friends and that remains my primary motivation.

    As I posted on Vasilly's blog yesterday:

    the priorities that keep my blog alive and going after 3 (nearly 4) years are:

    1. my initial reason for it – a place for a record of my reading.
    2. my friends who enjoy coming there for book recommendations and my photos.
    3. other readers (mostly bloggers) with whom I enjoy sharing book discussion.

    I don’t let my blog become work. I don’t feel any obligation to post certain things at certain times (except for Wordless Wednesday of course) or to post x number of times a week.

    The drama? I ignore as best I can.

    I say Brava to your post and your attitude!!

  14. A little bloggy introspection is a good thing. Staying out of the drama is also a good thing. I'm trying to sort out how to be part of the community without getting sucked into the other stuff.

    Ultimately, though, I agree with you: my blogging has to be what I want it to be, otherwise there really isn't much reason to keep doing it.

    Great post!

  15. Wow, I couldn't have said it any better!

  16. Thank you so much for posting that. I recently started my book blog and have felt insignificant because my blog does not seem to be anywhere near the level of the blogs that I have been reading. Mainly because I have only one post, but more will come. :) All I want to do with my blog is read books and write about them. I kept seeing all these challenges and giveaways and wondering if I had to start doing them myself. So again thank you! Being new to blogging, you have given me something to think about.

  17. I nice, healthy attitude! I know I'm glad you still blog. :-)


  18. I haven't been at this too long, I had no idea there was so much drama. Hopefully I can just stick to being naive about that stuff.

  19. I love this post, Andi. I need to borrow your attitude :P I confess I've had the blogging blahs too lately, but hopefully it'll pass.

  20. I like this post a lot. I think there is something to be said for staying out of things when you can, although if everyone did that I'm not sure if the community would grow in any significant way. It's tricky to balance that though... I guess I'm not sure where I fall on the aloof to engaged spectrum, if such a spectrum exists, but it's interesting to think about.

  21. I blog, therefore I am. Well, hmm, you were around when I started my blog so you've probably heard this but . . . I started blogging so that I could have a place to casually write (or maybe spill) about books I'd read because B-A-W reviews were a little on the formal side. I never expected anyone to find my blog and certainly never expected to be approached by publicists or authors with requests for reviews.

    Right now, I think you could count me in the aloof category. This is my last year with my youngest son at home and I'm crazy about him; I know I'll miss him, even though he won't be far away. So, I'm not spending as much time blogging, not quite as chatty and silly, and very rarely visiting other blogs. Next year will probably be completely different. Blogging should be static; if my blog stagnates for a while, it's just a phase. I'm not into controversy, not good at challenges, grew tired of memes/awards . . . not really a community participant, but there are times the bickering does get to me. Thanks for the reminder that it's not important.

  22. hear, hear. And actually, I didn't now there was much drama going on in the blogosphere, LOL. I do read a lot of angsty posts about people not feeling like blogging or being disappointed and so on and so forth...I love my blog and I love blogging but I can guarantee I will never post more than twice a week and it will be about whatever is top of mind, right then!

  23. Greg, amen brother! I don't think it makes you elitist at all. It's all about preference. With the waves of organized fun available in the blogosphere I think it can become overwhelming and a bit pressure filled. Knowing what is important personally is key, I think. That's what I was trying to get across in my post, anyway.

    Nicole, I agree. I do what I want to, when I want to, and if time doesn't allow I'm not too broken up about it. I would LOVE to be in on this year's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, but I know I'll probably have babied by now, and there's just no way. It's one of those things...we do what we can!

    Chris, when I get that way I generally change the look and feel. That seems to be the biggest, most fun way to get me jiving again.

    LOL, I hear ya, Sam. I'm sure I'll feel increasingly this way when the boy arrives.

    Thanks so much, SuziQ! Not letting the blog become work or overly obligatory is absolutely the way to go, in my opinion. It's supposed to be fun!

    Well said, Florinda!

    Thank you, Kathleen!

    Welcome to the blogosphere, Kelly! I'll be stopping by to read your one post (maybe more by now) shortly. :) Feeling less than insignificant comes with time. Don't ever feel pressured. Do what feels right in the blog world and have a great time with it. That's what it's all about.

    Thank you, Lezlie! And it's good to "see" you, by the way. :)

    Chris, naive is a good place to be. That's where I am most of the time.

    Nymeth, I hope it passes! Sending you the bloggy sunshiney vibes.

    Kim, and I wouldn't say I'm completely disengaged. I'm still in way too many challenges, and I would like to be read-a-thoning soon, but I think we're all too apt to get bogged down by what we "should" do or feel pressured to grow our readerships to massive proportions, etc. I just like to enjoy the community for the sake of community AND satisfy my own bloggy needs at the same time.

    Thanks, Nancyroo. I try to remind myself that pressure is futile. lol That's really what it comes down to.

    LOL, Courtney! I think it happens in the book blogging community occasionally because there is SO MUCH going on and so many memes, activities, extracurriculars available that people begin to feel pressure to include certain things on their blogs, or live up to certain bloggy expectations, etc. etc. Yadda yadda. It should be more personal than that.

  24. I like your attitude! I don't really know what drama there is in blogosphere. I have never really come across an unfriendly book blogger myself! But I am very anti-meme. They exhaust me to wade through in my Google Reader. I still enjoy blogging, but I realize it can be an ebb and flow thing. I might be eddying soon, but moreso for off-line reasons than anything else.

  25. Great post. I am a mere youngster compared to you. I like being involved with the book blogging community -- but I know my limits and I've learned to keep my mouth shut when the controversies arise.

    I mostly blog what I want to and am fortunate that others seem to like it.

  26. I know some bloggers court the drama and like to fan the flames with their posts...but I really try to keep my focus on the books. I got involved in a blog drama once...and though it ended well for the party I was defending, it did not end all that well for me. Now I just try to stay out of it.

  27. I like your attitude toward blogging. Maybe I'll adopt it and see how it goes. I love blogging but think I'm putting too much pressure on myself to do more. Great post.

  28. I have been having the blogging blahs lately, but I guess I have been having the blahs in general... Stands to reason the blogging will suffer too.

  29. Wow. I think I missed all the drama. I've seen a few posts lately about "why I blog" but had no clue there was a big controversy circulating -- again. This seems to go in cycles, doesn't it?

    I've been blogging for 4 years and I'm backing off most of the memes, give-aways, free ARCs, etc. I'm going back to my roots. Read. Review. Occasionally throw in a picture of my dog or garden or hubby's car/motorcycle. Maybe toss in a recipe now and then. But I'm into the "less is more." Get it? Les is more. ;)

    Andi, your blog is one of my all-time faves and while I don't comment as much as I used to, I'm always here reading and chuckling along with all your chatter. I can't wait to start seeing baby news posted on a regular basis.

  30. Hehe! Love this post!

    I'm aloof too. At work and on the blog. Sort of at home,too. I like to stay out of the middle, out of the drama, do my own thing, you know. It's a good thing.

    Now about that baby! Don't worry about the size! I am not even 5 foot 1 and my husband is 6 foot 7 and I measured 4+ wks ahead the whole time. I had a measurement ultrasound and it was actually pretty close, not sure the # but my daughter was 8lb 12 oz. So a big baby for me for sure. Thing is, the md knew she'd be big and said 'if you can't push it out,no extreme measures, no forceps no vaccum no nothing. Go directly to c-section. Sounds like your md is feeling the same?? Anyhow, I'm rambling, but good luck, okay??


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