Dave and I just dropped his car off for the second time (It is always the oxygen sensor.) He parked his truck, gave the dude his keys, hopped in my car and we drove off. As we were heading down US-40 I was thinking, and because he is the number one person I like to share my thoughts with, I turned my head and looked at him (Yes, I was driving & no, looking at him was not the most responsible thing to do.) So I looked over at him and forcefully, forthrightly (strongly) said something like this:
“Dave, does anybody read blogs anymore? For those of us trying to be an internet presence, it is all this ME! ME! ME! See ME! Notice ME! I am starting to think the entire focus is about being bringing traffic to your own web site and in this current web climate those who can bring traffic (however they manage to bring traffic) are the most popular (obviously and seems like a lot of work). With higher traffic, more readers, more re-Tweets, more links thrown your way, more likes, more followers, more I-am-not-sure-whats, you are a success, right? It seems to be more about the land grab than actually caring what anyone has to say. And by Land Grab I mean whatever land you are trying to grab: money, power or fame.” (ok, I did not say the land-grab-money-power-fame part, but it is what I am thinking about now. And as an aside, Dave has developed this theory (great conversation starter) of what is most important. His theory is that we all fit into one of three categories: money (comfort), power (being in the in-crowd) or fame (validation/popularity). What are you? I always tell him that I am love and then he says, “Nope, we all fit into one of those three and so does love.”
“With my eyes on the highway I continued, “How can I be the most well liked, have the most page views or be the most successful internet person? How will anyone ever notice me (again)?” (Ok, this may be one of those unspoken things you are never ever supposed to say, but when I say noticed, I really mean, how will more people want to read what I have to say? What makes me so special? I know I am not the only one who has asked this question.)
I am sure Dave said something witty & extremely profound in response to my super vain question.
In partial jest I continued, “Do I need to start a Design Blog or become a Foodie? I have seen many blog friends move from personal blogging to just that, food, photography, celebrities and design. Would it be better if I said really mean things about others? Because everyone knows being divisive brings you lots and lots of attention. Oh wait, will you Tweet this for me?”
“Ok, give me your phone.”
“Hey everyone, Mitt Romney is gay and a Scientologist!”
“Come on Beth, you know Mitt Romney is only gay on the inside and only his favorite book was written by a Scientologist.”
(Ok, let’s be clear. In truth, I never made the comment about Mitt Romney or ask Dave to Tweet about it. Nor did Dave. I am once again pandering and I know by mere mention of Mitt Romney I will upset someone out there.)
I am sure I am missing something here, but it seems like a whole process that goes something like this. You need to Tweet every waking moment & then the other time you spend on Twitter, you should also be reading (skimming) other Tweets & then following the other Twitterers,”
Dave chimed in and said, “and hope they follow you.”
“Isn’t that the point?”
We both laughed and I continued, “You have to read, excuse me, I mean comment on blogs to bring traffic to your blog. You can spend hours commenting on blogs and maybe if you are lucky, you get one person to comment on your web site. Then there is the whole Instagram Issue.” (If you do not know what Instagram is, Google it and then sign up and start snapping. With Instagram, you view photos on your phone or iPad.)
I continued, “You scroll through other people’s photos and then like the photos you think are cool. And maybe just maybe someone out there will like one of your photos. And maybe just maybe they will even comment on the photo they liked. It is a really good day when someone decides to follow you.”
“Oh, that Instagram thing.” Dave muttered.
“I haven’t fully deconstructed the Facebook issue yet [long pase] “Ah, Facebook. Is it just a place to connect with friends or is it a place to hawk your wares or is it both? If I post a link to CrazyUS on Facebook surely a friend will comment, won’t they?”
No response, but maybe that was because Dave was now answering his email.
“And if you do want to make something of yourself, ultimately it seems like most of your internet time is spent tirelessly trying to bring people to your website and when you are not tirelessly marketing yourself, you should be staying current and thus tirelessly redesigning your web site. Ay-yi-yi!” (I did actually say, “Ay-yi-yi!”)
“Wow! You are all full of truth. Is that your new thing, the truth?”
“Hey man. I have always tried to tell the truth. I would like to think that with age I have become more refined (less afraid). When I used to blog I was so completely worried about stepping on toes that I ended up crushing feet. Nowadays I say it and know that I am not trying to hurt anyone. Hey buddy, I also have no problem admitting that the truth also applies to me.”
By then we had reached our destination and were in our slow-moving line ordering our lunch. In between Dave’s phone call and me making sure they did not put cheese on my tostada, I kept thinking about blogs and continued wondering what the point is. What can I say that will make people stop, listen and value me? I would like to make something out of my blog, but does making something mean that I really am defined by my web traffic? When it comes down to it, this internet is crazy, complicated, not so complicated and very cool. Truthfully, I do not know if I will ever be able to grab the land back.
And guess what? Tonight, as I write, Dave told me how many subscribers I have on Google Reader. For a literal second I felt so proud and then in the very next breath he told me how his website has 20,000 more subscribers than I do. Ouch!
Here I am and yes, I will both Tweet & Facbook this post. I chose to ride this pony, didn’t I? That being said, I have learned that I (and my little family unit D.K.& E) am (are) the only one(s) who needs to be at peace with that. I also know that I am probably owning scratching the surface and wish you all that same peace.