Don’t Link to Your Blog. Ever.

(Anita: Don’t read this. It’ll just piss you off. This warning is only for Anita. And it’s only on account of you don’t want me to worry so much what other people think. I don’t think it is a generally pissing-off kind of post.)

I have recently started hanging out a fair amount on Google+. I like G+ a lot; the structure of the posts with threading, and the ability to make and find public posts makes it a good place to meet new folks, find new readers, and find new conversational partners. It’s great for that. I go there to look for interesting writers and to post my own links. That’s what I’m there for.

So, yesterday, one of the Big Names (that is to say, somebody whose followers run into the thousands who gets referred to a lot by the other Big Names) that I follow told the people that she follows that she didn’t grant them permission to “pitch” her on their social networks, and said that she wanted us not to post links to our blogs, because if she wanted to read them, she’d be reading them already. Note that this was not a request not to send her links directly, but not to even post them to our public streams because that is like standing on a street corner trying to get people to come into our restaurants. If she wanted the food, she’d come in, already. Then she asked, “What does this bring up in you?”

So, before I go on, let me put this in context. This is part of a wider, “Blogging is dead,” zeitgeist that seems to be developing among the well-established:

Blogging lacks intimacy. People’s posts are either generic or stop short of what they could be if only the writers weren’t feeling confined by their social context. Real writers are sending directly to the inbox, only via permission, and all this blogging people are doing (so 2010) is messing up our public spaces.

Oh. And (from another writer) if people aren’t sharing your writing, it’s probably because it sucks, and if you just keep doing it for a few more years so you’ve had enough life experience and you learn to actually write and have some ideas, then maybe it will be interesting enough for me to bother sending a link your way. (This last one was from a twenty-something online-something expert. He’s single. He travels the world solo. He doesn’t blog any more. It doesn’t meet his needs.)

What does this bring up in me??? 275 posts later I’ve got 25 subscribers and now I’m not even supposed to try and find any new readers? What it brings up in me? I suck. Nobody wants to read my writing. If I were any good, I’d be “successful” by now. How dare I continue to pollute the world with my ideas??? I’ve been compared to a huckster flogging bad food that she crosses the street to avoid. I felt sucker punched. I felt like throwing up.

So, yeah. It brought stuff up.

And then (after several minutes of “I suck” angst) I thought, “How dare she tell me that I’m not allowed to offer my ideas to the world in a public forum? One in which she can make me disappear with a single click of the mouse. If she needs quiet that badly, why is she following all of us???”

The thing is, she writes about non-violent communication and boundaries.

Meditate. Breathe deeply. Talk it out for several hours. Non-violent communication and boundaries. She has the right to ask for something to meet a perceived need in herself. I have the right to say, “No.” I don’t even have to justify my, “no,” but in this case, I will. She has it entirely within her control whether she sees my public posts or not. I don’t have to do anything to change that. In my perception, she has made up a rule about public behaviour, and then applied it to the world around her, and then told us that we are rude for breaking it. I think that her asking me (us) to change my (our) (arguably perfectly reasonable, possibly even intended) behaviour for her comfort crosses a boundary into a presumed intimacy. THIS is why I’m so upset. At least, it is my best guess of why I’m so upset. I’m sure that several hours of therapy could add layers upon layers of upsettedness, but I’ve already spent an entire day on this, and I need to move on now. (This has spawned another entire post about whether blogging is, in fact, dead, or whether some of the super-bloggers, having already reaped its rewards, are maybe not in the best position to declare what the rest of us should be doing… but I digress.)

My online writing and social media use meets some of my needs for social and intellectual connection. I want to talk about strange esoteric things and explore challenging intellectual constructs. I don’t have employment in any of the careers I was trained for. I have three kids. I live in a rural community, which means that I have lots of access to personal interactions, that they know me at the post office, and that the new school principal already knew what my son’s extracurricular interests were. I’m pretty happy with my life. But it does somewhat limit my opportunities to stay up drinking beer and talking about… y’know. Grad school pub stuff. I get my grad school pub stuff by meeting strangers on the internet and striking up a conversation… like in grad school, but with less hand waving. And less beer. And less hand-waving-beer-sloshing. If they (the friends I haven’t met yet) aren’t sharing their links, I will never have the chance to meet them. And if I don’t share my links, my poor little baby ideas will sit here languishing, unread and unloved. Poor ideas. This makes me sad.

Fly little ideas. Make friends! Find other ideas! Make new ideas. (I kind of live in a universe where ideas have form, and it is my responsibility to nourish them the same way I do plants and pets.) And if you don’t want to see my ideas, please look somewhere else, rather than asking me to shut up, no matter how politely you do it.

‘K. Thanks. Bye.

33 responses to “Don’t Link to Your Blog. Ever.”

  1. I like your blog, and your writing. I would even venture to say, I like you. I enjoy reading your posts; they make me feel better. Validated, not alone, not crazy, hopeful – yes, better. So maybe that only makes you like Emily Whatsername, who “stopped one heart from breaking, [and therefore did not] live in vain”.

  2. Oh these shining stars with their zillions of followers and their inflated sense of themselves give me the shits. Why do they even follow mere mortals back? they should just stay up there in their glass towers throwing morsels of wisdom to us lesser bloggers.
    I don’t think that blogging is dead 🙂 I do think that perhaps you might need to unfollow a couple of people on google +
    Blogging for me is my community, I am an artist and I think in public, I use my blog to formulate those public thoughts. If it wasn’t for my blog I don’t know where I would be, as my blog friends have given me so much.
    I have been thinking about writing a post about Thinking in Public for a while now and I have bookmarked this post of yours to reference. I will give you a yell when I publish the post. Cheers Kim

    • Thank you for the comment. I’m looking forward to seeing your post about Thinking in Public. I think I wrote one like that a while back, but they kind of all blur together… particularly the drafts. 🙂

      • I have written about “thinking in Public” a number of times over the years and if you enter it as a search term on my blog lots of posts pop up. But this post is the essence of why I blog and It seems that my reasons are quite similar to yours.
        I also forgot to say in my previous comment that I am pleased I followed a twitter link here and retweeted the link so that it brought Amanda here as well.

  3. Heh – you just got another reader via a retweet of this link. …and I retweeted it too.
    I write for me. I share because *I* want to. It’s nice to have others read what I write, but mostly I write for me and also because I would lose a hardcopy journal and the internet is always easy to find. I write for my children, sot that they can understand why their mother was such a crazy mess after their father died. I write to clear my own headspace for rational thought. …and I write on a communal blog that connects with a zillion widows all over the world, and it’s because I write that I know that I make a difference to other people.
    All of us, writing our ideas makes a difference. Maybe only to ourselves, maybe only to our family. ….and just maybe to a great many like-minded souls who *want* to read what you say and who would never have discovered your ideas but for a blog link.
    Go You!

    • Well, it’s nice to meet you. And I’m sorry for your loss. You write beautifully about coming to terms with it. I’m glad that the writing makes a difference for you.


  4. You hit the nail on the head. If she/they don’t like your/my writing, they can choose to read something else. They have no right to say “shut up”! Makes me wonder what sort of fantasy world some people live in! Keep on blogging I say! Best of luck with it.

  5. You’re right. It pissed me off. Not at you – oddly, I have no problem with your response.

    The overly-entitled nitwit who told you (and everyone else they follow) that no one is permitted to post links to their feed? THEY piss me off.

    Gee, sweetums – we have a way of dealing with that sort of over-abundance of information. We call it getting a life and getting off of our high horse. Or unsubbing from the social media that is overwhelming us.


    Do as you like, babe. It’s a good thing. Ignore the people who tell you, however politely*, to shut up. They’re not worth it.

    (* I don’t think they were being polite. Passive aggressive is more like it. And fecking delusional. don’t post links? On the net? Seriously??)

    • Well. I’m glad you’re not upset with me. The irritating thing was, she’s all right with us posting *other* people’s links. And I find myself wondering… if she had followed those rules, how many followers would she have by now? Probably a lot like me! (Not very many. But they’re friendly sorts.)

      • If I had a nickle for every entitled idjit I dealt with online, I’d be able to visit you weekly.

        Like I said, seriously?? You know me – I’ve restrained myself from finding this stellar example of genius and posting links to every blog post that’s public I’ve ever made…

  6. Who is a “real writer” I want to know. Funny how quickly some published people forget, and start believing they are better than the rest, when we’re all in here together.

    • A writer writes. Arguably, a writer also puts their writing somewhere that other people can read it. (That’s what the dividing line was for me to start using the word, at least.) Perhaps a writer also writes with the intent that other people will get to read it? Or maybe, a writer just writes.

      What do you think?

  7. A/ If she’s seriously trying to get people not to self-promote on a particular social medium, that’s, well, Canutian.
    B/ Because you post irregularly, the links you post are my notice that there is new stuff. I could subscribe, but this is more convenient for me, as I’m in “reading stuff on the internet” mode when I visit facebook or Google +, whereas I’m usually in “is there anything I need to take care of” mode when bring up my email..
    C/ On the “blogging is dead” front – “Real writers are sending directly to the inbox, only via permission, etc. ” That doesn’t match how I want to access the work. I usually prefer to read a chunk of a writer’s work at a time, rather than have dribs and drabs sent to my inbox, where, frankly, it will get lost. If that’s the *only* way they ship, that writer and I are not compatible, so I will self-select out of their audience.

    • I don’t quite understand what you mean by Canutian. Trying to keep the tide from coming in?
      b) Yeah. That’s where almost 100% of my traffic comes from, so failing to post my links is the publishing equivalent to throwing my writing out the back door to the wind and hoping that somebody finds the scattered pages.
      c) Not to mention, I will not usually bother with a writer unless I’ve had a chance to read their material. I don’t purchase books until I’ve had a good perusal of them at the library, and I don’t subscribe to a writer’s feed until I’ve read 10 – 15 of their posts and figured out that they have something to tell me.

  8. I don’t really understand twitter. I don’t need to, though, to understand and appreciate your writing. I’m glad you write and post and think and share. Forget the muckety-mucks. They are boring.

    • Thank you. They’re very… successful, though, which is why I’ve been hanging around in that part of the virtual world. The problem is, though, that it’s a group of friends. It’s a group of people who already know one another, and they send links around to one another’s work, and they promote one another’s ideas, and the main message of the tribe is, “You can be successful like this, if only you follow our lead. And then go away and stop bothering us.” Because really? They’re so successful that they don’t have time for anybody new. So if they do deign to speak to you, it’s like being touched by… oooh. Someone successful.

      Bah. I’m cynical today. Better tomorrow. Because I do have sympathy for the overwhelmed. Really, I do. I’m just…

  9. Hey there! I just started reading you; I think I followed a link from Natural Parents Network. Just wanted to say that I love G+, too, and especially because I can find new people and the stuff they’re writing. So keep linking! 🙂

  10. I went on a little rant of my own over this very same post, then stopped her emails and uncircled her because, hello, you really cannot dictate how people on the internet or in the world at your feet will behave. And there were so many lovely, intelligent comments to her post and then the response saying, I only want your experiences; opinions and conjecture MAKE ME FEEL BORED – oh my. So I hit the go away button, which I rarely do, but I expect more from someone who is so knowledgeable about the internet.
    this was my rant/response, a bit long for a comment thread, I know:

    Dear Internet:
    I adore you, but of course I have to put my own needs first. Still, I would never ask you to change. I love the crazy conversations, the people who jump right in, the disagreements and intelligence and fun. Oh, I have my days, when I just have to put our relationship away for awhile.And I don’t love the trolls, but I’ve had some fun playing with them and it turns out some of them are funny and just playing too. Who knew?

    Internet, I will never ask or expect that there will be any privacy in our connection – I’m not that naive. If I’ve put it out there, my words have to go have their adventures in your circus carnival crazy inclusive world of everyone and everything. I don’t expect people to come to me and ask my permission to play. And I won’t presume to blame the other players for not going by MY rules. I promise not to pretend that I have the rule book that everyone else should follow.
    Looking forward to lots of good times,

    • I know. That’s why I circled you on G+ outside the experience circle. 🙂 (Which I also deleted, because I think it’s not my thing after all.)

      • Hmmm, I think I circled you because anyone married to a physicist is A-okay in my book. The funny-ness helps also.

  11. Hey sister! I think it’s fair to say that I should heed any Anita warnings in the future… 🙂 Seriously, my head got all hot! I agree with Anita too, it’s the other chick with the issues.

    Plus, as a person who is about to open a restaurant, a good part of my life is about to become ‘standing on a street corner trying to get people to come into my restaurant’. She sounds like a snot to me… (I don’t bother with that non-confrontational communication. Call it like it is!)

    • That was the other thing that really bothered me – I used to live in San Diego and spent a lot of time in Mexico. It’s a very warm, gregarious culture and yes, people do hawk their wares at you in the streets. You have a choice – you can either embrace the culture and enjoy the people or you can be the ugly American tourist. And I know exactly what my impression of her would be if I saw her on the streets there.

  12. Just finished reading The Truth About Stories last Thursday — thank you for pointing me to it. (Cried when I got to the end, but what doesn’t have me crying these days?) And the truth about Ms. Big Name’s story is that’s just what it is: a story. Serves her well, too, I suppose. I like your story better, the one with the hand waving and beer sloshing.

  13. Except she didn’t even do it politely. Reading this has made me realize that, not only does she lack basic social skills, she has a severe case of the “big head”. lol
    I enjoyed reading this. You have a delightful way of putting things.

  14. I’ve had this up on my browser waiting to be read, and finally got around to it. I am so glad that I did.
    I’m not very involved in social media (just dangle my feet in a little), so I haven’t come across much of this, but probably the single biggest thing that I love about Blogging is that it can be exactly what you want it to be. If you want to try and get thousands of followers, you can do that. If you want to just talk to yourself and let your ideas fly, then that is ok too.
    I can’t remember where I was when I clicked on this link to your blog, but I am so glad that I did,
    xx Sannah

  15. This is my first visit to your blog, and I truly enjoyed reading this post.
    The only thing I wonder is “how dare she” tell other people how to communicate? The last time I checked… we can change OUR behavior. We can change how WE react to others. We cannot change others. Trying implies a level of intellectual immaturity that I find, frankly, breathtaking.

    Can I tell people to stop posting dumb jokes on Facebook? Tell them to stop posting political opinions I disagree with on G+? Stop blogging about sports I dislike? Of COURSE NOT. And that’s the beauty of the internet, no?

    Good for you for this post, and I look forward to coming back and reading more!

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