“Getting to know you! Getting to know all about you…”

Alrighty. It’s been almost a week since my last blogposting, and that’s far too long for my taste. I have a lot to update you on, and some observations that I have gleaned via my “travels through the blogosphere”.

Remember how I had to set aside that ebook I had been reading, Creating a Blog Audience by Sister Diane? I had reached a point where I didn’t want to progress further until I felt confident to answer some of the questions she was posing. At a certain point in the book, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the blogging communities that I was posting my blog for– art, craft, and business–and I really needed to do some investigating.

Well, I can say with absolute certainty that’s easier said than done. The blogosphere at this point is rapidly increasing, and the more I felt I was visiting “the community”, the more I realized I was simply scratching the surface… I felt (and still feel) that I had reached the outskirts of a major urban hub, and said to myself, “Aha! My community!” when I actually should have waited and read some more signs to realize I had a long way to go… I think that getting to know the community you are writing for as a blogger is a never ending journey… I could visit blog after blog and post comment after comment, but I’ll never reach the end. 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps, there was a finite nature to the whole experience that implied there were edges to the blogosphere community that one could reach, depending on your interest. Not so much today. It’s like saying, “Get to know your internet!” Hah! See ya in 5-10 years when that’s done…

OBIT  KERR

So at this point, I have endless numbers of bookmarks and doubled my blog subscriptions. And I have 30 open browser windows on my Mac’s dock, waiting for me to get back to read them. I keep finding great stuff!!!  The book did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me think about what it was I was putting out there, for whom, and how it fit in.

And that’s led me to realize there probably isn’t much I can add to the fabric of the blogosphere, really. What can I do but what everyone else is doing–“spins” on information that’s already been explored in depth? How many purse tutorials can a person read? Redoing what others are doing is not what I’d like to do…

So. I’ve decided to continue reading Sister Diane’s book, and hopefully I can progress forward on posting information that’s interesting to a specific overlap of my chosen communities. The book has profoundly opened my eyes to the concept that I need to recognize what my niche is. It’s made me realize that my particular “spice” that I add to the recipe of information that I post needs to be uniquely my own. It’s finding and recognizing that niche that I have to think about. And the more I explore the blogosphere, the more I realize those niches are very very hard to come by.

I find a lot of similarities (in my head) between the blogosphere and reality. In the rush of globalization that’s been made possible by mass and social medias, we’ve moved beyond embracing the whole and turned inward a bit. Our instinct is to pull in and find our diverse uniqueness that separates us and makes us distinct. The Handcrafted/DIY movement is part of that, I think. Our individuality as people was lost in the emphasis on our individuality as a culture, and now we’re trying to get it back through our creative expressions. Yes, we need and strive for social connections, but now we seek them not through our identification as part of the whole (by doing/believing the same things) but through our uniqueness that demonstrates our variation on the identifying culture. We want to belong, and yet we celebrate our distinctiveness.

Being part of any blogging community presents a quandary: belonging on the one hand, being different on the other. Being just enough alike, but not a copy.

So I’m going to move forward. I’m realizing I will never see the larger whole of my communities in the blogosphere, never truly grasp how they all fit together, who are the movers and shakers, who are the followers. And I think that means I will never really know if my blog is distinctive from the larger whole that it’s trying to identify with at the same time.

But I guess that’s ultimately like the business, art, and craft worlds, too, isn’t it? Someday, I may find someone doing what I do and doing it much better, or realize someone’s taken what I thought was my own uniqueness and is using it for their own. “Like business, like blog,” I guess.

But I can’t let that stop me, can I?

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2 Comments

  1. Sister Diane said,

    October 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

    What a great post! I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days.

    You make an excellent point – the craft blogosphere is far too huge now for any of us to grasp the whole thing. A far cry from even three years ago, when it was a much smaller community and you really could “see it all.”

    I like to think of the whole thing these days as a series of interconnecting circles. And I think it’s possible to enjoy the neighborhood you build around yourself, while occasionally traveling into other circles for some fresh perspective.

    You’re absolutely right – uniqueness is everything. One of the most exciting things about the blogosphere is that it allows us to celebrate the quirkiest passions we have, and find that small knot of other people who share them.

    This is so much more interesting than the world of mainstream craft media, where everything seems to boil down to trends and market segments and what’s most popular so it sells more copies.

    Give me a truly different craft blog any day.

    I’d say, too – don’t worry about whether your blog is truly distinctive from the entire blogosphere. Because if you can’t see the whole thing, remember that nobody else can, either.

    Just be genuine, and actively engaging with people, and your community will coalesce around you.

    • relishedartistry said,

      October 3, 2009 at 12:08 pm

      Sister Diane, you have once again said exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!!

      I guess it’s like having faith that the “corner market” is valid–it’s not that it’s totally unique, but it serves a purpose for the locals who use it. There are lots of corner stores, and certainly lots of bigger stores with a wider variety of items, but those places don’t offer the convenience, character, and familiarity of the particular shop just down the street.

      Being “one of a kind” is only part of the big picture, isn’t it?

      Man, I feel like I’m in high school again… Hahaha!! True belonging comes with faith in one’s self. Confidence and perseverance are more important than popularity, because true validation does not come simply from “fitting in.” Ironically, it seems that believing in one’s self, being happy, striving for your personal best, and exploring life with curiosity will bring everything else in line.

      I’m officially gonna give myself permission to have fun exploring as part of my blogging journey. It’s important I have a plan, a map, an informed structure to what I’m doing. But paralyzing myself before I even begin in pointless.

      Thank you for your very kind words, Sister Diane. This is indeed brain meltin’ stuff for me, but it’s a real pleasure to do this exploring with such a great tour guide as your book. I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead!!!


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