I’ve read this kind of post before, so I know how it begins, “This post is a long time in coming. . .” And it’s true this post is a long time in coming. I’ve been blogging here for four years, and there have been a half dozen or more times in those four years when I have said, “I’m shutting down the blog tomorrow.” But recognizing that decisions made in a flash are usually regretted, I never have.
This time is serious, because it’s cumulative, it’s added up, and so I gave my 60-days notice to BlogHer two months ago, and now my time is almost up. See, I read this article a while back, asking “Is Facebook Making us Lonelier?” And though I’ve read a few critiques on the research citations of that article I know that those critiquers don’t get it—because it’s true. We all have plenty of “relationships” and "friends" these days, but not enough of the ones that matter.
My blog was a reaching out. Living in a state far away from home, attending a school and congregation where there were not a lot of people in the same life-situation as we were. What I really wanted was my mother or sister to live near by, but instead, I started blogging. I read a book about web-logging once talking about blogging’s great potential for uniting people. Over the internet like-minded people could connect together regardless of their geographical location. And that’s what I longed for—that’s what I blogged for. But, for the most part, all I got in return was silence.
Often I would put up a post and after checking for comments later, would call out to Jeremy, “No one thinks ____ is funny,” or “No one thinks ___ is interesting,” and on my worst days, “No one likes me.” That’s when Jeremy would threaten to take away my internet privileges : - )
Then we’d have a discussion about why I choose to blog, which usually involved watching this Supernews “Twouble with Twitters” for a little blogging perspective. (I’m giving it a rating of TV14 for language and gore.)
So though it’s talking about Twitter and not Blogger—many people think it’s all the same concept. “Friends don’t just randomly shout things into the darkness and hope someone is listening.”
Then there’s the most popular stereotype-- that bloggers are all addicts “reliant on constant self-affirmation.” It might be a valid argument for some, but my blog has never gotten much attention.
And the biggest problem comes with actually sharing the feeling that “If we can’t twitter we don’t exist!” Seriously that’s how I feel. It comes with being a mom, and not having my children say to me “Alright your area looks clean, you can clock out for the day,” or “Great you exceeded your monthly quota by 50%, we’ll make a note of that on your record for when raises are coming up.”
It is hard to do a job that no one cares you are doing, so blogging is a way for me to “track progress” see if my mothering “goals are being met”, appreciate a visual record of good things that I’m doing in my life. But it hasn’t all been good either. I’ve shared a lot of my insecurities as a mother and as a person in my musings on this blog. And I think that’s where the biggest problem comes in. This blog, though read by some, has not brought me any new or good friends, people that I can call when I am crying desperate for a babysitter, or someone to come try my dandelion jam, or spend the evening working on a sewing project together. I don’t have friends, blogging is a (poor) replacement for real friendships, not an avenue for them.
I love the (steamy) quote in the Facebook article, about everyone’s fantasies of “recent college graduates with perfectly articulated, Steampunk-themed, 300-square-foot apartments organizing croquet matches with their book clubs.” It’s a fantasy—I wish there was a little more of that in my life, but there’s not. And for most people—there’s not.
And so I’m leaving this space. I’m not never going to post on it again. (I still need to photograph our Steampunk bedroom makeover.) I’ve been diligently devoted to this space over the years. I love blogging. I love the medium of pictures and words. I love the feeling of a completed post. A little story told and wrapped up in a nice, neat package under a title and date. That’s why it is really hard for me to think of giving it up.
So other posts might find their way here once in a while, but I’m leaving Blogher, which also means leaving the 3-post-a-week expectation.
I’ve tried to decide about whether or not I needed to quit both blogs, but I’m finding more satisfaction with my other blog right now. The Urban Pioneer Story is both more personal of a blog than this and less personal at the same time. And I’m finding an enjoyable place in the online homesteading community, but more importantly, I’m ready to move off-line. This fall I want to be a part of something real and something live. A real food cooking group, or a local food dinner club, or a homesteading skills coop, or a city cycling group or something. Something with real people. Because though I love storytelling and skill-sharing, and food-loving over the blogosphere I need actual friends as well.