Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice

Hey, faithful readers. I'm sorry not to have kept up with blog series. I hope to finish it perhaps with a little less over-the-top sarcasm. I just underwent a small identity crisis about this blog, what I'm using it for, my "tone" and its content.

This has happened periodically over the 3 years I've kept Spiral Scratch but more frequently now that I have other people reading it. It was much simpler to keep my focus when I had no audience although I greatly appreciate the positive feedback I've received about the content & my writing.

It's just that when you're only writing for yourself, anything goes. You can indulge any whim, not care about how you are being perceived, jump from intimate & personal to grand statements about the world. It's an online journal for whatever thoughts you want to express.

When you are conscious that others read your content (and it doesn't matter whether you have 1 subscriber or 10,000), most people have a bit more hesitation about what they put out there because no matter how kindly they might be, people are passing judgment on you & your writing...was it clever? was it insightful? was it boring? was it funny? was it groan-worthy? Readers begin to form a mental image of who you are and what you care most about.

This thought process happens unconsciously, in the few minutes it takes to scan over a blog entry. Most bloggers claim to be just being themselves but don't believe it. The awareness of people reading what you write changes the way you write. That fact doesn't mean that writers necessarily censor themselves but only the most stubborn of them can not be influenced by the desire to please their readers, even if that means being cantankerous, it's still about meeting other people's expectations of you.

As a person with literary stage fright, I'm not immune to this pull whatsoever! I've dropped my more idiosyncratic posts about my personal life and focused on discussing social networks, especially Twitter. But I've resisted a pressure I feel to adopt a "professional voice" because my blog was never intended to be a vehicle for business or my career but a place where I could talk about experiences and ideas.

The current series about ways to become popular on Twitter was intended to highlight trends I've noticed among the top 1000 most followed people on Twitter that are in contrast to how people normally perceive one gets to be popular. So, I lifted the sales tone of get more followers spammers & tried to make my points in a humorous way (I hope!). But, unfortunately, not everyone got that I was being satirical and not actually giving advice by pointing out some of the more ridiculous aspects of Twitter popularity. I began to question whether I had adopted the best method to get my points across.

Those doubts just stopped me in my tracks even though I had actually mapped out the last segments of the series. I'd like to share these insights but am unsure if I'll just continue in the comic mode or just make the points more directly. It's unsettled but I'd like to finish it.

Since I'd received a couple inquiries about the blog, I just wanted to post this update. I hope everyone is enjoying the remainder of this holiday season, isn't feeling too much end-of-the-year stress, and can enjoy the company of offline and online friends & family. Happy New Year to you all!