A few years ago, by moving away from the city, I made a number of life choices that have affected the amount of time I have to spend on a whole range of activities. The tradeoff for being able to live where and as I do is that I spend a much bigger proportion of my time working and traveling than most people; and although I feel that tradeoff is worth it, it does impact my life in many ways.
One of the activities it impacts is blogging. Although it’s something that’s important to me, the time I have for it is seriously limited. Some days I have five minutes to spare, some days half an hour, but it’s rarely more. That’s one of the reasons I so often simply post photos instead of posting pictures plus writing something. (Having a large dog that requires walking at least ensures that I’ll keep taking pictures!)
Similarly, my ability to participate fully in the blogging community is limited. There have been times when I’ve had lots of time to spend online, so I’m well aware of the rich, exciting communities that exist in virtual environments. But I currently have very little time to spend exploring them, which I regret very much.
On liking and following
When people “like” your posts and follow you, there’s a reasonable expectation that you’ll check out their blogs, “like” some of their posts in return, maybe follow them. I do check out the blog of everyone who visits mine, but I rarely explore those other blogs fully or follow them. The sad reality is—I can’t. I’ve found wonderful blogs when following the links of those who have so kindly liked and followed me, but I simply don’t have the time to follow more than a handful of you—the amount of time I can afford to spend on this is roughly the time it takes me to drink my morning cup of coffee. I wish I had more time, because I know I’m missing a lot of good stuff!
I have had the great good fortune to be nominated for blogging awards on more than one occasion. To those who nominated me—thank you so much, you made my day(s).
Although there is a “chain letter” element to many community-based awards that turns some people off, I think they’re valuable because they “stir the pot” for bloggers and readers. The whole point of the award is to get people to explore more blogs, and to make suggestions for where to start. When I see that a blog I like has been nominated, I’m likely to check out both the person that nominated them (who obviously has extraordinarily good taste) and the other blogs on their list of nominations, because we’ve got an established commonality: we like the same blog. This leads me to new blogs and find people who are doing similar things—and people who are doing very different things. It cross-pollinates bloggers. And I see that as a Good Thing.
But these community-based awards come with conditions: one is that you nominate more blogs for the same award. And that brings me up against the constraints caused by my lack of time: in order to fulfill the conditions honestly and properly, one has to spend time exploring other people’s blogs so that one can then recommend them. That’s not possible for me. I do appreciate it very much, but I can’t continue the chain of nominations and so I have to pass on accepting them.
Blogging, unless you are one of the relatively few who attracts an enormous following, happens to some degree in a vacuum. Stats show that people are viewing the blog, and I’m grateful for all readers/viewers whether they respond visibly (by commenting, liking or following) or not.
But getting extra feedback is a wonderful gift. I love getting the “liked” notifications and seeing that people are following the blog. Every time I’ve gotten an award nomination an enormous grin has spread across my face. I’m delighted that I’m offering something that interests other people.
So to everyone who has found my blog and “liked” posts or is following me—if I don’t “like” or follow you in return, don’t assume that I think your blog sucks, or even that it doesn’t interest me. If you’ve nominated me for an award, thank you! I wish I was able to respond properly by continuing the chain.
I appreciate all of you very much. I do wish I had the time to fully participate properly in the reciprocality of the blogging community, and I’m very grateful for and appreciative of your support.