Sunday, September 23, 2012
Living my life in public
As I sit here sipping my tea and thinking about what to compose on this early Sunday morning, that tendency toward living a public life keeps coming up. If someone wanted to know what I've done with myself this past week, I've got two blogs that tell all about it. I follow other people who are even more out there than myself, writing a post every single day about their daily lives, and I look forward to finding out what's on her (or his) mind. Some are gentle compositions interspersed with pictures to illustrate; others are mostly pictures or poems that bring some beauty to my day. It's what a web log (blog) is all about, and it's a new phenomenon in the world today.
Because of the blogosphere, I have virtual friends who mean as much to me as what I think of as my "skin friends," those I visit with and see regularly. Some bloggers are shut-ins with health problems; others are active. Most of the bloggers I follow are females around the same age as me, retired from the world of work, but not all of them are. Some write about the struggles they have in retirement, or the struggle to find a way to retire in relative comfort. The Great Recession we have all had to navigate in the past few years has touched each of us in one way or another, and we share our coping strategies with one another.
But it has occurred to me that I probably have followers, or people who read what I write and don't leave comments, who don't let me know in any way that they are out there. One person wrote me a year or two ago and told me her father reads my blog and never misses it. If she had not told me, I would not have known, but it touched something inside me, knowing that there are people to whom I matter, to whom my life matters, and I know nothing about them, or about why they even care.
When I read a post that I enjoy, I almost always leave a comment, even if it's a short one to thank the person for taking the time to enrich my day. We are joined in a way that was unimaginable just a few years ago. Many people create blogs and find it's not for them; it's not something they either enjoy or find it difficult to keep coming up with "blog fodder." Usually I have no problem thinking about what I want to say, but then again, I'm a cheeky extrovert who figures somebody will enjoy it. If I have a good time writing it, then somebody will also enjoy it, right?
Right. Blogging has given me the opportunity to indulge my desire to expound to a small audience. I am possessive of my group of followers and am always pleased to see when the number increases by one or two and dismayed if somebody leaves for whatever reason. Because Google Reader gives us the opportunity to be alerted when someone writes a new post, it's possible to follow someone anonymously, but I suspect that most of my followers are also people whose blogs I also follow. Once I write a post on Sunday morning, I will then check back often to see what responses it has garnered. The most satisfying comments are when I realize that I've said something that resonates with my reader, and you tell me so, giving me your viewpoint or affirmation.
There are plenty of aspects of my life that I do not share in this public forum. I am married to a very private man who cannot fathom living a public life, but he reads my posts and tells me what he thinks about them. Although I shy away from controversial subjects, I have my own opinions, sometimes strong ones, but I will usually leave comments indicating what I think on posts that bring up those subjects. We probably know many things about each other that is revealed between the lines of our posts, but it only seems courteous to give one another room to disagree without rancor. If someone is snarky or impolite in a comment, I will remove it.
Who could have imagined this universe twenty years ago? We are connected in a way that is immediate and vital. Later today I will find out what you think about all this, if you are so inclined. And in the back of my mind I also think about the silent readers, the ones who don't let me know of their presence, wondering about who else out there in the wide world shares my very public life with me.