One of the most fantastic things about the internet is that you are no longer bound by geographical convenience in order to find your people.
The internet allows you to stand atop of your virtual soap box and share yourself. It enables you to reach the globe with the kind of person you are and thanks to complicated series of formulas and key words; your people can find you, no matter where they are.
This can take a REALLY long time, so don’t get discouraged. Blogging is not a race or a competition, even though sometimes, it can absolutely feel like it is. I get it. It’s OK. Breathe, calm down. *Pats shoulder.
There is a plethora of advice out there for new bloggers, you may have followed that advice, learned along the way, you have persevered and your voice has begun to reach a readership of ‘your’ people.
This is scary yes? For all of those nights you spent pouring your heart out for twenty five people a month to read, waiting and wondering if you may be wasting your time and fucking up your digital footprint, and for what?
You wait and you write anyway, and you wonder what it would be like to reach a solid readership of people, to get a subscriber base that may be worth something. You hear about people making money and being taken advantage of, and you just want someone to take advantage of you! WHEN?! When will someone take advantage of you... *Cries into keyboard. *Punches desk.
You know, or not. Perhaps you don’t want to monetise your space, you just want to reach as many of your people as you can? Whatever, it’s your space. *Cries into keyboard *Punches desk.
For all the waiting and the networking and the SEO you have put in starts to pay off, it can be the most terrifying thing in the land. Let’s face it, blogging to twenty five people a month is safe, you can make mistakes and no one really notices. You can share things and feel comfortable in sharing them; there is a small amount of intimate protection that comes with having a smaller blog.
When your small blog is not so small anymore, all the fantastic things about the internet can also be one of the worst things about the internet. Share to the masses and you are inevitably going to come up against people who don’t agree with what you are sharing, because they don’t like what you are sharing, or they don’t get it because they aren’t your people. Perhaps they are just hurt and angry people who enjoy lashing out anonymously at people on the internet, because they are sadly fucked in the head for some reason. Heaven forbid you share something and someone gets… wait for it…
Offended people are angry. They can be self-righteous and hurt. You dared to share an opinion, a point of view, an amusing meme or joke and when that sharing reached their retina; it burned with the heat of a thousand suns. The more people your blog reaches, the more likely it is that this will occur. You can get stuck in what I call
“Fear of the insulted freeze’.
It’s when you really want to share, but you are blocked by the fear that it may offend SOMEONE SOMEWHERE! You don’t want to be attacked, you don’t want people talking shit about you on forums, you don’t want to see your words shared with scathing comments. It’s all too hard, so you just don’t share, or your words become restrained, your opinions become somewhat filtered and before you know it you have lost your voice.
I can tell you what I have learned from my own experience with ‘Fear of the insulted freeze’
1. YOU ABSOLUTELEY WILL AT SOME STAGE OFFEND SOMEONE WITH SOMETHING. OK? Let’s just get that out of the way. It will happen, you can’t avoid it.
You can’t let this stop your voice. Your voice is the thing that makes your blog what it is. If you are going to filter and censor that voice in order to avoid it, you will stop connecting to the readers that you have. Those readers found you and liked what you wrote because of that voice. Don’t cheat them with trying to please the fuck stains who are only reading your blog because they hate it and they enjoy being angry.
2. People can be jerks. Fact of life, deal with it.
You can’t please all the people all of the time. That isn’t your job. If you are finding the comments or opinions of your blog confronting or damaging, it is OK not to read them. It’s OK to switch off for a bit. You don’t have to deal with it. Let someone else moderate your comments for a while, turn off anonymous access to your comments section, hell turn comments off if you have to. If you are finding it REALLY hard to deal with, speak to someone. Reach out to others in your industry. EVERY blogger has dealt with this at some stage.
One of my favourite people on the internet once gave me a pat on my hand, looked me square in the eye and said:
“It is not your business what other people think of you, I didn’t think you were the kind of person who would take that shit”
Dag-namn it she was right! I wasn’t the kind of person who would take that shit. I forgot that while I was lost in the whole “Fear of the insulted freeze”.
Changed my whole perspective on shit.
3. Spend some time reconnecting with your loyal readership. They are a wonderful community who will remind you of what your blog and voice are about. Don’t spend time investing in the people who don’t get your blog, invest that time and energy in the people who do. They will always help you find your voice again. Spend some time re reading the great comments, make a file of the comments that remind you that you really connected with someone, they got it. That’s why you do this to begin with right?
4. This next one is going to make you want to punch me in the neck, but it is so true. ANY publicity really is ‘publicity’. I am not going to say ‘Good’ publicity, but publicity IS publicity. If your blog is being shared or spoken about, simply take from that the only positive you can, and that is that you are reaching more people. Somewhere in that reach you will find more of your people.
5. Apologise ONLY if you have really screwed up, own it, learn from it. Don’t excuse it, or play it down, just own it and apologise sincerely. You may mess up, because you are human and humans have a tendency to do that. Don’t apologise for your voice though, don’t apologise simply because someone doesn’t understand you. If you meant no genuine offence and yet someone still managed to be offended, you don’t have to be sorry for anyone other than them.
Relax and breathe. Watch this video from another of my favourite people of all time. Ricky Gervais, on being offensive.
That's pretty much all I have to say about that.