Don’t tell me that. I think of my blog as something nobody reads.
You see this a lot with both new online writers and older people newly writing online. It’s more than just a general misunderstanding of how the internet works or what “public” means. For some people it’s a subconscious ignorance bolstered by the anonymity of obscurity.
That’s why you see so many people take their ball and go home once their audience grows beyond coworkers, family or friends*. Comments from strangers, even positive ones, can be unnerving. You start to worry about what these people who you don’t know think of you. You hold back on things you fear may offend someone. You second guess topics, then sentences, then the whole enterprise becomes a frustrating hassle to keep up with.
*There is also the category of those who know full well they are not anonymous. People who are clearly writing for an audience, as long as it’s an adoring audience (c.f my old tumblr rage re: Chuck Lorre’s disingenuity). “I didn’t know anyone was reading this!” No, you just don’t want the wrong people reading it or to be subject to criticism. But that’s the internet—threats and bullying are never ok but disagreement is not bullying.
I blogged frequently (and mostly terribly) for years safe in my bubble of unimportance. But even without ever becoming popular or noticed on any level beyond real life friends I still found myself caught in a loop of rethinking everything, trying to outwrite any possible rebuttals. Ridiculous! And impossible. For a long time I’ve rarely bothered to add my voice to any online debate because my (self-imposed) standards of creating a coherent narrative or point of view were too high. I’ve had, at best, 140 characters to comfortably say about things. (Even right now I am reading this and thinking, how sad and dumb you sound! You have nothing to say? Then STFU!)
But blogging took off in such a different direction than I was used to. I can’t write a cogent analysis of current political or tech or social issues. I can just tell you about the time my power got shut off or enumerate the guest stars on each weekday rerun of Murder, She Wrote. Or I could; I don’t even do that anymore.
I see other people still doing it though, mostly on Tumblr. And maybe this is what Medium is supposed to be for. Anyway, I do miss it. I just don’t know exactly how to get it back when it’s extremely rare I feel strongly enough about something to come here and talk about it without caring who’s reading.
Although I guess if I get back to blogging about Murder, She Wrote or “hey, look at this crazy leaf,” obscurity through banality will keep me safe.