Thursday, January 6, 2011

If A Blog Falls in the Forest...

... and no one's there to read it, does it still make a sound?
Okay, maybe that doesn't work.  But you know what I mean.
Yes - oh yes - this is the introspective post of destiny.  You saw it coming from a mile away, didn't you?  You clever thing!

(Editor's note: this post has been written and deleted and written and deleted and then prematurely posted - apologies if you read that [expletive] - and then written and deleted and, finally written and posted.  There's no going back now, dear readers.)

When we were younger, my sister was way cooler than I was.  Sarah was a queen bee in high school, and while she and I were and are close, we wouldn't have traveled in the same circles.  I didn't mind this, for the most part, but there was one thing about her that I really envied: whenever I had to stay at home instead of going out with my friends I always felt like I was missing out, whereas I always got the feeling that when Sarah was stuck with the family she felt that her friends were missing out.

I suppose you could say that this indicated that I lacked self-esteem or self-confidence, but I really didn't.  I've always sort of thought I was the cat's pajamas.  I still do, actually.

But I think that what worried me then - and what worries me now in the blogging world - is that no one else knows.  I'm worried that I'm just writing for me, that I'm not reaching anyone, that no one's listening.  

And then that worry is multiplied exponentially because the need to write for others beyond myself isn't selfless in this case - it's selfish.  And who wants to be selfish?  Not this pair of feline nightwear, no sir.

But I think that, in some way, I knew this might happen.  In my very first post on this blog, I wrote:

I don’t know what this new blog will be – a creative and literary exercise more than anything else, possibly. But as much as I may be blogging for myself, I am also blogging for you. I want to share myself with you, though you may be far away; I want you to be part of this new life that I am making regardless of your personal geography.

So this leads me to ask: why isn't it enough to blog for myself?  Why do I have to blog for you?  You're not asking for my words.  (Okay, chers grandparents, maybe you are.  And you, Christian.  But you're very special exceptions!)  Sometimes I think that there are so many tens of thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - of blogs out there and I wonder if mine makes a dent.

But then I get frustrated with myself because it shouldn't matter if my blog is read as long as I get something out of writing it.  Right?  But it does matter.

Which brings us back to my story about Sarah.  I shouldn't think that I'm missing out if my blog isn't being read.  I should think that my readers, non-existent or otherwise, are the ones missing out.  

Let's go back a bit further to the original question: if a blog falls in the forest and no one's there to read it, does it still make a sound?

Nicole on Hollaback Health - by the way, many thanks to the inimitable Marie for introducing me to this site - wrote a post on the psychology behind blogging.  I definitely relate to the "identity" section.  Nicole asks, "Do you feel satisfaction from blogging?  What need are you satisfying?"

I would say that I absolutely do feel satisfaction from blogging.  When I blog, I satisfy my need to have a creative outlet, as I indicated in that first blog post.  But blogging also satisfies my need to have a voice.  No, more than that - it satisfies my need to be heard.

But what happens if I'm not being heard?  Is blogging still satisfying?

What's the point in having a voice if no one listens to it?

I don't know.  I really don't know.

I'm not going to stop blogging, don't worry.  I think my need to have a voice and my need to be heard will ensure that I blog away with entrepreneurial zeal.  But this all is definitely raising some serious questions for me.


(Here endeth the introspective post of destiny.)


  1. Hi Betsy, I'm just a random reader who stumbled across your blog several months ago as I was considering moving to London myself. I might have found you through Marie's blog, actually. I think I read the majority of your blog in one single weekend. I check everyday to see if you've updated your blog. I really enjoy reading about your experiences and you crack me up on a regular basis. For what its worth - I think you and your blog are awesome. Thanks for writing it!


  2. Le sigh, Betsy. My turn: I could have written this myself. I have actually contemplated writing this several times and couldn't think of a way to do it without sounding whiny. Three cheers to you for writing such a honest post and showing your vulnerable side on such a public forum. xx

  3. @Mary - thank you so much! This really wasn't a fishing expedition, but it's so lovely to heard that. I'm glad you enjoy my blog! (Watch out... I may hit you up for topic requests when I run out of inspiration!)

    @Danielle - thank you. It was a really hard post to write, but one of the things that motivated me what thinking that there was no way I was alone in feeling like this. So thanks - and I hope I helped maybe a little by vocalizing all of that.

  4. You're right on about the grandparents! We hear more from you this way than when you were in the US, even than when you were around the corner in New York. We do love the blog, and read it faithfully. The only problem, of course, is that that the internet is so public. Do you yearn for the days of salons and real diaries? I do.


  5. Betsy, I just found your blog recently and saw this on your top posts page. As a blogger, I've wondered the same things before. I enjoy writing to develop my voice as well as to process life events- but making it public via a blog means I become incredibly curious about who's reading it, what they think, why they may not have commented, etc. It's something I do for myself, but a large part of the appeal is building community through comments and exposure to other blogs. Something I'll definitely keep in mind.

  6. welcome - and I'm really flattered that you explored and landed here and commented. The funny thing about this post is that it was written when I had less than 50 followers. Now I have more that 500... and I still feel exactly the same way. I'm still not sure what the answers are, but recognizing that definitely leads me closer to figuring them out!


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