The Lonely Blogger
I love writing, and I love psychology. The two have a lot in common, though at first glance- you might not see it that way. As I trot around the Internet, dabbling in book writing, blogging, copywriting, and content work, I've noticed a phenomenon I'd like to call - The Lonely Blogger.
I've hesitated to write about this topic, simply because I realize that there are very few keyword searches for lonely and blogger in the same phrase. After all, aren't bloggers just the extraverts of the writing world? Online journals broadcast for anyone to read? But despite the reality that Google may never send depressed and lonely bloggers to me, I must write about it anyway.
The blogosphere can be a lonely place. Here's why.
Wordpress currently has 55,979,832 sites around the planet. That is a lot of blogs (although I am sure many of those sites are more business-type sites rather than traditional blogs). The stats for Blogger are not as readily available, although neilsen wire says it has more blogs than Wordpress. That is a LOT of bloggers. We are talking hundreds of millions.
With that many online journals circling the Internet, the reality is that many of them are never found. With the exception of a small handful of family and friends (for each blogger), search engines like Google and Yahoo don't rank blogs as well as other more credible sites.
The bottom line: There are a lot of bloggers that will never be found by a random stranger searching on Google. For personal bloggers especially, organic traffic is hard to come by.
It is hard to stand out in a crowd that large. Bloggers must continually produce unusual, funny, inspiring posts that captivate an audience with a very short attention span. The competition is fierce, and many bloggers are lucky to see 20-30 pageviews a day. Since bloggers are motivated by views, commenters, and engagement from their readers, this leads to a quick decline in morale.
A ghost blog
Stumbling upon on a ghost blog is very sad. You look through the writings and quickly realize the author abandoned its post months ago. A few writings are there, with zeros in the comment section. No one has bothered to read or comment. The author, feeling the sting of rejection, goes off looking for other places to show his work.
Unfortunately, this is the fate of many blogs on the Internet. Writers get lonely. Day after day, post after post, no one reads or bothers to take a minute and say hello. Without the boost in motivation, the blog is abandoned, becoming another piece of digital litter in a crowded Web of media.
The community is hard to find
With both Wordpress and Blogger, there isn't a central community spot for online interaction (it would be difficult since there are SO many of them). Unlike places like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter where there is a constant buzz of activity, bloggers must go digging for like-minded writers. In fact, trying to find a blogging community is almost as time consuming as the blog itself! Writers who simply want to write, get tired of the effort it takes to build an audience.
They continue to write, hoping people will stop by, and as the days go by- they get lonelier and lonelier.
Come and join us!
A place for beginning and intermediate bloggers to find finds, gain support, and get tips!
Bloggers write for the people
I think the incidence of lonely bloggers is so high because the blog is meant to be an interactive piece of writing. Authors are notorious for their hermit-like habits, but bloggers are different.
If you are a blogger, how do you rate your writing? Is it by traffic views? Comments? The amount of time it was shared? Authors have this problem, but in spats and spurts. When they are neck deep in writing, there isn't a constant hum of stats rattling the brain. It isn't until the book is published that the nerves begin. While drafting their manuscript, they must deal with mainly with the inner critic- but bloggers have to face that critic (plus the world) every day.
Blogging is like the stock market. You have a good day of reading, your spirits are high. You have a bad day- your mood plummets. Loneliness loves this atmosphere.
Those who feel the sting of loneliness, usually do so in the midst of a large crowd. It is easy to think,
"There is so much happening, but I missed the wave."
Do you struggle with loneliness when you write and don't see much activity?
Blogging is personal
Much like art, a blog is a personal project and masterpiece. Everything from the design, the writing, and the layout is planned with care and consideration. When people don't show an interest, it fosters depression and despair. Loneliness creeps in as other blogs continue to skyrocket with views and attention.
Copywriters don't feel this same sting. You write about deodorant, weight loss, or stainless steel pots. Your authorship is stripped from you, and you receive compensation. While degrading in another sense, copywriting doesn't induce that feeling of loneliness and rejection that a little-known blog can.
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So should bloggers give up?
Never. Bloggers are artists, just like musicians, painters, and potters. But as each profession has its hazards, loneliness is a big risk for the blogger. There are things you can do to help get you- the blogger- off the roller coaster.
- See other bloggers not as competition, but as friends.
- Guest post when you can, so that you and the other person can have one another's back.
- Write what you love. Love what you write. Your loneliness will be held at bay when you stop simply trying to cater to the audience.
- Comment on other blogs. Don't enter the world of blogging unless you are ready to commit to others the way you want them to commit to you.
- Join a blogger's group on Facebook.
- Blogs that receive 50 views a day are healthy! You should take pride in your work, even if you aren't seeing the traffic you'd hoped.
- Slow and steady. Those amazing days are great, but with every spike- comes the inevitable drop. Steady numbers are easier on the heart and mind.
Change the way you look at it
Internet readers are fickle. They are impatient. They don't always appreciate fine writing. If you are not seeing views, it may have nothing to do with your craft, your thoughts, or you.
When you come to accept the habits and quirks of the audience you write for, it will not be as hard to swallow the bad days. The blog is your palette. It is the place to try out ideas, flesh out your thoughts, and write with abandon- no deadlines, no boss, and no contract. Artists have studios, writers have blogs. When you change the way you look at, loneliness can be held at bay.
About the author
Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer, blogger, and mother of three. With a healthy blog (that took a long time to grow), she is still subject to the "lonely blogger" days, and wants other bloggers to know- they are not alone.
She is also a private blogging consultant and can be found at www.fabulousblogging.com.