Tuesday, February 27, 2018

If a blog post falls in the forest


That's the word that comes to mind: saturated.

There is just so much - so much to do, so much to consider, so much to discuss, so much to fight for, so much to fight against, so much to worry about, so much to plan, so much to act on, so damned much. I'm saturated. The sponge is filled to capacity. I've started to leak.

Blogging used to save me when I felt saturated. It let me slow down and let some of what was in my mind seep on to the page, where I could shape it, reframe it, and share it. Then my friends picked it up, flipped it over, and helped me see it from a different angle. And in the process, I found that some space had cleared. Some portions of the sponge had been gently and carefully wrung, and I found myself able to do, consider, discuss, and all the rest, much more effectively.

But blogging has changed as social media has become more pervasive. In the old days, we made the rounds of our favorite blogs, stopping in on our friends' virtual front porches and leaving a supportive comment or a much needed laugh. These days, we flash a thumbs up as we fly by each other on Facebook. We read thumbnails instead of pieces, and we use the extra time to wage battle with the Russian bots. My friends only know if I've posted on the blog if Facebook tells them that I have. And, increasingly, Facebook will only tell them that I have if I'm willing to shoot them some money for the effort.

Even when people do find me through Facebook, the comment section - the slow and easy conversation we used to have here on the blog itself - has all but disappeared. The comments appear on Facebook, or, more often, somebody shares a post on their own page, and the comments unfold there, where I can't see them, can't engage with them, can't learn from them. And so, the Facebook numbers game - the shares, the likes, the "seen by" totals - they become the end game, and they add to the saturation. Instead of easing the frenzy, they feed it.

The lightning pace with which things are now shared and argued and refuted and celebrated and re-posted - it's exhausting. It has made me so fearful of shining the spotlight in the wrong place - of sharing too much of Bud's life, or of sharing the wrong things, in a way that they will take on a life of their own and the damage will be done before I've had a chance to reign it in, unpublish, and reconsider. The ubiquitous nature of social media has taken the joy out of blogging for me, and has replaced it with a passel of anxiety.

But I'm saturated. I need to get it out - to slow down and shape and think and reframe and share. So I'm going to do it, and I'm not going to tell anybody on Facebook about it. I'm just going to set up here on my porch with some iced coffee and freshly baked cookies, and if you happen to wander by, I hope you'll stop in.

Perhaps I'll find that without the boost of social media, I'm alone here in the forest - a tree that falls without anyone there to hear it. And then, I'll have some different decisions to make.

But right now, I'm feeling just a little less saturated than I was when I began writing this post, and that, at least, is a start.


Gavin Bollard said...

You're most certainly not alone in the forest. People are still reading. I got notified by RSS feeds that I read every morning.

As to facebook... you don't have to pay. Just set up a page and link (and also link on twitter and on your own profile).

but I know what you mean by the comments. The days of reading through comments slowly and engaging and learning from them seem to be dying.

Keep blogging though. Especially if you're blogging for yourself.

MOM-NOS said...

Thanks, Gavin. You're right that you don't have to pay to post on Facebook, but on pages like the one I have on my blog, you have to pay in order to get them to show it to anyone. I have more than 3,200 followers on the blog Facebook page, but they only showed my last post to about 300 of them. I'm forever getting prompts to sponsor ads and boost my visibility.

I truly didn't know that people were still using RSS feeds. Glad you're here, and thanks for commenting!

LoriO said...

I still do it old-school style...with a Feedly page that lets me know when my favorite blogs have been updated. Yours has always been in my feed, so when you post, I hear about it!

Natalie said...

I subscribed to your feed ages ago and am always glad to get that little alert. :) We are still out here. <3

MOM-NOS said...

This is lovely. Thanks for being here, folks.

Melissa said...

Add me to the list of those who have you in my Feedly feed (is that redundant?), still. And tagged with "Favorites" to boot. My strategy (that sounds so official, so formal) is less Facebook, less social media, more connecting through the actual blogs. It's encouraging that others are of similar mindsets. Maybe blogging will come back in the same way that vinyl did.

Thanks for still being here. We need your wise perspective during these times.

farmwifetwo said...

We've always avoided Facebook and Twitter. My eldest finally figured out why after watching his friends have issues during high school. There's a reason he didn't get a phone until 17 and then it's a flip phone. All he can do is text me.

I finally went back to blogging, kinda. Still have my goodreads page. Mostly I use wordpress for it's reader... I really miss the google reader. But you can keep the social media.. not interested.

Clara said...

Thanks for this post. It has made me feel better about not enjoying Facebook that much!
I only recently started blogging about my life as a Mum of a boy with special needs. I´ve started a Facebook page ONLY because a lot of people read blogs on Facebook, but I do enjoy a lot better the kind anonymity my online blog gives me (I know I´m not making too much sense but in my blog I don´t even write my surname and all visuals are drawings. I thought the message was the important part. In Facebook I feel more exposed, friends see me and it often feels out of control)

Robin said...

Hmm, does it count if I found this entry when looking at the more recent post (that I saw on FB)? I am not tech savvy enough to figure out how to just get an update from your blog-I guess I could ask LV to set it up for me :)
I love reading your blog and seeing that side of you I don't get to see very often being so far away. I love reading your thoughts.

JosieY said...

I came through facebook from your last post - thank you for recognizing the need for us to hear autistic voices over our own. I check blogs the old fashioned way - manually bookmarking them in my browser and checking them every few days! Pass the biscuits?

Julie said...

I found your blog through searching for online ways to connect with other parents. Is a blog the best way to do it? (I'm really asking!). I hate facebook because I can't post/comment about what I actually feel or think. I want to communicate with others who actually understand - not from those with the unhelpful feedback. I'm sure that other special needs parents know just what i mean.

I will check out your other blogs too :)

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I found you yesterday through an article about how to describe autism to your child. Your words make this conversation easier with my six year old who is in the process of being diagnosed - although her counselor is pretty convince that's what she is dealing with. I love your posts from 2010 about the discussion in his classroom about toaster brains. Thank you - it helps me see it in a new light.

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