The internet is a funny old place, isn’t it? Well, funny new place would be more accurate. People rise to and fall from fame within weeks, sometimes days, even hours. Fads come and go, new topics are spread like bushfires seconds after a reliable, or not so reliable source ignites the spark. Musicians find record deals and get discovered by the likes of Michael Jackson on Myspace (eg: Lily Allen, Orianthi). Then there’s the story of Heather B. Armstrong, a blogger who gained notoriety by getting fired for writing about her employment, back when blogging was new, and who now has a large enough audience to generate an income that means she no longer needs an employer. As a professional blogger, she’s living the dream of many. (Heather’s Blog – Dooce).
Windy Airfield by parang
This instant fame phenomenon leaves a lot of people wondering how they can get in on the action. When I began my blog, I was just like everyone else. Consciously I was writing to raise awareness about CRPS not questing for fame, but, I must be honest, the idea was there in the back of my mind, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if millions of people started reading my blog?’. I posted my link wherever I could, joined blogging networks and kept writing and even doing activities, thinking the whole time about how I would write about them later. I was newly diagnosed with CRPS and thought that the more attention I got, the more awareness I could raise about my condition.
As my CRPS worsened, I found myself caring less and less about who was reading, I started writing for me and to share with the people close to me. Spreading awareness to the people close to me is what helps me on a daily basis, spreading awareness to the masses uses a lot of energy and most of the time I need that energy to get through the days. From the moment I stopped allowing the number of readers to dictate my emotions, I found my writing flowing much more easily. Since I stopped trying to persuade people to read my writing and started going out there and reading theirs for my own interest, I have found many amazing people to interact with. If you take the time to go and get to know someone else through their writing, not only will you learn something and possibly make a new friend, but they are much more likely to want to get to know you than if you simply beg them to click on your links. Like everyone, I’ve come across people who don’t like me or simply aren’t interested in what I have to say, even some who have abused me for my writing, however I think that one has to accept that this is par for the course with online socialising. For every human gem you meet, you will probably have to sift through fifty robots and morons.
This desperation to be noticed is often bred from insecurity and people allowing their sense of self worth to be dictated by what other people think. Let me tell you a story: A friend, who shall remain nameless (we’ll call her Fred), was recently put into a tough situation by an online associate (We’ll call her Lyn). The nominations for a writing competition were announced and when she wasn’t nominated, Lyn chose to write a passive aggressive email to everyone involved in their group and express her disappointment that her friends must not have voted for her, being that Fred had won the nomination over her. The email caused an uproar that saw some members attempting to inflame Lyn’s anger and create distrust, possibly for their own amusement, possibly because they are psychotic sensationalists. My point in mentioning this story is that Lyn’s desperate plea for validation, her need for people to not only like her, but value her work above all others has completely destroyed the joy that should have been Fred’s after her achievement. Lyn’s public whining inadvertently caused hurt and upset for someone completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
This case got me thinking about how often I see people pleading for others to like them, pleading for readers and pleading for followers (the Twitter kind). There is a huge difference between respectable self promotion and flat out desperation. There is a difference between letting people know you have published some writing and demanding that they read it and respond to it. The more I see someone demanding attention, the less likely I am to feel inclined to give it to them. It was my feelings about other people’s desperation that made me sit and consider my own. Of course, I love it when people do read my blog, but I try to limit the amount of time I spend sending them links. It’s occurred to me that I’m not here to make money, I’m here to communicate and so I am less interested in generating traffic and more interesting in generating interesting interaction.
To all the Lyn’s out there I say this: “Trust me, we can see the desperation and it isn’t making you any better at what you do.”
To Everyone, I say: “The only person who can validate you is you. Try believing you are worth something. Give not caring about others opinions a go, you might discover that you don’t really like the things you thought you did, you might discover that you were following trends for the sake of it without even realising it. Spend some time thinking about your core values and what makes you smile, it’s a faster route to happiness than expecting others to provide your giddy emotion fix.”
Love & Pondering,
P.S. Happy Australia Day! I wrote this article type post to keep me distracted from a vicious flare. VICIOUS. Pretty much, from my ears to my toes is burning. If you are inclined to and wouldn’t mind sending a little thought to the powers that be to cut this out, I would be much obliged.