A few years ago my friend and I went real estate shopping in blogland. We approached with quiet trepidation. Unsure of the vast spaces that unfolded. Blogland appeared to go on forever. Just when we thought we may have touched the edges, another array of niches would shimmer before us.
We were unprepared. Our knowledge of blogs was limited to the people we knew and the blogs that all the people we knew followed. The oceans of bloggers surfing the same sea was a unknown quantity.
We came into blogland with a pioneering spirit, sure that we would forge new ground. Only to find that everything had been discovered. Everything had been examined. The gaps we imagined were already filled with voices that just hadn’t reached us yet.
And those voices were kind and welcoming. We established a little presence, on the fringes of blogland where most blogs live. Painted our abode and took pride in its appearance. Learned about themes and CSS and widgets and sidebars.
There was a small school, catering to the wide-eyed and creatively eager. Our community expanded. We invited people over for cups of tea and comments and were let into their worlds.
Let into their words, their unique experiences of life, their struggles and triumphs. We visited their blog homes and their social media satellites. Supporting and exploring together. Finding our tribe, our feet and our rhythm together.
You wouldn’t find them easily if you didn’t know where to look. Blogland is like that. The high street, full of traffic and dazzling blogs can be seen from far away. But there are outliers, beautiful and interesting with carefully crafted words. You will not find them. Even with a map. You need to be pointed in the right direction, guided by a kind citizen.
Often those kind citizens reside on that glittering strip. The one with the bright lights and allure. The people that live there work harder than a visitor might think. They have their careers in blogland, their virtual homes are their livelihood. It looks amazing from the outside, but like all things appearance is not always reality.
There is so much hard work that goes into living on that street. And like all big cities, it has its shadowy corners. The dark alleys of snark. Those wielding axes intent on cutting down tall poppies. Sometimes a tourist on these streets might unwittingly walk into those dark alleys. Be confronted by an underbelly of internet and shy away nursing bruises and disbelief.
It is such a small part of the never-ending community. So many beautiful blogs and bloggers come together in this space. Some are here full time, others weekenders and others take intermittent holidays where they refresh their creativity in the odd post here and there.
There are bloggers who desperately want to get to their online space more regularly but life keeps dragging them away. There are times when you look at your blog work, and the blog work of the house next to yours and wonder if you have anything new to add. When you look longingly at the beautifully tended garden across the street and despair at your wilted roses. The days when you wait for inspiration to rain and nothing appears but creative drought.
Then someone comes along. Leaves you a kind comment on the thing you tenderly crafted and were a little unsure about. Or something will grow, unexpectedly, out of control and wind its way around blogland. Someone might knock at your door or leave you a note – “haven’t seen you around lately, I hope you are okay and I miss you.”
This is why blogland is lovely. There are hermits in blogland – I used to be one of them. People that haven’t opened their doors to the reality of the voices around them. A little scared of what would happen. Of course it takes time to meet new people, to build relationships through comments and support. But isn’t it worth it?
After a little while, my friend left our share house and we remain both bloggy and real life pals. She found a small apartment up the street where she stays occasionally. Her writing can be found there and at our mutual friends’ place. Both of us have words that travel to different spaces on the internet. Those words find new audiences and lead to new relationships.
Because the most wonderful things that grow in blogland are the real life friendships.
How do you feel about Blogland?
Was it vaster than you expected?