I have had a thought. Stand back.
If you do much blog reading, you've probably noticed people making negative remarks about their popularity and the size of their readership. "All three of my readers," "I'm not one of the popular kids," etc. It's sometimes expressed as self-deprecation, or sometimes as sad wonderings about what's wrong with them and why no one likes them, or sometimes as confessions of jealousy.
And you might think it would be just the bloggers who have only a few readers, but it's also bloggers who have dozens but wonder why other bloggers have hundreds, and bloggers who have hundreds but wonder why other bloggers have thousands, and bloggers who have thousands but wonder why other bloggers have hundreds of thousands. It's hard to comment on such posts. What can be said other than, "It's not your fault per se: it's because your blog, for whatever reason, lacks the kind of mass appeal you (and pretty much everyone else) are hoping to have"?
I have thought of a different way to think of this situation. I think the blogger/blogging relationship can be thought of like the actor/acting relationship.
There are actors I love who choose projects I can't stand: even if I love love love a particular actor, I'm not going to watch him in a weekly zombie drama. I can want to be SISTERS with a particular actor, and yet I'm not going to watch her in that stupid movie.
And there are actors I think I can't stand, but I'd like them tremendously if I knew them in person. I don't like their WORK, but I'd like THEM if their work wasn't my only way of knowing them. But their work IS my only way of knowing them.
And there are actors I think I love, but I'd cringe and try to get away from them if I knew them in person. I love their WORK, but if I knew them I'd want to cry from the wringing disappointment of who they really are. But...I DO only know their work, so I love them.
Bloggers and their blogs are a comparable situation. There are bloggers we love, who take blogging jobs we're not interested in reading. There are bloggers we think we love, but if knew them (not just met them: some bloggers, like some actors, can be "on" in short-term meeting situations) we wouldn't love them anymore, because what we love is not them but their BLOGS. There are people we know and love in person, but we can barely stand to skim their blogs. And there are bloggers we think we can't stand, but it's really that we don't want to read their writing and/or what they choose to write about---which is quite a different thing from not liking THE PEOPLE. (Of course we might also dislike the people, if we knew them. What I mean is that the blog alone is not sufficient information for a conclusion.)
I think the feeling has been that if the blog is liked, the person is liked---and that therefore if the blog is not liked, the person is not liked. "Why don't people like my blog?" becomes "Why don't people like me?" Thinking of it in a different way (i.e., that the blog is the person's work/hobby, just as acting can be a person's work/hobby) does not automatically solve the problem: most bloggers, like most actors, would of course still prefer that their work be admired, and by as large an audience as possible. But rejection of the work/blog doesn't have to be interpreted as rejection of the person.
Some hobbies (acting, blogging) require an audience. Some (writing in a journal, running, scrapbooking, stamp-collecting) don't. Some (art, music, dance) can go either way, depending on what the person participating in the hobby wants. The audience can't be forced into existence (or complained into existence, or wanted into existence), so the trick is to find the natural fits. There are some things we like to do, and other people like to watch us do them. Yay! There are some things we like to do, and no audience is required. Yay! There are some things we like to do, and no one wants to watch us but we don't mind and we can happily do them without an audience. Yay!
And then there is the category of things we like to do, but only if we have an audience of a certain size---and our audience is not large enough, and so we're miserable and it makes us feel rejected and unliked. Non-yay. I think those are good hobbies to eliminate, to leave more room to focus on the others. (This is why I no longer model, act, sing for an audience, or try out for football.)
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