Blogtown: Can we build it?

Arriving at lunch time on Day 2 of #bloginstead, I realized that I don’t want this experience to end. I see it growing as people join us and we become more adept at navigating this little virtual town we’re building. It would be sad to dismantle that on Saturday morning.

I’ve been pondering what I’m observing during this vacation from the social media vortex. Some would define blogging as a form of social media, but it is an older form, and it lacks many of the less appealing attributes of its descendants.

What’s good about this kind of blogging?

Looking around our group, I see that we are people, not brands. Our websites are home-made. We are not trying to monetize our interactions. We are not seeking to be influencers. We are not photoshopping the bumps and swirls of our real lives out of our communicated identity. If anything, I see a remarkable (and beautifully articulated) honesty in our posts. And I see the essential kindness in our responses to each other that is necessary to protect that kind of honesty.

Our communication is slower. Writing it takes longer. Reading it takes longer. It’s happening on a human scale, almost in real time.

I keep returning to my sense that #bloginstead is like visiting people in their homes, instead of at a shopping mall. It’s possible to visit in both places, but the quality and intimacy of the interaction will be much higher in the living room than in the food court.

So now I’m asking myself: what can I do to give #bloginstead a longer life? Could it become a movement? How?

Defining the Movement

There’s the long story, full of facial expressions and gesticulating hands no doubt inherited straight from my French ancestors. But in a nutshell? This.

#bloginstead: An intentional community of human beings who use personal blogging as their primary online social space.

If this community has a rule, it is to behave as if you were speaking to each other in person, face to face. Kindly. In good faith. As the beautiful human God created you to be.

The next question – can #bloginstead grow? Yes, it can grow if it has an understandable structure that can be replicated, that doesn’t depend on the herding capabilities of a single person.

The structure is simple. It has two components – people and blogs – and two methods – to be an active poster and commenter, and to invite others to participate with you.

Don’t wait for the fish to find you

Too often, personal bloggers get discouraged because they send a post out into the world and nothing happens. That’s because this is a crowded era, noisy and fragmented. It’s easy to be drowned out.

Blogging with a group solves that problem, but only if you are an active participant. Even in our little pilot group of 28, the people getting the most out of it are thriving because they post each day and then run over to see what their friends are posting and what they can say about it. Be that person.

Don’t come alone

You might think, “The only reason this is working for you is is because it’s so small. You all know each other, so you all comment on each other’s sites. But if everyone did this, people would get lost in the crowd, and blogging would be lonely and frustrating again.”

The solution? Don’t come alone. Decide to #bloginstead and invite your friends to do it with you. Two friends, three friends. You’ll soon make more, but you need people you already know to start you off. The more you write and the more you visit other houses in Blogtown, the more your little neighborhood will grow.

#bloginstead works and benefits us if it is a group activity. Like a neighborhood, we each build and run a house of our own. But we enjoy our time in those houses and benefit from it if we know and serve our neighbors.

31 thoughts on “Blogtown: Can we build it?

  1. I am so happy as I was really hoping we could keep it going. This has been so life giving. I forwarded this to a possible future resident of blogtown:) who I think would really be thrilled over it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For several years I lived in such an online community and it was wonderful. As Facebook and then especially Instagram took over people blogged less and less and visited blogs less often. I got left behind. Eventually I moved onto Instagram and blogging took an instant hit. I know of only one person (granted, small sample size) who both actively blogs and posts on Instagram. However, while she has an active life, she does not have a job or children. I just don’t have time to do both. And honestly, now that I’ve gotten back into blogging, if I had to choose one or the other, I choose blogging.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As you know, I maintain a social media platform for work, so I can’t abandon it completely, at least from 9-5. But there is something wonderful about this other world. I don’t want to go back out and close the door behind me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I can’t abandon fb or Instagram for business purposes, but I don’t have to post daily and I don’t have to rely upon it for community or as a writing outlet. Blogging is so much better for that!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I for one hope the experience continues, because I simply have not had time and energy to engage with it deeply this week! But even the little I have been able to do has been a very positive experience, and I hope this chance doesn’t dry up before I can wade farther in.

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  4. I love every bit of this post. It is so true! This is how it used to be all the time. I made so many friends back then and when we started to meet in real life it was so fun and people would ask how we know each other and the response was “from the blogging world”. My hubby was very active in the “blogging world” and we made lots of friends who are close to this day, despite the blog waning.
    My favorite sentence…”#bloginstead is like visiting people in their homes”! Love it!
    Many of the comments above I can so relate to.
    Thank you everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also had a couple of earlier blog sites where I made friends that I am still in touch with. Several were moms who helped me enormously in my homeschooling path, leaving my career as a classroom teacher to home school my (then 14 yo, now college senior) son. We are still close but in different capacities, speaking on the phone every so often and I have met them in person several times. One of my frequent commenters was a woman around my mom’s age from Canada and we now use Facetime to talk every couple of months. I think this has the potential to create true and lasting connections. Hooray for this community and the possibilities.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This really reminds me of something that Cal Newport writes about, that as social media gets more and more pervasive (and invasive) that people will find new little communities in which to ground themselves. (The lovely Emmie from Just One Robin had a conversation about Cal Newport over on my blog, so this came to mind rather immediately…) I think it is a lovely idea, and it is an anchor in the storm of instant likes and gratification. I do not miss Instagram at all, which is both a miracle and completely and absolutely wonderful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have you seen those photos, I think they’re usually satellite photos, that show Earth at night – all dark blue with little points of light where there are cities? I wonder if it can be like that…collect enough people, and you become one of those points of light.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I also love that I’m not rushed in reading the posts. If I want to read Sarah’s poetry again, I do. No algorithm is going to refresh the page and make it nearly impossible to find my place again. It’s “human scale,” as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Off topic, but the discussion reminded me: My favorite group blog from way back when was the Hufflepuff Post, where we mocked the tone of the nascent Huffington Post to post a fan fiction Hufflepuff news feed. It lasted maybe a couple of months, but we laughed a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well this is (maybe:) the last comment I will leave on this thread, but I do want to say that the timing of this seems almost divine to me for many reasons. It has given me so much to think about and a feeling of “having people.” Plus I am inspired by the spirit behind it as well as the great writing. I ALMOST didn’t add my name to the list, and I am so glad I disregarded that impulse.

    Liked by 1 person

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