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.