It is a cruel world sometimes and it makes no difference whether the world is virtual or not. Human perceptions, emotions and misunderstandings may have found new freedoms within the virtual reality of cyberspace but retain their potency within the confines of the human brain.
The last event that tilted the balance in favour of my decision to disappear more or less from Facebook – I never even appeared on Twitter, no fault of trying – came a few days ago, when I posted a short satirical piece on Brexit, comparing the DUP leader Arlene Foster to Archimedes. The moderator of a group commented that Brexit was mad enough, now we have me comparing Foster to Archimedes. I took it personally because the word, “now” inserted between the two sentences seemed to link her idea of madness to me writing the post. Silly of me, maybe, but what was even worse is that I had not noticed that she was a moderator. “It’s sarcasm, Love,” I replied. To which I had to apologise to not one, but two moderators, one of whom had given me a yellow card. It matters no more because I apologised as that is what she wanted, and left the group the day after.
This is just one of a string of frustrations I constantly get from Facebook, with members either completely ignoring my posts or commenting after having just read the snippet. It’s frustrating to say the least.
I’m not the only one suffering from being misunderstood. Being in the midst of writing a novel that I intend to finish, I joined several Facebook writing groups. I came across a post form an aspiring author who was wondering why he couldn’t sell his freshly written book. I actually took the time to read a sample of his work available on Amazon. Realising that his text needed more than just an edit but probably an entire rewrite, I posted a private message to him but got no response. Help, is there anybody out there? But what surprised me most was the string of answers he got saying how he can augment the marketing of his “please re-write this,” book. They obviously had not taken the time to read a snippet of what he wrote.
Being honest, I suppose that I do have an ego that would love for my posts to be read the world over. But in order to keep hold of my sanity, I have to ask myself why I have been writing blog posts for three and a half years, and for who I am writing.
I came across an interesting piece from an author who said that he would continue writing even if nobody read his words. Easy to say, maybe, when you are successful. How many times have I heard talented and successful people saying, “I just do this for fun.”
Today, however, I view things in a more positive fashion after reading a particularly interesting post.
The only remaining benefits of blogging are as an auxiliary memory (“what was that book all about again?”) and for thinking out loud (we learn much of what we learn by telling it, incoherently at first, to others). – Dave Pollard
It is the “thinking loud,” that I identified with – a particular form of therapy where in talking to an imaginary friend, you can let go of your deepest feelings and concerns, and feel much better and more confident about yourself, afterwards.
I started blogging out of pure frustration after a referendum that took place on the other side of the small stretch of water that separates the UK from where I am now. Blogging was a fantastic way of venting my anger and dismay towards a popular vote that I could not understand but that could potentially affect me. Three years later, and my passion for blogging that steadily grew with the passing weeks, has not diminished. It is the writing I enjoy the most, the creation of a work that portrays my emotions and state of mind. It is a bonus if someone, somewhere, reads what I have told myself. And that is how it should stay – a bonus because I don’t need the money and certainly not the attention.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I regularly check my blog’s statistics to see whether I attract regular traffic and, according to the statistics of my hosting site, I do. But I am no longer going to worry about how many visitors actually read the entire posts. The statistics show that around 87% of visits last less than 30 seconds – maybe to do with the fact that my posts require a certain amount of brain and staying power.
These dire statistics have not changed with time. It still leaves me with more than a handful of visitors who seem to engage and it can be that some visitors record the web page in Pocket or similar apps so that they can later read the post offline – something that I certainly do most of the time because it is so much more convenient.
Be that what it may, as long as the statistics are ticking, I assume that someone out there is reading. For those of you who do read this blog that I consider more to be a diary than anything else – thank you.