So here's a question. What is the purpose of a little blog like this one? Here I am sitting in my kitchen tapping away about things that have aroused my interest or been food for thought over the last few days. But why did I choose this particular medium to express myself? Being a resolute diary keeper for over two decades would you not think that that would be enough to satisfy my desire to record things for the future? It seems not.
I began to write as an attempt to regain some element of creativity into my life and I chose the Internet as my medium because that fitted neatly with my need to become more technologically aware. Obviously, I required the help of my far more technologically able husband to set it up but since then I have managed to run it by myself, even entertaining myself and you with a change in background from time to time.
This week I took a further step, one that I had been thinking about for some time but which has required a level of confidence which I simply didn't possess until now. I published my little blog on my facebook page. I didn't go the whole hog. It isn't in my profile shouting about its presence for anyone who is on that page to see. No, it slipped in quietly as a status comment, to be picked up by those of my current facebook friends interested enough to follow the link and then be washed away in the tide of information that floats through my page each day. But I have still opened it up to a wider audience and that is a little bit scary.
I don't know who I thought would ever read it when I started. Nobody, I assumed and given the quantity of information available I think it's a fairly safe assumption that no one will read it unless specifically directed towards it. So to start with it was just my husband. He read what I wrote and made encouraging noises. After a few months I dropped my blog into conversation with people in passing but despite one or two expressing a polite interest no one had actually read it as far as I knew. Then I gave an old and close friend the actual address knowing that they would follow this through and have a look. I was seeking approval and encouragement from someone who would be honest with me. I hoped the feedback would be positive but I was more than ready to take criticism. I then told a couple more trusted friends and had a readership of about five.
Then a strange thing happened. I was in touch with a cousin regarding a family party and he made a couple of comments that made it clear that he had read it. He had found it through google whilst looking for my contact details. This made me think. It was a bit odd to have my cousin, who I hadn't seen for years, reading quite personal details of my day to day life. Odd but strangely satisfying. But as a direct result of this came my immediate family and suddenly I started to feel a little bit exposed. I have always been quite sparing with what I have shared about myself with others and yet here were some of my musings available for general consideration. " If you didn't want anyone to read it, you shouldn't have put it on the world wide web" said someone. A valid point but there is a marked difference between having your thoughts read by some random stranger who is casually cruising through blogspot and your nearest and dearest seeking them out on purpose.
I found myself giving thought to the sensibilities of these people as I wrote, being careful not to upset or hurt anyone, sanitizing my postings for fear of reproach. This would never do. That's not what this is all about. So I stopped and tried to return to writing what I please. It is slightly more difficult when I have an idea of my readership but not impossible.
And so now I have opened myself up to a whole new layer of readers. I had a pretty good idea which of my facebook friends would have a look and so far there have been no surprises. I feel fortified by my courage and some day the link may make it to my profile (although not yet. One step at a time.) I like to think that by more people reading what I have to say, a greater understanding of who I am will be reached and that from this deeper and more meaningful relationships will be forged. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will continue to write and hope to entertain to some degree those people kind enough to take the trouble to read it.