If you haven't heard about the Love Your Blog Challenge, you can read more about it here, and if you haven't heard about Kate, you can read about her here. She's a creative inspiration, a connector of makers, a wonderful storyteller, and a British knitter and blogger. And she's asking a number of us to sit back for a moment and think about our blogs, to revisit the craft of writing them, and to take a little time to be mindful of them again - giving us a new topic each week.
It's kind of appropriate that Kate's first topic for me to write about is Interactions and Community, since she's she's somebody the internet has just recently brought to me. Or more accurately, she's the latest person that I've connected with through these years of Blogging and Raveling and Tweeting and such, and she's part of a group of new friends - for me - that has just been coming together through the screens. And I know they would not have come together as easily and as seamlessly if it wasn't for my blog in the first place.
I don't think the blog can actually stand alone and create a community - but it serves as an introduction in creating one and makes these interactions possible. In our online world of makers, we begin to get to know people by reading their thoughts and seeing their work, and it's the blog that replaces the awkward small talk and starts the conversation for us. The reader has the choice to sit back and just read, or to choose to participate in the dialog.
As soon as I begin anticipating the next post from someone, I know I've found a good blog, and whether the writer knows it or not, I will be back to visit again. There are blogs I've been reading for years where I don't say a word, there are blogs where the conversation led to a real person who I've met, and some where we have talked online for years and may never meet. I love reading all of them. Some of the blogs are funny, some are thoughtful, some are filled with beautiful photographs - and each one is a reflection of the person who writes them.
It was through blogging that these lovely ladies ended up in my life. They arrived on different paths and at different times - but each of our relationships can be traced back to this blog - or to me reading one of their blogs - and they are some of my favorite people in the knitting world. (Other favorite people are missing in the photo and loved just as much. And note that baby Louisa is conveniently not looking at the camera because I met her in the hospital.)
However, my blog is a bit quieter these days, because I am/we are interacting on so many other platforms - and there's the time excuse. But it's not really gone, is it? I don't think I'll ever let go of this space. And that's another benefit to the blogging community - it's something you can do on your own terms. As much or as little as you like, but the more I think about it, the more I want to do just a little more.
It may be easier to pop a photo on Instagram or post a sentence on Twitter, but that's not exactly the same. The blog is the spot where I can share more than a short paragraph or a single photo. It's the place where I can actually define a thought or tell a story, should a good one come my way. A one-liner is great, but it's through a real paragraph that we get a sense of each other.
I may have 200 likes on an Instagram photo, but I don't have any connection to probably 180 of those little hearts and I may not even see the name of the likers. Don't get me wrong -- I do love getting them, but it's quick and impersonal and we often just see a number. In comparison, I usually recognize the names above most of my blog comments, because those are people I've been hearing from for years. Maybe there are way less of them, but they're a bit more real to me.
Sometimes I'll also see those same names on Ravelry, and again on a button at Rhinebeck, and maybe at a event when I teach a class - and that's when the blog has led to an actual person who I got to meet. And I never would have connected with them otherwise. So there it is, right?