When my old blog platform announced its imminent death last July, I packed up and moved to WordPress. I had to start over from scratch building up a community of like-minded reader-writers and to do so, I occasionally dove into the Reader to explore tags similar to the ones I use. The huge variety and sheer number of blogs disoriented me. I quickly realized I was a tadpole in the ocean.
No, something even smaller.
Or that microscopic matter that plankton eats.
If not for the loyal support and mutual commiseration of my first and best blog friend, I might have just steered toward the first hungry fish and called it a day.
Weird things happened. My new blog went virtually unnoticed for weeks while, over at the old platform (where I no longer posted), things hummed along as always, statistically speaking. They even got better. The world of deep data processing seemed to be telling me that the way to get more readers was to stop writing.
Then one day, a star symbol on my WordPress page turned red. I clicked on it and found out that some unfamiliar name liked me. Someone liked me!! I clicked on the unfamiliar name and a screen popped up that looked like a business website. Either that or some syndicated blogger with 23 zillion followers. I’d been discovered! That was quick!
Before long, I realized that likes are not all alike. Some are genuine, somewhat shy attempts of other plankton to establish contact; others come from computer generated algorithms targeting the tags of new bloggers.
Then came the first comments. That was something different. Real people writing responses, not just clicking a “Like” button. The former “I’ve been discovered!” turned into the more realistic “Someone out there noticed me!” But not all comments are alike either.
“Great writing! I think there’s something here!” wrote another unfamiliar name. A click on that comment directed me to another commercial looking page. I sighed and closed the page, wondering how many more computer viruses I had just added to my collection.
But then . . . there were also real voices. Clicks led me to real blogs of a real people who had some interest in common with me. I read. I responded. I liked. Connections were made.
Now . . .
There is the Canadian woman writing about her experiences with her beloved autistic son. There is the British woman who had been adopted years ago by parents of a different race. There is the American woman who, right now, is in that awful wait-and-hope phase of adopting a child. There is the high school friend with whom a friendship has been rejuvenated. There is a German woman who can appreciate everyday moments and turn them into poetry. And there is the faithful old friend without whom, this would be a blank page.
Together, they are already enough to keep me steering away from the nearest hungry fish.