So you would think that blogging is the perfect vocation for an introvert and in many ways it is. You can work from home, in your pyjamas if you fancy, you can do it alone, on the sofa, you don't need anyone else to help you, you can pick your nose and nobody will be any the wiser. It is a perfect tool for introvert expression, c'est non?
But there is another side of blogging, a side that I don't get on so well with and a side that can be a bit tricksy if you, like me, are introverted and find it impossible to do the small talk thing. There is a code of conduct, a rule if you like, of blog commenting that requires you to partake in a whole realm of exhausting, exhaustive round robins. I'm referring to the 'if you comment on my blog then I'll comment on yours' standard that seems to be the norm if you want to get your blog widely read. I can't do it.
I just can't.
I don't think there is anything wrong with doing it, for some people it must come easily and be enjoyable and reap huge rewards in terms of page views. It's just not for me. I have tried, so many different times have I tried and it makes me feel terrible. Don't get me wrong, I have met some wonderful people through blogging, I've got some great friends who I talk to (email) and exchange comments with, and I'm genuinely interested in them, I like reading about their lives . I just can't take in the amount of information required to do it to loads of people, to do it a lot. I'm not wired that way.
In my last job we, the marketing team, went on an away day - yes I worked for the government and yes this is how they spend your money - and part of the day was learning about how different personality types behave in a group environment. We were all separated out and tested and I ended up in the group of people who don't need external approval to be happy, instead referring to our own internal monitor to determine if we have made a good job of something. It was a lightbulb moment, explaining why I hardly ever talked to my boss and summing up perfectly how I now feel about blogging. Expressing myself in a semi-autonomous way, unanswerable to anybody is my thang yo.
There's always this nagging feeling that I should be doing more to increase my stats though, because that's what everyone else is doing. Sometimes I'll give it a half-hearted attempt but I end up feeling tired and grumpy and I truly just can't be arsed. And finally that is where I come to my blogging tips for my people (introverts), here are some things I find helpful:
+ it's okay to not leave a comment on someone else's blog if they've left one on yours - you do not have to reciprocate, and especially if their blog doesn't appeal to you or you think they are looking for page views and not genuinely interested in who you are or what you write.
+ determine why you blog and what it is you want to achieve - this helps greatly because if you do dream of having a mega blog with a gazillion followers then you might need to go way outside of your comfort zone to get there (and kiss a lot of frogs), good luck with that.
+ do make friends with people who appeal, you will know instantly who these people are. Send them an email, write meaningful comments, take the time to read their posts - a few good friends are like gold in this business.
+ switch commenting off if you really don't care - I keep humming and hawing over this one, I want to switch it off but it seems so dramatic, a touch ridiculous.
+ just be yourself and be happy. If it makes you happy to read lots of other blogs then 'go you' but if it starts to feel like a chore you should perhaps reconsider your motives, have a sit down and watch telly instead.
Just remember that blogging should be enjoyable, it should make you happy, make you feel good so do what makes you happy, nothing else matters.