Friday, May 08, 2009

Existential Blogger Crisis...

I got an email a few weeks ago from a blog reader.  This little piece of correspondence got me thinking about my blog more.  (Isn't it funny how the more I think about my blog, the less I write in it?)  I've really been thinking about why I blog, who reads it, and why they read it?  Have I met them?  Will I meet them?  Do they read it daily?  Do they read it weekly?  What exactly about my blog makes it worth coming back to?  Do they follow the links I so meticulously pepper my posts with?  What time of day do they read it?  Do they read it from home or from work?

Of course I've used the site trackers and the statistics and looked at the ebb and flow of the traffic.  But the answers I received really weren't meaty enough.  They all seemed sort of theoretical.  It's kind of like the proclamations that those computerized height/weight health machines make.  The answers weren't human enough.

Perhaps I'm having an existential blogger crisis?  Who am I and where do I fit in this great big blogging world?  Maybe the answer will somehow emerge in another 1,225 posts or there abouts?


Betty BeadBug said...

I know what you mean...who comes to my blog and why? As for your blog I have you listed in my following so every time you post something I know and can pop in an read it. I come for the jewelry, travels, recipes and everything in between. It's like grabbing a cup of coffee and getting in a visit with a friend. :-)

Lorelei Eurto said...

Who Knows! But I love it, and I think your life seems so interesting, and you're such a great inspiration for me and probably a bazillion other designers out there.

SueBeads said...

Andrew, I have been thinking about this lately too. Along with my confidence crisis and ending up not selling my beads at the Glass Center alongside some amazing artists. I wonder, why do I have "followers" I sure don't think my life is that interesting, but I have "met" some very nice supportive people. I think your blog is interesting - you have a great mix of intellectual topics, food, jewelry, tips, things about other people, etc. I guess those would be just some of the reasons your blog is "successful" and you should just sit back and sigh and say, I'm doing something people like, so that's valuable in and of itself!

TesoriTrovati said...

I am right there with you Andrew! I now have 54 followers...what?! How did that happen? I am not always sure where they come from but I am always glad they stopped by. Blogging is an interesting are essentially alone in this virtual world, pouring out your thoughts and creative process and random ramblings without any idea that anyone will be reading it. And then they do. And you wonder why? When I set out to do this, I came up with a vague template in my mind of how each post would go. That has helped me focus a lot. And I don't post nearly that often, I wish I could. As for why I come here...I had seen your jewelry in magazines and knew your name. And after reading a few posts it was obvious that you are an intelligent and charming person with a great love of life. In short, you are someone that in a "real" world I would enjoy knowing. Your blog gives me but a glimpse into your life. Your design talents are many, from jewelry to cooking to photography. I find that I learn much when I come to visit. And I have you in my blog reader so that I know when you have written and can pop over. I agree with Betty Beadbug ...reading my favorites (yours included) is like having a conversation with a friend. And I feel lucky that I have actually made cyber friends with several of my regular posters. You are a success Andrew. We thank you for the inspiration that you bring to us!
Enjoy the day!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Is there something in the blog-world-water recently? Or is it that it is starting to get nice outside and we're all trying to find some additional inspirations to help us all get through some pretty difficult times? Where is that nice warm sunshine feeling - the one from inside?

I have been working on updating my blog, starting a new garden blog (I had to - way too many garden pictures to share with others - in the hopes that it helps lift us out of the dreary gray doldrums of life and crappy weather).

But it seems that people aren't out there - there are no replies - not even a checked box of "like" "dislike" "interesting" - which are easy to click on... they are like little pats on the back saying to stay the course, and without them... well, it just doesn't help improve any mood.

This comment itself is turning more into a post. So I'm going to stop and say THANK YOU for posting regularly. I check in with you daily and send you good thoughts - even though you may not realize it... You are quite the inspiration for me to start blogging (I heard you a couple of years ago, but was in my "bubble" of personal issues) and for me to start to try new stuff. Your links and posts are spring boards for discovering things that I did not know about.

I feel more enlightened with your blog - which means you - there just about every day! So thank you and I look forward to seeing more and more - and more!

Joan Tucker said...

Andrew, in my opinion, this blogging thing is part sharing, part vicarious peeking, part resource finding, part mind travel, part look at what I did and see my marbles,also a way to find a wider net and perhaps connect with another human in a very hard to connect world. Keep blogging, you are inspirational, funny and possess a unique eye for art, food, travel and people.

Joan Tucker

Scarlett Lanson said...

Hi Andrew,

When I started blogging I read the statistics on how much of the blog reading community actually participates and comments on people's posts. Whatever article I read said it was something like 1-2% (I'm sure this completely has to do with who your followers are and what subject matter you are talking about.) This is pretty disappointing because I wish that all these people who do take the time to read what we write would share their thoughts on the subject. But then I think, hey wait, there are blogs that I read every single day and I probably comment only once in a while. It usually has nothing to do with the quality of the post or how much I am enjoying it - there are tons of great posts I've read that I don't comment on just because I am not in the mood to write, or have other thing I should be doing etc... but I still enjoy the posts and often read them outloud to whoever's in earshot.

As for your blog Andrew, I think that you have such a great mix of things that you touch on with thoughtful insights and beautiful photos. As a reader, I feel like you are really putting yourself behind all of the posts. And I do click on the links! Everytime one interests me I follow it because I feel like you've got always got the secret scoop! It definitely helps that you post so often, I wish I could get myself to blog like that. Hopefully someday I will be focused enough.

Thank you for sharing your life with us!

jeweledrabbit said...

I read your blog because I love your jewelry, and because you're an interesting person. I also appreciate your poetic sensibility.

Andrew Thornton said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and for your encouragement. Thanks so much for all that you've said and for shining a little light on some of my questions. I'm really touched and very flattered!

Brandy Boyd said...

Andrew- I read your blog almost daily- it's my sanctuary at work- usually the first thing i do when i sit down at the computer in my office. I've never met you and probably never will- i stumbled upon your blog through Green Girl Studios, which i followed because i did meet Cynthia at a bead show once and was entranced by her sense of magic. (i feel you have it too, BTW)

I read because you are a hero, and at the same time you are a real person. I know people look up to actors, sports figures, etc, but i prefer my inspirations more realistic. You put so much of yourself in your posts, it's hard to not feel like i 'know' you sometimes. :)

One of the things that makes your blog so inspiring to me is that you're chronicling your journey - the path to to finding your place in the world- like most of us creative types who feel like we will drown in a sea of commercialization, homogenization, strip malls and fast food joints. You just do it with style, wit, insight and finesse that not all people can adequately convey in writing. :)

I hope you realize that you do have a place in this 'big blogging world' that makes a difference. :)


Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I know I am writing this late--you wrote it a while ago-- but I theorize that the whole phenomenon concerning the insecure blog situation is part and parcel of the Twitter and Facebook popularity rise. To blog is to twitter as to make a cell phone call is to text. Get it? I could be wrong but I think I might be right. It is PROGESS via internet we are viewing, but most of the time we are unaware of it because we are still in the midst of it. Stuff is going on! Blogging might go the way of the horse and buggy! What to do about it? Whatever you wish! I love your blog and your interesting take on things, and your photos.

--what do you think of my theory?
love, jean

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Jean!

Perhaps this is the case. I'm not sure. I've been keeping an online journal for over ten years now. Strange to think that it has been that long. In this incarnation I've been doing it for over two.

I don't Twitter. I don't think I'd like to either. I've been told that it will secure me legions of fans worldwide, but I don't care about that and I think that it'll die out. I was around when Livejournal was hot. When Friendster was the only place to be. When Myspace dominated all. I was even amongst the first waves of Facebook, as it was originally designed as a networking site for ivy league or equivalent college students. So... we'll see.

I guess my crisis could be that I've hit a patch of the "doldrums" more than any else. May isn't a good month for me. But I guess it's about keeping on and trying to do better. So off I go!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Andrew: I have been journalling the same length of time as you. I have had it at the moment as well -- do you think the outdoors is calling to us? As for Twitter, I can't figure it out. I did do all the others, in their time.

My journal before this is still online and involves health concerns. I met a lot of cool people through it.

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

I was thrilled to meet you in person at the Tucson shows. I have loved the Green Girl Studio pieces forever and it was just cool to meet someone who actually "worked" there:) Plus, I love reading about your insights and I am glad I read not eat your cooking cause I would gain back the 30 pds that I have lost LOL!

Funky Monkey Girl,

Andrew Thornton said...

There's a lot of things that I love about blogging. For one, I love the community. It's an amazing thing. It enables you to communicate and keep in touch with so many people. It really is wonderful in this way.

Sometimes I get restless or I have a picture in my mind of how I want it to be. In the case of being restless... what can you do? You wiggle around I guess and try to make things work. As for the picture in my head, it's hard because I sometimes think it should be this way or that. And blogging is like throwing words out into the wind... you never know who, if anyone, will find them and read them. So, it's an isolated practice. And I think it's easy to lose sight of that great community.

So, I guess I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing.

Lorelei Eurto said...

I have found it's amazing at how people are so affected by what I say on my blog. Just when I thought no one was really paying attention, and then I sit down and write about a serious topic and everyone has an opinion, and people get all fired up and write responses to blog posts on their own blogs. It's crazy. Blogging is crazy stuff.

Deryn Mentock said...

Who ARE these mysterious blog readers?? I know that the majority of my readers don't comment. Occasionally, I have someone come out and say "I've been following your blog forever and am commenting for the first time..." I can't really say why people are hesitant to comment or what inspires them to comment when they do. I'm just happy to know they're out there. By the way, I came to your blog through my friend, Christine Damm.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Lorelei! You know that that's a sensitive subject. I know people on both sides of the fence. I'm thinking about compiling a list of different perspectives and writing my own thoughts on the matter.

I tried to do so before, but the words just wouldn't come.

I don't necessarily care about comments, so much as community building and responding to what interests. I'm not a comment whore in the slightest. I just like to know what gets people involved and keeps them interested. Though, I will say that the most comments I ever received was when I almost died by falling into the subway tracks and I won't repeat that... even if it means I get lots of comments.

Andrew Thornton said...

Welcome Deryn! I've seen your blog before. I think I followed it through Kate's blog? Maybe.

I get a fair bit of correspondence generated from blog topics, just not comments. And I don't mind it. People should respond how they feel most comfortable.

I guess I was just feeling restless and stressed. When the line between obligation and joy blur, it can make a sticky mess, I think. One I'll have to clean up for a long time.

I am lucky for those who do read my blog and for those who sometimes glimpse at it. I am lucky to be able to share and to communicate and to reach out to so many different people. I'm happy that you're out there and that others are too!