A friend, Lisa, approached me and said the following:
A lot of people don't get your blog.
Misty: What's not to get? [I nod my head.]
Lisa: You don't blog in real time.
Me [with a confused expression on my face]: So?
Misty: She's a storyteller.
Lisa: Well, I get it, which is why I read it so you don't have to convince me….But, 8 people — in PR and Marketing — have come up to me recently and talked about how you don't blog in real time. They don't understand it.
Me: What is there really to understand? It's not that cryptic.
Lisa: You have to have noticed that some of your commenters have been frustrated with the same thing and how you write about things that happened a few months ago.
Me: Yes, I've noticed. But, I just kept telling the story, and it seems by the numbers of hits that I've received that people keep reading.
Lisa: But, I bet that you could quadruple your hits if you blogged in real time.
Me: Really? With the amount of hits I've gotten recently? I doubt that.
Lisa: But, you need to blog in real time if you want to be a successful blogger.
Misty: But, she doesn't want to be a successful blogger.
[I nod my head in agreement. And, yes, folks, Misty is right. If I can turn my blog into something more professionally in the next year, I will. If not, I'll go back to representing my clients since I miss my clients.]
Lisa: You are a blogger now, though. And, you've used social media to promote your blog. You've said that. [I nod.] Social media and Twitter are about getting information in real-time, and you're not blogging in that manner.
A longer discussion ensued, but it got me thinking about what I do and how I do it.
Why don't I blog in real-time?
1. I didn't start blogging in real-time.
My friends have been telling me for years to write down my guy stories. When I broke up with Lawyer Boy at the end of 2008, I had the time and the inclination to finally do that. I wasn't in a relationship at the time so I started writing about past events. Word-of-mouth about my blog grew, and I just kept on writing;
2. I'm a storyteller.
I see myself as a storyteller, rather than one who blogs about her day. Some events warrant several posts, while other quieter weeks don't warrant a mention. Misty commented that some days I would just be writing, "Didn't go out on a date. Didn't have sex." I love my life, but the rest of my life doesn't always make for a good read;
3. Would I be able to date in a small city like DC if I did blog in real time?
I don't think so, and Lisa and Misty both agreed with me on this point. Why is that? DC is small. Lilliputian small. If guys knew that whatever happened that night would appear in a post the following day, I doubt that many guys would want to date me. By not blogging in real time, I also can see if a relationship evolves.
For instance, last Thursday night, I met four guys. I'm currently exchanging e-mails with three of them. I don't know if I'll end up dating any of them, though, so is it really worth describing our first encounters or e-mails on my blog? There might not be a story there since I don't know if any of them will amount to more than just a guy I met at a event. Who knows if a casual encounter is blog-worthy?
That also raises another issue. I just admitted that I'm in contact with four guys from last week. All of them have access to my blog. What if by the sheer fact that I met other guys that night, I lose the chance to go out with the guy with whom I'm the most compatible?
In a similar vein, in the past week, I've been in contact with Philly Matt, The Baron, JAG Man (yes, he's back, too), and Mr. Executive. Out of that group, I could see seriously dating two of them. (No, I'm not saying which two right now.) If I put every detail in real time about my interactions with them and feelings about them, then I might miss out on the opportunity to spend time with each of them individually and see what happens next.
If you know me, you realize that I don't engage in casual sex. (I've had a single one-night stand in a decade.) But, I do believe that a double standard exists in the dating arena. I'm trying to explore my options respectfully. Real-time blogging wouldn't allow me to do that without feeling like all the guys on deck were watching over my shoulders. Writing my stories down the next day might also spark jealousy and resentment or cause a guy to act uncharacteristically.
4. Do you really want real-time?
I have this vision of my man behind me and my laptop in front of me. In that scenario, I'd be blogging as my man is having sex with me. The title of that post would be: Is This Enough Real-Time For You?
Sex and love don't always follow a story arc, and my stories are detailed and explore things from every angle. As "real" as I am in my blog, I think that "real time" would detract from my posts.
Mr. Executive also made a good point that if I was to blog in real-time, then I would need to have an itinerary before every post. He joked:
So…are we going to have sex, watch a movie or get in a fight tonight? I need to figure out what I'm going to write about next.
I prefer to let whatever happens happen organically and then write about it after I've had time to digest it. And, yes, I realize that I was blogging about the end of my relationship with "Buckeyes" Boy three months after we had split up. But, I have to believe that my readers (and not just my friends) care about me as a person. I don't know emotionally if I would have been able to handle writing about everything as I was going through it with "Buckeyes" Boy. I also wouldn't have done well with all the criticism in the moment. Isn't it better that my relationship with "Buckeyes" Boy ended as it was meant to, rather than by a huge fight over the comments that he read or something I put in a post?
5. What else should I do?
I initially started to write down my stories just for me. But, now, I'm writing for a larger audience. I feel guilty when I don't blog for a few days in a row. My readers are invested in my stories, and I don't want to disappoint. Many of you have shown me by your comments, Tweets and e-mails that you care about me. I feel that, and I want to give the same back at you!
Isn't the purpose of social media to exchange information to a broader audience through the Internet? And, isn't that what I'm doing? Yes, social media provides news and information in real time, but whether or not I have sex with a guy isn't news; it's entertainment for my friends and readers.
Social media has grown in every sense of the word because it isn't formulaic, and it's constantly being used in new and visionary ways. It's ironic to me that I've received criticism (albeit through a third-party) that I have used social media in a way that it wasn't intended to be used. Who defines the norm in an ever-changing market to infinite consumers? More accurately, does there need to be a norm? Isn't the beauty of social media that we all have the power to create and exchange personal and professional information over the Internet in whatever manner we choose?
I'm not cooking one recipe a day to blog about it. Likewise, I'm not sleeping with or dating one guy a day to prove a point. That's not my love life as an adult, and it's not my writing style.
I've always done it my way (that was the title of my autobiography back in 6th grade), and I blog like I fuck (out of the box). I'm a storyteller and an advice-giver, and I'm just going to keep on writing. xoxo
So…what are your thoughts? How do you define "successful blogger?"