Bloggers can check click rates to see if anyone’s reading. But what if people are reading but not commenting? What does that mean?
And why should I care?
Before I launched my blog in 2009, I’d never read yoga blogs, as I discussed in The Wide World of Yoga Blogs. I just wanted to organize my free-floating thoughts about yoga. I was curious to see if I could sustain my stream of thoughts or if the well would run dry.
Once I became a blogger, I got sucked into the milieu. I skim the gamut of blogs: food, travel, writing, knitting (and I can’t knit!). Blogging is unlike old print media in the expectation of audience response: Before, the lag time between publication and response was long (think “letters to the editor”). Now, instant feedback rules—and any feedback is better than none!
So, if a post generates zero comments, it disheartens me. Momentarily. Then I remind myself why I blog:
Blogging as writing practice
By blogging, I am “practicing” writing. By crystallizing an idea and playing with words, I am working my mind. I end up with a tangible product, a blog post. Regardless of audience feedback, the act of writing itself is transformative. I am different before and after writing a post. Maybe that’s enough.
I’m reminded of the way people might consider law school to be process learning: one supposedly learns to “think like a lawyer.” Laws differ state by state, but a lawyer’s analytical skills ideally should be transferable. Likewise, my blog posts themselves might have limited consequences, but my mental transformation should be lasting.
Blogging as discipline
In my first six months of blogging, I was prolific. Now, I feel productive if I post once weekly. Where’s my discipline?! In Resurrecting my blog: inspiration from a cactus, I wrote about my blog’s slowdown. Could it thrive and grow again? Or do bloggers have only one shot at making it?
It can be hard to be disciplined about an unpaid blog. Maybe that’s the crux of discipline. If we’re forced to do something, for work or other obligations, we’re not being disciplined, just diligent.
At first, my audience comprised mainly fellow yoga bloggers, including YogaDork, Roseanne, Eco Yogini, and others mentioned in Peer-reviewed blogs. Locally I heard from fellow writers, including Eve Johnson and Jessica Berger Gross, both excellent writers. Non-blogger yogis tend rarely to comment. They might email me about a post (I’m heartened by the gesture of camaraderie) but my blog would be much livelier with public comments, shares, and likes!
Of course, I can empathize with those who are private and busy with their own lives. Indeed, I’ve never considered yoga as a social pursuit. Online, while I initially made connections with other bloggers, I’ve since lost contact (and sometimes my place on their blogrolls) because I can barely keep afloat in my own life and thus rarely comment myself. But I enjoy checking back when I can—and I’d be disappointed if their blogs were gone.
Blogging as 21st-century experience
I occasionally meet people who still don’t use email. Or who can’t quite define “blog.” Unbelievable. But I can relate: I much prefer reading the print edition of the New York Times! I use my cell phone only when necessary. I created a Yoga Spy Facebook account, reluctantly, as late as spring 2011.
That said, the Internet is indispensable to my existence. Websites are my go-to sources for information, and if I have the chance to create my own, why not go for it? Live in the 21st century. Be a participant. (In the 2000s, I missed the entire run of The Sopranos because I didn’t have HBO. Sure, it’s just a TV series, but I’m missing a slice of that decade. What else did I miss? What am I missing from this decade?)
Blogging as karma yoga
Regardless of audience feedback, I keep blogging. Why? In my all-time favorite post, Ginger and karma yoga, I highlight my late kitty’s example of karma yoga: To do one’s duties, or dharma, in life, without concern for reward. If I choose blogging as a current duty, I shouldn’t waste time questioning why, much less whether anyone cares. Just do it!