Admit it. At least once since creating your site and first hitting that ‘publish’ button you’ve found yourself thinking something along the lines of, ‘100 followers – that’s lovely. But I sure do wish I had 1,000! (Or 10,000. Or 100,000.) Then things will really be great!’
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been guilty of this sort of thinking a few times in the past 2 years, since I started sharing publically here on Cathedral Grove.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, all the easier to tumble down when you might be feeling a bit disheartened about something else happening in your life. Maybe you’ve been struggling with aspects of your ‘IRL’ job and you find yourself suddenly musing about making a living off loyal, adoring patrons of your feline-inspired poetry? Or perhaps you’ve been locked down with a large family for just a little too long and are starting to feel that no one is appreciating your ideas, so again you dream of a reality in which thousands clamor for your latest Cthulu-centric doodles? Whatever causes us to trip up and stumble into the pit of wishing-for-something-other-than-what-we-have, well – it’s OK!
Yes, that’s right. It’s normal. Totally human. Quite understandable.
And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to become a ‘Blog Boss’ (some people do indeed amass tens of thousands of followers and make a considerable income off of selling e-books, virtual workshops, and the like), it’s important to remember that none of us needs a gargantuan following to make a real difference.
I don’t think I’m way off base to suggest that the vast majority of us primarily blog for the following reasons:
- To put something positively impactful out into the world, and
- To feel like we are part of a lively, engaged community that consists of others who share some of our values and interests.
Is gathering up 100,000 followers going to help any one of us achieve these things? You might have a broader reach, sure. But is that massive mailing list of 100,000 people a community, truly? I would be willing to wager that most of the people who at some point in their content creation career find themselves with an enormous number of followers probably only interact with a fraction of them in any meaningful way. Similarly, I bet that only a fraction of that blogger’s followers interact with other followers of that very same site in any meaningful way. I’m sure that there are exceptions to this, but I feel pretty confident in asserting that this is by and large the way of things.
Seems pretty lonely, doesn’t it? I sure think so.
Now this is how I believe blogging should really be…
Whether you have 100 followers, 10 followers, or even just 1 follower right now, be grateful for each and every one of them. Show your gratitude by taking a look at what they’re creating and sharing with the world too. Leave something original they’ve created a ‘like,’ appreciating that it can be a tough thing to share one’s musings, ideas, worries, dreams, passions, and vulnerabilities with an at times anonymous, alienating digital world. Maybe even leave a short comment for them if you feel so moved. Doing what we do can sometimes feel a bit like shouting into a void, so even a simple but honest ‘Thank you for sharing this’ can go a long way towards improving someone’s day and forming lasting, meaningful connections.
And with that, I’d simply conclude by adding these heartfelt words of appreciation and thanks.
You – yes, YOU – are doing great. Keep brainstorming. Keep creating. Keep sharing. You may never fully know how many are touched by the things you make, but the things you write, sing, paint, sketch, design – they do send out ripples. Perhaps someday some of those ripples will very well become waves within the blogosphere, great fame and fortune drifting in on that favorable tide. If so, I hope to be one of the first to heartily congratulate you! In the meantime though, please don’t ever forget…
Even the ripples matter.