Find me online!

twittergoogle plusemail

May 8, 2010

A sense of community

As human beings, we strive to organize ourselves into communities, whether they're actual ones (a town or city, for example) or social ones. The Internet has done much to foster the social communities we form, but even before that, we would have our own little groups of friends and fellow travelers, be it in high school, college, at work, or at play. We strive to be with people of similar minds, or those who complement our own personalities even if they aren't similar.

Some of these communities we form out of necessity because we are all forced together, such as in school. We form these communities because that's how we deal with shared situations. A group of people trying to handle the same situation all as individuals never really accomplishes much.

Other communities we seek out on our own, to give us another place to belong or because we have a certain inclination and we want to share it with others who feel the same way. You join a club, or a gaming group, or whatever. And sometimes you blog.

One common discussion topic among bloggers (and when I say "bloggers," I'm not talking about those big blogs that are topic-based, like video games, politics, technology, etc, but instead the "personal" bloggers like me) is how much reach you have, the amount of traffic you get on your blog. While some people blog just to put their thoughts out there for family and friends to keep up on what their thinking, most personal bloggers would like *somebody* who is not family to read their stuff. There is discussion about commenting or traffic (i.e. how many hits you get on your blog).

Sure, traffic is great, but it's the comments that I love. And it's the comments that I've been thinking about lately. I don't get huge traffic on my blog, but I get a fair amount, depending on the day. People find it using search words, including a large number who find it by searching for pictures on the web.

I also have a pretty decent number of subscribers on RSS readers, though the daily "reach" (the number of people actually clicking on an article each day) from those readers has never been high. And I have 3 subscribers via email (email is a great way to subscribe!).

Posting your blog on Facebook may get your friends to read it (I honestly don't know how many of them do that, and I would love it if they would chime in, those who haven't already done so!), but it doesn't expose it to that great big world out there.

Comments, though, show that people are engaging with what you write, and they like it enough to tell you about it. Since I started this blog last July, a small little community has formed around me, with feelers going back and forth between my blog and the blogs that I read. I've joined a couple of blogging groups, though I haven't had the time to engage them as much as I would like. I do plan to try and do better about that, though. Because comments foster comments, and reading can sometimes bring readers to you.

I think many blogs get little "communities" centered around them. I call it a community because I have a small (but lovely!) group of people who comment regularly, and that's really about it. Ironically enough, today I had my first "new" comment in quite a while, from an anonymous person who found my "Somebody Unfriended You on Facebook" post. Before that, however, I can't remember the last time I received a comment from somebody who just happened to find a blog post of mine and decided to comment on it.

I've received some comments from a couple of new readers who have found my blog through BlogCatalog and have stuck around (somehow bunnies and darts come to mind), but most of them have been the same for the most part. These people have all joined my community, and I've joined theirs.

It's like we're all our own little townships, hidden from the world. And then we journey out from our dwelling place to another township, experience it a little bit, interact with it, and perhaps form a bond where they travel back to your township to see what you're putting out there.

I imagine the blogosphere being an interconnected trading web, though instead of trading goods we're trading ideas. If you don't venture out into the hostile unknown (Here, There Be Dragons!), then you won't necessarily attract anybody to come back to your own township. And then your community really does just consist of the people who live there to begin with. Which is fine, if that's what you want.

It's not a bad thing to want your community to grow. Sure, you love the people who are already in the community (and I do love you), but you also want that community to get bigger. You want to experience new ideas, and have those new ideas brought to you. Yes, going out there expands your horizons, but it doesn't necessarily expand your community unless you put some effort into it. It's up to you to decide whether your community is big enough to suit you, or if you want more. And just how much you're willing to do to foster that growth.

Or this could just be the Saturday morning ramblings of the Crazy Man. One of the two.


  1. I know what you mean. I'd like people to write me comments on my blog but hardly anyone does. I don't know how to get more people to write. I get few comments even from family. I know I'm not the most exciting writer so guess I should just put down my own feelings & be happy with that.

  2. Receiving comments is always good. Of course blogging communities are helpful in expanding and growing your reader base. There are a handful of blogs that I try to keep up with regularly (yes yours is one of them, you can wipe that grin off your face now lol).

    I'd like to pick up more blogs to read, especially with all of the new bloggers who joined the AB group. But I was thinking earlier today, it almost becomes like a full-time job trying to keep up with all the posted links in the group. Not sure if having a huge community is really the way to go, at least not for me. Getting even one or two comments is good enough for me & much better than my comment count before joining AB, zero. :)

  3. Mom: What I'm talking about is a bit different from your blog, unless you really do want a lot of outsiders reading it. I was under the impression that you mainly just wanted family and friends on there. Anyway, I am way behind in my blog reading, but I did leave a comment on your last one!

    Anahid: I hear ya when it comes to overdoing the number of blogs you read. In a way, I guess this post was a bit of a ramble, trying to get my Saturday morning thoughts organized. I'm very happy with the community that has formed around me.

    I do have to admit that getting that comment yesterday from a non-regular reader just made me smile, though. I wish more passersby would comment as well as the community members.

    Oh well. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.