Friday, June 21, 2013

Lurkers... and anonymity

Last week, someone left me a comment on this blog that indicated that I "need followers".  I thought that was an interesting assumption.  I suppose when I started this blog three years ago, I must have hoped I'd eventually have readers.  I do write for money on other Web sites.  I don't make a lot of money as a writer, but it's enough to have to pay taxes.  In order to make money, you have to have readers, right?  And wouldn't I want that on my blog?

I took a long time to jump on the blogging bandwagon.  I understand there are some people out there whose blogs have become super popular and they make money from blogging.  I don't think I ever really expected to make a lot of money with this blog and, to date, I haven't.  Yes, I do run ads and have Amazon links on some posts, but few people click the ads or buy stuff from Amazon.  It's nice when they do, because that generates a little money for me.  I have to wait until the money accumulates to a certain level before I get it, though.  So far, I'm still waiting and have been for years, at least for Google to pay.  I have gotten a few Amazon payments over about nine years...  I've made a total of maybe $40 or $50 from Amazon.

By and large, I write this blog because it's a place where I can share my thoughts... kind of like a diary.  It's the one place where I can write about personal things somewhat anonymously.  I suppose I could make the blog private or open to invited readers only, but I wouldn't want to do that because I've already "met" a few interesting people by having a public blog.  Sometimes people leave good comments that are insightful and respectful.  Sometimes I get rude or disturbing comments.  Sometimes comments are just funny.  A lot of times, people don't leave any comments at all.

Do I like it when people "join" my blog and follow it publicly?  I guess so... although many of the people who "follow" this blog publicly rarely read it.  I have a lot of lurkers who read faithfully and don't leave comments.  I'm more interested in those folks than I am the ones who have publicly subscribed and then never come back to read again.  I pay close attention to who reads this blog, how long they stay, what they read, and where they're coming from.  I often wonder what makes some of them come back here repeatedly.

There are a couple of people who lurk and I know who they are because I've shared the blog with them.  I don't actually share this blog with friends or family very often, unless I write a post that I think they'll enjoy or relate to.  The reason I don't share is because this blog is generally full of angst and I have friends and family members who are subjects of posts here.  I would rather not invite unnecessary drama with them; although if they read this blog and confronted me, I would stand by what I wrote.  I place a high premium on being honest whenever possible.  I won't lie and say I haven't chickened out occasionally when someone has called me out, but I usually lose self-respect when I do that.  In the long run, I think it's better to "man up" and be real with people, as painful or embarrassing as that might end up being in the short term.  People waste a lot of time with face saving bullshit.

I have a tendency to be rude and snarky sometimes.  It's not because I necessarily want to be mean to someone.  I think it's because I have a rather irreverent sense of humor.  Also, I myself have been the butt of jokes and after awhile, you start to fight fire with fire.  I'm never going to be one of those super kind, loving, sympathetic people who always put others first.  That's not the kind of person I am, though I am fortunate enough to have some people like that in my life.  I do try to be empathic, but sometimes I fail because I'm human.  And sometimes I'm a hypocrite, because I'm human.

I used to try to keep this blog somewhat anonymous.  Unlike a lot of bloggers, I don't necessarily want people to know who I am.  Originally, I did that because I wanted to be able to express my candid thoughts, but not invite trouble from my husband's ex wife.  A lot of it also had to do with the fact that one of my husband's ex daughters was still a minor when I started this blog.  Now that she's an adult, I don't really care if she sees what I write.  In fact, I think it might do her some good to read what I think of her and her older sister.  I think they've been programmed to be victims and lack perspective and insight.  I think they've been told they were victims and have never considered any other viewpoint than their own.

I understand that my husband's daughters were hurt when my husband and his ex wife split.  They were young at the time and didn't get a complete picture of what happened.  They've grown up believing one side of the story because they never got the other side.  Last night, we were enjoying a really nice meal and I commented that my husband and his ex wife had very little in common.  They weren't happy because they weren't compatible and she was abusive to him.  I asked him again how he managed to stay married to his ex wife for as long as he did.  He looked me in the eye and said, "I stayed because of the kids."  Eventually, even the kids weren't enough to keep him with her.  And when she drew up papers inviting him to divorce her, he decided to take her up on the offer.  Now he's a lot happier.  If he had stayed with his ex wife, he would not have been happy... and chances are, neither would his ex daughters, because their parents did not get along and should not have gotten married.

I stopped caring as much about anonymity when one of my readers figured me out and I realized it probably doesn't matter anyway.  I try not to write things that I wouldn't say to someone directly.  I don't necessarily enjoy arguing with people, though.  So I don't advertise... but I don't hide, either.  And I don't really expect to "make anything" off this blog, financial or otherwise.  I have, on the other hand, already made a couple of online "friends" thanks to this blog.  That's a good bonus.  And it's nice to know that there are lurkers out there who are interested enough to keep coming back, regardless of what they think of me.  Perhaps I'd rather not know.


  1. To be or not to be anonymous is a complex issue. I' pretty much anonymous. I use someone in the family's maiden name, which is very similar to my own surname.(That probably means my grandparents have common familial roots in the old country, which might help to explain the stupidity of some of my father's sisters.) I relatively recently put up a picture of myself in my current phase because it became apparent that the people who actually know me and know of my blog seem relatively static. My father's family knows of the blog through one or two cousins with big mouths, and if they so desired, they could out me to the world, but I'd just hide all the posts that I didn't want anyone and everyone who knew me reading. As far as my father's family is concerned, I couldn't care much less than I do about what they think, and I'm not sure how they'd go about letting my Sacramento area enemies know about the blog, or what they would do about it even if they knew, since they are ordered by the court not to contact me even by Internet. I suppose I could go 100% public, but at this point, I see no point.

    If someone close to me in my real life who does know of my blog reads it and is offended by anything I say, for the most part that is fine with me, because I would not have written what I wrote in the first place had they not done something to earn my serious wrath.

    I think you were kind to remain totally anonymous while your husband's youngest daughter was a minor. Even if she was a jerk in the making, she was still a minor, and it was thoughtful to respect her feelings. I agree with you that the whole damned ex-family is now fair game.

  2. Thanks Alexis. Yeah, at this point, it really doesn't matter if they know... I did recently hide one of my more inflammatory posts because I was really pissed when I wrote it and I knew it would hurt feelings if the person who inspired it happened to read it.

    I was thinking about this the other day and I think that having a lot of people following you is a double edged sword. It's more exciting when people read and comment, but it's also potentially a lot more drama prone. Plus, the more people who read, the more opinions you'll get... and the thicker your skin needs to be.


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