rLiving Day 29: Blogging, Tweeting and Paranoia (Directness, Commonality)
Posted by Simon on May 30, 2010
It had to happen, and frankly I’m amazed it took until day 29 to get there. But tonight, and in fact throughout the day, I’ve found myself totally uninspired on what to write about and desperately wishing this 30-day project was over. I’m also unbelievably tired – I’ve had some of the most intense weeks at work just when I’m spending a couple of hours a night trying for the first to work out and write out things I’ve pondered for years. Maybe it takes 30 days to break/form a habit, not 21? It seems to be when you’re near completion of a stretch goal that your metal is tested.
Then as I sat at my laptop this evening I started doubting why I was doing this. And I started getting a little paranoid. I knew people were reading the blog, but who?! And why did the page views go from 80+ yesterday to 15 today?!! Numbers are a pathetic and pointless thing to start worrying about when you’re blogging, or tweeting – unless you’re trying to make money out of ad clicks. Coincidentally this past couple of weeks I also started wondering why other twitter people I’m following tweeted and re-tweeted each other but not me!
This is an embarrassing paranoia. But it does make me think about ‘relationships’ with people in these two social media. I know personally all the people who have commented on this blog series, or commented on my facebook status blog update. And that’s 7 people in total. Two people who I don’t know personally have kindly referred to this blog series; one on twitter (@marciamarcia) and one on his own popular blog (@scotmcnight). But I’ve only had one direct back-and-forth conversation, and that on an administrative matter, with only one of them. The link from Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog generated an all-time peak of page-views (near 180) last weekend. Now I’m delighted and encourage by the interest from Scot and his readers, but I still only know and have interacted with those seven people. So as far as I’m concerned it only feels like I have a ‘relationship’ with those seven.
Relational Proximity Dimension #1 is “Directness”. My relationship with someone is better and healthier the less mediated it is. It can be mediated by technology or other people: these reduce our ability to communicate fully and know each other better.
An awareness of ‘Directness’ makes me think of mutuality in social media. So knowing there are other people reading my blog but that I’m not being able to communicate with them makes me feel … well, paranoid! Literally, it’s like knowing people are watching me, but I don’t know who they are or what they’re thinking. So who wouldn’t be paranoid!!? I’d rather not think about them too much.
Relational Proximity Dimension #5 is Purpose/Commonality: Our sense of connectedness and relationship is greater to the degree we have things in common or share a common purpose or identity. A good relationship has a direction to it, something that is common between the members that holds it together.
And yet, I have a specific shared ‘Commonality’ around the topic of relationships with the daily 50-90+ ‘readers’ (unless the page-views are all from bots) that I don’t have with others. This has been one of the only public means by which I’ve shared my own attempts to work out how Relational Proximity might apply to life. So I have what almost feels like an intimacy with these people, like they might understand me, that I don’t with others. Of course I need to make a number of assumptions about the page-views; for instance, that they are interested, and that if several different posts are clicked on then there’s even more interest. On one post I used the term ‘dear readers’ so clearly I feel like I have a relationship with them/you. I feel like I have an actual ‘community’ of sorts, bound by commonality even if not by directness.
And I’ve spent the whole time on this post talking about ‘them’, when them is ‘you’! So if ‘you’ are ‘them’ then I’m sorry for my rudeness and though I’m paranoid about you I’m glad that you share my interest in relational thinking!
So now I have no idea what to think. But at least I got a blog post from thinking about it!