The world has been so noisy these past few years that I took advantage of the upheaval brought by the pandemic to evaluate things and then of the colder weather to hunker down in the dark and quiet. I thought about what in my world contributes to the noise. I also thought about the meaning of connection and how to truly connect authentically via technology. Of course, I’ve always thought about connection, but this year heightened my awareness.
I started by stepping away from social media, the lure of scrolling that has the ability to suck me down into a time-wasting wormhole if I’m not careful. The latest go-round with this found me blocking Twitter and being off Instagram for about a month. I tidied up my Pinterest boards after not being on that site in who knows how long then blocked it — I still can’t quite figure out the point of Pinterest other than finding recipes I could Google. (I’ve been off Facebook for years.) I’ll go back to Twitter and Instagram, sparingly. Social media, to me, leads to a lot of talking at, not with, people.
Blogging can be like that. I try not to be that way. I try to comment and connect and encourage conversation. To do that more, I evaluated how I go about participating in the blog community. I’ve revamped my site and spent time figuring out what I want to write about. I have some ideas… stay tuned! Once I started thinking and planning — and making a calendar with color-coded topics! — it started to fall into place. It’s starting to feel more like me again.
I’ve ditched the WP reader. Many reasons. The algorithm it uses means I miss posts even though I’m following a blog. Some bloggers’ posts appear in my notifications but not all. On Reader, you can’t see people’s actual websites and some are quite creative. Posts don’t always format in Reader the way they do on actual websites. Some formatting doesn’t show up in the Reader though it’s on the website. Some blocks look different — and not as good — in the Reader. The layout may change in Reader even though on the website it’s correct.
And even though you can turn off the WP star for Likes on individual posts, it can’t be eliminated from the Reader. I’ve grown to dislike that little star. I’ve clicked it on others’ posts in the past (not often), but I won’t use it at all anymore. To me, the point of blogging is connecting with other people.
Commenting takes such a short amount of time. It lets writers know you read their post and also tells the writer a bit about you, the reader. Stars and hearts are fine for Twitter and Instagram, or perhaps a photo-only blog post. But a written blog post is the beginning of a conversation, one that needs other people to keep it going — in the comments.
Long story short (TOO LATE), I’m relying on a feed aggregator instead — I know, very early 21st century. Every new post by bloggers I follow is included and, to read them, I visit bloggers’ actual websites. I’ll pop into WP Reader occasionally to find new sites to add, but I won’t follow and interact with sites there anymore.
In terms of IRL community, as it is in pandemic-stricken 2020, this year found me embracing video technology, which I swore I would never use because no one should have to do their hair to essentially talk on the phone. Now, I participate in — and lead! — Zoom calls. AND I LIKE IT. I don’t see my enjoyment of this changing any time soon. I did get Zoom fatigued mid-Autumn, trying to do everything, but I made adjustments and all was well.
As for other technology I was already using, I still hate texting, I still love emailing, I still love playing with my websites and how the layout, etc. can help communicate, too. I LURVE snail mail. I love telephone and IRL face-to-face chats with people I feel comfortable with.
Most of all, I really love writing.
2021 will find me connecting with others with the above-thoughts in mind. I’ll also continue to connect with the parts of me that want to express something and figure out the best way to do that as I go along. If I really connect and stay in touch with myself, I figure I can’t go wrong.
This is the second in a series of three posts about transformation. Read the first post, Transformation Information.