Why did I start blogging almost two months ago?
After creating a blog for our Second Life Dance School, it dawned on me that I might have some fun doing this for myself. I was inspired by a post on blogging I read on Gogo‘s JuicyBomb’s Second Life Fashion Blog and I had some free time over the Christmas holidays, so I created Songs from the Coal Face. And I’m so glad I did!
What I’ve realised now, is that the journey I began when writing that first blog post on December 22nd has led to three unexpected but happy outcomes:
- Reading posts on other blogs
- Interacting with other’s blog posts
- Sharing blogs and posts I like
Reading posts on other blogs
After writing my first blog posts, I suggested blogging to my friend PurdieSilkamour, who started her blog on Christmas Eve: Never Knowingly Understood. It’s been interesting watching Purdie’s blog progress and to read about the ideas she’s chosen to share there. Many have had to do with things she was experiencing first hand in Second Life at the time. Her posts about dealing with her break up were helpful in understanding more about what was going in her head.
Up until the end of last month, her posts have been focused more on photography, which has seemed to consume a lot of her time and interest lately. It’s been fantastic seeing her improve her photography skills in the past month and while her blog has seemed to go a bit quiet, you can really see the progress she’s made on her growing Flickr photostream, which is very up to date.
In late January, I shared our blogs with my friend MissMillieBean. She seemed keen on the idea so I encouraged her to have a go with a blog of her own. She started her blog, Millie Bean, on the 2nd of February and has been dilligently posting at least every couple of days since. Millie’s posts are heartfelt and introspective. They mainly reflect her responses to the people in her Second Life – ranging from gratitude to expectation, and from happiness to disappointment. Her posts have been a bridge that has allowed our relationship to grow in a way that wouldn’t have been possible by chatting in SL alone.
Interacting with other’s blog posts
As different as Purdie’s, Millie’s and my respective journeys into blogging have been, they have all been revealing, cathartic and mutually supportive. I’ve noticed that the three of us like and comment on each others posts a lot, and often discuss them further inworld. Because I follow both blogs, I find receiving an email announcing one of their new blog posts to be one of the very first emails I’ll open.
I can be a bit of a private person, but in spite of that, there was a part of me that wanted other people out there to see my stuff. I must admit, I was surprised by how excited I was on the 16th of January, when I first received an email from someone I didn’t know that liked one of my posts. Doesn’t that email you get from the super-geniuses at WordPress do a great job of boosting your ego? What’s been really cool is that I’ve received as many likes from people participating in SL and about just as many from those having nothing to do with SL in any way.
Since then, I’ve discovered that there are 5 levels of engagement people can have with your blog (I’m sorry if this is way too obvious for a huge set of you out there who’ve been there and done that – to me it’s all quite a bit special 🙂 . Of course, there is overlap among them all, but each step, I find, brings your blogging relationship closer and closer.
- Visitors: These are all those nice people that stumble upon your blog, check out a few pages and then may bounce off somewhere else – they may be back, or maybe not.
- Likers: I can’t help but feel compelled to know more about these people who randomly find my posts and like them. So, as many of you do, I follow those links and have a snoop around, and if I like what I see, I’ll follow the liker’s blog. I get at most 4-5 likers per post, so for the moment it’s more than manageable. I’ve noticed, on several posts on other people’s blogs, that likes can exceed 50!
- Commenters: And then there are the comments from friends and strangers. When I first received comments from people I didn’t know, I thought, “that’s so great that someone would make the effort to put their spin on my random thoughts”. I’m grateful for any comments I receive, and they have all to date been supportive and often add a lot to the conversation taking place. Of course, I’ve seen comments on other blogger’s posts to be as high as 50 or more! I think it’s also great that many bloggers choose to reply to every comment they receive.
- Followers: If someone really likes your stuff, and doesn’t want to miss any of your future posts, they’ll follow your blog – which to me, is one of the greatest compliments one can receive on the blogosphere. I’ve seen follower counts into the hundreds on other blogs, and I can only imagine what that would be like.
- Sharers: Sharers are highly enthusiastic people that will actually put a link to your blog on a sidebar widget sharing their “recommended blogs”, or on a post written to make recommendations (like this one). When that happens, they’re telling the world that they like you blog enough to recommend it to others, and that is high praise indeed.
Sharing blogs and posts I like
One of my favourite WordPress features is the “Read Blogs” screen available through the ubiquitious W found at the top left of the WordPress bar if you’re logged into your blog. I’ve found so many great blogs that way and as I’ve visited, liked, commented on, and followed blogs I’ve found there, I’ve found my blog community growing by leaps and bounds.
This is how I found Flora Nordenskiold‘s illuminating, relatable, and morbidly curious, Blueberries and Milk in a Glass Bowl. This blog first caught my attention as it started its story, quite literally at the end of it, with the words:
“How easy it was to leave. One click here; all items returned to owners. Another click there; avatar deleted.”
Since then, and from beyond her avatar’s virtual grave, Flora has written about different sides of her Second Life experiences as she works to cope with disentangling her heart and mind from what must have been a very rich and meaningful Second Life experience.
Back in the land of the living, I met someone inworld that I previously only knew by exchanging comments on our respective blogs. Meeting Mera Kranfel (Vesper Kling in SL), who writes the quirky, colourful and outspoken Eternal Sunshine of the Metaverse, was a revelation, not only in how easy I found it was to chat with her (as if I was meeting an old friend), but also in how she shared with me that she does this all the time. What an unexpected surprise! Mera shared a few of her favourite blogs with me, two of which I’ve read a fair bit of and since followed. Here’s a small excerpt of the logic that permeates this well thought-out blog:
It’s a common predudice (that virtual worlds attract broken people) I think and some people like to think its like that because of this anonymity for example. I’ve met quite a lot of people in virtual worlds over the years and I think it’s a mirror of the real world. In the real world i know some seriously “broken people” who go to art classes. So art classes attract “broken people”? The truth is that “broken people” do a lot of things, including visiting virtual worlds and going to art classes. But no more no less than ordinary people.
Being Yordie Sands and Yordie Sands Notebook: Yordie Sands writes about thought-provoking subjects in a personal and intelligent style that is right up my street. I’m just loving her series on The SL Secret Sauce, and I look foward to reading more and also getting to know her inworld when the opportunity presents itself. The following is a passage that I could really relate with:
“More and more, I came to identify with my avatar. I came to like her. I came to care about her, even her reputation… What happened next wasn’t obvious to me at the time, but I began to feel as though I was my avatar. And my avatar was different than I am in real life. So you could say I became a different person, with a different sense of identity. Even now I find that surprising to admit.”
Another favourite is Tymmerie Thorne‘s Girl Wonder Speaks… about Second Life. If you want a good laugh read this blog. Tymmerie isn’t only funny, she is also clearly intelligent, writes on a wide range of subjects and has a keen eye for irony which she is more than happy to share in her inventively off-the-wall posts. Here’s a sample that accompanied a pic of her avatar brushing her teeth:
“I took this picture while I was getting ready for bed and demonstrating excellent avatar oral hygiene. Keeping your av’s teeth healthy is more important than you realize: the only dentures I could find in SL were for throwing at people, not wearing.”
I’m hoping to further explore all of the blogs I’ve mentioned in this post, find many more and share more of the ones I really like with you on a regular basis. If you have any that you would like to recommend, please mention them in the comments below. I tend to really like blogs that are written as personal journals and social commentaries on pretty much anything, so I’d especially like to hear about good ones I can have a look at (even if it’s yours!).
Finally, thanks for reading!