I mentioned in an earlier post that not all of my 50by50 commitments were going to be “bucket list type” things. Some of them, in some ways, are really just getting myself squared away. Deciding who I am, I suppose.
And I’ve been struggling with one aspect of my identity for quite some time. Who am I when I’m online?
Way back when I started engaging on the internet, I shared jokes and humour. I ran a trivia contest by email for a very long time. I wrote movie reviews and shared those. But I always wanted to get to the point where I was sharing my own writing online. I struggled though between writing stuff that was essentially “for me”, or more accurately, “about me”, and stuff that was more business-oriented or professional. Like writing about my own jobs vs. writing about HR processes.
I waffled on how it looked online. Awhile ago, I switched to having two sites — one personal, one for writing. Yet are those really different? Are there two sides to me? I wasn’t even sure I got the split right. I made the writing one the “PolyWogg.ca” web domain, as I liked the idea of being PolyWogg for my writing. Yet that left ThePolyBlog as my personal area. Then I would go to write something about goals, and I couldn’t decide — was it “polywogg” as it was about a serious approach to goal-setting, something I am fairly knowledgeable about, or was it “thepolyblog” as it included my own goals?
I’m heavily influenced of course in that division by lots of writers out there who have a “professional” site for all their books and things, and perhaps a “personal” site where they share recipes and stories about their families. Or knitting patterns. Links to Instagram, etc. I kept telling myself if I was going to ever get to that professional writing stage, I should plan now to have the two sites, keep them separate, never the twain shall meet.
Which I have realized is ridiculous. One of the reasons writers often do that is so that publishers and editors and agents (oh my!) can see their “work” all together, not cluttered with personal stuff. But I don’t care about publishers or editors, and don’t get me started on my feelings about most agents (think lawyers and used car salesmen, and drop a level or two). So why am I separating things?
There is me. Only me. PolyWogg, with a blog that I call the PolyBlog. But it is all me. And it is far less work to have one site than two, even just on overhead management.
So I decided to merge the two websites and put everything under PolyWogg.ca. I could have just as easily called this “Fixing my website”, but that is just the activity. I’ve embraced the totality of who I am electronically, and jettisoned some other elements in the process too.
I have struggled a lot with my social media presence. The short version is that I don’t “get it” for certain types of interactions, how to scale up so to speak. I have tried more postings, less posting, more content, less content, different days, different times of the day, different types of content. On Facebook, where I have limited myself to about 100 friends and am not looking to expand that number drastically as it is primarily for friends, I have extremely limited engagement on my posts.
Take my memes for example. I loved the idea of trying to create my own little brand of meme, following in the footsteps of some giants on the ‘net who have created little shareable cards with their logo and some text. I did quotes, I did jokes, I did lunchnotes for kids. The vast majority by far received ZERO response. Most of them not even a single like outside of my wife, and those are often pity likes. 🙂
I stopped them when I was getting no response. I switched my focus a bit to sharing my TV reviews and photos. I watch a lot of serialized TV, review episodes, and post the reviews to Twitter. Since I was actually clicking to NOT share them on FB, I started letting them go through too. I figured a handful of people would start liking the shows they watched. Nope, one or two, occasionally, but not very often. Even though my occasional posts about cancellations, etc., attract some comments, I get nothing on my TV episodes. So I have gone back to Twitter only for those. I’ve even tweaked my setup a bit on those for what makes sense for me, even if it reduces my hashtag pickup occasionally.
I’m almost finding FB to be a negative influence on my life. I’m not talking about people who are obsessed with it, constantly refreshing etc., I mean that while it is a good tool to reduce feelings of isolation, those feelings do not diminish if you’re posting into the wind and there is no echo coming back. I actually have felt more isolated at times with some of my posts, particularly where I have shared something I felt really strongly about, and received nothing but silence. I feel like sometimes I’m craving the likes too much, too much desire for acceptance or positive feedback.
So a week ago, I withdrew from FB. I didn’t delete my account or anything, I just stopped posting. I have logged in each day once just to scan for news announcements from friends, liked a few things, a couple of small comments for the week, but nothing substantial. I read things where I was tagged, that’s about it.
It’s just not my focus, since I get almost nothing out of it. I feel almost the same way about my blog at times. I wrote 50,000 words about previous jobs, and even though I know a bunch of people read the various posts (I have stats on the site), I received 3 comments in total across 17 posts.
I thought about killing my blog entirely and just saying “screw it”. Moving on to something where I get more pay-off for my time investment. Except here’s the thing.
I like writing the posts. Even if people don’t “like” the posts. Even if people don’t comment. Even if people don’t share. There’s a Pearls Before Swine comic strip about writing on the bathroom wall generating more eyeballs viewing it, and it’s true. But I’m going to keep writing. And I guess it comes down to a simple reality.
I’m writing for me. It is a creative outlet for me to say “this is how I see the world”. And when I get to the fiction stage, or bundling up my non-fiction for something into an actual book form, I’m keeping it all on this site.
Because this is who I am. I finally feel like I’ve found my persona for online, one that has been there all along.