social media

Shaky streaming quality for a while- on my relationship with WordPress

Before I address the content implied by my title,¬†I offer this video as small mice-present-left-by-cat-on-doorstep. I think it’s a form of showing my affection for readers. ūüôā :

I like to show this video to my students, and to view it myself as a reminder one should be invested in the effects words may have.

Interesting linguistic note: “Sorry” is widely used in Germany right now as an expression of excuse without the same sentiment of culpability the German equivalent “Entschuldigung”carries. “Entschulding” is an expression that asks the target at whom the phrase is directed to relieve the speaker of the guilt s/he feels or should feel for whatever transgression s/he committed. I have a feeling, if our word had the root “guilt” in it, we would want to replace it, too.

But I do mean it. I am sorry that I stopped being very active on my blogs without at least providing a “pause” message. What I really want to¬†apologize for, though, is¬†for suddenly disappearing from other people’s posts. I was very active for a very long time in communicating with my small blogging community, and then, from one day to the next, I just stopped.

I would like to explain this.

I have a bad track-record with social media. I know that the millennials run on social media, and many of us spend an hour or more on social media sites posting, editing, updating, commenting, whatever. I’m not one of them. I got Facebook two years after all my friends did, and then quit it sophomore year of college. I haven’t looked back. I had MyFitnessPal for a while, and used it as my social media site for a while too, until I recognized similar patterns in myself that I had with Facebook. WordPress became a new start. Initially, I used it purely to get my ideas out, and that was it. After a month or so, I noticed though, that one way of getting more¬†interaction¬†was reading, “liking,” following and commenting on other people’s posts. So I did it. I became very active on WordPress because a) it was a great way to procrastinate on daily school/house work, b) I thought I was being a good community member, and c) I started to become addicted to the feedback I got in my comments and on my posts.

See, while we all say that we post for ourselves and would write whether we are read or not, a part of us does feel good when we see people react to what we write. Even the small “like” is a mini-high that, like with any other addictive substance, we look for more and more. What happens when no “like” appears?¬†Some of us end up doubting the value of what we post, especially when we see how much feedback other bloggers get.

I can’t speak for everyone, nor do I mean to. I suppose there are people out there who really don’t care whether someone reads their posts or not. I mean, they really. don’t. care. However, a lot of us¬†share our work for a reason, and¬†we do want our writing to make a difference, somehow, even if it just prompts someone to think a millisecond longer about something that they otherwise would not have. Then, we also want to know about it.

Still, my issue really lies more with the way I participate in the blogging community. WordPress is a great idea. Bloggers can read each other’s blogs, find new ones to read, see what’s “Freshly Pressed,” and so forth. Then, though, one can follow a blogger and be updated on all his/her posts. One can “like” and comment.¬†Through this, one gets to know the blogger, is updated on his/her ups and down and the cool things he/she is doing (most of us don’t blog about the bad things).¬†I got to know other bloggers more and created a social network that’s not as easy to check out of as when I decide to stop reading the¬†Washington Post¬†for a little while. Thus,¬†while 108 ¬†days of not posting on my main blog site is something¬†I feel bad about, I feel even more guilty when I don’t hold up the communicating I do with other bloggers. It gets to the point that I’ll read a few posts, but be afraid to “like” or comment on any, because I won’t comment on all, and I worry that someone who reads the same blog I do, someone on whose blog I usually comment, will wonder why I commented on blog “A” but not his/hers.

It would be easier to run a blog site that has no “like” or “comments” section, and then just keep writing and posting. However, I am someone who feels a responsibility about my presence on the internet and to my readers, and I like the interaction and support fellow bloggers give. But¬†sometimes, I need to check-out, and so that’s what I did. The good news is, unlike Facebook or MyFitnessPal, I feel more invested in my writing on my blog than I did with my shorter communications with friends or fitness mates, so I can’t just delete my blog. Recognizing my weakness, I am going to take a few leaves out of the books of fellow bloggers and¬†not feel bad for reading without “liking” or “commenting.” If, in the future, you notice that I’m not being active again, it’s not that I don’t read your posts or like what you write. It’s just that I think it goes without saying that I was intrigued by your title and enjoyed the post.¬†I hope this makes sense. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but because I feel this way, I also felt like I had to write this post.

Thanks for reading this far!

In other news,¬†for a while, I really was too busy to keep up with WordPress. While I read my Reader at least once a day for almost seven months, I just didn’t have time to even log-on at the end of April; end of semester grading papers, my own finals to prepare for and pass, and then cleaning up a semester’s worth of crap on my computer and in my room took care of life through the middle of May. I also got a pretty cool mini-job assessing student’s writing and helping to evaluate my university’s writing program.

Then, I had to start preparing… packing, collecting all my research notes and info from and about books that I can’t justify lugging thousands of miles, all my doctor’s check-ups, etc.

Soon,¬†I’m heading back to Germany, first for vacation, and then to start my PhD at the Freie Universitaet zu Berlin. It’s one of Berlin’s three main universities and the only one where I can pursue a PhD in comparative literature the way I’d like. I’m excited, but also ¬†feel some trepidation about the project and being able to afford it¬†(and then there’s all the self-doubt I’ll spare you from reading about). For now, I have minimal¬†support from the university and scholarships, so until I can reapply for a better position and/or scholarships, I’m living off savings and whatever small job I can get. I know the situation will be improved¬†by January, but right now, things don’t look rosy-pink. STILL,¬†I’m excited and super ready to do the project.

I’ll also have more to post about, again.

After I arrive in Germany until¬†mid-August, though, I’ll have sporadic internet access and likely won’t use it to be on WordPress a lot. This time, I hope I’m giving¬†you enough fair warning about my “shaky streaming quality” so that you stay-tuned for when I get back! I have a few people who regularly read my blogs, and I hope you continue to¬†want to when I’m regularly posting again.

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a great summer,




an observation:

We look for the same satisfaction from our social media feeds that a pig looks for when his trough has been filled. I guess that’s why it’s call a feed.


happy pig off Pixaby

I acknowledge I am guilty of this myself (even on WordPress), so don’t take this as criticism! (or we can all take it as self-criticism and something to watch out for)

addendum to Liebster award

A week ago, I nominated five bloggers for the Liebster award in my own response to the nomination (thank you again Sara Bennet!).

So far, none of the nominees have acted on the award and it makes me wonder if my questions were too personal, whether I showed bad blogging etiquette. This made me wonder if my experiences abroad and my inexperience in the virtual world has made me someone who fails to recognize the mental personal space of others.

I haven’t been on social media platforms for a while, and so I don’t know anymore what sorts of things are shared on social media. I also am confused a bit by the wide range of things shared on WordPress- posts range from personal battles with cancer to accidents while running to dealing with the deaths of family members.

On the other hand, I’ve also lost the feel for what sorts of things are shared “in real life”¬†between people who don’t know each other. Since being here, I’ve been doing a lot of meeting people. Usually, these meetings are with other students, dorm-mates, professors, people waiting for the subway, etc. It’s bizarre how many times I’ve repeated my life story to people… come from U.S. America but speak good German because I was brought up biculturally, have been to Germany many times, studying comparative literature, writing my MA thesis, like to run… In the past month, I feel like I’ve spread my life across more people than this blog reaches, and yet I don’t see most of these people again. At the same time, there’s the desire to want to get to know others deeper, and in order to do that, one needs to take these first steps of introduction over and over again.

However, because I want to get to know people more personally, I wish I could start my introductions with what I like to eat for breakfast, or how I spent my morning¬†so that I can open up a conversation where I learn¬†these things about them too. Yet somehow, that is too personal… I’m a bit confused since I’m actually a reserved person, and yet I need to be open…

So it’s all very confusing right now and I’m sorry if my questions seemed too personal or my own expressions on this blog seem too frank. I do¬†actually censor myself while I write because I write with a specific purpose¬†and an imagined audience in mind, and I think you should know that the person I present on screen is also not necessarily the one you would meet if you ever met me. It’s certainly not the person I am with my family, so I am aware that there are these fine lines of private and public… I just may need to be more clear about it after having been¬†confused via my blog and since being abroad, and¬†I’ll try to be a little more aware of that in the future.

Hope I haven’t thrown anyone off…