Wednesday

Making Connections…


Today, I have taken time out of my ordinary schedule to visit with fellow writers in their own little corners of the "blogosphere" (I think that is the new, more modern word for cyberspace). So far, it has been very enlightening. What impresses me most about everyone is their sincerity. Seriously.


No matter where they come from (all over the world, actually -- there are writers from nearly every continent in this little activity). No matter what their particular brand of writing might be (all brands represented here)… they are most sincere in trying to share information on the writing life. And to be entirely open and honest about where their own particular journey through that life has taken them. This is what shines through most, to me, in a kaleidoscope of myriad personalities and color.


However, there is one surprising enigma that struck me more than any other since I embarked on my flurry of visiting. It is too much transparency. Which is usually a good thing (especially if you are talking about relationships or business practices), but that isn't the sort I'm referring to. I'm talking about the more concrete kind. The kind Webster's defines as: clear enough to be seen through, so that what lies beyond is easily detectable. Here's the deal. On a majority of my visits, I had a hard time finding out exactly who's space I was in.


Wonderful information everywhere -- writer interviews and book reviews -- not to mention a literal gold mine of how-to articles on marketing and the world of social media (thank you, everyone!). But I couldn't seem to find enough of what many readers (myself included) go onto author web sites for. A personal glimpse at the author. A lot of the sites I visited took me on a treasure hunt just to find the author's name. And the "about me" pages rarely contained anything different than the same sort of paragraph that might be found at the back of a book. The "Author of…lives in New Jersey with her husband and four cats…" type stuff. I guess I was looking more for, "I write because…" "I am passionate about…" "My greatest concern these days is…"


The thing is, I didn't even know I was looking for those things until I had a hard time finding them. And I am not "beyond the veil" in this particular area, myself, as I realized I don't do such a good job of those things on my own site, either. Which is when it became clear to me exactly what I was looking for. A personal connection with a unique personality. Someone who might actually take a moment to say something to me that I could regard almost as if we were friends. Then I wondered if all readers were looking for that in some way or another.



Which, in turn, led me to wonder just exactly what I wanted my "online corner of the world" to be. A home, or a department store? Neither of which is wrong, because we all spend a lot of time in both kinds of places. Either way, though, I always want to know which kind of establishment I'm going into. If it's the store-type, I want to know -- right up front -- what you are selling, and why I should buy. I guess you could say I want to know what it will do for me. If I'm there, I'm already geared up to browse and maybe buy, so the emphasis would be more on atmosphere and ease of navigation. If it's a home atmosphere, there's only one thing I want to see first…


You. Meet me at the door and ask me to come inside. The place should be a reflection of yourself. Do you travel? I want to see some artifacts. Do you hunt or fish? Give me a rousing good story of the last one that got away. Are you a connoisseur of fine dining? Maybe a recipe I can try tonight in my very own kitchen. Got any remedies of insomnia? What's on your mind today? If we have enough in common, maybe I'll add you to my list of places I like to drop by often because we are friends. And even though most of my "cyber friends" don't even know I exist, it doesn't seem to matter.


For me, or them.


After so much visiting, I have come to the conclusion that creating a "virtual world" is a real art in itself. No matter who you are. Already I have a growing list of things that absolutely have to be changed around here. That's what it looks like, today, anyway. But my visits have only just begun, and I understand the opportunity will continue for some weeks. So, my thanks to all you "campaigners" for offering such enlightening opportunities.


I hope you will find something of value here at my place, as well.


What's happening on the farm today: 110 degrees, we have now broken all records, and things are getting more than tough for all the neighborhood livestock. Especially the new little calf born a couple days, ago. But animals are the best when it comes to hunkering down and waiting things out. Hmmm… might be something to be learned there, too…


13 comments:

Shannon Lawrence said...

Insightful post. I need to think about what I'm presenting when people stop by and what I want to be the first impression. Thanks for that!

Fellow campaigner. I'll be posting a brief intro on Thursday.

D. Ann Graham said...

Thank you, Shannon. I'll look forward to stopping by your place, too. Thanks for visiting!

Dora Hiers said...

Hmmm...interesting post, Ann. Thanks for sharing. I'm off to view my site with fresh eyes...

K. M. Walton said...

Hi - fellow Campaigner here - and I agree with you, I am a fan of transparency. I always have been. I think we have some great bloggers in our Campaign group though!

I look forward to getting to know your blog. See you out there....

Brianna said...

What an interesting and thought-provoking post!

I agree with you that I want to make a personal connection with a writer/blogger. Too often when we read about having a good blog we are told to focus on a niche and I guess sometimes, the focus can become too narrow.

I, on the other hand, have never been able to fit into one niche. I'm a writer, but writers don't just write about writing. I write about my writing, motherhood, my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease, faith, and running - my life. I worry sometimes that I'm not focused enough, but after reading your post, maybe I'm doing a good job after all.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging! I'm a fellow campaigner and just stopped by to say hello!

MG Higgins said...

Interesting post, Ann. I've found that the more I read a person's blog, the more I learn about them as a person. I'm a fellow campaigner, new follower, and looking forward to getting to know you!

Maeve Frazier said...

Hi Ann - I have been reading through some of your past posts. I love how you break up your posts, adding a section of what is happening on the farm today. We writer's/bloggers like getting information from each other, as well as, getting to know each other. This is a great way to do it. I am glad I now have the opportunity to get to know you and your blog better through this campaign. Thanks for sharing.

Cat said...

Great post. I am just putting together a list of my fellow campaigners and sometimes found it very hard to find the contact information. You are absolutely right, I (too) need to get more personal on my website/blog. Thanks for reminding us

D. Ann Graham said...

Hi, Maeve... thanks for stopping by, it's nice to meet you! I have often wondered if my little "farm antics" add or detract from the posts, so it's nice to know someone likes them. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better, too, and am headed over to your corner of the "blogosphere" right now... see you there!

D. Ann Graham said...

Hi, Cat... I am amazed at the wonderful opportunity this campaign has offered to meet so many authors from other continents. I really enjoyed visiting your site, today, and could have stayed looking at all the interesting things you have on there for hours. And I thought you did a great job of telling who you are. So, you can be sure I will be back to get more involved.

Glad to meet you!

Andrew Leon said...

Okay, so, now, I'm curious. Generally speaking, I dislike the whole "about me" thing. People make lists of favorites and all that stuff, but, invariably, all those lists are the same. I wanted to do something a bit different with mine. It's the tab called "Of Significance" on my blog. I'd love to know if that fits into what you're looking for.

New follower from the campaign.

D. Ann Graham said...

Yes, Andrew, those are the sort of things I had in mind. Especially toward the end when you related your significant things to personal stuff. Some of those paragraphs would have been real grabbers if placed at the top, and the philosophy part (which is better fodder for the blog itself) distilled down a bit so that we could get a quicker, stronger picture of you.

That's what we readers are really looking for, you know, when we go poking around on author sites. And I enjoyed myself very much!

Andrew Leon said...

Maybe, I'll have to go back and look at it. I had a structure in mind when I was doing it, but I don't remember what that was, now. heh
And there were some things added at the end that I had forgotten about initially.