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…