Saturday, August 1, 2009

So I was thinking...

So I was thinking during my bloggy "Time Out".......about a lot of things. Thinking about things that made me feel happy, sad, disappointed, ticked off, tickled pink - everything. This is going to be a long post and will most likely be rambling - like my addled brain. But I feel it's worthwhile though, so I hope you will read it all.

When I started this blog, it was for one simple purpose. To keep in touch with my husband during his third tour in Iraq. With internet connections unstable over there and long work schedules, having time online was at a premium. So rather than muddling through a ton of emails, he could just go to my blog to view pictures and videos and see what was happening on the home front.

So that was it. I didn't even know anyone else who "blogged". I thought I was the only one, lol! As I *met* more people online, I invited them over to see my kids and other goings on. It wasn't until Pam (HI PAM!!) told me about SITS that I really heard about anyone else blogging and that there were THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of bloggers. Wow! Seriously cool!

And I have met some wonderful people too since then. People who call me and email me and snail mail me outside of the bloggy world, and me to them. People who I would consider "in real life" (IRL) friends. People who are "regulars" on Jeannie's World and comment on every post, and who get regular visits from me too. And yes, I can be honest enough to admit that I DO get a thrill when I see my readers number go up. "Oh yay!" is what I say every single time!!!

But it's not about the "number" for me; it's always been about the people. ALWAYS! I remember when "everyone" was on MySpace. Well not everyone because I wasn't! Then it was Facebook, and now Twitter. Now I don't have a problem with these sites or if people want to use them. It's just not me. And I won't do it. Period. Saying you have 5,000 "friends" on Facebook is just plain ridiculous - seriously!! You don't know these people and they don't know you, so what's the point? Ashton Kutcher was so proud of reaching one million friends on Facebook. Dude - where's your CAREER??????

So yeah, being a people person through and through, it's always been about the people. However, I'm not merely a people pleaser. I'm not a chameleon. Like me or not, I am true to myself. So when I developed a readership of sorts, it started getting a bit harder. What if what I write hurts someone? Or makes them mad? Or makes them leave? And do I care? Should you just write whatever you want, and other people be damned? Where is the line and how do you decide? Are there off limit topics? These are questions that every blogger faces every time they sit down to write a post.

According to some, your blog must be focused and have a well defined theme. And you should stick to that theme. Or else!! (don't ask me what; I have no clue) A review blog. A giveaway blog. A coupon blog. A mommy blog. A hobby blog. A political blog. Uh, no, I don't think so. Not for me anyway. I am way more than just one thing to be pigeon-holed in one small box. And I am not just referring to my fat ass. This is MY blog and MY world. One day you'll get crazy cat pictures, the next Monet paintings, the next a funny Bella video. It's how I roll and I will include it all, and then some, if I want to. I think a one dimensional blog is pretty boring as a regular read. If I'm shopping for electronics and you have a blog with just electronic reviews, then great. But chances are I'll only be over to visit you a couple of times a year, at most.

If staying "focused" wasn't enough pressure on bloggers, apparently you have to provide "value" to your readers as well. When I read that this morning I truly cracked up! Well golly gee!! If my readers didn't find my blog posts "valuable", then I guess they wouldn't come back, right? If my views were that repulsive, they'd comment, or not, and go away. I really feel sorry for anyone who spends even one second worrying about whether they are funny enough or entertaining enough to keep their readers and attract new ones. My friend Yaya (HI YAYA!!) has tons and tons of readers, and the number is always going up. Why? Because she's funny as hell and keeps it real. Of course being a cute redhead who makes cutie patootie dancing vlogs doesn't hurt either, lmao!!! Bottom line, if you don't like me and/or my blog, that's fine. I'm not losing any sleep over it, and neither should you!

Phat Mommy wrote: "As a writer, your job is to inform and/or entertain. And - make no mistake - if you blog, seek comments, and participate in social media and the blogging community, you are a writer. You are putting words out there for the world to read, and that means you have a responsibility." Oh really? I have a responsibility to the world at large, because I blog? I disagree, strongly!!! I have a responsibility to myself. The rest of y'all will have to muddle through on your own! Some people are getting just a lil too big for their britches and taking themselves (and by extension their blogs) just a little too seriously. I mean come on people, we're talking about BLOGS here!!!!! I know the internet is vast but all these inflated egos out there are sucking up way too much bandwidth. Just because you just came back from a blog convention (?????) and rubbed elbows with "popular" bloggers doesn't make you any bigger or better than you were before you left. Just a tad more obnoxious and self-righteous. Responsibility indeed.

Don't forget that you can't write about taboo subjects either. Don't discuss religion. Or politics. Or anything that might make someone uncomfortable. EVER! Here's a newsflash folks. God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters!!! Sometimes being uncomfortable is the first step of much needed and important CHANGE in your life!!! Sometimes you have to get to that point of being so uncomfortable that you do something about it! It's a huge world out there - get out of your comfort zone!!!! Actually attempt to see the world through different opinions, cultures and viewpoints.

Then there are the debates: to have ads, or not to have ads. To do reviews, or not to do reviews. PR or no PR. There are some pretty strong opinions on both sides. Personally, and this is just my opinion, I find blogs that are all cluttered up with a bunch of ads to be distracting. Bigtime. There is advertising everywhere and I don't really want to see it on blogs. So you won't see it on mine, because it's mine. If you have it on yours, that's your decision. I don't blog to make money. I don't WANT to blog to make money. For me, once it becomes a job, then it's by definition not just for fun. And I don't want my blog to ever be anything BUT fun for me. So if it isn't fun, I'm not going to blog.

Which brings us full circle to my self-imposed Time Out. There are people who think they know why I took a break. But they're wrong. Or at most, only marginally right. Here are some things I've thought about and decided:

1. I'm re-claiming the ownership of my blog. It's mine. All mine. All the time. I will gladly share it with you....but share it, not co-own it with you. Have an opinion? Great! let's hear it. But opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one but you should be careful with who you share yours with. 'Nuff said?

2. I'm also happy if you love my Caturday posts for example, but if I don't feel like doing it one week, please don't email me asking me where the hell "your" Caturday post is. It irritates me and makes me use bad words, which is giving my monitor serious self-esteem issues.

3. I'm an Air Force vet and an Army wife - so if you have negative things to say about our military, chances are good that I'm not going to let it slide. It won't be pretty either. Soldiers do not decide, or dictate national or international policy. So if you don't like a particular policy they are involved in, please get in touch with those giving the orders. Also derogatory and/or cliched prejudices against our military are equally unwelcome.

4. I'm a Republican. You aren't going to change my mind.

5. I'm a member of the United Methodist Church. I am saved through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. You aren't going to change my mind on that either.

and finally...

6. I have a life. A real life. You know, OFF THE COMPUTER! Sometimes I have the time and desire to post a bunch of stuff, answer emails promptly, do all your tags, etc etc etc. And sometimes I don't. It doesn't mean I don't care about you, or your cause, or your fundraiser, or whatever. It means I'm sometimes busy. Or tired. Or both. Sometimes I can keep all my commitments running smoothly, and sometimes I drop several balls. I am never as capable as I'd like to be, although I will never stop trying. I'm going to make a more conscious effort to worry more about me, my life and my family from now on. Because that is my reason for being, not my blog. I think being a more centered, balanced "me", will make me automatically a happier blogger as well.

Well, that's the plan anyway...


sandy said...

Amen Jeannie! Thanks for keeping it REAL! That's why I enjoy coming here!

Christina said...

It couldn't have been put better. People need to get over it its our life our worlds and they don't have to be included push the next button on top!

blueviolet said...

Amen! You said it all so beautifully. No wonder I just love you to bits!

annie kelleher said...

great post and so much absolutely true. :)

Melissa Miller said...

Amen my friend Queenie Jeannie!
I love your fun blog. Don't change a thing!

Have a wonderful weekend.
~Warmly, Melissa :)

PS Check out my B-day giveawy tomorrow if you have a moment!

LadyStyx said...

This entry gave me some answers I was looking for regarding the emailing you and I were just doing, thanks. Time to take back the time that belongs to me.

Heatherlyn said...

I love it that you keep it real. That's what I love about blogs. When people are just who they are and keep it real. I also avoid review blogs and giveaway blogs. In fact, some of the blogs I followed initially have become almost completely review and giveaway blogs and I don't have any reason to visit them anymore. I also don't like adds. I like personal blogs, not blogs that are trying to be some sort of business somehow. But that's me personally.

I agree, too many bloggers must take themselves a little too seriously.

I just have a family blog. Sometimes I think it must be boring and predictable because my family life is pretty warm and fuzzy. But it's real. And it takes a LOT of work to have that type of family life. I have to be careful not to say what I think about anyone I know because I have family members who read it and I am not about to cause family problems by saying what I think about them, or money, or my sex life, in my family blog. I have a personal journal blog for that, which might be more interesting to read. But who knows, I ramble a lot.

I like the idea of putting my blog in a book at the end of the year. Presto! Instant family history, Instant journal.

I've got nothing to hide.

And I agree, people should own their blogs. If you offend a reader, they will just not read your blog. But they also might stop reading just because they are busy. Life happens. Above all, if you started your blog for yourself then it should always be for yourself.

I have enjoyed meeting people through blogging. You are one of those people. And some of my favorite people don't seem to blog nearly as much as they once did. I do miss them a little bit. But I understand that sometimes Life Happens. And I wouldn't want it to bother people much if I get busy and don't blog a lot or if I feel like making 3 posts in a day I should be able to do that too!

I have been thinking about you lately, and the possibility of Thomas doing a tour. I don't understand the way the Armed Services work. Can you request to go to a certain spot? Can you request to go to Italy, if he has to go somewhere? Just wondering.

Kat said...

Great post. I'm just glad to see you posting every once in a while - I get worried that something happened when you disappear.

You just keep doing what you do and don't let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong! Like others have said "if they don't like it they can move on to the next blog" I for one like to see your posts and the adventures in Bellaland.

Kristina P. said...

Well said, Jeannie! And I'm shocked about all the negativity you've had!

I've only been blogging about once-twice a week, as my work schedule has been hard on me and I'm burned out. But I've never had nasty comments telling me to blog more.

I blog about things that I think will make my readers laugh. But they make ME laugh more, I think. I love writing humorous posts. I don't post about my day to day life like I used to when I first started blogging, and I'm OK with that. I like where my blog is, and where I am.

KatCollects said...

Hi Jeannie,
Love this post of yours. Recently I was at a blog where she had lost readers because she expressed her political views. I am a person who always keeps an open mind and loves hearing all sides to every issue. I truly believe that everyone has the right to post what they want on their own blog. When I first started blogging I thought it would mostly be about my crafts, thrifting, and maybe some swaps I did. It quickly turned in to a mixed bag. I post alot about my family as you know, my last post was about my Dad dying 10 years ago. It's my blog, my feelings, my beliefs, my thoughts, my challenges, my dreams, and if people don't like it, I really don't care, don't read it. So HORRAY for you!!!! By the way, Matthew did his 14 mile march to honor hill during the night and earned his pin. I got a txt message this morning from him saying he made it back safely and that he was one of only 8 who got a award of excellence coin on honor hill this morning. I am SO very proud of him. Thank you so much for all your encouragment and help, you are appreciated!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post Jeannie!!! I agree ya just gotta keep it real. And I don't blog for money either. I blog for me. When I get to the point where I feel like it's becoming a chore I take some time off & come back remembering why I love it. Recently I made the decision to only read blogs I like. I used to actually spend my valuable time reading some blogs out of obligation because they read mine. Oh well if my numbers drop bc like I said, in the end I blog for me. The people I've met & the support I get is just an added perk!

Vickie said...

Exactly!! It is your blog and I love it!!

Blog snobs think they know it all?! I actually read a book about blogging and it said buttons are so passe'...what, I love putting buttons on my blog and I am not the only one. (I know, I read a book about blogging...that was how badly addicted I was getting)

I love ya because of who you are, Sweetcheeks:)

Frances said...

Good for you! I like your blog because it is interesting, funny and about you.

I didn't even KNOW that we have a responsibility to readers! That is pretty clear from MY blog. LOL! I started a blog just to follow someone that I knew and then I started meeting people along the way. That's what I like...not working to make money...just finding interesting people.

Thanks for keeping it real and just being you! That is why I came here. Not to make money...just to find interesting people.

carma said...

Bravo!! I can't honestly say that my blog has added any "value" to anyone's lives nor that it ever will. :D

babyrocasmama said...

Oh, FINALLY!!! I am so proud of you! The next time you get an email telling you what you can and cannot post on your blog, tell them to Fuck off!

This is JEANNIE'S world. We just visit it. LOL

I am so glad to see you back and even happier to have become IRL friends.

I heart you, Miss Jeannie. Don't ever change. Just be you, that's why we are all here. Not because you followed some formula made up by some blogging snob.

My blog is a mixed bag. I write about my family, my opinions, my being a Republican and not liking Obama or his policies, I even do the occasional review or giveaway. I am me. If you don't like it, move on down the road.

HOORAY for being true to ourselves and not hiding behind a computer screen pretending to be someone else!!

AK Stamper said...

Hey Jeannie,
I sure hope your feeling better now that you got all that off your chest!

Wow what are peeps thinking don't they have a life too beyond the computer, that they have to complain and email you privately?

Good for you Lady! For standing up for your values & beliefs!


Renee said...

I wholeheartedly agree! Blog for yourself. And it should be fun, not a chore. We already have enough of those! :)

mommaof3 said...

I Love ur blog!!

A.Marie said...

Hey there! I totally agree with what everyone has else has said; it is YOUR blog and YOU can put whatever YOU want on YOUR blog! If people don't like it, they don't have to visit you. But, I like you and so do many, many other people, so feel free to just be YOU! :)

Cherie said...

Well said!! I agree 100%.
I think everyone should write what they want on their own blogs.
I do a blog to keep my family history and write down my feelings about life - some people find that interesting. If not Oh well, if you disagree with me...fine, but you won't change my mind.
This blogging adventure can be funny.
Just keep writing your blog how you want!!

I enjoy your posts - Have a GREAT weekend:D

Anonymous said...

You go girl.

The Rambler said...

Jeannie...hugs & kisses girl...because you have always rocked.

Janelle said...

This is especially what I love about your your thing girl!

Deanna said...

yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!

I agree with everything you said and then some.

Love your blog and mostly because it is real. Keep on keeping on!

Cassie said...

Well Said! Very honest, and I think that many can relate!

allthingsribbon said...

Hey you! I have been out of the loop for a bit- still checkin up on you though. So I was thinking.....I think you are right! Excellent post!

Lizzie said...

well put :) i hope no one has ever been a meany on here. i have yet o experience that, but i hear any have. also, i agree on... everything :) i had ads. eared 4.95 in 1 year! Holy Moly! yeah, i took them off. i mean, i didn't want all that money going to my head :)

AliceKay said...

Well said. (my apologies to Cassie up there before me, but it was the first thought that popped into my head while I was reading this blog)

Real life took over most of my weekend, and I just now had the time to "really" read this entry.

I hope you're having a good Monday. *hugs*

Bee and Rose said...

Jeannie....You just rocked my socks off! You are absolutely right about it all! I only blog when I feel like it. It's made all the difference for me. I'm with you...I want it to be fun for me...not a chore...I don't cater to an audience...I just write whatever I feel like writing in the moment.

What a fabulous post! LOVED every bit of it!

Grand Pooba said...

Have I told you that I love you lately big sis? Lovin this post and I whole heartedly agree with you. You should blog only if you want too! It seems that we get so caught up with it that it becomes a burden sometimes. Like "Oh crap, I need to post something today"

Sucky! Blogging should just be a form of expressing yourself. Don't conform Jeannie, keep telling us what you really think.

Sometimes I wish someone would just disagree with me once on my blog, I crave conflict people!

(Loved your asshole comment, perfect!)

Love your butt!

Mimi said...

That's the Jeannie I know & love!