Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Approachability || Being a Public Figure Online

I've been blogging for three years. During that time, I've gained 121 followers and published 215 posts. In my eyes, I'm just this teenage girl with big dreams and internet access. It still floors me that people read my blog! I average 5-7 comments per post. I am by no means an internet celebrity.

And yet, when I look back at the blogs I loved before I started blogging, I'm shocked. I have more followers now than my favorite blog, Go Teen Writers, did when I started reading it. The blogger I most looked up to when I started blogging, Lily for Lily's Notes in the Margins, is now my closest writing friend. One thing I've learned about the internet is that it levels the playing field.

There are people who've said before that Inklined is one of their favorite blogs. This shocks me!  But more than that it honors me. The other day I was reading a blog called Opal Swirls. I'd just nominated the blog for a tag. Wild Horse, the blogger, said, "So when I was reading Inklined (a blog I used to be waaaay too scared to comment on) I was excited to see Sarah had a tag, about books."

Now I will confess. I used to be too scared to comment on Cait's blog, Paper Fury. But the idea that someone might be too scared to comment on my blog is crazy!  I love comments. When people comment on my blog, it delights me.

So you have people like Wild Horse, too scared to comment. And then you have people like Andrea Marie. A few weeks ago, Andrea commented saying she'd love to guest post on Inklined and have me guest post on her blog. To my memory, Andrea has never commented here before. I'd never read her blog. But she had the guts to put herself out there to me.  Because this is the internet. Anything can happen here.

For instance, I've interviewed a NYT Bestselling author on this blog, Jennifer Neilson author of The False Prince. I've been retweeted by another NYT Bestselling author, James Dashner. But I initiated both of those interactions. The reason James Dashner saw my tweet was because I tagged him in it. The reason Jennifer Neilson allowed me to interview her was because I emailed her and asked if she would be open to an interview.

I have my email address sprinkled all over this blog. I also provide my readers with links to my Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ profiles. By making those things publicly available, I'm giving you permission to contact me on any of those forums. You'll notice there isn't a link to my Facebook page. That's because I almost never accept friend requests from people I don't know in real life. I don't really want readers of my blog to approach me on Facebook, and so I don't link to my Facebook profile. But because I give you my email, I'm giving you permission to email.

On the internet, we are all accessible to the public. And if the public wants to Tweet at us, follow us on Pinterest, or comment on our blog, we need to be open to that.  And even if you're just a lowly fangirl, you are capable of tweeting at and following your favorite bloggers, writers, and actors too.

We are all on the internet for a reason, and that is to feel connected to other people. So you never have to ask permission to reach out and make connections.

Have you ever felt scared to comment on this blog or anywhere else? Is there an article you want me to read or something your want me to blog about. Tweet or email me! I promise I won't bite (unless you smell like chocolate. Then all bets are off.)

Thank you so much for reading!
And if any of you just really love my blog, shoot me an email and let me know. I'd love to chat with you!



18 comments:

  1. I love this post, particularly what you said about the internet leveling the playing field. It's so true- because of blogs and forums, I'm friends with people I would never even have approached in real life. I know people on the other side of the country- in other countries, even! In some ways, my internet friends are closer than a lot of my RL friends.

    I'll admit, I do often feel scared to comment on blogs, but usually it has less to do with the blogger and more to do with the fact that a lot of bloggers I know have a tendency to make these incredible philosophical-ish posts and I'm just like "Wow. I have nothing intelligent to say to this except that I have never thought of this as deeply as you obviously have and this is kind of amazing. Yeah." Though there is one blogger who I follow but have never commented on because I'm a little scared . . . but I shall change that today. (Or next time she posts.) Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Glad to be your inspiration! I think any blog, big or small, loves getting comments! I know that I personally have a hard time believing someone read my post unless they tweet about it or leave a comment.
      Thanks for reading!
      ~Sarah

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  2. Great post, Sarah! Very interesting to think about.

    When I first started blogging as a 13 year old, I was rather scared of commenting on some of the "big blogs". It was mostly just because the majority of them were way older than me, and I thought that my opinion wouldn't matter to them or something silly like that. I see now that I was wrong! Comments mean a lot to bloggers, even if they have a lot of followers. Like you said, the internet connects all different people together, and sort of puts everyone on the same level. Authors to fans, bigger bloggers to littler bloggers.

    ...However, I did have a fangirl attack the other day when Shannon Hale favorited my tweet...

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    1. I understand that fangirl attack. Deadly disease to us fangirls. When James Dashner retweeted me, I thought I was the coolest person in the world.
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  3. **Gathers courage to comment**

    So, uh, I'm always scared of comments--both when I initiate, and when I answer. What if I don't make any sense? What if the person meant on thing, but I emphasized another? And if they already have 50+ comments on their post, wouldn't mine just be another comment to reply to? I know I need to work on this though because comments are the best way to make friend, and I love it when someone comments on more than one of my posts.

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    1. Hello Julia! Have you often commented here before? I don't remember seeing much of you.
      Anyway, thank you for reading and commenting. As far as blogs with 50+ comments, most bloggers stop replying to comments after about the first 50, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy seeing those other comments too!
      ~Sarah

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    2. I've been following your blog for a while, but I don't think I've ever commented. I'll try to fix that though, since it's not as hard as I thought...it's fun to meet new bookish friends!

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  4. Wow, this is really good.

    I've actually never been afraid to comment on a blog. Writing is the best way I can communicate. So I guess I feel at home with it. So I never realized that someone would be afraid to comment on a blog.

    At least until one of my followers said that she reads all of my posts but doesn't always comment because she's afraid too. That kind of blew my mind. Why in the world would anyone be afraid to comment on any blog? Especially my blog. I have maybe 20 something followers. I'm not exactly professional. I just be me. But I don't want anybody to feel like they can't comment on my post. I love to hear their opinion. Even if it's different from my own, especially so. Discussing different ideas and exploring concepts is the best part of blogging.

    After reading your post, this makes sense now. I think, I'll do a similar post. And added access to other social media sites is a great idea too. I'll have to do that.

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    1. I love seeing other people's posts inspired by my own. If you do happen to write such a post, leave a link here so I can read it! It does blow my mind when people are too shy to comment. It's not like my blog is famous or I am famous. The vast majority of the world's population doesn't even know who I am.
      Anyway, thank you for commenting and welcome to the Inklined family!
      ~Sarah

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  5. It's so true that the Internet completely levels the playing field. Before I thought that authors were mystical people that I could never approach. Blogging has helped me realize that every author starts out where I am, and they love to interact with their fans. The same goes with bloggers. And that's what makes me love this online bookish and writer community so much.

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    1. Me too, Ana! I remember when Stephanie Morrill replied to me when I commented on something she pinned. I was absolutely thrilled.

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    2. I LOVE our community! The way authors, readers, and bloggers can interact so easily is just amazing.
      Thank you for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  6. Great post! I'm a relatively new blogger, and wow has my perspective changed on the things you've mentioned. I would have been waay too scared to do things I'm doing now(after having my eyes being opened to world of blogging).

    I'm tagging authors in my tweets(and I even get responses!) I'm requesting review copies, and interacting with other bloggers, and sending friend requests out on Goodreads, and....I've found something out.

    I've found that I love the book/writing blogging community. I've found that authors are people just like me and they genuinely care about your feedback. I've found that people in this community are just SO friendly and that I shouldn't be afraid to reach out. Because I was afraid. My blog has a mere 17 followers through GFC. But, boy, am I PROUD of that number. And, hey. Maybe I'll do something good and that number will grow.

    Congratulations on your 121 :)

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    1. Hi Ally! I don't think I've seen you on Inklined much before. I hope you like it and stick around. We share a love of the bookish community! It is a wonderful place.
      And 17 (or it looks like 19 now) followers is a huge accomplishment! That is a number to be proud of! Keep working and I'm sure God will grow that number.
      Thank you for reading!
      ~Sarah

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  7. Oh my gosh lol I didn't even think that you would probably read that post haha.

    The fact that you can pretty much interact with anyone is the best thing about the internet :))

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    1. Wold Horse, I read (or at least skim) most of your posts. :)
      And you have got to love the internet! It is (in my opinion) the greatest invention of our time!
      Thank you for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  8. Oh yes, I've been hesitant to comment on some blogs. Sometimes it seems like what I want to say is just a rehash of what other commenters have already said. And sometimes it feels kind of weird to just pop out of nowhere and say, "hey, I've been following your blog forever, but this is my first comment on it."

    But overall, I think bloggers appreciate feedback, so I should stop over-thinking it. :) Really good post, by the way!

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    1. As a blogger, I love it when new followers just drop me a comment like, "Your blog is so great. I'm a new follower. I found you via Go Teen Writers!" or something like that. In general, I love comments. I think most bloggers would agree with me here. Even if it's just a "great post" or a "I really liked your thoughts on this topic." It makes blogger's days.
      Thank you for reading and commenting!
      ~Sarah

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Comments are awesome, rudeness is not. 'Nough said.