lost in blogland…or…this might not be a popular post

September 21, 2010 |  Category:   life

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m questioning what all this social media stuff is all about. Why do we do it? I know from talking with some of my friends lately that I’m not alone here. There are definitely very good, personal reasons why I’ve kept the blog going day after day…most of it does not involve the readers, but there are days when there seems to be little point. Sometimes you feel a little over exposed, but that feeling is self-inflicted, really. Nobody is forcing me to blog. There are plenty of super supportive and nice people out there and that’s been worth gold, but I’m not naive to ignore that there are most likely some haters out there too and that’s when you start wondering why you even subject yourself to that by opening up and sharing your life with strangers.

I admit that I have cut way down on my blog reading and the ones I do come back to are authored by people who I’ve started caring about – mostly bloggers who have become friends or creative folks that I find inspiring (I still find great value in that). But the blogosphere (and I really do HATE that word) is crowded and not very original for the most part, which I recognize is hard to be these days (I rediscovered this quote recently from one of my favorite guitar players, “nobody is original, everyone is just uniquely derivative”). I trust my own instincts and style to know the products that I like. I don’t need or want anyone else to curate them for me. But that is just me. I guess I am tired of all this focus in consumerism.

The truth is, I have made so many connections and good, honest to god real life friends from twitter and the blog, so the value isn’t lost on me. If I ever at one point in my adult life felt lonely and craving close friends – like the kind that you had in high school where you can pick up the phone and talk to your friends about anything at any given time – I don’t feel that anymore. I have that now. Yes, through social media. Amazing. But there is also this very tiring herd/clique/high school mentality thing to it that isn’t lost on me either. I feel like I’m too old for that shit. I’m freaking 40 years old, but I even find myself getting caught up in it sometimes. Why? Because we’re human and I guess we all want to be liked and feel like we belong.

I don’t really know why I’m writing this. I know that it all comes and goes in waves and I’ll probably be gabbing again on twitter with all of you and having a grand old time, but I’m not feeling it for now. Maybe it’s time to pull back a little. I have to believe that some of you feel the same way too.

Update: thanks for all the comments so far. I’m glad that we can discus this so openly and honestly. This…is what it’s about. Thank you.

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  • Mariel Layson September 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much i love your blog. I found it about a year ago and I love your photography and the way you write and the realness of it all. I’ve showed it to one of my friends and we can both agree that your blog is amazing. Your stories about school, about life, about love, your daughters, everything, it’s all so interesting. We joke about wishing to grow up to be like you in so many ways and i hope you know that even though we’re complete strangers, i can speak for my friend as well when i say that your blog has become part of our daily routine and I just want to thank you for sharing your life with us.

  • Aimee September 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Jenna, I am glad you keep blogging. With the blogs that constantly post about STUFF, things to buy, etc. those are great.. sometimes, but I feel I see the same things over and over that so rarely is much of it unique. Plus, I do get tired of the consumerism too. As someone who grew up with little, I find it hard to get excited about buying a bunch of stuff I know I don’t need. My money goes towards food, rent, and college loan payments. 🙂

    I must say, the blogs I keep coming back to are ones like yours. People that post little snippets of their lives. People I would like to know one day, that open themselves up and make me realize there are other ways of doing life out there. One day I might not have to have my 9-6 job and I can do what I love. Maybe I can take a year and just move to Paris, because other people out there are sharing their stories of doing it.

    That is why I read blogs like yours. That is what not only gives me perspective in my life, but also little bits of hope and understanding and inspiration. Plus, your fantastic way of writing and photography doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

  • Sarah September 22, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Jenna,
    I hope you keep writing on your blog! I find your blog inspiring and off the chain awesome.

  • Ruth September 22, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I think Aimee has made a very valid point about what I essentially think is the manipulation of the viewer. A lot of blog writers have spent years establishing themselves and along the way, they’ve formed their most valued friendships. Forming friendships is a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with that. But now that they’re established, the others that view their blog are nothing but fodder for making money for them. Which is why they are full of sponsorship links. The little people are there to click the links or to tell the blog writer how awesome they are, or how much they rock. I stopped reading the fashion orientated blogs a long time ago because they all seemed the same and like Aimee, when you have rent to pay, food to buy, that latest expensive item just doesn’t seem to have any real value. And it’s like that with a lot of non-fashion blogs now too, full of links to other people that want you to spend your hard earned money on them.

  • kt September 22, 2010 at 3:23 am

    I think that we do have to blog when we feel like it and it does go in waves. I know that i dislike the “look who is following me” on peoples blog pages it makes me feel lame…how high school is that:) even through in my real life none of this nonsense this matters. so why it matters when i am online who knows….how twisted is that:) I find it all interesting when I step back from it and jump out of the caring about it all, popularity in the blogosphere (by the way I hate this word too I even dislike the word blog:) Now I just blog because it feels good to me and the right thing to do in my life right now and I won’t join twitter of facebook because frankly, life is too short.

  • Hasenfeld J September 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

    You are so needy….. Do it or don’t. Your blog is beautiful up until when your foul mouth shows up and you start beaching. Just get over it

  • Jenna September 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

    hi joe, I’m publishing your comment because you aren’t anonymous and you’re probably writing in something that others are thinking as well. But I disagree with you. I think it’s good to question things sometimes. I decided to do it publicly on the blog instead of internally. Judging from the comments here, other people have had similar thoughts and have expressed relief that they are not alone in questioning the whole point in blogging. Also, did you mean bitching, not beaching? Are we 6? I can introduce you to some other lady bloggers with real foul mouths if you’d like…

  • kt September 22, 2010 at 9:22 am

    wow i just came back to check on what other were saying on the matter. and when i read hasenfeld’s comment i felt the sting way over here. I think this person maybe missed your point of just airing things out. why can’t we do this without people feeling like they have to go into attack mode. made my heart jump for you jenna hang in there for being brave enough to blog the way you do!
    kt

  • Liz September 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Lately I find myself writing about what I WANT to write about rather than what I feel I should write about. And I don’t feel guilty about it either. It is hard to balance being on a personal level with your readers and not over-sharing. On another note, I sure wish I lived around the corner from whimsy and spice. Sugar and bread products of any type help my creativity.

  • Jessa September 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    You are honest. You are original. Coming to your blog is both inspiring and comforting, your words are always thought provoking and beautiful. Thank you for haring a part of your life with us, I hope to continue to enjoy it.

  • paula September 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    miss you already

  • Emma September 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Maybe you’re just a bit sick of blogging right now? Everyone feels a bit jaded from time to time.

    I have to admit, this did put a downer on me a bit. I’ve only just come across your blog and found it lovely, and have only just started my own.

    Just to put another spin on it, I’ve never heard of the word blogosphere (sounds hideous anyway), and I didn’t start a blog to be hugely original or particularly cool or anything. I think any blog is going to be original because everyone is different and has a different life. I’m not a designer, professional chef or photographer and my blog isn’t professional. I’m just putting little snippets of my life out there, I don’t even know if anyone reads it!

    I’m not into Facebook, or Twitter or anything like that. I’m pretty much over the internet, having had it for the past 15 years and feel there’s a lot of negativity about it and a blog allows me to be creative, and leave a little part of myself out there.

    For what it’s worth, I appreciated the honesty in your post and your blog in general. It’s what appealed to me in the first place, I’ve been to other blogs where everything is perfect and nobody ever has a bad day and they’re usually the blogs I avoid these days.

    Thanks for sharing your life so far, I’ve found it interesting.

  • linda September 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    interesting way of looking at blogging, jenna.

    i guess blogging is just like any other activity in life. you’re either really immersed it in and post 10+ topics a day and tweet every 30 seconds, or you post once a week and tweet once or twice a day just to get a though or two out there.

    i like to think that with life, everything should be in moderation. and yes, even though i blog only once a day, sometimes i feel the need to even take a break from that. too much of anything really sucks you into oblivion.

    anyway, thanks for sharing!

  • Hasenfeld J September 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Jenna

    How great that is to just be able to trash ones comment. You have already been this route and you seem smart enough not to……. you know, I just realized you don’t really like to be told. There is so much good in you and your work! I just wish for you to find a better way to get rid of all the negativity that keeps drowning you.
    Beaching was a nicer word.

  • Jane September 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Well, I think there’s enough gravity in this discussion to sink a ship, so can I just say that the pictures of the “My Little Ponies” brought back such wonderful memories for me! I used to collect those little guys when I was little, and I had quite the collection! I was pretty sick as a kid, and whenever I was in hospital my relatives would all bring me little ponies, and I loved them all! Life was so much simpler then, wasn’t it, when a bright pink plastic pony could make all of life’s problems seem to disappear! If only we could recapture some of that wonder and contentment as adults 🙂

  • Sara Jensen September 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Each time I post something personal I have this moment where I think that I should disable comments so that someone wont say something mean. They rarely do, but I am not sure that I would be able to handle it. Then I think, wait didnt I start this blog thing for me? Then why am I publishing it? It was different when I started to blog over 10 years ago, everything was locked and only a few people could see it. It really was just for me. Im sort of moving back in that direction now.
    Its sort of weirding me out that people think that you are like drowning in negativity. I dont see that at all. I think that what you write is realistic, raw and honest. I often wonder too what people think of my character because as I said once to you its like all kittens and rainbow posts then Im like look at all this sadness and death, okay back to rainbows.
    Anyway. I know that I met you because of twitter, then I checked out your blog and totally loved it. It really helped me feel like I knew you before I invited you to that remote cabin down that long windy washed out dirt road. And now, it helps me feel like I am keeping up with some elements of what is going on. Im glad for it. Actually when they replaced my hard drive your blog was the first bookmark I put back on, then Anna’s and then my friend Riley.
    I hope you stay around here at least. If not, Ill just call you a couple times a day and check in. Leave long long long voice mails and say LOL out loud on them.

    xxoxo SJ

  • Jenna September 23, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    sara, I love you, that is all. I hope we stay like this when we grow old. Oh wait…we’re already old.

  • Sara Jensen September 24, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Haha. I seriously just enlarged the type on my screen right before I read this. Im not kidding.

  • cvjn September 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Jenna,

    In the past when you’ve asked these questions, I’ve left the comment that I enjoy blogs, including yours, because they connect me to people with common interests. Where I am currently living, I have very little in common with the people in my community.

    I’ve thought many times about starting a blog myself but have put it off because I don’t think I have anything particularly fresh and new to say. However, the other day I came across a quote (in blog land, of course) from Joan Didion. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” That perfectly sums up why the idea of blogging appeals to me!

    Like you, I’m a busy parent of 2 girls, and I need the focus of writing/blogging to clarify my thoughts. It cuts through all the noise and chaos and clutter to get to the heart of things.

  • Stephanie September 30, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I love this post. You so eloquently state what so many of us feel. I too wonder why I blog sometimes. I guess I/we continue because more positive comes from it than negative. It’s hard to want to give up those good relationships just because someone isn’t happy with themselves and therefore a “hater” as you mentioned. Anyway, loved reading this.

    p.s. found this on Twitter via Nichole at Little Brown Pen.

  • maja September 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

    i was discussing this with my sister yesterday. i’ve been pulling back from social media too. it’s starting to feel so shallow. we desire to connect, but can really only go so deep. and as working parents we have so little time to connect in real life that it’s become a substitute for the close relationships we used to have. at least blogging allows us to go deeper. perhaps i’m missing the connections because i don’t blog like you. i actually miss the old list-serv discussion groups where you had the time to form a thought and respond to others. are people still doing that? well anyway, i doubt i would have the time these days.

    it’s nice to find a blog that is as authentic and sincere as yours. you’ve told me that i’m brave for sharing my son’s blog, but i don’t think that i could put myself out there the way that you do. who knows, maybe when my son is out of treatment i’ll be more inspired to put myself out there a bit more. please keep at it!

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