Blogging is a self-indulgent, narcissistic and addictive pastime. When you first consider making the leap into the ocean of blogging you cast an eye over the sea and admire the yachts with their great parties, the liners with their crowds of people, the humble canoeist adventurer and the family run-about. You may turn your nose up at that raft that is leaking a bit of water. Then you make the jump yourself and for an instant you are part of the flotilla. Buoyed upon a bubble of surface tension, you smile and exclaim “I have arrived”. Then reality strikes and, as if torpedoed, you fall heavily to the ocean floor. And this is where you find the true blogosphere. There are thousands of blogs down here. Some have no followers and have rarely been hit, no-one seems to like them and the comments are sparse. Some haven’t been updated in four years and some look like they have never floated. Others, like the Rocky Springs Rambles, bounce along with the current collecting the odd comment, the occasional like and followers that are cherished like nuggets of gold – but more on them later.
In order to put a bit of ascendancy in your blog you are encouraged to reach out to those in the blogosphere and begin a conversation; start with a like, maybe add a comment, and if you’re really impressed by what you have read you can join the ranks of the followers. Well I did that a few weeks ago – got all the way to the following stage (because I genuinely liked what I was reading), put my feelings out there to a complete stranger. And what did I get for my efforts? A big fat nothing, and this is supposed to be a conversation – they haven’t even added a post since. Instead they came along and slobbered all over my blog, not leaving so much as a like. And this is why blogging is evil. It can bring out the worst in your character: I should be glad this blogger visited, not all worked up because she didn’t particularly like what she found. I shouldn’t get my knickers in a twist when the blog has only had one hit for the day, or feel like throwing in the towel when there has been no hits (oh the shame!). I think it’s time for a bit of perspective.
Which brings me to my followers and why they are gold. My followers are who I write for and they all share a part of my life. There are the family (and here I include the Kiwi connection) from the uncles in their Sydney fishbowl to the cousins still shaking in Christchurch; to the aunt in Taupo, and, of course, Mum. Then there are those that remind me of specific times in my life such as a dirty drill rig floor at midnight and a three room caravan with both ends rocking. Or the times I shivered on an abalone boat and wondered if that diver in the next boat across was really an undercover detective. Or how we enlisted an oilfields engineer to design a farm water pipeline.
Some followers feed my wanderlust such as the one currently cycling the Croatian coast, the one living in Bali or those swanning about in a Thailand elephant sanctuary. Others make me crave the Australian Outback whether they are travelling by 4WD, or bus, or camel.
There are those that share my love of hockey from the amazing Tenterfield team to the gold medal at the North West Games in Broome. Then there are those who encourage this writing habit: the journo from the scrub near Cobar, the subject of my Outback article, the radio presenter and the agent.
One set of followers came to Australia to visit my dogs, and another made the times I was captive in an office immeasurably more bearable.
Some followers have shared with me the most precious of gifts – their children; a gift that I will eternally treasure. Others have witnessed me acting like a child. Some were coerced into following after a mad and drunken night with Jack Daniels sauce and eye-watering laughter – but if they were not already special they would not have been around that table in the first place.
Some I have known since school, and now, most wonderfully, I count the children of school friends as followers. Others I have never met but for them I will always have a cold beer in the fridge for when the time arrives.
I realize that not all who read this blog are followers. There are some of you who prefer to just drop in from time to time and I am grateful for your presence. Some of you I don’t even know by name but don’t be afraid to say G’Day – I promise I don’t bite – but I may nibble just a bit.