The Blogosphere, the Neighborhood

Right off the bat I will clarify that the Neighborhood initiative is (c) thepublicblogger (of whom I will talk more shortly); I’m just leaning on it to elaborate on today’s point.

I have been blogging for quite a few months (hiatuses (hiati?) aside). I’d like to say I am becoming better and better at it, but this is more a matter of personal satisfaction than a desire to find a larger audience. Still, even without trying, I have gotten a few follows and likes (that is, beyond my friends), and even one or two pingbacks. It didn’t take me long to realize that most of those follows were a bid for audience. I follow you, you follow me, I’ve scratched your back now you scratch mine. It’s understandable; I mean, there are few ways to get the word out and, really, sitting around and waiting for the readers to flock in seems silly (funny enough, I’ve heard several popular bloggers say keep hard at work and the subs will come naturally. They might be on to something). However, as my intent has never been to seek an audience, not only do I refrain from hunting for blogs to follow and ping, but I also do not reciprocate the follow unless it is content that truly engages me. And trust me, I am hella picky. You may point out that all the blogs currently on my list belong to friends of mine, but, why do you think they are my friends? Besides being folks of many virtues, they are also very smart and creative. Reddmomma is beautiful in its simplicity, and an extremely moving look into what it means to be a mother: the joy and pain of giving of oneself to their children. A must-read for those who want to know what being a mom really is about. Streams of Energy is poetry in motion, melodious as a harp’s song. It is not something to read out of boredom; like the things that really matters, this prose takes a true look to really get it and enjoy it. The O’Sheamobile is as delightfully random as it is on point: reflection wrapped in laughter, and sometimes, just laughter. Bottomline, I am picky with my blogs and even pickier with my friends.

Anyway, this give and take of follows, likes and pings goes on and off, sometimes I’ll get two follows in a week and then months go by without a peep. Whenever it does happen, I go and check the blog from whence the poke came, and usually return to my corner without reciprocating the follow (sometimes I give a follow, then subsequently I realize I have lost interest and unsubscribe). A few months ago, I was notified that a blogger named Kendall F. Person had graced me with a follow to my humble work. As usual, I was intrigued as to what might have moved him to do such a thing. Upon reading the report closer, lo and behold, among the post suggestions for my perusal was this: Dear thepublicblogger, why did you follow my blog? How convenient, n’est ce pas? Since I was being offered an easy and obvious way to sate my curiosity, I was quick to take advantage of it.

To my understanding, mister Kendall F. Person considers WordPress a Neighborhood, with a population that would make it the 22nd largest country in the world. This is a place where he can take walks and find all kinds of stories, reflections, theories… voices! ‘It is my vision that The Neighborhood become an international destination for entertainment, for discussion, for discovery, for intrigue and most importantly, for peace‘, says he. Basically he is talking of uniting the blogosphere, or, more accurately, the zipcode of it that is WordPress (sorry Tumblrs an Blogspotters, either find your own uniting initiative or move in here, we got cookies!)

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine following roughly sixty-five-million blogs? The sole thought is daunting to me. A hundred? Maybe. I honestly don’t know how many bloggers mister Person is following now. Maybe he follows them to ping them and then unfollows. And could you blame the man if he did? He gotta keep the feed manageable! I don’t know how he does it, perhaps he follows a ton of blogs, perhaps he has a link list; but it is clear that he takes long, long hikes through the immense expanse that is this neat blogging platform. In his own words, ‘I learn of new communities, by visiting my neighbors’ communities. WordPress is brilliant in its simplicity of meeting new friends. Simply ‘Liking’ a post or ‘commenting’ on a platform, or ‘following’ another blogger, your Gravatar  or Hovercard serves as your ‘I was here signature’ linking back, from where ever you are, to your blog, making meeting new friends as easy as a ‘touch or click’ ‘. And he’s right! As I mentioned before, following and pinging and liking are ways of saying hey! I swung by!

And his goal? Bringing together as many bloggers as he can, spreading the word. Making this Neighborhood from a bunch of largely isolated little houses to a cohesive, participative community of creative, outspoken minds. And he knows he cannot do it alone; furthermore, he does not want to do it alone. ‘Developing, designing and building the type of all-inclusive atmosphere, takes planning, promoting, imagination, intensity and sincerity.  But all of those things become moot, without  people to share in this journey, that unveils itself a little each day‘. As of August 2013, the Neighborhood had a population of roughly 18,200, and of course mister Person has no intention of stopping there; therefore, every day he knocks on many doors, some old, some others freshly new… And nearly three weeks ago, he knocked on mine.

After I read about his reasons for swinging by, and read the comments from other bloggers and how actively he engages them… after I walked around his home (that is, his blog) I decided not to reciprocate the follow. I left no comment, no trace of my presence in his blog. I’m a sneaky bastard.

Several weeks later, I got another seemingly random follow from one Donald Charisma. Or at least I thought that was his name at first. When I went into his profile to see what’s what, I came to surmise the don is intended as an honorific prefix that Spanish-speaking folk use for male names that deserve extra respect. Anyway, I also felt curious as to why in tarnation he would grace me with a follow, and lo and behold, I found a response to my query conveniently placed under FAQ.

What unites and is common of all bloggers is that we are ALL writers and publishers. The WordPress.com blogging community is a very big aspect of why I blog. I have friends who do for instance – a food blog, […] Women’s Jewellery Design blog, opinions […]  I could name another 200+ easily off of the top of my head, and have thousands of connections that I’m regularly in contact with‘.

Thousands? Gosh golly, that’s a lot. Make no mistake though, I am honored that I was found and added to the list of less-regular-connections. A follow is a follow! (For as long as the person keeps it anyway). The fact remains that every random follow is another connection, passive as it may be. Hi, I am here, I am noticed at least in passing. It is not something I actively seek, but I am still thankful for it. Therefore, I say:

Thank you, mister Kendall F. Person, for inviting me into your Neighborhood. And thank you, mister Charisma, for adding me to your thousands-ish list. It is unlikely I will actively knock on other doors myself any time soon, because I am the kind of grumpy resident that barely nods his head in greeting when he comes to take out the trash. But perhaps, some day, when I feel ready, I too will go out on long, long hikes and invite people to come out and play, like you do. In the meantime, if you ever need a cup of sugar, do feel free to stop by.

See you next week.

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31 Responses to “The Blogosphere, the Neighborhood”

  1. Hi, just passing through 😛 Thank you mentioning me *blush* I hope, and am truly terrified, for more followers. I do look forward to moving closer into the neighborhood and meeting a few friendly faces.

    • Oho, it’s just a matter of time, believe you me. What was it that you said not long ago? You don’t write often but when you get the sting you MUST write come hell or high water?

      You got it, darlin’. And I’m thrilled to be along for the ride.

  2. It is rare indeed, that I am left without words or speech, but your acceptance of how others see the {blogging} world and the beautiful, engaging way in which you shared your thoughts with your community, makes me smile and glad, that I found your door and knocked. Thank you for visiting The Neighborhood and thank you for allowing imagination to bring our worlds closer together. You are appreciated.

    • Mister Person, sir. A truly pleasant surprise to see you swing by. I honestly did not expect my words to reach you and I am delighted that they did. I will be glad to reciprocate the visit in the near future.Your quest towards uniting the Blogosphere, and you yourself, are deeply appreciated.

  3. Reblogged this on Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger and commented:
    Building The Neighborhood into the destination of my vision, is not without challenges, but there is never a day,I am not humbled, proud and dedicated to following that vision through. The Blogosphere, the Neighborhood – from the blog Hike and Forage – has reminded me of why I started and why there is no turning back. You are appreciated.

    • Wowza. I was floored by your gesture. While my intent was merely to reflect on your gesture and its repercussions, I certainly take pride in having done my part to be a slight reminder as to why you undertook this quest and remain on it to this day. The ripples of your wake are felt far and wide, and I am glad to tag along. Again, my sincerest thanks.

  4. A wonderfully written, humble post.

  5. Thanks for the mention, interesting article, and good to hear Kendall’s take, a post new to me, although not new on wordpress with 863 likes … so I learn’t something. Also wanted to thank you for reuniting me with Kendall, he knocked on my door prior, and this time I will be definitely be reciprocating his follow 😀

    Warm regards

    Don Charisma

    • While I did not expect my little message to reach your ears, good sir, I am glad it did; for it was a little extra encouragement for me which is never wasted and thus I felt the need to thank you. And if I get you back in touch with someone you had lost sight of while I’m at it, even better!

      Thank you for stopping by, do feel free to come back any time. Cheers!

      • 😀 the internet is a smaller place than some people give credit … you have a good sense of humour and laid back style, so good to meet you … Don

  6. I like days I start with interesting heart-pieces simply and humbly written. Thanks for one today.

  7. Just passing through as well. 🙂 Yes it is true that many like and ping back without the real intention of conversation. But so many have humble motives as you do and truly enjoy the company of other bloggers and their thoughts. I personally have really enjoyed the whole journey of blogging. It helps me to slow down and take in the moment…through my camera, for my family and friends and then share with my blogger friends and family and friends that live far away. It really has been one of the best things that has happened to me!

    • And that’s absolutely amazing; an active quest for conversation and creative exchange. To me, blogging has been a welcome catharsis, an exercise of free writing and an active effort to find my voice and dare to sound it. Honestly I dared not expect that my little ramblings would reach beyond a precious few who know me personally, and I was okay with that.

      Company, however? When you put it that way… company does not sound bad at all!

  8. Thank you, you have echoed my thoughts, I dontt feel so bad about them now!

    • Daring to voice our thoughts is one of the challenges I have been most aware of over the (relatively) short time I have been blogging. It is one of the reasons why I got into it, and I have constantly worked towards pushing myself to speak my mind, always mindful of my words but also giving my opinions the value they deserve.

      From this perspective I tell you, I am glad I was able to echo your thoughts; but I also tell you, do not feel bad about your thoughts. They are as important and valuable as mine, or mister Person’s, or anyone else. It’s why we are here in the blogosphere; and that is what makes it grand.

      Cheers!

  9. This is a nicely written post. I’ve been following Kendall F. Pearson for nearly a year now, and as far as I know, no other blogger has thought to write about his “neighborhood.” I never thought to do so, and now I wish I had. Kudos to you.

  10. My goodness, I’ve missed so much. I’ve been bogged down in SodaHead for at least the last two years, but I’ve backed out to find this fine community. The “Neighborhood” focus is a good idea. Congrats. I will be dropping by often. Thank you.

  11. Kendall does amazing work. I’ve made a couple of meaningful connections through a project he organised. He has a way of creating and connecting a community. Great post by the way…

  12. Hello,
    Guess how I found you? Yes, through Mister Kendall F. Person. Like you, I found his following in my inbox and went to his site to figure out why he wanted to follow me. So, now I know, well, I sort of know.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article. It had a nice tone to it if you know what I mean.
    No need to follow me unless you are interested in crafting for the blind and visually impaired.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed my writing. As to your topic, I must confess a nearly absolute ignorance. I shall take a look and educate myself.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  13. […] One Life to Live, C.J. Leger The Blogosphere, the Neighborhood, Hike and Forage Kendall F. Person, The Public Blogger – Follower number 2, Shenanigans in the Office […]

  14. […] “Thank you, Mr. Kendall for inviting me into your neighborhood.” – Hike and Forage […]

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