Give and take, Part II (the final episode)

The squirming, tentacled beast of Give and Take, Part I has been stilled; the border collie did prevail against the ideas onslaught; and what was giving me no peace let up once I internalized these two things and all that they entail that I’m aware of: 

Be real about why you blog

Be real about why you contact other people 

I feel like the bloggers who have commented on this site thus far get this.  I thought of deleting Give and take, Part I but decided to keep it and go ahead with the wrap-up of Part II just as a record of my forward motion in the blogosphere.  These are my growing pains, not Everyone’s.  But based on my theory of unoriginality—that if I have a thought, chances are thousands of others have had the same or a similar thought—the mere mention of them might be helpful to someone who lands here by mistake, providence, or the like.

The thing we don’t always want to be real about, the primitive essence of giving and receiving, is not necessarily a human faux pas.  It seems no one wants to be so impolite as to say, “I’m giving this to you so you’ll give me that.”  It’s an unspoken human rule that we really shouldn’t dig that deeply into another’s psyche at certain times on certain levels.  And all but a few of us are signed onto that rule and willing to play the guessing game, which can be a pleasurable dance of give and take in its own right.

So let’s put that aside and push on to something more absolute than another’s true intentions, namely our intentions—we can make sure they’re pure, that we’re giving for the right reasons as far as we can tell, as far as we can be honest with ourselves.  For the sake of everyone, we can do a deep heart and psyche check and drill down to the real reason we’re giving.  And if we’re giving to get something, we benefit by another of those deep checks to uncover what it is we really want and why we really want it.

When I was considering starting a blog, I did an internet search.  I had an idea what blogging was about but I had no idea about the mechanics of it—how to get a site, how to equip that site, etc.  The majority of the information I found obliged the freezing-cold steel of it.  But I found one article by Earl Mardle, of A Networked World, that concisely covered the mechanics and ended with the heart of it.  From the article, Earl, if I may?   

“Think about what you want from your blog.

Why are you doing this?

Who do you want to attract?

What kind of an impression do you want to make on them?

How do you engage that objective in what you post?”

I answered these questions before starting my blog but it wasn’t until I actually began it and started to interact with people that I realized my answers were incongruent with what actually happens in the blogosphere.  I got a hit that if I answered these questions every single day, I might then stand a chance of getting to the root of why I’m doing this and, if I fit in the world of blogging, where I fit.

What I didn’t get at first: 

Blogging done well is not as easy as it looks:

Having a drift is crucial—a theme or a common thread running throughout, or a consistency of temperament. 

Offering something of supreme value is essential.

Personality is key.  It seems people will do no better, or not much better, in the blogosphere than they do in person.  A skill can only carry one so far, but a knock-out personality gets the gold.

To write every day, or as often as possible, you have to be beyond “with the program.” 

There’s a lot of talent out there.  There’s a lot of poo, too, so you have to watch where you step, but there are a lot of people who have blogs for all the right reasons, i.e. their reasons are genuine and produce value, and as a result, their blogs are an awesome thing.  In addition to being “wise, amusing, informative and […] very lucky,” as Earl wrote, the successful bloggers seem to be people who are…

…ultra-sharp in general, the high IQ set, able to turn any topic into an intricate, yet enjoyable, science

at the top of their professional game with cutting edge advice or a valuable service to offer

highly educated, the letters after their names spelling S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

out there in the world with top end know-how doing meaningful, impressive, if not avant-garde things

high energy go-getters with grade A personalities

Law of averages says we can’t all be king of the blogging hill, nor may we care to be that.  The main and basic purpose and beauty of blogging is free expression, and we need only be true to ourselves in that regard.  But if we branch out from letting loose in our living rooms to interacting with others in theirs, there are the unspoken rules to consider and the breathing room and courtesy that they’re there to implement.  In relation to that, I’ve found this a great question to ask myself no matter who I choose to interact with, “Am I interested in expanding myself from what this person has to offer?  And what do I have to offer in return?”  Every human is unique.  Every brain is unique.  There is something from some angle that each of us has seen or done or thought that another hasn’t seen or done or thought.

What I’ve learned, the synopsis:

Be real.  Real about who you are, what you have to offer, why you want to offer it, and what, if anything, you want to receive in return.  Who you are out in the world is who you’ll be on the internet.  If you’re a winner in the world, you’ll be a winner in here.

What do you think?

Am I off or on target?

Is everything I’ve written here all too obvious?

What did you find out when you first started blogging?

What are the best lessons you came away with?

What makes a blog a bomb or a hit? 

Game on!

All photos from Getty Images and stock.xchng

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19 responses to “Give and take, Part II (the final episode)

  1. I want to hit you, Miss!
    How come you tell me I’m prolific and when I come here there’s four or five new posts since I last came by?! Ok, I need to add you to my Google Reader. I will be back to read this properly because now it’s getting late here ;)

  2. Devil:

    Oh, it’d probably do me good, but I hope you DO miss! ;-)

    And, YEAH, there’s been some action here ’cause I’m trying to live up to what I’m learning in the blogosphere :-D

    Seriously, I love to write and want to be good at it (I’m finding practice DOES make perf…well, it keeps the channels open and makes it easier every time I sit down to do it) as I use this blog to find my way in that regard.

    Thanks for commenting. It means a lot!

  3. Regarding the indian matrimonials comment: a case in point! This is too perfect. How could I have asked for more after going on about courtesy and being real about our choices to interact with other bloggers?!

  4. lol @ the indian weddings. how insane.

    I read your post more intently and I was wondering if you really were talking about personal blogs…That is a really demanding and serious approach to blogging. Nothing wrong with that but I’m not sure most of the bloggers apply to those conditions. Do you know how many people blog in China? it’s insane…And I doubt most of them are successful, grade A students, etc. But that’s not really important.
    What I realized with your post was that I seldom analyse my blogging motivations, I can never explain why I started blogging (I honestly do NOT know) and I still don’t think much about it. I just blog. Maybe I should take a more responsible approach to it. Or maybe it’s not for me. But I admire your consciousness about what you’re doing here.

  5. Devil: thanks so much for your take! This is what I’m looking for. I can get so tunnel-visioned in my own little world. Good points you brought up. You know, I think I was trying to generalize and you can’t always. That’s where I can get off track, always trying to figure things out and nail things down when some things should just be left loose in the world! We all have our reasons, needs, expectations, etc. around blogging. And no, no, no, don’t analyze! Your blog flows naturally, is unaffected, free. You are the wise one to not dissect it, but to allow yourself to be compelled to do it, and from the intuition behind that will always come just the right material for any given moment. :-)

  6. through the minutes as i read your entry i was thinking about my motivations for blogging. and you raise a lot of questions. and i dont have all the answers. so i went through my own blog. entry by entry. and what i realised, hitherto unarticulated, was fascinating.

    it started off as something i need to do because people do. as a writer, i should have a blog. hardly motivated, there is a huge gap in between my earlier posts. some amounting to almost months of absence. was i busy? yes. was i de-motivated to write? no. did i know what i was missing? no.

    once i started regularly (post my break up with my girlfriend last year) i find myself fairly regular, caustic, funny, angry and sad. Sometimes all in one post. To me this was an outlet for a good vent out. Say the things that I couldn’t say to anyone. Also it was a good exercise in writing and, lets face it, spending time.

    of late, the motivation is different. i have been reading a lot of blogs, writing, commenting and i am surprised at the eerie similarity of the human condition. we think the same, we write the same, we cry the same and we are all affected by the same. a truth, perhaps, best discovered at your own end than a show on National Geographic.

    Today, I write because I want to share. I want to know more about what people are doing. Even if i don’t know them, I find myself laughing, crying and longing with them. For five minutes a day. No pretenses. No masks. Raw emotions bared. I also found that most bloggers have developed their own personality as they continue. Some are always happy. Some are forever positive. Some are obsessed with making their rapidly downhill relationship work. With a little help of a few words and a stock image.

    And I too am just one of them.

  7. I tend to generalize a lot too, so don’t worry. But you’re absolutely right – I follow my intuition on the blog, like a Fire sign should :)

    Phish, even your comments are priceless, damn you.

  8. Devil: I love how you cut me slack!

    Phish: Devil’s right again about you, you know. What to do with you? You can’t keep going as you have, bestowing deeply everything everywhere, from site to site, leaving lavish gifts of the very heart of you! You will be reduced to one pinpoint blood drop glinting, willing even then to be given. You have given me the highest compliment of applying my thoughts relevantly to your thoughts and the history of your thoughts, and you’ve turned over these meaningful results. The aha! thing, the grand, never-ending conclusion is the golden thread running deep and strong through all of humanity. What you say in that regard I feel is right on, and isn’t that also what makes good writing? To push beyond the shallow thing to the depths of our humanness and to offer the results as best we can? It’s the language we may not know to speak out loud yet somehow we crave it, yearn for it, and we know it profoundly when we experience it. “With the help of a few words and a stock image. And I too am just one of them.” Oh that’s good! Yes, I too! It implies both pathetic-ness and blind perseverance, the human condition. And that’s the connection, that kind of truth. Oh! Hey, Phish??? Thank you for coming here. I have an admitted thing for your thoughts, and so I’m honored by your visit.

    Devil: OK, so I’ve reconsidered… I say we allow Phish to continue dishing out the delicious agonies and ecstasies of his depths indefinitely…even if it kills us. What sayest thou?

  9. devil – i was just making a point. its just that this post posed some intriguing questions and needed a rejoinder. and i was more than willing to help out with my persp. it’s so cool bumping into you here. btw, how does a water sign do?

    missaslister – i hope you don’t mind the parallel conversation going on here (though devil and i can take that elsewhere). i really think the discussion here is more relevant than we deem it to be. today the promise of the internet is finally being delivered. we have downloaded our music and have moved on. today, we connect with people across age, race, religion and nationality and tell them how much we are saddened by the loss of our dog and how the milk went bad. what we cooked today or why we cried. and the wooden letters that describe the feeling is read, understood and ingested by a distant someone in earnestness. we can almost see the nodding heads and moist eyes as we write them ourselves.

    have we become lonelier? are we part of the group that is forever being advised to “go get a life”? have we become dependent on the meaningless little trails of words that appear from someone we will possibly never meet? do we start talking to ghosts? worse still, are we on the road to becoming ghosts ourselves?

    i dont know.

  10. Phish and Devil: No, no! This is great! Parallelism or symposium of sorts, it’s all good. Right here, live. I’m enthused not offended. Please, continue…

    Today’s thoughts from this brain: first, I’m pleased that you found this subject intriguing and inviting to pursue. Second, I’m a water sign so am curious to see how Devil Mood answers. And thirdly, and finally, an angle or two on Phish’s word graphics: the theory that we’ve detrimentally isolated ourselves with our advancement in technology makes sense to me. We no longer have to leave our living quarters to interact with others. We can work/telecommute, do our banking, order clothes, shoes, food, and movies, live alternate lives through games, and create relational networks that give us nearly everything we need but physical touch. I think that the extrovert may be less affected by this, i.e. would still be involved in both ways to socialize, in-person and on-line. But it’s the introvert I’m worried about. I’m one, mostly. And I can say technology has supported my tendency to shy away from in-person interaction, has made me more reluctant to extend myself in the real world. In one sense, the internet empires we can build for ourselves could be considered an introvert’s lifeline. Where several years ago an introvert might have committed suicide out of relational despair, he or she can now create a world in which to interact and achieve a sense of community, a measure of familial satisfaction. Which leads to the on the other hand view, that it doesn’t provide the hands-on satisfaction—the face-to-face working out of things, a tender touch on the arm or shoulder, a warm hug of compassion, a kiss, receiving support or helping another and reaping the heart-glowing rewards—that’s generally known to give us the ultimate sense of purpose and well-being, the best cognitive functioning exercise, the truest internal compass reading as to where we fit, where and how we make sense in relation to this world. So I think yes, to all the questions in Phish’s last paragraph. I feel like we’re on that ghostly road. But life as we know it is a pendulum swinging between polar opposites, and we may as a whole go to the danger zone with impersonality and then swing wide back to the solidity of social proximity. The neat thing is, like vapor trails, each one of us is somewhere on the pendulum’s trajectory and we can see by our actions about where that is. Have we had enough? Is it time to do something different? Or do we need to get close enough to danger to be singed? And whatever the issue, wherever we are, we have plenty of company, plenty to influence or be influenced by. Funny how the Universe works, eh?

  11. I’m sorry I took so long to reply, I wish I had the comments going to my mailbox.
    In a very general view, Water signs tend to put their emotions and their feelings above everything else. Feeling is their essence, breathing is feeling, etc.

    Yes, the Internet has the very good and the very bad aspects. I can’t exactly imagine my life without it, as I’ve been using these amazing resources since I was 14. A considerable part of my socializing was done online, with offline ramifications. Being an introvert it was really helpful but, for a while, it didn’t isolate me, it made me more confident in offline contexts, even.
    Right now it’s different because I’m more in touch with people that are really far away from me, there’s no way we can meet for a coffee. But it’s still rewarding so I’m here.

  12. funny isn’t the word. sometimes i think its magic that we are taking for granted, in the guise of science. and the friends we make may be people. and we see them through the neatly-stacked row of words that they arrange.

    and we cant wait for them to do it again.
    as a piscean i think i am doomed anyway.

    i need to blogroll you.

  13. Devil:

    Truly, no problem. There is no time here. So whenever you show up, you’re on the dot! Thanks for your expertise. I had a feeling it was that way with the watery types, but I like to hear it from you! :-) It’s like thinking you have something wrong with you, so you go to the doctor, and he says you’ve got something wrong with you, and it gives the ailment full honor!

    About the internet: you’re an introvert? Awesome! A kindred spirit! So it was interesting to hear that it actually helped your offline relating. Another trade question for you: do you suppose the difference between your experience and mine—that I feel susceptible to sinking deeper into online at the expense of offline—is the difference between the fire and water signs? Or maybe it’s because you started using the internet at an earlier age than I did. Now, little kids are whizzes, and I can’t help but think that if computers and their power is merely one of many variables in a life, and it’s always been that way, that it’s just a natural integration and therefore a non-issue.

    Phish:

    Well put. I guess that’s why I favor the quantum physicists. They are in and most importantly out of the realm of science, in and most importantly out of the world as we know it. They see the magic and are open to its potential. Whatever the mystical thread is that links heart to heart wrapping around and around the world like a ball of yarn, a fiber optic and satellite agglomeration. However the essence of a person can be transferred via mere letters and pixels on the wings of ones and zeros so that we feel the same emotions and cravings for another as we do face to face. It is magic. Magic, spiritual, supernatural…call it whatever word, when heard by each individual ear, drips down the brain like ambrosia and freshens the mystery of life. The serotonin and dopamine are produced just the same, and in that sense it’s as real as real gets. In that sense no we’re not lonelier, not in need of a life, not dependent on anything meaningless, not talking to ghosts, we’re just doing it all differently. And the truth is we’re hard-wired with the desire for the physical so we’re far from in danger of becoming ghosts!

    But you and I as Pisceans are indeed doomed on another level. And if you and I are at all alike, you might consider the state of being doomed an utterly delightful condition. Like a dog rolls ecstatically, with every ounce of the truth of its being, on something dead. So then, you could, like me, revel in being doomed to being, to breathing the very feelings and emotions that come out of you as if a surprise, as if someone else’s that rule you against your will, so you fight until you realize you are fighting yourself. And spent, you lift your head just enough to look back at the flailings about and you see amazing things that you feel certain couldn’t be yours. And then you’re off again, fighting being, breathing. Each post is the flailing. The days between, the respite. All the work of the fight, feeling the energy of the Universe flowing through, blocking it, then going with it, winking at its winning again, is bitter delight. When you’re in it it’s pure torture, but when you’re out of it, when you’ve come through to the other side, it’s “romantic,” like an 18th century poet facing starvation or suicide! ;-)

    And if you did decide to add me to your blogroll I’d be honored to silliness but serious enough to keep trying to get out of my own way so the good stuff can flow! You’re on my blogroll as you’ve probably noticed. I know there’s some blogroll etiquette controversy—should you ask permission to add someone or not? It seems the general consensus is no. But if I think too hard about it I might doubt my sense of you and your sensibility and wonder if you mind…

  14. come to think of it, i do enjoy my feeling of doom. the despondency and frustration (aimed mostly at myself) are often a stark contrast to the outer being. but the feeling of borne a romantic, over and over again, is something hard to beat. and the realization strikes me as i look outside the window with a lazy cigarette, or in my long walks along the neon-infested streets.

    and i look at things. all the time. the cars zoom by and the population trudges slow, accepting whatever is dished out to them. not wavering for even a little while from their everyday rants about tax returns, inflations and the rising costs of promiscuousity. and my need for ghosts, real or otherwise, is re-inforced. often i see something and make a mental note of sharing it with the ears i haven’t seen. a one-legged man, a mother of two, a fighting couple, a content dog. knowing fully well that it will be mulled upon.

    magic? yes. supernatural? yes. love? maybe.

    as far as blogroll controversies are concerned, i think if someone puts me on my blog, it is a manner of honour, unless of course its a neo-nazi organisation. or a latent wing of ‘lettuce lovers unite’. and so am i too see myself here.

    some permissions, if overruled, are actually comforting.

  15. Phish… And the lazy cigarette… Finally I’m back to it. It’s been a thought, an image in my head since I read your 2/11 comment… Taking time with it, the smoke curling into clouds, spirits, that take the shape of things we’ve seen… They can’t take the shape of the things we haven’t seen because we wouldn’t know what to look for… So the shapes are either what we’ve seen before, or they are nothing… Unless… In the yearning to be free and clear, in the desperateness to catch a ride out of here to the place we’re sure exists but we haven’t had the guts to be still and work out every detail of it because we’re afraid in doing so we’d find out it doesn’t really exist after all, and then what would we do? What would we be desperate for? Or not desperate for? That might be worse. Maybe… In the looking all the time at everything, everywhere we can become so practiced at finding and seeing the beauty and ugliness in nothing and everything in the mundane and the spectacular, so practiced at looking, dissecting, willing it to come to us, yanking on it, then giving up so that by the grace of something outside of ourselves the relentless whirring of our brains stop, a 1/1000 exposure, and the miraculous, the never before thought of thought slips in like a pinpoint of sunshine scraping though a chink in a wall. We can’t touch it, or hold it, but we can feel a fraction of its warmth, see it glint off dust particles, and we close our eyes and rip pieces our souls apart to form vehicles for words to share that exquisite thing with another, with anyone who wants to know what it’s like, this give and take of being alive.

    I am pleased with my place on your blogroll… Thank you for that compliment. :-)

  16. God, we have so many debates going on here!
    I think I’m sharing your experience with the online world these days. I mean, whilst before it made me get to know people offline, these days it doesn’t. For most part, because the people I meet live in other countries. For some reason I’m not really meeting people that live near me, so I guess I’m sinking into the online world too.

  17. Devil: So many debates, yeah, isn’t it great?!!! ;-) And now I’m going to play the Devil’s (no, not your sweet self, but Satan himself) advocate just for fun and to spark up another debate if you decide to go for it! What makes you imply the online world is lower than the “real” world such that if we go into it we are sinking? What if the online world is higher and we are rising up to it? LOL! ;-)

  18. That’s good! I’d like to think so.
    But, to be precise, I was only using your own words. Above you said…
    “that I feel susceptible to sinking deeper into online at the expense of offline”
    I am a therapist, you know? I know the tricks… ;)

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