Saturday, September 27, 2008

is this a blogger which I see before me?

Nine months ago, Andee Carlsson talked me into starting this blog. She was interested in how I would decide where to live in Mexico.

I started with an audience of one. Because my friends and relatives kept asking me what I was up to, I gave them the blog address thinking it was a solution to the problem of repeating myself in email after email.

Well, that approach simply did not work. The people who I once wrote to regularly were not the least bit interested in reading a blog. They wanted personal attention. (I solved that problem by merely copying the text from the blog and then emailing it to them. Shhh. It's our little secret. After all, they won't be reading this.)

On the other hand, I have met a group of new friends from around the world who share a common interest in Mexico. It takes me time to make new friends. But in less than a year, I have made friends with several fellow bloggers -- and some of those relationships are closer than some of my friends who live in town.

And then there is the reunion crowd -- and I mean that literally and figuratively. I missed my 40th high school reunion last year. But our class has been getting together regularly for lunches and dinners. Through this blog, I have been able to keep in contact with several classmates I had lost contact with years ago.

The figurative reunion has occurred with people I knew in grade school, college, law school, the Air Force, and my various political activities. People from my past show up as often as Banquo's ghost -- but with less ominous portent.

I am curious whether other bloggers have had the same experience. Did you start writing for one audience, and now find an entirely different audience has discovered your blog?

And, before someone else says it: the best blogs have only one audience -- the blogger.

But, for you readers, what is it that brings you to these pages? This would be a great opportunity for those of you who have not yet written a comment, to step up to the bar.

Lay on, MacDuff.


1st Mate said...

I live, therefore I blog. Can't help it, I've been a photo journalist for 30 years and blogging is just an extension of that pursuit. Good things happen in my life, lousy things happen, it's all grist for the blog. I get stuck with three months of drudgery a year when I'm producing our antique map guide, but I can vent and indulge my playful side with the blog. I used to keep journals, but when I moved to Mexico I had a two-foot stack of spiral-bound books, full of my life, that I couldn't take with me, couldn't burn, felt anxious about consigning to landfill...That's never a problem with a blog. Oh, and I confess to enjoying having an audience, all five or six of you. I love you all.

Steve Cotton said...

Bliss -- Great summary of why we blog. Keep up your good work. I always find interesting topics. Your immigration piece got me to thinking why I believe what I believe.

Brenda Maas said...

I started blogging to keep friends and family appraised of what we were doing the first winter we were down here. We were using internet cafes and I thought it would be easier than emailing everyone. Quickly found out that strangers read it more than family/friends.
We have met some great people both in person and online through the blog and we enjoy that. The blogging community is a good one to belong to, it is a friendly place.
When all is said and done, mainly it is for me, as it aids my memory, I can go and look something up on the blog to find out when it happened if I have forgotten. A good diary and with photos too.
I wish that when we were planning our trip to Mexico that we would have had all the blogs to read that are out here now, it would have made things much easier for us. They are certainly a helpful tool, along with other research.

Islagringo said...

I too started my blog as a way to have to only write one entry, rather than email all those people everyday. I don't really pay much attention to my stats but I am aware that people from all over the world now read my blog. Scary, really.

I came to your blog because Andee insisted I do so. She was really good at reading people and she sure had it right when she said you were an interesting and nice guy and probably somebody I would like.

Sometimes your references go over my head, not having the education that you do, but that's ok. I still love your blog, your way of writing and your well thought out messages.

Unknown said...

I started in the same way that you stated, to inform family and friends of my activities. I was amused that I am facing the same dilemma that you faced! My closest friends and family don't read the blog regularly. Since that time, I have re-discovered a love for writing that I had in high school and college days. I also have a high need for validation from others. So, I covet approval from my readers. It's part of my narcissism, hence the name of my blog, Laurie's Spot. What else could be more imortant than MY thoughts and concerns?

Steve Cotton said...

Brenda -- You make a very good point about the journal-effect of blogs. Like you, I use my blog as a repository of my thoughts. It is interesting to go back and read what we were considering at one point.

Wayne -- The wide-ranging background of bog readers continues to amaze me. I have learned a lot from all of them -- especially you.

Laurie -- I know what you mean about the ego hit that comes from writing a blog. I try to take myself out of my writing, but it never works. OUr writing is who we are -- or who we think we would like to be.

Billie Mercer said...

I started my blog, like you, as a way to keep my kids up-to-date on what was happening in our lives. They read it but the problem I have is that they don't feel the same need to keep us informed of what is happening in their lives. I know that they are busy with jobs and family. So in order to keep the conversation going, I have to write them emails, then they reply.

Steve, I read your blog because it is so well written and ties together bits of the past with plans for the future. It is always thoughtful and I come away with a new way to think about something.

GlorV1 said...

I started blogging when Blogger first came out and then I stopped for quite a while. I started blogging again last year and ended up deleting the blog and then this year I started up again. I enjoy it because I like to express myself. I do get a lot of visitors according to my site meter, but they rarely comment and thats okay. For me it is just expressing myself. I blog because I enjoy freedom of expression. Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

I started my blog as a way to express myself as a form of therapy after my daughter had a near death experience in December. I was able share with friends and family what was going on with Tara and her recovery without having to send multiple emails. I have since expanded to writing about my travels, my life and family events. I love to post photos to share with my readers.

Babs said...

I started blogging because of Billie! I loved her blog and the idea of writing down my travels in Mexico. Several people in the states had said I "needed" to do that........but it never occurred to me that LOTS of people would read the blog - I thought it would be my current friends.
I remember the first time someone I hardly knew started commenting about things I had said on the blog that I had forgotten I had said and I was AMAZED!
I've never written before - no diary, no journals, just this. And I must say, if someone took the time to read all my gibberish, they would have a greater knowledge of me then probably my kids! has turned out to be a delightful surprise!

Frankly Ronda said...

I have similar comments. My three reasons for starting blog were (1) to have a way to journal this unique year we are having, (2)place for family/friends to keep up with us because I cannot possibly email all personally and (3)there is very little out there about bringing kids to Mexico so I hoped it might help other families with kids planning their journey. I have been most surprised about the community in Mexico I have found as a result of the blog. It is good to share like experiences, learn about Mexico life and get advice. This community has become a source of appreciated information and support.

Steve Cotton said...

Billie -- Thank you for the nice compliments. I find writing this blog to be very cathartic. You are correct, though, that as a communication device for family, it is not a two-way communication.

Gloria -- Keep up the writing. I may not always comment on your blog, but I enjoy it.

Jackie -- And it is nice to hear from neighbors.

Babs -- You have hit on a very interesting fact. I think we all write about topics in our blogs that we would not tell our closest friends. What is with that? On the other hand, I try to be very careful about some topics, such as, politics. I am wlling to bet that most folks have no idea whether I even have a preference in November's elections.

American Mommy -- Like you, I have been pleasantly surprised at the knowledge base of our fellow bloggers -- and their willingness to share. I am a member of at least two Mexico message boards where I would not accept any advice offered -- simply because I know better.

Anonymous said...

There is no eleemosynary intent in my blogging. I only blog to prevent productive activity from taking place and to generate Google clicks.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- If it were within my power, I would give you an award for working healthy self-awareness and a six-syllable word (though, I often mispronounce it into seven in my southern Oregon drawl) into the same comment. Come to think of it: this is my blog! You are so awarded.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I read your blog because I enjoy your writing style and the wide range of topics that you explore. I am trying to learn Spanish myself, to better communicate with my friends who are native speakers. I appreciate what you share about your own process of language learning. Because of my friends and their immigration from Mexico to our small community in the Midwest, I have a huge curiosity about Mexico and the motivations and experiences of people who are courageous enough to venture into a new geography, culture, and language. I have the utmost admiration for your explorer spirit and the respect you show for other people. I am looking forward to reading more as your adventure continues. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective.

Steve Cotton said...

Terri -- Thank you for the very kind comments. From time to time, I need to remind myself that I wanted an adventure with this move -- and I am certainly getting my wish.