The Intimacy and the Cost of Blogging

They say radio is the most intimate of all types of media.

If you listen to a lot of talk radio (NPR junkies represent) as I do, I suspect you know on a personal level what that means. Distinctive voices heard day after day from the clock radio alarm, during commutes, while cooking supper, lulling a listener to sleep. Somehow, those voices begin to take on meaning in our lives...they become good, comfortable friends like no television personality can.

If you're an NPR listener and traveling, "home" is as close as your nearest radio dial where Steve Inskeep, Renee Montagne, Carl Kassell, Robert Siegel, Scott Simon, Nina Totenberg, Ira Glass, Tom and Ray the tap-it brothers, Garrison Keillor (and so many many others) live. It can be so very comforting.

I'll admit. I cried the day Daniel Schorr died.

Radio personalities have a way of connecting with listeners in such a way as to almost seem as though they're having a one-on-one conversation with each and every one of us. Good radio personalities are consummate storytellers, reminiscent of a long ago time when the only kind of story was an oral history passed down through the generations by weaving words into luxurious fabric in which to wrap rapt listeners.

But there are other voices, other storytellers, making a personal mark that rivals radio in an even more deeply personal way.

They (we) are personal bloggers.

I come to you, ready to get cozy with you over a glass of wine, with this tonight because one of my favorite bloggers, Kris over at Not a Girl, Not Yet a Wino, has re-emerged after a lengthy blog hiatus.

I'd been following Kris for quite some time when she just...petered out with little explanation. And I was sad because Kris had become a sort of "friend" to me...someone I'd like to hug if ever given an appropriate chance. She had such a strong, clear voice and so many of her trials, tribulations, and triumphs she wrote about resonated with me that I truly considered her someone noteworthy in my life.

I know. That probably sounds weird and vaguely bordering on restraining order time.

But anyone who reads a lot of personal blogs and who, likely, blogs themselves totally gets that, right?

We connect with each other. That's why we read. That's why we write, right?

So when Kris magically appeared after having been largely absent for over a year, I was ecstatic! And she even said she was back so I've got actual hope that we'll hear from her more frequently than, say, every 6 months.

But that's got me pondering...

Do we, as bloggers, have any obligation to our Lovely Readers? What happens when life or writer's block or boredom gets in the way and we suddenly find ourselves unable to produce any kind of publishable content? Do we owe readers an explanation? Would we give a dear friend an explanation if we were getting ready to plunge into the depths of the no-contact abyss for months at a time? Is it the same thing?

There was another blogger, Cream, I followed for about a year. I'd link to it here but it's no longer available for public eyes. I found this blogger in the "Life Blogs" directory at BlogHer when I first joined the site. Over several months, I, more and more, looked forward to her posts. Not exactly because they were well-written - even though they were - but because her STORY was so compelling I couldn't stop reading. Religion, job/soul searching, and her attempts to find the ever elusive love were common threads throughout. She was able to convey all of these things in such a heart-wrenchingly honest way that, I confess, I was addicted to her story - not unlike how people get addicted to soap operas.

Her last posts became focused on a man. A man she'd fallen in love with and a man who, purportedly, loved her...he was married. There were probably ten or so posts about him. And then, out of the blue, she posted one last public entry to state that, because of the tenuous marriage situation, she'd no longer be posting publicly.



You cannot do this to me!!! Uh...right?

From that moment on, her blog posts - all of them, even the earliest ones that had been public - have become private. I continue to carry her in my blog reader anyway just in case there's a slim chance that, like Kris, she'll reappear and tell me how her story played out.

And, while I thoroughly understand why she locked her blog down as tight as Fort Knox, I'm still left hanging, painfully, waiting for some kind of resolution.

Is that fair?

Is it fair to put yourself way out there (beyond your mom) - and by that I mean go so far as to list yourself in a highly popular public blog directory like BlogHer - and then, just cuz you want to, pull the carpet from underneath dedicated, loving readers?

I understand about oversharing. I really, truly do.

But...what's the line? Do bloggers like Kris, Cream, and [redacted] (who also disappeared shortly after announcing his long anticipated engagement) get to disappear into the mid-day sun without so much as a "screw you"?

We think we're out here, blogging, for ourselves. But! The moment we advertise ourselves and gain a following...whether that following is 10, 100, or 100,000+...we owe something to our readers. Something tremendous. Something well beyond ourselves.

We owe our Lovely Readers a story and, at the very least, a solid resolution.

Don't leave me hanging. If you do? I'll never buy anything you might write.

And I'll recognize your voice. Rest assured.

Think. Care.

Originally posted to Jane In Her Infinite Wisdom


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