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Have you read Darren Rowse’s Random Reflections on SXSWi-2008 (South x Southwest interactive) convention?

In his first “reflection”, he writes:

The more I meet bloggers the more that I find that many of us are lonely soles (to some degree). We sit alone in our home offices/living rooms/beds etc and often feel quite isolated and at times misunderstood.

Today’s Lesson

This one sentence saddens me.

Are bloggers really that lonely?

When I look back on my life. I lived by myself for many years. Often, friends would ask me if I was lonely. My answer was always “No”.

To me, there’s a difference between “being alone” and “being lonely”. Although I cherish time spent with friends and family, I also enjoy my alone time.

But, back to the question.

I wonder, has blogging actually become a therapeutic medium for those that are lonely and/or feeling misunderstood?

Does blogging give some a “voice” they wouldn’t normally project in real life?

Is the world becoming so “busy”, we don’t give others “the time of day”?

Is that why social networking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Technorati are becoming so popular? Because we can “friend” someone without exposing ourselves?

Do bloggers feel more comfortable interacting with others as they hid behind the protection of their computer screen?

Is it a good idea to set a goal of becoming a problogger? A profession that would isolate a person even more?

Today’s Assignment

What do you think? Are most bloggers lonely, misunderstood individuals?

Does a blog help a lonely person communicate?

Is your blog therapeutic for you?

Should you be spending time with family and friends instead of blogging?

Does blogging isolate you from “your public”?

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  1. What do you think? Are most bloggers lonely, misunderstood individuals? I don’t think they are lonely, I think some are looking for a easy way to make money online from home. Misunderstood? We all can be misunderstood. I feel that if a person is looking for something negative to say about a person, they will always find it…whether it’s true or not.

    Does a blog help a lonely person communicate? Yes, it does only because there is more than one form of communication other than face to face.

    Is your blog therapeutic for you? Uh, yes. I love to write…I love words and listening to people. Blogging opens up a wider audience that I normally would not have with my small circle of friends and family.

    Should you be spending time with family and friends instead of blogging? Of course, but no matter what you do, I think the key is to be balanced. One should not blog at all just to be with their family if its something that brings them pleasure. Women especially are always taking care of everyone else but themselves. Your family and friends can also be a part of what YOU do too. They should have an interest in what you do as well as you spending time with them. Balance.

    Does blogging isolate you from “your public”? I have a public? Well sure it can isolate you from the your public because you’re interacting with your computer and those you connect with there…so it can, but again, I stress balance. Sometimes, I have a hard time finding balance and I had planned to blog about by Friday.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Free Stuff!

  2. When I began blogging, it was close to the end (or tapering of) a time where I was insanely isolated and very very lonely. I couldn’t handle crowds and never wanted to speak to anyone.. typing allowed me to have a non invasive “voice”
    If I was over it – I’d shut the pc off. Ok thats a lie – I’m never that disconnected. Perhaps I’d put it on suspend.

    Blogging is immensely therapeutic for me. The topics of my blog which have a consistent undertone of consious living and self love require me to continue to explore the world of personal growth and in return, it directly effects my life and my way of thinking.

    The conversations online are now held offline for me as well. While working out of my depression after losing hubby, my site armed me with a lot of tools and even support from friends and strangers alike.

    Blogging CAN be an isolated activity especially if its what you do most of your waking hours at home. It can be but its def. in your power to not be shut off from your world if thats not what you want.

    In the very least, writing gives you a voice when you don’t feeling like physically speaking which, for me, is important. It’s helped me out and the relief was unexpected yet welcome. Perhaps it has alot to do with my niche? Bc I can imagine mixed results from different types of writing.

    Anyway – my 2 ..ok 5 cents. O:-)

    JEMi @ InMyHeels’s last blog post..Stripped: Vulnerability In Love

  3. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I think there are basically two kinds of bloggers. There’s the extroverted blogger who uses blogging and an extension of their desire to be with others. They are still socially active (because that’s what extroverts are), but they add a new layer of interconnectedness into the mix with their on-line socializing.

    Then there’s the introverted blogger. Introverts in general tend to avoid social obligations more because they just take so much energy out of us. But at the same time, many of us do enjoy social interaction. We just like to do it at our own pace in our own time. Blogging (and on-line interactions in general) allow us to do that. Since I’ve been on-line, I actually have more social interaction that I ever have before in my life, and it’s spilled over somewhat to my off-line life, just because I’m more comfortable with social interaction in general these days.

    I think the internet has been a huge boon to the introverted and the socially awkward (note that I separated those out. Don’t yell at me for thinking all introverts are socially awkward, because I don’t). We’ve found a place where we can have great, long conversations with others without having every erg of energy sucked from our bodies. I’ve talked to many introverts on-line who tell me the same thing. Rather than isolating us, it actually gives us a voice and a chance to meet similar, likeminded individuals.

    Jodith’s last blog post..Continued Training

  4. RebeccaNo Gravatar says:

    I think there are all kinds of bloggers. For most bloggers, it is a way to express their feelings in writing.
    I believe the internet has deteriorated social gatherings. Many people sit in their home office with their internet chat friends and never have to leave. For some it is a fear of socializing and getting to know people personally. It is much easier to stay behind the screen.

    Rebecca
    http://funandfreegiveaways.blogspot.com/

  5. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I would agree that blogging has given me an outlet. Being stuck at home running a day care keeps me isolated from adult conversation. I often joked about holding adults hostage when they came to my house or called me on the phone. So, maybe there is some truth to it. However, as my blogging continued, I found I was spending more time on the computer and away from my family (both immediate and extended). I would choose blogging over calling my mom or sister.

    I still enjoy blogging and I will keep doing it, but I have been making some changes lately. I’ve been unsubscribing to blogs I don’t really enjoy and not commenting as often. I still have the blogs I want to read daily and by doing this I can dedicate more time to them instead of spreading myself so thin.

    If anything, blogging has helped me find myself. I need some alone time. With a busy house and a child with special needs, I need some time to just be selfish and do what I want. In the end, that makes me a better mother, wife, daughter and sister.

    Debbie Yost’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Princess Diva

  6. Maybe the bloggers that Darren met at SXSWi-2008 tended to be the ones who are sitting behind their desks blogging all day long, because it’s their sole occupation. I can definitely see that leading to isolation if they forget to stop blogging when it’s time to do other things.

    But I’ve never thought of blogging as a hobby for lonely people. It creates different kinds of interactions, but you don’t have to let it replace real people. I do find it therapeutic in that I can talk about things I couldn’t otherwise…it’s hard to find a group of people in the real world who want to get together to listen to me say 1000 words, saving their comments until the end.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..The Rules For Providing Value

  7. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I think it depends upon the nature of the blog. I suspect if you are a pro-blogger you have to earn a living. And that’s different from running a blog for fun or one that is attached to, and a communication channel for an off-line business.

    Personally I’ve found it alot of fun. I go through phases of blogging too much, and then I take a break from it.

    Overall, I think any negatives if any are outweighed by the positives. It’s also great mental exercise regularly writing.

    If I had to blog to make a living, I think it would force a level of false interaction with others. And if it’s involuntary interaction, only engaged in with a financial motivation, I guess that wouldn’t satisfy the part of us that can feel lonely.

    It has to be meaningful social interaction, and if done subconsciously just to make money, then I can believe the Problogger may be more isolated.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Sky TV: Bad Customer Service Or Theft?

  8. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I guess it’s different for different people. I’ve spoken to some business owners who enjoy blogging but say they’d feel uncomfortable networking in the flesh. Then i speak to others who are totally the oppose.

    Long before I started blogging – when I first got Internet access in the nineties, I was still recovering from illness and had only just begun actually leaving my house and meeting people. And they were nice people, but mainly forces wives, as that was the environment I was living in. And don’t get me wrong, they were lovely people but most of their conversation was on children and shopping.

    It was nice to be able to talk to people online who I had other interests in common with. And I feel pretty much the same today. The community I live in is small – there is a lot of gossip, which I hate and very few female business owners. So, I don’t really get involved.

    I like the way we can use the Internet and blogging to find people with similar interests. Growing up round here, I tended to befriend people just because I lived here, not because we had anything much in common.

    I don’t really feel isolated though. When I’m working, I much prefer to work alone anyway and colleagues or employees are sometimes unnecessary distractions.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Business Partnership – Is It Financial Suicide?

  9. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    Your “public” says those are such great answers, you get an A+ :)

    Hi JEMi

    From your grief, a beautiful blog was born. Your words appear to be helping you, as well as thousands of others. Based on the subject matter of your blog, I would like to see you take this this topic, and put your spin on it. Are you up for the challenge?

    Hi Jodith,

    I never thought of extroverts wanting to blog to expand their “community”, but that makes sense. I’m guessing they may also be the ones who are great “sellers” and could make high dollars with their blogs.

    Do you think that introverts/socially awkward people become more interactive in real life because they now have had a chance to “have their say”/get it off their chest via a blog?

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for dropping in.

    It is much easier for those who fear socializing to communicate via a blog. An upside to that is, they are communicating and not avoiding interaction altogether.

    Hi Debbie,

    I imagine after spending the day with young ones, your blog is a great outlet. It’s your chance to “talk” to other moms and to vent frustrations.

    It sounds like you’re setting priorities, but you’re keeping your blog for your “me” time. Like Natural said, it’s all about balance.

    Hi Hunter,

    That is one nice thing about a blog. You “have the floor” for however long you want. Then if someone wants to reply (comment), they can, and then you can reply by expanding on the topic, and create a two way conversation.

    Hi Ian,

    I would imagine a problogger feels more stress to blog based on their set schedule, and they know hundreds of thousands are anxiously waiting for that next post. That kind of pressure could easily cramp your creativity.

    Blogging can be tons of fun. I know you had a grand time with your left handed bloggers post. The comments took off and I could tell, you were enjoying the “debate”. :)

  10. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    You’ve hit on a good point. The internet is a great tool for those living in small communities. If your interests are different than those around you, all you have do is search online and find a blog or forum, and interacting with others who share the same interests is simple.

    Like you, I like to work in a quiet place. I know I will have distractions, but since those distractions pay the bills, I can easily tolerate them.

  11. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – that is a good point. Tolerating them is better than shooting them.

    I’m not patient enough sometimes. At coffee breaks and lunch breaks – I don’t mind people talking at all – I like it. But, when I’m working I hate it if I’m interrupted – especially if it’s a long story and sometimes I find myself saying “get to the point”.

    I do like people though and i do like seeing and talking to customers. But, if i have to get on with stuff, I prefer doing it alone.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Business Partnership – Is It Financial Suicide?

  12. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Don’t shoot them…unless you can have your laptop in jail and can continue blogging and sharing your insightful posts. :)

    Hmmm…do you think any bloggers are blogging from jail?

    I know when I’m in the middle of a mind boggling task (especially with the mechanics of my blogs), I like to stay focused…must be why I do most of that late at night when it’s quiet.

  13. I think that part of the loneliness stems how disingenuous bloggers can be for the sake of self-promotion. Because so much of our success depends on other bloggers linking to us, liking us, etc., people are often much nicer than they authentically feel. The top commenters at the biggest blogs are other bloggers, and they often lavish the author with praise because want Darren Rowse or Leo or any of the other top bloggers to like them. Chris Rock once said “no one knows who’s smart anymore, we just know who’s rich.” It would be inaccurate to say that in the blogosphere “no one knows quality anymore, we just know who has subscribers,” because that’s not true, but there IS a heck of a lot of pandering going on, and it makes you questions the sincerity of others some times. And insincerity precludes authenticity, and the lack of authenticity can make you feel lonely.

    Don’t get me wrong, fellow bloggers are some of my best friends, but there can be an ugly side as well. That’s all :-)

    Clay Collins | The Growing Life’s last blog post..The Opposite of Happiness is Boredom

  14. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    @ Clay – that sucks, but it happens an awful lot in the real world too. I’ve seen myself speaking to other folk in business. And you watch them suck up to a big client, then really slate them once their backs are turned.

    @ Barbara – that is an interesting thought. I wonder if there’s bloggers in prison. Some prisons must have Internet access because you read about women marrying prisoners they’ve met on the Internet.

    I think I’m going to look into that – it would be interesting to know.

    Hey – it would be funny if your new blogger of the week was a jailbird!

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Business Partnership – Is It Financial Suicide?

  15. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Clay,

    Isn’t that sad that people feel they have to suck up to big name bloggers just to be liked? (and it’s not like they will ever be real life friends) You have to ask, why can’t they just be themselves. I know I have been on Darren’s blog and on some posts every comment is “yes, yes, yes,…you’re right Darren.” If I disagree, I say so.

    With this blog, I have done a lot of disagreeing with the masses. I want my readers to gain knowledge and look at the aspects of blogging from all angles. Just because one person says it so, doesn’t make it the gospel. Many big name bloggers send the message “do as I say, not as I do” (link to my site, subscribe, leave a comment, and don’t forget to click on my ads).

    Yes Clay, “the lack of authenticity can make you feel lonely”. Very well put! Now we just have to work on helping others gain confidence and be authentic…..that’s where my challenge to JEMi comes in.

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m willing to bet there are prisoners who blog. Some have probably been reading your post about criminals and entrepreneurs

    You’ll have to let me know what you find out from your research.

  16. My “real life” friends don’t understand why I spend so much time blogging. So my normal social life is completely separate from my blogging social life. Fortunately I’ve found some wonderful bloggers to connect with.

    @Clay – The point of top commenters being other bloggers was something I always found interesting. It’s like going to a jazz club on a slow weeknight where the musicians are playing for other musicians because no one else is paying attention.

    sterling | bizlift’s last blog post..How To Travel & Work Remotely As A Couple

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sterling,

    Your comment made me think. If all of our friends had blogs, we would probably never see each other…except for in cyberspace.

  18. PrateeNo Gravatar says:

    I love reading your blog :). Why would bloggers be lonely or have ADD? Me for example, I blog from my phone and sometimes from the computer. Why do I blog? Or should I say why do bloggers blog? Cos their life is so wonderful that they want to share it with others.

    Pratee’s last blog post..Teen workout guide

  19. PrateeNo Gravatar says:

    BTW how to add this Gravavtar thing on to my site???

    Pratee’s last blog post..Teen workout guide

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Pratee,

    Welcome to my blog!

    Isn’t it great to share with others? I checked out your blog and it looks like it will be a great place for teens to gather.

    To get the gravators on your blog, check out a previous post of mine titled: How-to-get-andor-add-a-gravatar-to-your-post-comments

    I include a link to a plugin you can use.

  21. Beth TerryNo Gravatar says:

    I realize this post is fairly old, but I just discovered your blog tonight and wanted to chime in because I actually posted about this topic myself a few months ago:

    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger is about the loneliness of blogging and the pressures we feel. It adds more questions to the great list that you have come up with in your post and received 44 comments, which is a heck of a lot for my little blog. I think the reason the post was so popular was that the issue of blogging and loneliness and pressure resonates for a lot of people.

    I’d like to see more discussion of this issue as more newbies enter the blogosphere and as we get so wrapped up in the “reality” of the Internet that we forget about the reality of the natural world. How can we stay healthy in this digital age?

    I look forward to reading more of your posts and learning from the experiences that you have shared along the way.

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Beth,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    I just checked out your post. I love the questions you asked.

    Yes, blogging can be lonely, if we let it. It’s a matter of finding a balance that becomes key. Sometimes that’s tough as blogging does have an addictive nature to it.

    This is a subject I’ll be discussing more. Like you say, it is important.

    Have fun digging through the archives. Hope to be seeing more of you around BWAB.