When I first started this blog, it was a private affair. I used this space as a place to deposit my vents, random thoughts and general musings on recovery. Still do. Except these days I ramble a whole lot more, which means I really need more editing, and/or get my act together. I also added pictures to break up the relentless amount of paragraphs that I was tossing onto the Interweb. But the idea was to just produce and reflect and share with full honesty. To tell on myself and not really care about any sort of backlash. To keep myself sane in some regards.
As I started to finally reach out to other (recovery) blogs, I found yet another venue where I wasn’t alone. I had my 12-step meetings and fellowship, and I now had my online community. I also joined up on other online arenas – 12-step forums, alcoholism sites, on-line sponsoring spaces, etc. I found that the immediacy and at-all-hours-fellowship was also a fit for my introverted nature. Working shift work like I do means that I don’t always have time to hit meetings, so online stuff is a right fit for this alkie. While it’s not the be-all end-all, it certainly does have a small place in my recovery. I also had the pleasure of sponsoring a man online, through Skype and email. And he made it to his amends and beyond, so that was a great feeling. So online has had it’s share of ups and downs.
Now of course, whenever there is interaction with other humans, regardless of the format, my ego likes to tag along. It likes to tell me things, whisper sweet nothings to me, play with me. It tells me that I am not good enough, or that I ramble too much, or that no one wants to read what I have to say. It also tells me (a rough and ragged two-sided coin) that I am very good at yakking, that I should be more popular, that I should have more followers, that I should have some sort of crowing achievement to hoist onto my mantle (if I had a mantle, that is).
This is the phase where I checked my stats like a madman. I saw who liked, who didn’t like, who commented, who didn’t comment, who followed, etc. I was like Madame Defarge, knitting my data and demography out to later spread on the table and to comb over with a magnifying glass. I was mapping out and compartmentalizing my ego’s excesses and demands. I was enjoying my reign in my little fiefdom, cutting and pasting people in and out of my tiny world. I was mad with power. Or just mad.
Quite sad and pathetic when I type it out like this now.
The one thing that certainly moved me was the increase in followers. Nothing said “I’m liked and accepted” by seeing yet another person start to follow the blog. Until I noticed it wasn’t people following anymore.
It was robots.
Robots started to see something in this blog and in the other million that they “follow”. Robots saw to it to attach themselves to this dull place like a remora to a shark. Why, I don’t know why. Why do they exist? The Interweb won’t tell me. It’s a secret I guess. They add nothing other than padding out the numbers. I wasn’t used to it. I tried to check out those so-called blogs they claimed to have, and found nothing but furniture showrooms, Romanian poets with two posts, empty About Pages, Indonesian re-bloggers who re-posted anything and everything, a whack of photographers, and some utterly strange sites which were run by anarchists or madmen. Or both.
So yeah, it was a shot to the ego. A well needed one. One of those “be careful what you wish for” moments. Empty digital promises. Stowaways who speak in 1’s and 0’s. Time thieves. So that pretty much killed the whole excitement about the blogging world, in terms of numbers and stats and all the unimportant things. I have tried to get them to “unfollow” or to block them, but they seem to march on. Part of me would like to know who are human readers in that big mix, but it’s probably better I don’t. It might wake up the ego again (well, not that he goes to sleep ever) and get me off into that whole comparison thing that I seem to default to often.
So to all of you 2400 robots out there (out of 2500 or so “followers”) who have attached themselves here, I thank you for “stopping by”. We all know that robots need love too.