These past couple of years, my blog has moved beyond a simple hobby for me and turned into something I genuinely want to foster and grow, not just as an outlet for myself, but as something I want other people to enjoy as well. My problem is that, to grow my blog any more, I’m going to have to start promoting it, something that the very nature of the internet itself has created an insurmountable roadblock that I’m not sure I can overcome.
My relationship with the internet, specifically with social media is a subject I’ve touched upon several times before. To put it simply, I’ve self conditioned myself to avoid contact with total strangers on the internet at all costs. This borne from some combination of a morbid fascination with reading comments on social media and seeing just how petty, combative and toxic total stranger will be with one another.
And also a crippling sense of self doubt and anxiety.
One of my major rules in this self conditioning is that I refuse to comment on statements I disagree with online. As much as I see comments I badly want to reply to, I know that getting dragged into an internet argument is quite possibly the most fruitless activity anyone can ever hope to participate in.
It’s an interaction with no positive outcome, only ever people getting angry and pushing their own opinions while vehemently ignoring any points made to the contrary, no matter how much logic, proof or basic empathy is there to prove them wrong.
Thus I have a fear of putting myself out there, because it feels like its just an avenue into welcoming attacks from people. Attacks based on anything and everything from disagreeing with your options to criticising the sound of your voice. Oftentimes feeling like the core message behind what you’re trying to say getting totally ignored in favour of throwing mud for the sake of throwing mud.
However, since the events of this year, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve tried much harder to question people who I encounter in real life when I hear them saying questionable things. I’ve also tired harder to not shy away from being “political” on my blog. I realise that I’m nowhere near popular enough for anyone to actually care about the things I say, especially for it to whip up into a shitstorm.
While I am trying harder though, I still have those same mental blockers in my brain that are stopping me from out out there and really trying to make my blog reach more people, because in my mind that would directly lead the situation I dread the most; putting myself into situations where I have to weigh in on a debate or justify my opinion, knowing for a fact that the person on the other end is almost certainly has zero intention of taking what I’ve said on board.
Which is a problem I feel is one of the worst things about the current state of people living in internet and “always connected” culture. We live in a time where self-reflection is almost non-existent. In a world everyone can find some online community that shares their outlook on life, any time someone might feel like their terrible opinion might be hurting other people, they have that refuge of shitty, like-minded people to go back to and reaffirm that basic human rights aren’t a given.
Thus I find myself in my current predicament. I have been trying so hard to reach out to more bloggers, make some kind connection and get my writing out there for more eyes to see, but I find it really difficult. And progress is slow. Mostly based on the irrational fear in the back of my head that by promoting my blog, I’m inviting more people to potentially dog pile onto me because they don’t agree with something I said.
Or searching out some horrible, offhanded tweet or facebook post I made over a decade ago when I was a less mature, less educated person. Something I hope doesn’t exist, but I know I was a very different person ten years ago and its certainly a possibility that I made some comment without truly thinking about what it could have meant.
Y’see, even now. My mind gets rolling with worst case scenarios. That last paragraph wasn’t in my brief, but I couldn’t help having the thought, thus the crux of the entire problem I’m having.
I think the internet is simultaneously an amazing and a terrible place. On some reflection, I think we would have been much better off without it on the whole. Yet, I do enjoy the avenue for a creative outlet it has provided me, in spite of my irrational concerns. The anime blogging community has been a constant source of positivity and support for one another I have found and have helped me gain that bit of confidence in reaching out and trying to grow my blog.
In the end, I feel like my personal biggest take-away from this post of self reflection should be that I need to just delete Twitter. I think I’d be much happier for it.