A week or so ago, I decided to post on a Japanese forum an observation I made about learning Japanese. Some people agreed, some people didn’t. I expressed the opinion that I was posting in order to share an observation that I made, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t really interested in whether or not people agreed with me. I said that I would trust my sensei over a bunch of random people on the Internet. Someone responded, “then what’s the point of discussing?” I said that if the intent was to change minds, then I guess there wasn’t one. Not long after that I muted the post and have not engaged on it since.
This is why I suck at blogging and pretty much every other form of Internet community. At the end of the day, I simply don’t care what other people think and am not particularly interested in engaging with them.
I watch a lot of YouTube, though recently I’m trying to cut down on that becuase it’s pretty rotten for my mental health. But many of the YouTube folks let their commenters drive their channel. “Would you like to see something different?”, they say. “Comment down below!”. Now on the one hand, I see that for what it is – a cheap way to gain engagement. But on the other hand, it means that the channel is chaff before the wind, going whichever way the wind blows. That works for many creators, but not for me. I want to post about what I want to post about, and while I certainly don’t mind people expressing their opinion, I’m not really too interested in wasting my time discussing opinions I’ve likely already considered and dismissed. I love unique and well thought out opinions – truly I do. I rarely find them.
One could say this is selfish, but then you’d misunderstand my motivation for posting on forums and blogging in the first place. It’s not to convince, it’s not to show people how smart I am, it’s not to shove ideas down peoples’ throats. It’s to share. I like to be helpful, I like to contribute to the marketplace of ideas, I like it when someone says “I’d never thought of that before”, and goes off and integrates that thought into their life. And I like it when someone intelligent comes back with something I hadn’t thought of before. That does happen, and I really value that. But I hate inane, not well thought out comments that contribute nothing to the discussion or attempt to discuss me out of something I’ve already spent a lot of time and effort thinking about by using arguments I’d already considered and dismissed a long time ago.
But I fear this comes across as arrogance I had a commenter a long time ago say something like “you really don’t seem to want comments”. I’d argue against that statement, but weakly, because it’s not entirely wrong. I like engagement, but I don’t care about engagement. And that is why, after nearly 200 posts, this blog only gets a few views per day. It’s because I make zero effort to help people find it, to engage with people, or to do anything but share whatever random thought pops into my head at random intervals.
And that is why I suck at blogging. Because while I value the readers (and I truly do, particularly the ones that take the time to like or comment on the posts!) I don’t make much effort to gain or keep readers. So I have no influence. And quite frankly, I don’t mind that at all. Influence comes at a cost I’m not sure I’m wiling to pay.