Examining how to gain readership on a blog such as this has inadvertently gotten me to examine the broader notion of friendship. What is the singular component of every relationship that you have? Time. You give time, you spend time, you save time for what is important. Well these blogs have stats and they count the raw number of times someone stops by and I have become very hurt.
I started posting a daily blog on November 10, 2012. If you want to go back and catch up then get busy because I post a blog article each and every day and they tend to average over 500 words. Let’s put a time on that, like if you read fairly slowly then an article takes maybe 5 minutes to read, longer if it makes you stop and think, less if you just flow right through it. Five lousy minutes.
I was on two different social networks, Facebook and Google Plus. On Facebook I had 50 “friends.” Note the quotation marks. I am not quoting something I am using them to imply ironic sarcasm. Of these “friends” there are about three that have clicked on my regularly posted links to this blog. 50 people that I know in real life or are relatives I’ve never met. 3 people who have bothered to come here and so much as read an opening phrase to at least see what I’m doing here.
What am I doing here? I am pouring my heart out, I am using this as my total means of creative expression. I write opinions, I write feelings, I write fiction, I write poems, I learn/perform/record and post music, I write/record and post my own original music. My life, my heart, my soul, my best efforts are here and all you have to do is turn your head slightly and notice to make me feel as if I have communicated some essential part of myself. HOW DARE THEY NOT ONCE BOTHER TO TAKE 15 SECONDS to take a tiny little peek?
The hurt is subtle and deep and profound.
I left Facebook over an identity theft issue and in the process opened Pandora’s Box. For at least two weeks before actually leaving I posted a link to this blog and my article of the day. The hurt is tied to the stats WordPress provides in showing not only which country a visitor is from but also if they came via clicking a link or web search. So if someone comes to my blog I know only that they clicked a link, did a web search, came some other way I don’t know, and there are stats showing which country visitors came from. So if I have a dozen friends and relatives in, say, Spain and I never ever once get a visitor from Spain then I don’t really have to do a whole lot of thinking to deduce none of them ever bothered once.
What’s funny is that I have a policy with people who I see or associate with more than one time. I will watch one movie and read one book that they recommend. Naturally that goes to a song and a TV show but the “book and movie” is easier to say. So for anyone I know I will sit there and watch an entire movie no matter how much I don’t like the beginning and I will read through an entire book even if I dislike the opening paragraphs. I give time, I give attention, I give every opportunity to let someone else’s world become part of my own. Given all that, can you see my distress that someone I have known for years cannot follow a link and then click a little triangle and listen for a few seconds to the new music file I posted before determining they don’t like it? It is not too much to ask. It is an insult. It is a declaration that they cannot in any way be bothered with me and what I care about most and they can go to hell.
My wife dutifully reads my every blog article. Sometimes when I’m not sure I am effectively getting my point across she will stop what she is doing, read what I have done, and then make suggestions or give her stamp of approval. And I do the same for her with whatever she is doing whether I personally care about it or not. If that is not the sort of thing you will do for someone or that someone will do for you then you have nothing for each other and the charade should be ended.
You can look at yourself and your life as having two components, both precious and limited. There is your lifespan and there is where you focus your attention. The first is all you have and limits how much you have to give of the second. So you can only have time-based meaningful interaction with so many people.
I didn’t have 50 friends on Facebook. I do have a dear handful of people who were there and who stop by here when I am blessed enough to have their attention. Please understand how I treasure that, how it means the world to me, how my eyes are stinging as I write these words now.
It was an ugly thing finding a tool to measure a group of people as a means of discovering that most can’t be bothered with me at all. In this measuring I have also discovered you reading this now. I may not know your name or your face but still you have given me your two most precious things in all the world. You have given me your time and your focus and I dearly love you for that and you deserve every bit of it. Please keep that in mind as you gift your time and attention to others. It means everything.