Writing a blog over a span of time presents challenges if you are an introvert, or if you have any expectation of personal space. I am one such introvert, but I’m writing below in the second person (“you”) for fellow introverts who may blog or write and have similar experiences.
Let’s say you’re an introvert who comes out of the cave only on occasion. Who seeks balance between extremes. Who weighs rationality and emotion, objective fact and subjective experience, isolation and socialization. You write because you need and want to write — not professionally, not for fame, likes, shares, profit, followers. You know you’re a multifaceted being, with more than one interest. You chose a blog for that writing because it’s simple to keep your stuff in one place. Your essays typically are longer than Facebook users want to read, and far too long for Twitter. Plus, trolls and haters run rampant on both those platforms. You prefer to write for like-minded readers in smaller numbers. You don’t want to grant full access to entire population of the planet.
You start out OK. You get a bit of feedback that a handful of people have read and enjoyed one or two of your posts.
Then your posts get shared on other platforms, and before too long, all hell breaks loose. Over several years, what proves to be your most popular post is a rant, written to blow off steam. It is not by any means your best writing. Oddly, readers come to believe that’s all you are. That one post.
You, in essay: “I am focusing here on Issue A, from the perspective of my experience, research, and the experience of people I’ve worked with. This essay cannot be all things to all people. It’s somewhat focused, somewhat narrow. While issues B through Z exist and are valid issues, trying to address them all in one essay dilutes the focus on Issue A. Some of this is documented, and I’ve shared the documentation. Some of it is my observation alone. You should be able to tell the difference.”
Most of your readers see where you’re going, and decide either to read along, or not. You get a few comments: “thanks,” “that was thought-provoking,” “I can relate.”
But inevitably, trolls pop up like dandelions, like fire ants after a rainstorm. You start to get a few of these:
Comment 1: “But what about issues G and T? That’s what you should be writing about.”
Comment 2: “No one gives a shit about issue A.”
Comment 3: “My experiences with Issue A are totally different from yours; therefore, you must be wrong. Oh, and you’re also ugly, stupid, and you dress funny.”
Comment 4: “Issue A doesn’t exist in my region. It must be a problem only for you stupid Southerners. Therefore Issue A does not exist.”
Comment 5: “I like your avatar photo. Are you single?”
Comment 5b: “Your avatar photo is dumb. Why do you have purple hair?”
Comment 6: “This story reminds me of my aunt’s boyfriend’s cousin’s cockapoo back in 1958 in Fresno. It did backflips for cocktail weenies. I miss that dog.”
Comment 7a: “Can you crosspost this blind, diabetic, dog-aggressive, one-legged ‘Pit’ mix with cancer in Chicago? He’s gonna be murdered by the horrible, heartless subhumans at the shelter in an hour.” [string of emojis follows]
Comment 7b: “Can you take my dog?”
Comment 8: <spam self-promotion>
Comment 9: “Why aren’t you writing about dog rescue? No one wants to read about your political crap, about nature, about middle age… and no one reads poetry. Even if I did, I can’t stand that puerile garbage you write.”
Comment 10: “This is SO-O-O-O negative. YOU are the problem.”
Comment 11: “I agreed with/liked this right up until you said ____. It’s obvious you SUCK, and know nothing about ____. I’m sharing this all over with my opinion so all my friends can scoff at you. And I’m unliking/unfollowing you and you can go to hell. But I’m gonna Google you to see if there’s any manure I can spread.”
Comment 12: “Whoever wrote this never responds to my comments. WTF is wrong with you?” (i.e., “I DEMAND your attention.”)