Take a Hike Like

I decided to remove the “Like” button from my posts. I know this will be Earth-shattering news for my legion fans around the world. Sorry tumbleweed, sorry crisp packet – you’ll both get over it in time.

Along the way I’ve noticed a couple of blogs with the like button removed and something’s been building inside me that just culminated in a chiming epiphany in my gut. An equation that wouldn’t balance, an itch I couldn’t scratch, a stone I couldn’t get out of my shoe.

Let me explain. I came here after quitting a poetry website because it gradually became about everything except the damn poetry. It became about how many friends you had, who liked your posts, who left comments and this overarching tacit expectation that you would do the same back for them. All of that stuff became currency, and it became a trading platform. Who did this serve? Did it make us better poets? Hell no! It served the people who ran the poetry website as a profit-making business. It generated more content, to get people spending more time on their site, to get those people more invested in the hierarchy of the site, to get people hooked on what they were selling. Hoisted by their own petards.

Now it’s not the same deal here, clearly, but it’s not a million miles off either. Within this WordPress closed loop, I see many of the same behaviours playing out, and I myself have fallen back into that same old frame of mind that stunk up the poetry website for me. I can totally see how this reciprocation deal is a natural, maybe even inevitable, evolution in such a place. I can see how it works for people who make a living out of blogging. I get that – people pay attention to all that stuff so you need to get those numbers up. It’s simple marketing for business. I’d be aiming to do exactly the same thing in your shoes. Who knows, one day maybe that’ll be me. Who can say. It’s just not what I’m here for at the moment.

I came here to write, to create, to put stuff out there. If I had more time, I’d happily sit and read through other people’s stuff too – it’s good for an aspiring writer to do that – but for reasons I won’t go into here, I have very limited time these days. Hell, I can’t even justify the time I’m spending writing posts here any more, let alone reading others. It’s certainly not the way I’d like it to be but it’s just the way it is. To compound the problem I have problems surrounding OCD and reading/comprehension and some days reading is a hell of a challenge for me. So this reading reciprocation deal quickly becomes “a thing”, a kind of phobia I get stuck on. I don’t want to fake reads or likes – I despise that kind of deception – it’s too cynical and disrespectful to whoever’s poured a part of their soul into it. Yet, the way things have been going, with limited time and a head full of worry, that is exactly the corner I’m gradually getting painted into. And it’s making me very uncomfortable.

Take yesterday – no seriously take her! Damn I guess that joke only works for mothers-in-law.

Anyway, take yesterday: I expended so much time and energy trying to reciprocate a few reads and wot not, that it knocked out the plans I had to do some writing after that. I hated myself for that.I had set yesterday aside for writing especially. But my head was simply too fried to do any writing after that, so I had to do some chores instead cos it was all I was good for. Well I am simply no longer in any kind of position to let that happen any more. I’m losing a streetfight against the clock here. There’s much work to be done and I need to get it done yesterday if you get my drift. I’m my own worst enemy and I need to be brutal and remove all obstacles in my way if I’m to even stand a chance of accomplishing it.

I’ve encountered some lovely people here, and I’m blown away by the intelligence and passion in people’s writing; the unusual places and experiences, the beautiful poetry and prose; the humour and pain. These blogs are like gardens we tend. I wish I was rich and could take time to stroll through all your gardens at my leisure; to be present and smell the flowers; to leave an expression of my gratitude behind when I leave. But I’m not and I can’t. God knows I’ve tried. It just doesn’t add up though. Something’s got to give. And what’s been giving up till now are things that ought to be at the top of my list of priorities. And that leaves me feeling just horrible. So I cannot carry on that way.

So, no more. It was either remove the like button, or remove the blog. And frankly, I fear for tumbleweed’s spiritual welfare if I do that – he’s had a hell of a rough year as you know. He needs this. Hang in there T – we’re all prayin’ for ya.

And by the way, if you’re one of those people I failed to like back etc, I’m truly sorry about that. I always meant to, I leave those people’s blogs open ready to read when I next get a chance. But I don’t always make it. Then the computer or browser crashes and I lose them. I’m just not very good at all this shit is what it comes down to. Add a liberal sprinkling of pressure and obligation and … forget about it. I’m sorry anyway for what it’s worth.

So the like button’s gone. If you made it to the end of this post I’m impressed. Cos it smacks of onanistic manufactured drama from where I’m sitting, and I’m a big fan of mine. So Christ only knows how it must look from your point of view.

Good talk – carry on.

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