In which I take my crate to Speakers’ Corner

Having written about “good books bloggers” and found that I do not belong to this category; having written about the E.M. Forster Syndrome of which  I suffer; I have looked at me and wondered what I could do with myself. But as I am not a nombrilist, I looked also at other bloggers and read the news of the week.

There were the “good book reviews” focused on the one book that had been read, not rambling and diverging or divagating. There were proposals for read-alongs of one writer for a year or less, with blogs reports. There were proposals of “challenges”: read as many books as you can within a thematic group.There was even a proposal for a readathon where you read as many books as possible in  a twenty-four hours span and report in a blog (or various blog entries – but this is less of an overview and less impressive).

And I thought about these blogs reports.

And my own blog entries.

And pondered. As usual.

Why do we blog?

We blog to share our own experiences with others. Fundamentally, we go to foray in the world around us, and then return home to tell the others what we have been doing and making and seeing and listening and reading and writing and thinking. This is for the one book review, for instance, but may cover knitting, sewing, cooking, going to a concert or an exhibition, etc.

Then we blog to share our own experiences with others within the same communal event. In the read-along , the challenge or the readathon, for example, people are invited to share what they have and thought of the books they have read in the frame of the “event”.

All right.

But questions: how do we share? Do we share?

There is what I shall call “the display” of the reading, which is the blog entry itself. Then there is the invitation for comments. But are there comments? Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no. When we are lucky there is almost a wealth of long comments to which it is a pleasure to answer – even if they disagree with our statements or opinions. They are a kind of communication and discussion, mostly a tête à tête between the blogger and one reader at a time, but there might happen, with luck, that another reader takes up the ball and the duo becomes a trio, less often a quatuor.

Most bloggers incite and invite comments by publishing on Facebook or Google or other social media in order to increase their readership. But the answering remains what I have described for the blog entry.

When really lucky, the blogger is  mentioned in other blogs or on others’ Facebook pages or social media communications.

I know of one communal effort: three, four or five bloggers unite to define a theme they will carry on during one week, and that each will treat as she/he will like most. But apart from the common theme, the “display” and answers remain the same as described before.

Of course, all this remains most of the time in a little world well circumscribed in what is called the “Blogosphere”. Unless the blogger benefits from a wider range of means to reach a broader readership: reading groups, friends, and, if pushy, a dazzled network of bloggers plus publishers who will work hand in hand with him/her to promote their products.

Therefore the blog and the act of blogging are mainly solitary pursuits. We try to reach the others across the void of distance and time, as some of us do have archives extended on several years. But we never know if we have reached them really and, most of all, there is no real communication. Are we friends or foes? Neither. We are entities with or without a voice (some bloggers have no recognazible voices), with or without a history and an environment. Sometimes then we are half human beings, sometimes just “bloggers” without a personality.

But each of us takes his box and regularly tries pathetically to reach out towards the external world like the speakers at Hyde Park in Speakers’ Corner.

This is what I have done right now, standing up on my upturned soap crate, trying to make my voice heard among others while you were passing by us, passing by me, stopping to listen for a while. Thank you to have remained until the end of my speech. And please, do comment!

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10 thoughts on “In which I take my crate to Speakers’ Corner

  1. Camlle, the blogosphere is a baffling place! I have gone through all kinds of emotions: enjoying “reviews” of out-of-print books, socializing with bloggers who are in online book groups, feeling a little sad when a blogger promotes too many free books from publishers, understanding the pressure they under to like those books, and wondering what the heck all those read-alongs and challenges are about! I actually enjoy book discussions online, but couldn’t bloggers set up a chatroom for a discussion as well as blogging? Certainly the “community” of bloggers could be strengthened. I enjoy blogs and try to support them by leaving comments, but I must also admit that I do not write the most interesting comments! As as for tweets, forget it! I write too long….!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see that we also agree about tweets… I would like to find chatrooms to talk about books but it seems that we are going mmore and more towards reduced moments of attention. In other words, I mean that people cannot pay attention for a long time be it to a TV programme ( one hour or one hour and fifteen minutes in France when there is publicity inserted; three quarters of hour without publicity), to a converation, to reading, to school classes, and so on. Things must move on. People must move on. It is like a race. I don’t know why and towards where and what. My Girls cannot be hurried: they are slow and this has infuriating me until I have discovred that I had no reason to hurry and could take time (reasonably, of course). But in this race, people have no time to relate for long with others, even for a comment or to answer a comment. List servs were some sort of chatroom: they are more and more deserted. I have a Facebook page but with avery few “friends” (40). Twenty are active and “friends” with conversation off the page by e-mail or on skype. I weed out the others little by little. The active twenties are at least 40 and often retired people – no one my age: we are not on the same wavelength and they would send short cryptic messages. There can be strong relationships on the net but as in real life it takes time. Unlike real life, we are far apart and we only know parts of each others. So I do not expect too much and am grateful when I meet you or one or two persons like you: without the net and without blogging, we would have never met!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I loved my book groups online but they seem less popular than they were even five years ago. I don’t quite know where people have gone. I know that feeling of hurrying and needing constant stimulation. Things used to be slower, and it is always a good thing to slow down. “Managing” our time on the internet is important, but there is so much there it is hard to stop. My mother used to say, “Where do they have to be?” everyone hurried away from lunch at the assisted living facility. Yes, you and i agree on a lot though we live so far away! Oh, dear, it’s a pity it’s hard to meet people your age online! I’m in a fog about Facebook and Twitter (that one I don’t understand at all!) Actually, it does seem to me that the people I’ve met face-to-face online have been 40 or older. At Goodreads I do think there are some younger ones in the groups. It might be hard to find a group you like, but you might like it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It is no great problem to discuss with “older” people: I am probably “older” myself de to circumstances of life and I find it rich in knowledge and experience and I learn. I shall have a look at these Good read book groups. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the things I like about book blogging is that there is no right or wrong way to blog – it’s up to each individual blogger to decide what they are happy with. Some of us enjoy taking part in challenges and readalongs and some don’t; some are comfortable with using social media and some aren’t. When I first started blogging six years ago I felt overwhelmed by it all, but now I only participate in the challenges and events that really interest me and the rest of the time I just read whatever I want to read. It’s nice to be able to communicate with other bloggers, though, because as you’ve said, reading and blogging can be lonely pursuits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading and writing are in their essence solitary or lonely pursuits – except when you are read to by somebody besides you (like a child being read to by his ot her parents). There are lots of books about the act of reading; I am thinking of George Steiner or Alberto Mangel, for instance. Writing is to cure oneself or to get some pleasure and may be left as solitary when it comes to a diary. But it is mostly to be read and therefore to reach out across time and space as reading is to reach somebody’s mind and feelings and thoughts across time and space. Blogging is ephemral of course but comments are there to sketch a move towards the others: the blog is mostly done to be read, otherwise why not keep a diary?
      As to challenges and all these things, I – but it is a personal opinion and I understand that it is not to be shared by all – think that they are mostly gimmicks and that bloggers do not really talk to each others: they use a common denominator to display their readings. Why not? It is only not my cup of tea.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve questioned “Why would I want to blog?” and then once entered into the fray,, “Why do I continue blogging?”After months of writing, posting, reading other posts, and commenting, I can truthfully state, “I blog because of the people who have become real to me through their words and illustrations.” It’s almost as if they live next door and come to visit me in my kitchen to inquire how I am and what I am doing. I understand how my experience could have gone in a different direction, but am satisfied that it took the path it did. And that has made all the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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