Managing Expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about y’all this weekend.  Basically because I spent Friday evening and Sunday with some folks who just blew my mind, gave me so much to think about and mull over, and wonder about and be touched by and yet I didn’t breathe a word of it here.

I think there are a lot of ways that how I blog has changed.  I feel like I blog a lot less about the Butcher because I was starting to realize that y’all thought he was kind of a dink, based on what I say about him (obviously, if you know him in real life, you’re entitled to your own opinion about his dinkiness).  I mean, there are a handful of things that annoy me about the Butcher and a million things that I love.  And I’d come here, vent, and get over my annoyance at him.

That was useful to me, but not fair to him, because y’all never got to see the cool stuff.

On the other hand, I’ve shared a lot of stuff with you guys over the years that had really allowed me to come to terms with some stuff and come into my own as an adult person.

I’m still sore over an incident this spring in which a friend got pissed at me because she thought I was airing our dirty laundry in public without coming to her first.  I thought I was just venting about something I was being stupid about that wasn’t important enough to bother her with.

Different expectations.

In the past few weeks, I’ve heard from people who have taken me to task for what I present and the ways in which I present it.  I’m not trying to be passive aggressive by not mentioning their names.  For the sake of this discussion, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is how I feel about it.

And how I feel about it is that a lot of people have different ideas than I do about what’s appropriate and about whether they can attempt to hold me to their own standards and it ought to be obvious, to me, that we’re just having a disagreement.

But I’ve got to say that it sometimes knocks me off kilter.

Ugh.  I don’t know.  I feel like I’m not being very clear.

It’s just that I sense this change–whereas this used to be a blog whose audience was people I knew and then grew to be a blog whose audience also included people I hoped to know or could imagine knowing and I knew or learned, I think, how to understand that, we seem to have rounded another corner, where folks in the audience have expectations of me that I’m going to fail to meet–and it’s kind of scary for me.

There’s nothing to be done about it.

I just wanted to acknowledge that I feel like the dynamic has shifted again.  I don’t know what to make of it, but it’ll be interesting to see.

17 thoughts on “Managing Expectations

  1. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » I Feel Your Pain

  2. Interesting. I’ve been watching, somewhat detached, from the wailing about NiT. That the blog has been poorly managed of late, (really, since Brittney’s departure) is a given. But I was struck by the insistence that somehow this meant the demise of the community. Change is inevitable. At some point, Brittney would have moved on, whether to take her talents elsewhere, or because management decided they wanted new blood. I didn’t like the way the Station handled the whole affair, and said so, but the blog could have, and can still do what it was intended to do. All this talk of cliques vs. community seems to force people to declare their loyalties, and that, B, is an unfair expectation.

    To me, your blog stays interesting because you are interesting. Do I devour every post? Nope, sometimes the subject matter doesn’t interest me in the slightest. In my opinion, however, you have the most interesting commenters of any local blog. Sure, people bring certain expectations with them when they visit a blog, particularly when they think they know you. But after several years of reading TCP, I think I can safely say that many of your readers are drawn here by your transparency, even when it makes them slightly uncomfortable. I do my best to not let the fact that I know you, and am your friend, influence the way I read your posts, if that makes sense.

    I’ve seen “shifts” in mood or tone in other blogs, including my own, over the years, and it takes effort, but I try to embrace that fact. I think if you try to gauge the mood and write accordingly, you will find yourself trying to please an ever shrinking pool of readers. I’m not saying that is what you are doing, mind you, I’m just offering one perspective “in case.”

    Press on, B, at least you’ll never be tagged as a Mommy Blogger…

  3. I find I blog a lot less about people I know. The enthusiasm I had of meeting new bloggers and making new friends is still there.
    But, with meeting new people, there are different expectations.
    Over the past six months, as people I don’t know are reading newscoma, I have ventured away from some of the personal stuff.
    I felt like I had to. Taking mucho crap for calling my little burg Hooterville, as an example, with the natives of my community.
    Much to think about and wanted you to know, you aren’t alone in this.

  4. And how I feel about it is that a lot of people have different ideas than I do about what’s appropriate and about whether they can attempt to hold me to their own standards and it ought to be obvious, to me, that we’re just having a disagreement.

    But I’ve got to say that it sometimes knocks me off kilter.

    Having people look at you and see someone that doesn’t look/feel like you (to you) is really disconcerting. Blogging makes it more public, and, I suppose, makes it more common. Or at least potentially more possible. But it can raise fruitful question, too: does X see you out of focus because X sees everyone that way, or are you doing something you don’t realize that’s more like what X sees than you know? can you fix the misperceptions by presenting yourself more clearly? do you care? is something that Y thinks about you, that you don’t actually see in yourself, something you’d like to be? how can you make that happen?

    I’m not talking about changing your fundamental being in response to the perceptions of your readers. But you are a writer. And as a writer you adopt a persona or a bunch of them, and you want to write in a certain way or to create a certain reaction. And these things, it seems to me, are more subject to change.

    Because, frankly, your regular readers are either fine with the fundamental being that is revealed here, and only quibble with you (or cheer you on) about how you reveal it, or are so engaged with it/you in the sense of proving you wrong, that either way we’re going to keep on coming back for more. The expectation is largely that you be yourself, I think.

  5. Yeah, I think those are the questions and trying to figure out if and how to answer them is interesting to me. I think Mack’s right in that, if you chase readers, you will lose them. On the other hand, I don’t want to run around the internet inadvertently being a giant asshole (of course, I don’t mind being an ass if I intend to).

    It’s an interesting thing to observe, for sure.

  6. Now, gentlemen, there’s no need to fight. Either one of you can come up with fertile sperm, $50,000 a year to keep me living in a style in which I’d like to become accustomed to, and child support and you could sleep well at night knowing that at least one man on the planet made babies with me.

  7. FWIW–I was joking about the picture of Mack’s butt.

    FWIW II–It’s your blog, and people come here for you. I think we understand that the blog changes subtly as you change subtly. That’s the way with any good, reflective blog.

  8. I was joking about the shock and needing a whisky.

    I wasn’t being all “that shouldn’t be posted here.” Which I realise it might have come across as.

  9. Pingback: My Quiet Life » audience

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