We’ll start with the north and south poles—those who read lots of blogs and those who read almost none at all. By their request and my own, we are keeping the names of specific blogs out of it. Enjoy.
Ms. 99/41 is my friend Anita Yoder, also a blog writer. She initially commented—
I read blogs because they give me reading material and inspiration. I live in a non-English speaking country and if I don’t read, I feel I will die. I follow blogs that are sparkly and alive, honest but kind and modest, and brave enough to push boundaries to say things as they are.
Anita, you were so brave to post as 99/41; I like that about you. Is 99 a real number? You didn’t pull it out of your hat?
99 is what Feedly says I read. I have very few blog posts come via email because I don’t like a cluttered inbox. Having a blog reader keeps all my sources in one place. (I still grieve Google Reader.)
Aren’t you tempted to make it an even 100?
It’s possible that it’ll be 100 next week if I notice especially good writing somewhere.
I know you, and your interest in the stories of others has always inspired me. But how do you deal with blogging nonsense—the worthless, the offensive, or the repetitive? Are you ever disgusted…
Yes, I’m disgusted frequently. That’s what the ‘unsubscribe’ button is good for.
…Or jealous, or competitive, as you move about in the blogging world? You seem almost immune.
You honor me with the word “immune” because that’s how I want to be. I try hard to know and be true to my ‘me’ and I also know that falsification and showmanship is so ugly and repulsive. I don’t have anything to prove, so that gives me a lot of freedom. There’s a blog speak out there that is cheesy and saccharine, and some people like that, but I don’t talk that way so I don’t see why I should write it. I’m not interested in being artificial just to gain more readers. But sometimes I do wonder what it would take to see my stats go up.
I know you also read many books. How do you find the time?
I wonder sometimes if I read so many books, or if I just talk about them so much that people think I read a lot. ‘Many books’ is relative. I read in most every spare minute, and always, always at least 10-15 min–sometimes an hour– before going to sleep. I always have at least 2 or 3 books going simultaneously. When I don’t have something meaningful to read, something inside me dies.
What are your favorite ways to keep up with friends and connect with people?
Over coffee or tea in real-time, of course. Blogging for me isn’t so much a way to connect as it is a way to communicate. It gives the exhorter/teacher in me a chance to tell the world what I’ve just seen. Living at great distance from many of my friends has made cyber connections valuable, and I’ve been hugely blessed by blog connections. But a blog is too public to feel very personally meaningful to me, so emails and chats and Facebook messages are my choice of connection with friends. Apart from the timeless value of letter or card.
Mr. 1/1? My man Ryan Zook, who commented–
I only follow one blog because I have a secret crush on its author. She’s honest and articulate and creative and beautiful and she thinks I’m crazy. So.
(You are crazy. No argument there.) Why don’t you read more blogs? Do they bore you? Disgust you? You just have other things to do?
I find very few blogs that consistently suit my interests. Blogs that would interest me are topical or technical. I find them when I search for key phrases or when others link to them on social media. I have followed many blogs that eventually lose my interest. I never read mommy blogs or foodie blogs. I cannot stand blogs that need a good copy editor.
Do you read much otherwise? Good books, news, comic sections of newspapers?
I read news and opinion editorials in the Washington Post daily. I enjoy classics and some more modern fiction and nonfiction. For work I read and write so much email in a day that I get tired of receiving one more blog notification that begs my attention.
What are your favorite ways to keep up with friends and connect with people?
I use social media and email to keep up with some friends. They help me to reconnect in person after we’ve been apart for a while. I think things might be different if a bunch of distant friends blogged about their lives. I might be more interested.
And Ms. 1/1 is my friend Rebekah Miller, who commented:
As one of your former mentorees, I love “watching” you engage with life on this blog. You come across as authentic, caring, and delightful. I also read blogs that my friends recommend on Facebook, but not regularly.
So good to hear from you! though you were kinder than I deserve. Is there a reason you don’t read more blogs?
Good question. I don’t have a top-of-the-head answer, so after scratching the head a bit, I’ll give you an example. I’ve often seen links on facebook to [a popular blog by a male author]. I usually read it, but thinking about following his blog regularly just makes me tired. [A popular blog by a female author] is another one that I enjoy reading when I see it linked, but there again I can’t find much joy in becoming a regular. It has something to do with knowing or having known someone personally. There’s a level of trust that comes from knowing you, and knowing the direction of your heart.
I’m not sure how this makes sense with the fact that I like to keep up with facebook, and spend way too much time there.
Do you read much otherwise?
Oh goodness do I ever! In a recent come-to-Jesus meeting with my husband, he revealed that he sees reading as an out-of-place top priority in my life. I can get wrapped up in a book and happily forget all else. Wintertime especially is my time to read, and our local library has a program called “Blind Date with a Book” during the month of February. They wrap books in Valentine’s paper, put little book reviews on the wrapping, and then I get to pick my “date.” Also, I get entered into a drawing for free stuff if I read these books. What Mennonite wouldn’t love this? I’ve had some real [yikes] humdingers come from these, but I’ve also discovered a few authors that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
My last selections from the library included a book about the stock market, a comic book about Jews in Nazi Paris, two books about growing plants, and a novel from a New York Times bestselling author.
I am also reading through the Bible this year, and learning many disturbing things from the OT. I am loving Jesus in the NT.
I could go on and on about books and what I am learning from them. I love filling my husband’s ears with everything I’m gleaning.
I know you well enough to know you’re good in relationships. What are your favorite ways to keep up with friends and connect with people?
I connect with my oldest friends by doing Saturday morning breakfast every now and then. I love having coffee and then working out with friends I’ve made at my job. Recently the young married ladies from church spent an afternoon in Cleveland shopping, eating at a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant, and then enjoying scrumptious desserts at a little cafe. Also recently, a dear dear friend from Kansas and I spent time at a coffee shop talking for hours. When my dear dear friend from Ohio was still here, we used to go to coffee shops, or go to gardens for solitude and sharing. I just spent a lovely week in Charleston connecting with my friend-for-a-lifetime.
After writing this, I have a smile on my face, realizing how richly blessed I am with relationships. Perhaps one reason why I don’t follow many blogs is because I don’t have a context for doing so in relationship… Quality time speaks the most to me.
Kudos to these brave folks!
Any common themes you hear yet? Questions you want to ask?