Saturday, August 17, 2013

Like me, please.

copyright 08/17/2013

No I'm not talking about those little "like" boxes you see on Facebook and showing up everywhere else now.  Not yet anyway.  I'm talking about things we want.  If  your thinking food, sex, booze, drugs...no, none of those.

The one thing all of us humans want and I never hear anyone talking about is approval.  Yep, approval.  And it is certainly not the same for people.  I would go so far as to say there are not any two people in this world whose approval needs are the same.  Oops, I said needs, didn't I?  The thing is, theoretically  we don't need approval.  We need food, shelter and clothing.  The trouble is, in our society how we get those three needful things, is approval.  That's the rub.  That's where we have to do a lot of things we really don't want to do.  And most of the time we have to try to get liked before we get approval.  And getting liked is tricky because it is really easy to convince ourselves we like something just because we don't hate it.  And it is even easier if someone says, please!

You are probably thinking I'm putting way too much importance on this like thing.  Oh yeah?  Given a choice between two candidates, how many employers hire the guy they like the least?

This approval thing begins early in life.  Because once we get big enough to realize there is something more to living than our belly and our butt, whether we are too cold or too hot, we want entertainment.  It is not hard to imagine us parents thinking this, "okay kid you can have that toy if you're good and maybe, just maybe you can have it anyway just because I like you."

Al Capone said, "You can get some of what you want with a kind word but you can get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun."  I'm going to paraphrase and apply it this way, "You can get some approval by doing only what you want to do, but you can get a lot more by doing things you don't want to do."  And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, little kids figure it out.  It is just not conscious in our minds, at least it wasn't in mine until I began thinking about this blog.

Now the question becomes so what?  We have to do things we don't want to do.  That's not news.  Maybe it kind of is.  How many of us have done things we regretted later?  And often it begins with something trivial.  It starts out by clicking like on Facebook or Google+ to some stranger because you don't want to hurt her feelings.  First thing you know you are in a conversation with this person you really don't want to talk to and she is online every time you log in!  And she has friends!  Oh jeez.

But all kinds of things happen.  I decided to begin blogging and thought I would spend maybe an hour or two each day on it.  So I began and nothing happened.  No one read it.  I told myself that didn't matter.  I had begun the blog for several reasons and approval had nothing to do with it.  But it did.  Because why was I  looking at those stats?  We can't get away from that damn approval.  We seek it in about everything we do.

I've spent a couple days working on this thing and at least 50% of the time I thought I would never publish it.  Mainly I kept writing to get a handle on what I was doing as a new blogger.  How had it gotten out of control?  Because it had.  I was spending much more time on it than I had intended and a lot of that time was reading other blogs.  And the reason, honestly, get those stats up!  Of course I did find blogs that I really liked but I found a lot that didn't exactly crank my tractor.  And then I realized that sometimes, approval, as much as we like it, isn't worth the cost and it doesn't matter if it is blogging or some other endeavor.  So how many "like" boxes are checked or how many followers I have is a whole lot like money.  I will never know when I have enough but I will know the cost is too much if I get to thinking like me, please.

23 comments:

Kenneth Noisewater said...

In my experience in blogging, having 40 comments is pretty fun, but what's more important is seeing what the 4 or 5 regulars have to say. I'm a regular here from now on.

David Oliver said...

As soon as I read this, I thought, "Kenneth is right." It is the people you've come to expect will comment and you look forward to reading their blog as well. You can count on seeing my comment over at your place too.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Blogging is pointless without readers - you may as well write a private diary if no one is reading your blog. I agree with you about only commenting on blogs you enjoy reading, but what I've found is that most blogs are discontinued after a few years. Hence the need to replace old friends with new ones.

David Oliver said...

Here I'm going to say you are 100% correct. When I first began this blog I was thinking I would create the blog just to leave a record to my grand kids of what I thought about and such. That lasted about a week. It's like talking to yourself.

As soon as people whose blogs I liked and respected began commenting on mine, I was hooked. And I got a little carried away - maybe a lot. Anyway, I'll freely admit I've got an addictive personality so I had to do some thinking about how I was going to get a handle on this and that led to a bigger picture.

About the new friends, yeah it took a few days for me to even find a blog that was active. And I think at some point I will run out of something to say but I'm thinking I will keep reading because when I see a new post from you and others on my link list, it brings on a smile.

Carol In Cairns said...

Mr Oliver, I couldn't have said it better if I had written it myself. No seriously, you said it much better than I ever could. Well done :). LIKE your style.

Carol In Cairns said...

Ooh, just noticed I am no longer in your junk drawer. My apologies if I have offended you in some way. I had noticed you hadn't been to visit for a few days.

David Oliver said...

Thank you.

David Oliver said...

The "thank you" was for the first comment. Blogger doesn't do everything right.

For your second comment this:
Carol, I'm sorry but wanting to limit my time reading blogs, it occurred to me I was following two "Australian" blogs. By that I mean two blogs that are very often about Australia. I love Australia but I couldn't justify following two blogs about it. Since my internet usage has a cap on it, I chose the one that has the least embedded videos.

Helsie said...

I understand exactly what you are saying David. I have been blogging for a few years now and have a few blogs that I visit daily and a few that I used to visit but have lost interest in a bit lately. Some I keep returning to out of loyalty and yes it does take a fair bit of time but I love that I have all these new "friends" all over the world. I love the insights blogging gives me into the lives of people who are the same but different.... and I know also how earerly I look for comments on my own blog and how disappointed I am when the response is only a few but then I don't always leave a comment on the blogs I visit either. Looking at the stats I can see that 90 people have visited some days but that means nothing beside the "conversations" I have with my regular pals.

Andrew Leon said...

Have you ever heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Having the basics taken cared of is just he beginning for us humans.

Should Fish More said...

I think the dictum of only commenting on blogs one likes is a good one; it usually accomplish's nothing to make a negative or critical comment. I used to read a certain fishing blog by a woman writer, it's now largely inactive. She had a lot of 'followers', and a post would generate up to 100 comments. I once suggested in a comment she just post a picture of a stick and she'd get upwards of 50 comments. Most of them were of the gushing variety (the comments) about what a great writer she was, and how she touched people's soul. Her writing was the genesis of my 'Hemingway' post. Anyway, I got a rather frosty reply to my comment.

Yes, you're correct about the necessity of being 'liked', at least to some extent. For a lucky few, simple competence at one's work, or good looks, will make up for it. At least a little. I was lucky to have a job I really liked, but like any job it had it's tedious moments, politics of academia and medicine are alive and well. Having a healthy ego helps too.

I have no idea about why I blog. A large part is it's something to fill slack time, retirement can generate a lot of that for me. I expect the few readers I have find me alternately boring and irritating, I don't follow my own advise of long ago to my kids: think first, talk afterwards.

cheers

David Oliver said...

Helsie, everything you said hit home to me. Your last blog on Australia's "big things" I really liked and here is why I didn't comment. Often I'll zero in on some particular thing on a blog and just can't get past it. The spider on the outhouse. I liked it so much but the only thing I could think to say was a snarky comment. Being kind of new to your blog and also knowing (as I've learned) talking to someone in another country is not exactly like talking to your neighbor, I was afraid I would hurt your feelings or some of your readers.

David Oliver said...

Andrew, I have not but I'm surely going to look it up today!

Since we are talking quite a bit about comments...I'll say about your blog I almost always comment. The few times I don't is when you talk about movies I haven't seen or books I haven't read. And since I want to be honest, we have a little bit different taste in things and it's the ones I think I will never watch or read.

David Oliver said...

One of the things I like about the English blogs is they are great at the snarky comments. It is just fun. I don't see why you should have gotten a frosty comment about the stick. If anything it was a criticism to the people commenting, not the blogger. But you know we don't always understand the intent of what's being said. As interesting and fun as this is it is not easy if you want to climb out on a limb and shake some fruit off. You never know if the limb is going to support your weight or you're just going to fall off.

Sometimes you just take a chance and hope for the best.

About your blog, I think you know but I'll quote Kenneth here and say I'm a regular.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I probably have a bit different taste than most people.

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

I think the trouble arises when we start to think that approval is whole enchilada. I've gone a little overboard myself with the blogging thing and become obsessed with getting my numbers up. Kind of silly.

David Oliver said...

Well Elliot, after reading your blog, at 65 I'm wondering how I'm still alive! Oh yeah, now I remember. I like living. Really though, your concern over your nether regions withstanding, in my little world Pickleope is queen of satire and I think I just found the king. Thanks for stopping by and I'll be following your blog as you are an extraordinary writer.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I like your philosophical approach, David. You make me think. Admittedly, I obsess over my blog numbers. Yet I started blogging to put some of my writing out there for the world - with no expectations about the connections I'd make and comments I'd receive. Once I started connecting, it became (and remains) an addiction. But it's one I'm good with and happy about. My blog network is a significant part of my life. I want it to keep growing, but not into the 4-digits. I don't see how people with that many followers can maintain quality connections with bloggers.

Didn't mean to ramble so much.
Be well.
xoRobyn

David Oliver said...

Robyn, you didn't ramble. Like you when I first began blogging and getting interesting and funny comments and then I saw a stat that said 92 hits, I thought, "woh!" This is so great. And I still think it is. But being a single guy with a house and a yard and lots of other hobbies, 24 hours is not even close to enough time in a day. I think as long as we are satisfied with the time spent, that is all that matters because this is certainly a worthwhile pursuit.

About connecting with your readers, I absolutely agree. I will always reply to comments if I can. But that doesn't mean I have to have mine addressed when I read other bloggers. I appreciate it when they do but if they don't especially if they are using software that doesn't allow individual post replies or if they have lots of comments, I don't think anything of it. However, I admit if I've posted to a blog and it has, say three comments and the blogger has replied to only one or two of them, it bugs me.

And you know I'm a regular on your site. Also just because I didn't mention your book doesn't mean I didn't notice or won't remember. I am a horribly slow reader and have a stack of things waiting on me. That doesn't mean I won't ever get to it.

A Beer For The Shower said...

We're too "big" now to follow, read, and comment on every single blogger that reads us. It's just not possible to read and comment on almost 2000 blogs. We'd never accomplish anything. So we only read the ones we want to (this blog most certainly included). Just remember that readership goes beyond Blogger. I see Blogger people as my friends - the people I really connect with. When I stop by (like here), it's to actually leave a well thought out comment after reading the post. Not to drop by and say, "Great post!" like an empty-headed idiot. And I've got to tell you, the fact that I never see any of those brainless, I-clearly-didn't-read-this-post comments here says a lot about your blog.

Also, keep in mind on our end that 90% of our readers are just regular Internet users who stop by to read, don't leave a comment, don't expect anything back, etc. So what I'm saying is, keep growing your blog and eventually you won't have to read or comment back. Only if you want to.

David Oliver said...

If I saw you on the street, I would say, "hey" and want to know how you're doing. If I saw you in a bar, I would want to buy you a beer - if the line wasn't too long. :)
So yeah, I think of everyone I've met and like as friends too.

I always try to write a comment that I think the blogger will like because I know it took a lot of effort to produce a good blog. One that entertains me, makes me laugh or makes me think or both.

I'll take to heart what you said about growing my blog. I appreciate the time you took to say it. You know I'm a big fan of your blog and I'm liking "The Missing Link" a lot too.

troutbirder said...

That's all pretty a pretty normal experience for new bloggers. For the long run though (years actually) you actually have to like to write. Then your find a few blogs that you really enjoy and keep going. Or get tired of it all, it becomes work and then you give it up....

David Oliver said...

The voice of experience. Thanks TB. I'm writing a blog now. Looks like it is going to be considerably longer than any up to this point. I guess that's proof I like to write. :)

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