Most WordPress bloggers know the Community Pool, the WordPress-run blog created to give bloggers a space to share their posts with other bloggers. It served as WordPress’s own social media of sorts, and became an important forum for a lot of us.
I used to plan posts to go up on Mondays, when I would be able to promote brand new content just in time for a lot of people to see it. I would often sit in class and surreptitiously type out my comment so that it would be near the top of the list. Then, if class was boring, I would spend the rest of the period scrolling through and reading new blogs. It was a really nice Monday ritual. (Although it probably didn’t help my grades any.)
Unfortunately, WordPress staff decided to kill the Community Pool awhile ago. I don’t really know why. It’s not like no one was using it — it would have dozens of comments within seconds of going up and hundreds by the time the next one rolled around. The fact is, they killed it, and I’m both thankful I was able to utilize that space and bitter that it is now gone.
While I’m sad that Community Pool is dead, its death means I need to find new ways of promoting my blog. I blog first because I enjoy writing, but second for the community. I don’t think I’ll ever be a career blogger (and don’t think I’d want to be), but I would like to reach 1,000 followers one day. (I hit 500 awhile ago — huge thank you to everyone that has followed and read my thoughts! I’m so glad you are here.)
To that end, I have been thinking more about promoting Mission:Incomplete via social media. I work in marketing, and I just love the Internet, so I know the power that social media has. And since I follow several of my favorite bloggers on social media, I’ve gotten some great ideas on how to promote that way.
I’m hesitant, though, and here’s why. Many people who follow me on social media actually know me. Like, in the real world. I write about controversial topics fairly regularly here on the blog, but I rarely bring it up face-to-face. This is partly because controversial topics are too divisive for “normal” conversation, but also partly because I know many of my family and friends don’t agree with a lot of my views and I’m afraid I won’t be able to back myself up.
Facebook is the main culprit here. While people I know follow me on Instagram and Twitter, those people are typically people I know from college or have stayed close to in high school. A lot of them hold similar views to mine. Facebook, on the other hand, is a minefield of older family members, teachers from high school, and friends who are strongly conservative.
I have posted two controversial opinions from my blog to Facebook. The first one was this post about sexual consent that I wrote after what happened with Aziz Ansari this spring. The second was my thoughts on the NFL’s policy of players no longer being able to kneel for the national anthem.
I posted these because I think those two discussions are vitally important. I knew they would make the most impact on social media if I posted them to Facebook as well as other channels. I’ve had Facebook the longest and have the most connections there. I actually kind of hate Facebook, but won’t delete for now because many of my extended family connections are through that channel. If I really believe in something, it doesn’t make sense to hide it from my biggest social network.
I got some disagreeing comments on both of those posts. I did respond, because I don’t want to just ignore discourse, but I loathe Facebook comments. It’s so easy to fall into a dramatic, unproductive argument. And what really gets me is when I get comments from people who don’t seem to have actually clicked the link and read what I wrote here. Some of this is on me; I could do a better job summarizing my opinion and making it clearer that my full thoughts can be read if you click the link. But I know I’m going to get comments regardless, and while I know I will never agree with everyone and can still be civil and polite despite that, it still stresses me out.
However nerve-wracking social media promotion is, though, I think it is the next step for me. While I don’t want to be consumed with or controlled by social media, it’s an important piece in blogging. This blog is my passion project, and with the death of Community Pool, I need some visibility elsewhere.
The other thing is that I don’t like a lot of things that are happening in our society, and I feel stuck. I’m not sure what to do to help. I don’t want to just give lip service to the things I believe in, because words without actions mean nothing. But words do have power, and I think it’s time for me to use them more publicly. As Robin Williams said in the movie Dead Poet Society,
No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
It’s time to start vocalizing mine.