I know, I know. This blog post is supposed to be about tangents, but, well, I thought I'd slide off into a tangent and deliver another rant about hubris, over-confidence and self-delusion instead of tackling the thorny issue of tangents.
Last night I was reworking my blog, and, truthfully, trying to stumble through the technology required was as difficult for me as learning to read a map is for those embedded in seeking technological solutions like Google Earth to non-technological problems. I had to fight the urge to simply close the thing up and go do something I am good at – like stare at maps and dream up routes.
Sunrise above our house-sit this morning
No epic involved.
Anyway, that's all a bit tangential in itself. As I was fiddling with gadgets, profiles and headers, I was switching between my blog and some other, much more popular blogs by people with similar (outdoor basically) interests whose blogs are worlds away more popular than mine. Yes, I was seeing if there was anything I could copy to my blog to increase its popularity – which could – and probably will be – another blog post right there (i.e. why we are compelled to seek acclamation).
Do I look good in this photo or what?
Start of a 7 day ski traverse in the Sierra Mountains
I could not help but notice that the really popular blogs all had a few things in common. Firstly, they pictured young, fit people who look good all the time. Well, that's clearly not something I can copy as I am neither young nor good looking. I am fit and not completely devoid of muscles but I lack the necessary instinct at blatant self-promotion to take random pictures of my guns and casually slip the photos into unrelated blog posts while pretending they are mostly the product of anything other than random inheritance.
Secondly, popular blogs are all linked to various social media accounts (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter) that appear to be populated by people whose entire day revolves around following social media accounts and endorsing the most vacuous posts. I have neither the time nor the inclination to join that particular tribe.
If you could see my guns, you'd be totally impressed
Prophesy Wall, Utah
Thirdly, a necessary contingent to a successful blog seems to be some Pollyannaish view of the world where everything is sweetness, light, and you never post anything that isn't so full of positive rhetoric that it just about makes a regular person, living in the real world and struggling with the day to day issues of life, want to vomit. Sadly, yet another tribe which I could not, in all honesty, fathom joining.
Fourthly, in order for your blog to be popular you have to be an “athlete.” Suddenly, it seems everyone is an athlete. The fact that 99.9% of these “athletes” actually make their living in an office, a shop, a factory possibly even outdoors (tree-planting, fire-fighting, etc.) and do what we've all been doing for the last forty years - train somewhere so we can go out and do our sport with some reasonable degree of fitness on our days off – without calling ourselves athletes. I'm not an athlete any more than my interest in star-gazing makes me an astronaut.
Really, I love that Barney world view
Fifth, it seemed to me that in order to boost the readership of my blog I had to write up every trip as if it was a desperate epic from beginning to end, no matter how mundane it actually was. Social media has spawned a strange phenomena where we are more aware than ever before of what the real “badasses” are doing, but strangely unable to place our own puny adventures in an appropriate scale. Such is the nature of hubris.
Cranking a boulder problem a foot off the ground,
And, finally, but most importantly, the purpose of your blog has to be to “inspire,” “motivate,” “create”, “adventure,” “dream,” “experience”, insert any other high-falutin, Barney world view word here that actually disguises the true intention of your blog, my blog, everyone's blog, which is to spray about what we are doing in order to garner admiration, approbation, and, if we are really lucky and manage to generate a horde of gullible follows to whom we can pimp anything that costs money no matter how useless, free stuff.
So, as you can probably tell, the big rebranding of the blog didn't actually go that well. In fact, if you are reading this blog, you can't have missed my new slogan “motivation, it's your responsibility.” It took a while, but I think I've finally found my tribe. Strangely, there aren't all that many members.