Time and Focus

BlogReaderExamining how to gain readership on a blog such as this has inadvertently gotten me to examine the broader notion of friendship. What is the singular component of every relationship that you have? Time. You give time, you spend time, you save time for what is important. Well these blogs have stats and they count the raw number of times someone stops by and I have become very hurt.

I started posting a daily blog on November 10, 2012. If you want to go back and catch up then get busy because I post a blog article each and every day and they tend to average over 500 words. Let’s put a time on that, like if you read fairly slowly then an article takes maybe 5 minutes to read, longer if it makes you stop and think, less if you just flow right through it. Five lousy minutes.

I was on two different social networks, Facebook and Google Plus. On Facebook I had 50 “friends.” Note the quotation marks. I am not quoting something I am using them to imply ironic sarcasm. Of these “friends” there are about three that have clicked on my regularly posted links to this blog. 50 people that I know in real life or are relatives I’ve never met. 3 people who have bothered to come here and so much as read an opening phrase to at least see what I’m doing here.

PianoCatWhat am I doing here? I am pouring my heart out, I am using this as my total means of creative expression. I write opinions, I write feelings, I write fiction, I write poems, I learn/perform/record and post music, I write/record and post my own original music. My life, my heart, my soul, my best efforts are here and all you have to do is turn your head slightly and notice to make me feel as if I have communicated some essential part of myself. HOW DARE THEY NOT ONCE BOTHER TO TAKE 15 SECONDS to take a tiny little peek?

The hurt is subtle and deep and profound.

I left Facebook over an identity theft issue and in the process opened Pandora’s Box. For at least two weeks before actually leaving I posted a link to this blog and my article of the day. The hurt is tied to the stats WordPress provides in showing not only which country a visitor is from but also if they came via clicking a link or web search. So if someone comes to my blog I know only that they clicked a link, did a web search, came some other way I don’t know, and there are stats showing which country visitors came from. So if I have a dozen friends and relatives in, say, Spain and I never ever once get a visitor from Spain then I don’t really have to do a whole lot of thinking to deduce none of them ever bothered once.

What’s funny is that I have a policy with people who I see or associate with more than one time. I will watch one movie and read one book that they recommend. Naturally that goes to a song and a TV show but the “book and movie” is easier to say. So for anyone I know I will sit there and watch an entire movie no matter how much I don’t like the beginning and I will read through an entire book even if I dislike the opening paragraphs. I give time, I give attention, I give every opportunity to let someone else’s world become part of my own. Given all that, can you see my distress that someone I have known for years cannot follow a link and then click a little triangle and listen for a few seconds to the new music file I posted before determining they don’t like it? It is not too much to ask. It is an insult. It is a declaration that they cannot in any way be bothered with me and what I care about most and they can go to hell.

My wife dutifully reads my every blog article. Sometimes when I’m not sure valentines-day11I am effectively getting my point across she will stop what she is doing, read what I have done, and then make suggestions or give her stamp of approval. And I do the same for her with whatever she is doing whether I personally care about it or not. If that is not the sort of thing you will do for someone or that someone will do for you then you have nothing for each other and the charade should be ended.

You can look at yourself and your life as having two components, both precious and limited. There is your lifespan and there is where you focus your attention. The first is all you have and limits how much you have to give of the second. So you can only have time-based meaningful interaction with so many people.

I didn’t have 50 friends on Facebook. I do have a dear handful of people who were there and who stop by here when I am blessed enough to have their attention. Please understand how I treasure that, how it means the world to me, how my eyes are stinging as I write these words now.

It was an ugly thing finding a tool to measure a group of people as a means of discovering that most can’t be bothered with me at all. In this measuring I have also discovered you reading this now. I may not know your name or your face but still you have given me your two most precious things in all the world. You have given me your time and your focus and I dearly love you for that and you deserve every bit of it. Please keep that in mind as you gift your time and attention to others. It means everything.

6 thoughts on “Time and Focus

  1. A recent Freshly Pressed article was about leaving Facebook, in part because of the way it forces you into superficial relationships. You strike more directly at the heart of the matter; people don’t want to invest in relationships that take time and effort. They want shallow strokes from sharing a lolcat. They don’t want to listen to how you are actually doing in life, to learn what dreams you hold dear, or to share your joys and sorrows. We are a nation of narcissists.

  2. Two comments Jim, first, do the numbers you have show people that get to the site via RSS feeds? That’s what I prefer to use but in the sites that I have I’ve never been able to get readership numbers for RSS. I could just have missed it though.

    Second, people’s perception of the value of what you are doing is shaped somewhat by the medium. It’s easy for people to plug into the Facebook pipe and get lots of worthless stuff from it, but a blog is something different and a lot of people don’t understand it, or just don’t want to go with someone who has left the ‘herd’. Of those that DO understand it, many just don’t know how much work it takes to write something every day.

    The third of my two points is this; you’re better off knowing who wants to spend their time with you than not knowing.

    • Hi Emiliano!

      Your Australian footsteps are detected in the “numbers.” I show 15 page views, some of which are likely hitting the front page. I know how many visitors, and how many page views from each country. So I know there were 15 page views from today so far but I don’t know how many of my total visitors were from Australia. I have a touch of OCD and can’t help looking at things like that.

      My number of subscribers has not gone up as a result of your RSS subscription. I suspect those numbers are only counting e-mail and other bloggers who have their own following mechanism if they choose to use it. I have no idea how many might be following vis RSS but I still seem to have a handle on how many “hits” or page views there are; however, through experimentation I know it to be imperfect.

      On your second point, at worst this is a labor of love. I have lost some worthless acquaintances and have already forged what may be a few worthwhile friendships here already. Bloggers, or at least like bloggers, spend the time to actually communicate and do so repeatedly. I am very glad I left Facebook and astounded on how happy I am here. One does need to go out and meet people within this blogosphere but it is not hard, you just wander and once you find something/someone you like you just start commenting on their stuff and like magic you start getting close. It’s wonderful.

      Lastly on your points, yes it is very good to know not to continue bothering with certain other people. More importantly with those who have stayed with me, I will move heaven and earth for them and I will be very happy if they read these words.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and offering your well-thought-out words, my friend. Your comment appeared twice so when moderating I included one and deleted the other. They seemed identical; if not, I hope I chose the right one!

  3. I have a lot of thoughts about time lately and how it would be better spent on people than the stuff I actually spend it doing. But the things I do (with the exception of computer card games) are things that need to be done, and I am, unfortunately, not an efficient person. I save “fun” stuff as a reward for getting all my chores done, which doesn’t ever seem to happen. So I’m sentencing myself to a lonely life of drudgery. I need to contemplate some more about this, but in the mean time, when I do escape to your site, I’m fully engaged, and made to think and ponder, which is what I always loved about visiting you and Cathy. Don’t get much of that in my current life… (PS Computer card games are my anxiety drug. When I’m overwhelmed I play them because they make me focus enough to stop thinking about all the stuff that is making me anxious, but not so much that I really have to put any effort into it.)

    • Simple computer games have always been a good anxiety escape for me so long as the anxiety is light. A distraction so I’m not too self-aware can be a huge blessing.

      You are worrying me just a little bit, like you are in a period of depression. And you mention anxiety.

      Being sentenced to a life of drudgery sounds awful! Is your job on top of everything too much? I give you permission to quit your job if that is the case, or to hire someone to help with the drudgery. Be nice to my Helen!

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