Why I Blog

July 27, 2011

A reader named Mat had a couple of questions for me in the comment section of a recent post.

“I have been toying with the idea of a blog, to think about the things going on in my life, good and bad,” he wrote. “What has blogging brought you, what are you hoping to get from it? Do you tell people about your blog, or have your tens and tens of followers come across by accident?”

You’ll be shocked by this, but my answer got a little too long-winded for the comments section.

Awesometism wasn’t exactly born of altruism. I wanted attention and was indulging the occasional wild book deal fantasy, so I went and got myself a blog.

My original, self-serving mission hasn’t been much of a success. Awesometism gets me a little bit of attention, but the hits so far have been respectable but modest. I shamelessly whore my latest posts on facebook and twitter, and I’ve managed to lure a few people over with those mad social media skills, but they probably only account for a small percentage of my readership. Some readers find me by accident. Some readers are my mom.

I imagine that a scientific breakdown of my readership might look something like this:

Here's a generic pie chart. Pretend it has relevant stuff on it.

15% friends who click on my links on facebook and twitter

20% Toronto Star readers who followed link over here and stuck around

20% people who googled a line from NBC’s Community that I once quoted

10% other

5% Mom and Dad

30% people who google some variance of “how to seduce an Aspie”

And I love each and every one of you. You’re not a fairy god agent, but you’ve been part of a rewarding experience none the less.

In my real life, this little sucker has proven itself a far more valuable communication tool than I could have imagined. It’s helped a lot of people to understand me in a different way. Even my mom says that she’s learned a significant amount about what’s actually happening in my head from reading it.

I’m also starting to hear from readers whom I’ve never met, who have discovered me through various means, and seem to appreciate what I’m doing here, which is really exciting.

I’ve amused some, touched others, and even infuriated a few, and I’ve appreciated all of those responses. They’ve all helped to sharpen my skills, make me reconsider how I present things and, most importantly, made me continue to write. It’s so much easier to work on a new post when you know you’re not sending it off into a complete void.

Blogging, in general, is an extremely AS-friendly form of communication. It’s basically living in your head (and most of us have probably been told that we live there at one point or another) for public consumption. I was pretty active on livejournal through my late teens and early twenties, and that experience had an extremely positive influence on both my writing and social evolution. I was able to process things at my own pace, formulate my ideas in a medium that was comfortable for me and then send them off into the world. If people commented on my posts, then I’d also get a chance to practice working through my ideas in a more dialogue-oriented, give-and-take format while still in the comfort of my own timetable and comfort zone. That early flirtation with blogging helped make me the semi-functional social caterpillar that I am today.

I also believe that blogging is valuable for the autism community as a whole. What better way to reinforce the saying “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism” than to add another voice to the different and divergent mix of people on the spectrum who are letting the world know about their unique experiences, struggles and triumphs? I truly believe that the best treatment for autism is understanding and communication, and the more that we expose each other, both on and off the spectrum, to the greater whole of the autism experience– opinions we endorse, opinions we disagree with, stories that could be ripped from our own lives and lives we couldn’t even have imagined –  the more we can all learn to to find common, more comfortable ground and begin to exist with each other with a little more compassion.

And, if you’re really lucky, you could always end up with tens and tens of followers and unfulfilled book deal fantasies just like me.

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