If the idea of a digital sabbatical (disconnecting from the internet) intrigues you, read more about the challenges involved in taking a digital break and how to organize one at One With Now: Taking a Digital Sabbatical: Why and How. Manal gives us the skinny on her own fears and resistance, tells us about the strategies she plans to employ to help her break free, and the benefits she hopes to receive. Good food for thought here. Please enjoy!
Is there any place that mirrors change and impermanence more rapidly than the worldwide web?
I’ve seen my share of blogs – even blossoming ones – bite the dust since I began blogging just seven months ago.
Now, my new found blogging friends have been disappearing – one right after the other.
It seems like everyone’s disconnecting since reading Leo Babauta’s new ebook on focus. Some are taking a digital sabbatical one day a week or on the weekend. Others are taking a full month or two away. Still others are shifting their focus to new interests or projects and have less time for blogging and social media.
Don’t get me wrong. This is very good. I encourage you to follow your passions. I encourage you to nurture yourself with personal white space and real-time connections.
But I’m missing my friends, especially the ones that are taking longer breaks. I feel sad. I miss their frequent infusions of joy and inspiration. I miss their thoughtful and provocative blog posts. I miss their unique and fascinating spirits. I miss their visits to my blog.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not cut out for this fast-paced internet life where people bounce in and out of your vision for a few weeks or months at a time. Maybe I place too much value on the idea of friends.
It makes me wonder – are internet friendships real? Or has this just been an illusion of connection that I alone have created in my mind?
The Practical Impact on Your Blog
Then there’s the practical side – the way friends disconnecting impacts your blog.
“The blogs ecosystem is an incredibly complex web of interactions, links, authority and trends. This web is changing constantly and the chances that you will survive as an isolated blogger are incredibly small. You need a solid team of partners who will support you. Partners that you will support too, enforcing the power of your links in the blogging ecosystem.”
There are over 130 million blogs on the internet.
Even with tip-top content, few will find your blog without skillful promotion. To attract new readers, you need blogging friends – to share your articles on social media, comment on your blog, allow you to guess post, and to partner with you in collaborative projects.
If your blog is already a moderate or huge success, having a few blogging friends drop away will not faze you in the least.
But if you are in the early stages of building your blog, beware. Should a slew of your friends suddenly break away, your once active comment section can suddenly seem like a ghost town. Article tweets, Facebook links, Stumbles, and other social media favors may be few and far between.
Ah, the endless endeavor to make more friends.
How many friends do we need?
We need blogging friends, that’s clear How many?
Srinivas Rao says we only need 150 followers on twitter to be a success. This is the number of social relationships a person can effectively manage and it’s the number needed for an idea to spread according to Malcolm Gladwell. Rao suggests creating an “inner circle” of 150 followers who retweet your tweets, mention you, link to your blog, and/or comment on your blog.
The secret is to engage these real people in real conversations on twitter. Rao says this strategy is working exceptionally well for him. I don’t doubt this is the case.
But for me, the idea of remembering and interacting regularly with 150 people is mind-boggling to say the least. And, with the current trend toward periodic disconnection, you will need quite a few more than 150 as a buffer when some do take a break.
I can’t help but ask – is this how I really want to spend my time? Glued to a computer endlessly searching for new friends?
Lessons to Be Learned, Questions to Be Asked
What are the lessons to be learned from all this?
- Friendships are like rainbows. Enjoy yours – virtual or live – while they last. Don’t expect them to last forever. Or even more than a few months!
- You’d better make new blogging friends constantly. You never know when a few will suddenly disappear from your blog life.
Now for the questions I have for you:
- Is this fast-paced internet the world of your dreams?
- Is the blogosphere setting your life’s pace or are you?
- How are you managing your time?
- What’s your take on friends in the blogosphere?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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