The internet is so awesome. It’s like a really broad-scale demonstration of what it would look like if we took the most prosperous 25% of all humanity and transferred their brains to the “the cloud”. It’s like the internet – the good, the bad, the so bad it’s good and so good it’s making me want to start a meme – is just sitting out there reflecting back at us what we put into it.
The downside is realizing that apparently many of us like to spend inordinate amounts of time watching emotionally damaged drug addicts get paid to pretend to enjoy having sex with each other for the camera rather than taking the time and effort to think up something that we might actually get to try later. (No wonder there are so many sexless marriages – no one ever has to take the time to think of fun things to do themselves!) And apparently a lot of us figure its worth throwing a few bucks into the “get rich with an idea so simple you’ll be amazed no one has thought of it before” lottery – just in case we stumbled into one of those stories that show up about unexpected and sudden kajillionaires. Wouldn’t want to be like the people who turned down jobs at Microsoft (if there actually are any), would you? And every good politician knows that investment is how real wealth gets made. It’s what people sick of working do when they don’t have enough money to gamble on wall street.
But there is an amazing amount of really good stuff wandering through our collective minds as well. As I mentioned the other day in my post “Just a Housewife in Wisconsin“, I am pretty much entirely self-taught when it comes to things like the bible, religion, education, psychology and the other topics I blog about here. Probably 90% of that education has come off the internet. For those who are interested in looking, it’s a treasure trove of source documents, unusual ideas and places to engage in serious conversations about serious things.
Just like Wikipedia has been proven to be about as accurate as a traditional encyclopedia (albeit with a much more detailed entry on Brittney Spears), I would pit the results of my internet education against more traditional experts when it comes to a lot of topics. Unfortunately, not being a recognized, credentialed expert means its hard to get heard. What keeps me plugging away, though, is that when people do read what I write, the response is unusually good. A popular blog has about a 6% response rate. In the first 24 hours after posting things (most blog posts die pretty quickly), my reader response rate (measured by “likes”, shares and comments) usually runs about 3 times that. Several blog posts I wrote show up at the top of the page on google when you search “women’s roles in the bible” or “my burden is easy” or a few other fairly common phrases.
All of which is simply a very long (both hopefully engaging) way of saying that I need help building a larger reader base. I really do think that I have things to say which people could find helpful or interesting and that aren’t the same things being said every where else. So, I just want to ask and encourage anyone who likes the things they read here to share this blog with people they know and at places they hang out on the internet. Not because I think I have all the answers, but because I think that I have some ideas that other people might enjoy encountering. So, next time you read something you like here, don’t just “Like” it or leave a comment, please pass it on elsewhere. “Like” The Upside Down World on facebook, mention the blog to other people you talk to or perhaps mention it on your own blogs. I am trying to do a better job of promoting the blogs and voices I enjoy, largely through “Best of the Week” posts like the one I did last week and which I am going to try to do each week. I would also love to hear from other people who have been able to build their readership on how they did it. Leave a comment!
One last note, I put up a donation link (that tip jar over there) which people can use to make cash donations to the blog. In addition to milk and diapers, I would really like to be able to make a few strategic advertising purchases, but I have no funds. If this is something you would like to support, please consider making a donation today.
Finally, I want to offer a sincerely thank you to the people who do read this blog and take the time to respond. It encourages me more than you know. Over the summer when I was putting The Upside Down World – A Book of Wisdom in Progress together, I was on the verge of losing my nerve. After all, very few people showed an actual interest in the things I write. So, one night when I really was ready to chuck the whole project, I re-read the 40+ comments people have left for me over the years in response to the most popular blog post I have ever written (which is also found in my book). Over and over again, people thanked me for the post, shared what they were going through, how much then needed encouragement and told me that they were encouraged by what I had written. So, I picked my fragile self-confidence up off the floor and kept going. Because at the end of the day, I don’t really care if anyone knows my name or who I am. But it means a lot to me to think that perhaps someone’s life might be a little more bearable, enlightened and encouraged because of the things I have to share.