I have an annoying tendency to tell people to read my blog, and it’s not always a good idea.
The most regrettable population I target are guys with whom I go on dates. Typically, I don’t come at them with “Read my blog or there will be no second date,” but I adamantly talk about my blog and, to feign interest, they’ll start reading it. What sucks is that I’m then unable to write some really great men-inspired blogs, like “How To Ensure You’ll Get Caught Lying On a First Date” and “Ten Reasons I Could Never Be Happy With a Manorexic.” I’m too self-conscious (or “nice”) to post such things, at least until the proper grace period has passed, and by then I’ve either forgotten about it, or it’s been trumped by an even worse date, or it no longer seems interesting.
[Just as a side note, the act of going on dates is only worthwhile if one can share one’s horrible stories with the rest of the world.]
I do it nevertheless because I want readers.
I wasn’t always this way, though. When I began blogging, I didn’t see the necessity to self-promote. I had assumed people would just discover me like I was a Hawaiian island or new species of beetle. So I kept my blog on the DL. I didn’t tell my parents about it; I didn’t post it 467 times to my facebook page in hopes that SOMEONE’s newsfeed might pick it up*; and I didn’t fret about why no one loves me in 67% of my posts.
*Facebook sucks balls, by the way.
I believe it was sometime before my overseas escapades that I realized I could use my blog to write about my travels instead of things that happened while I was living at home, as an adult, in the middle of no where. I began by telling friends about it, and before long, I was harassing strangers.
My favorite “You should read my blog!” story happened when I was working at the Heritage Hotel in Queenstown, NZ. A group of suited men and business-clad women had come in and were having cocktails by the fireplace, and I was serving them. I quickly noticed they were Americans and I rejoiced because we were homeland natives. They asked if I was a student, I mentioned Dartmouth, they all cheered because they were New Englanders (Harvard alum, I believe), and suddenly I had an “in.” We talked about graduate school and how I was writing my thesis overseas. They seemed interested in my writing, so I told them about my blog.
“What’s your URL?” one of the men asked.
[Let me just say, picking “fushilou” as my web address was like getting a weird tattoo while drunk: it seemed like a great idea at the time—“Of course I’ll always love it; it’s my middle school nickname!”—until I was sober and having to spell it out for strangers, who must obviously be thinking, “F…u…what?” “Is this English?” “What the hell is a fushilou?” (“That’s not even a word!**”) and yet this is the URL I chose to be mine FOREVER.]
**similar to transponster.
I was assuming the Americans would go to their rooms that night, look me up, read my blogs and become devoted fans. They’d find me the next morning at the espresso machine, cursing as I tried to froth the milk, and they’d tell me how great of a writer I was.
I was immediately proven wrong.
The gentleman had taken out his iPad (which I hadn’t considered as a possibility since they were relatively new) and voila! “Read, Play, Write?” He had my blog up in front of him, and once he got my confirmation, he began reading aloud the first entry to his circle of Harvard friends.
“My trip to Milford Sound,” his voice boomed throughout the dining room, “began most notably with my having to pee.”
There was an odd moment of silence while those words reverberated through the restaurant, and it dawned on me what the entire first half of my blog was about. He continued reading aloud, much to my horror, as I tried to tell him mayyyybeee that’s not the best example to start with, and he kept reading until he got to the part where I mentioned “kegel muscles.”
“Please don’t base your judgment of Dartmouth education on my blog,” was the only thing I could think to say before I hid in the kitchen.
In the end, he did tell me he thought it was funny and I was a good writer, but still. I learned to think twice about my opening lines.
(If you’d like to read about my trip to Milford Sound, you can do so here).
I think the moral of the story is that waiting to be discovered may have its advantages.