Saturday, May 16, 2009

Follow protocol ... ?

I've noodled about this for about a week and it finally occurred to me that I might put it out there on the blogosphere as a question.

Earlier in the week, I was reflecting some on our principle of anonymity, how we do that, why we do that, endorsements (explicit or implied), affiliation - all that junk around principles in AA that I seem to be so inclined to reflect on at this point in my life.

It occurred to me that maybe the whole "follow" thing that we do in online AA where we publicly state who we follow and (perhaps) publicly follow or note (perhaps) others who follow us deserves some reflection. This is the normal way to build traffic in the web world and has become the really big thing on all forms of social networking on the web (e.g., myspace, facebook, twitter, various blogspaces, etc.).

For a week, I took down the gadget that states who I follow. I noticed that, when I did that, some of the folks who follow my posts stopped showing up and my traffic dropped slightly. While interesting, it's probably not really significant in that the traffic to my blog is still pretty small (my blog is pretty new and I don't get that the world will ever beat a path to my door to hear my utterances - online or any other place ;-) ).

I put that gadget back up today. At face value, my thinking is that I provide these references as a way for folks to see who else I follow much the same way as I discuss with folks at a meeting what other meetings I attend. Clearly, my intention is not really to endorse all that is said at that meeting but to point to some other place I go to support my program. Sometimes I will even say something to the effect: "...that meeting has been running off track and could really use some support to get back to a basic AA message...". Truth is, the community of folks I currently read blogs from every day was found looking through others' follow lists so these lists have been useful .

Lots of folks in the blogosphere have had a lot more time to think about all this than I have and I was just wondering if anyone else has asked these sorts of questions of themselves before they start following another blog (and provide a link from their blog area to others):
  1. Do you think about whether a particular blogger is consistent with their AA message when you decide to add them to your follow list?
  2. Do you intend your list of folks who follow to "support a message" or provide entertainment? Both? Neither?
  3. It seems most of us share "in a general way" on our blogs - do you also keep a private, personal journal? If you do, do you do that online?
As a student of AA's steps, tradition, concepts, and warranties, I think I know how all this stuff should work - what's right for me. Then, a simple little thing like this idea of "following" and the question of how can this best serve the purposes of the higher power I'm in service to and everything becomes a question again...

...and isn't that wonderful...?


Scott W said...

My blog is for me mostly, I added it four plus years ago instead of doing a gratitude list by email. That way if you wanna read it just come on over. I took the follower thingie off my blog, if you want to follow me fine, if not, that's okay, too.

I get overloaded with email as it is and I just didn't need that extra information coming in, nor do I care for what was, at the beginning of the follower thing, what seemed to be so much importance put on how many followers anyone had, did they stop following, and on and on.

I read who I like and those that post regularly. I got tired of newbie bloggers being all excited and then just stop posting. I have to be a bit selective because reading a dozen or more recovery blogs a day takes time.

This comment has gotten too long, and I hope I have said what I wanted to say. Otherwise--oh well!

Linda S. Socha said...

I find that blogging for me is a creative and self expression outlet. It has also provided me an opportunity to "meet" incredible creative, and talented individuals that I would not have met otherwise. I am grateful for that opportunity.

I am new to your blog coming here from visiting Steve E. Life can be a challenge. I find that positive connections are an uplifting thing for me. Hope you find blogging some of that for you.

Mary Christine said...

I took the "follower" thing off my blog because it provided victims for a person who uses my blog as a launch pad for his attacks.

I like the reciprocity of having links to blogs on the sidebar. I won't link to someone who has advertisements on their blog and that is about my only requirement. I link to my "buds" out here.

When someone sets themselves up to only be read and not share in this fellowship of bloggers, I stop reading.

I don't think having a link to a blog implies endorsement of everything they might say. I think it is just a place to link to your blogging buddies.

Steve E. said...

Well, ya know what? I really never bothered to "be bothered" with online "endorsement-or-not" crap. Never even occurred to me. EVER. I just enjoy myself on here, usually say what I think and/or believe. And I have made friends on here, some as solid or more-so that in f2f meetings.

Which reminds me, I go to a meeting every morning with 70-100 people, and I love them all, especially the 70 regulars! BUT that doesn't mean I ENDORSE them.

In the format, I sometimes repeat what another has said, and name what? I do the same on here. I do not show my front facial photo (you lucky peeps!) nor my last name, well, I try. ALL else is as it would be in an 'open' AA discussion meeting. And so I STILL do not see what all the FKing fuss is about. OK?

I mean, how important IS it? Hmmmmm?

Ya wanna know another rant of mine, it's when peeps insist that I type in a bunch of meaningless letters just to leave a mostly worthless comment. HA! I said it!

Pam said...

I like to read the AA and AlAnon message. I like humor and real life stuff. I tend to like the older members of AA blogs better than the newcomers but only because I spend so much time with new comers as it is.
I have to stay away from some blogs because I get all "pissy" very political people because I have strong political views myself and i don't want my blogging to be a big debate-fest.
I take my follower off then put it back on...usually on a whim.
In general I like people in recovery, I don't really care if they blog about recovery though.

Syd said...

I do the follower thing. It connects me to the blogs of others and let's others possibly connect to new bloggers. Like a web....

I keep a private journal that I write. It is different from what I put in my blog. I try to keep my blog honest but not injurious to those in my life.

And some days I don't have much to say about recovery or anything. Some days I just coast.