Like… 400 of them.
The WordPress site through which I operate my blog offers many features which I don’t have much time to explore. Here on my blog I, of course, can see buttons that readers can’t see — buttons that help me to categorize, publicize, format, upgrade, and otherwise change the way my blog looks to the outside world. If I click on the “administration” button here, I can land on a page where I can manage comments from others, edit stories, and check out a graph showing how many people have viewed the blog and/or certain entries on any given day.
You can imagine that my life with three little kids does not allow for a lot of cruising around on my blog site checking out all its gizmos. I can only get up so early, people. So for the most part I get on the site, post a blog, and get off.
But the other day a friend asked me how she could read my blogs more regularly. I directed her to a little button that shows up in the lower righthand corner of my blog which says “follow.”
In directing her, I myself hovered over the “follow” button on my own screen momentarily, which I had never done before, and a little balloon popped up. It said: “Join 406 other followers of prairiemom.me! Click here to receive an email every time a new blog is posted.”
Four hundred and six followers? I truly had no idea. I mean, I sometimes receive emails from the blog administrator congratulating me because so-and-so has subscribed to my blog. I smile, delete the email, and move on with life. Up until recently, if you had asked me how many of those emails I’ve received since I started blogging a year ago, I would’ve guessed 8. Not 406.
To my 406 followers, what to say? First of all, THANK YOU. Thanks for reading my nonsense. Why am I writing? Because it’s therapeutic for me. Because my fingers are always typing whether or not I’m sitting at a keyboard. Writing is just what my brain does. That YOU read what I write and enjoy it, too, well… that’s just a bonus. (And I always hope that my confessions of less-than-perfection help readers to feel a little less alone in the world.)
Second of all, to my followers, I am embarrassed. Because as near as I can tell, the moment I push the “publish” button on my blog, an email of the full blog goes to your inbox. And… I’m ashamed to admit it… sometimes I push “publish” before I’m all the way done with a post. I guess because I want to feel like I’m almost done. And also because it didn’t dawn on me until recently that those emails were going out. Here’s a little secret: I almost always go back in and edit a piece after I publish it. So I’m not sure that subscribers have been getting the best I have to offer. So, my new goal is to actually finish a piece before I hit “publish.” Before it lands in your email inbox. Note to self.
And finally, on the subject of 406 subscribers: I am humbled. What a great responsibility to know that so many people are actually interested in and honestly care about what I have to say. It definitely makes me want to hold myself to the highest standard of ethics in writing. I surely don’t want to betray that trust my followers have gifted to me.
In short, I don’t want this to turn into a situation like what comes to my mind when I think of “followers.” When I think “follower,” I automatically think “cult.” Word association, I guess. Know this: I’m not your “leader” just because you’re following my blog. I promise you I don’t want it all to end with the man on the nightly news saying this:
“We’re receiving reports from around the country this evening of what initial investigations are calling a mass suicide. As many as 405 women between the ages of 34 and 75 have tragically taken their own lives today by jumping off the deep end. According to the FBI, it appears that most or all of the deceased were followers of a blogger who went by the name ‘prairiemom.’ The so-called prairiemom, who also went by the alias Tami Blake, had become recognized as an ultra-conservative, opinionated, outspoken, anti-feminist proponent of homeschooling, stay-at-home mothering, and zero pay for ranch wives since she first started blogging in 2015. As the Facebook community tried late this afternoon to connect the dots in this national rash of suicides, one surviving prairiemom follower commented, ‘Her posts lately had become crazier… almost paranoid. I finally stopped reading because she just had some really radical ideas.’ It is unclear at this time if prairiemom organized this mass suicide of her followers or if her most recent blog post finally drove them all to it.”
Just sayin’. Read at your own risk.
© Tami Blake