A year ago, I decided to start this blog. As I said in an earlier post, I did it so I would have a place where I could write about the things that interested me outside of the political arena, and even inside of it ,those things that didn’t quite fit at other places. Then in January, I made the decision to leave one of the larger blogging sites – Daily Kos. It was an easy decision in most ways, but not in all. As I said at the time:
It’s saddening to me, because I will miss some of the people there. But that does not change things. I don’t belong there anymore. I can’t support the direction the site has taken. It no longer represents my beliefs or philosophy, so I see no reason to continue to participate there.
I was asked to return a number of times, and eventually broke down to return for a while to participate in one of my favorite communities there. The very last diary I ever posted there was to help that community prank Daily Kos on April Fool’s Day. That was the fun of being in that community, but at the last, I decided that it was time to permanently cut my ties and said good-bye to them.
One of the arguments that some of my online friends made to try to keep me there was not just the communities, but the opportunity to address a larger audience. After all, Daily Kos has over 250,000 registered users, so a good diary would reach a lot of people. As tempting as that may sound, the reality check for me was that it was also an audience with a lot of people who weren’t terribly interested in what I had to say, and made it clear that I was not toeing their line. Another note of reality is that while there may be 250,000+ registered users, the number of active users is around 5% of that number, and the number who were actually reading any given diary often a fraction of that. For every Recommended List diary I put up that had a 1000 or more readers and hundreds of comments, there were 5 or more which sank without much of a trace. So, the audience potential wasn’t much of a reason to stick around, and believe me, having a Rec List diary was not always the great thing it might seem to be. More often than not, it was a major pain in the butt.
With all that in mind, I didn’t really have much reason to stay. It was comfortable to be there, because you know where you fit in the scheme of things. But I did it anyways. I moved my act here, as well as some other blogs. Do I have the same potential “big audience?” No, not really. But as time went on, I noticed something – the number of people who were actually reading what I was writing was on average higher than what I had ever been getting at Daily Kos. No, I wasn’t getting the 1000+ readers – and still don’t – that I had when I made the Recommended List there, but most of my diaries didn’t get there anyways.
The other thing I noticed on leaving was that, besides the beneficial effect on my blood pressure, my viewpoint expanded. While I’d left Daily Kos because of my disagreement with the “purity” direction that was taking place, I hadn’t realized just how constricted it had gotten. The selection of news, the “slant” that was given to them, and the comments made, make you focus on specific things, whether you wanted to or not. You are “in the bubble.” Once I was out, I went back to reading a much wider range of viewpoints, and looking at news sources from around the world. The horizon expanded, and rather than saying “yes” or “no,” I often went “I didn’t think about it that way,” or “I didn’t know that.”
I originally started this blog more as a way to write about the things that interest me that aren’t political. Yes, it has still done a lot of politics. In fact, the single most popular post I’ve written was a political one. It’s been almost a year since I decided to leave the bubble of Daily Kos, and you know what? It’s pretty nice out here!