Last Monday, my post “A Blogger’s Voice” was featured on Word Press Discover page, which meant that my blog was suddenly getting a much bigger audience than usual. For the most part, I was thrilled. I think every writer wants their words to reach as many people as possible (if we didn’t, we would just write in a personal journal) and the thought of all those new readers was exciting. I was also flattered that a Word Press editor thought my blog was worthy of being included in their Discover program. I really didn’t think this would ever happen to my blog.
But a small part of me was also worried. I knew that along with all that extra exposure came the very real risk of a whole lot of spam, criticism, and downright nasty comments. When they let me know I was going to be included in Discover, Word Press even included advice on how to the handle negative comments that might be coming my way. Honestly, in the days between being notified that I was going to be “discovered” and before it actually happened, I even toyed with the idea of backing out of the whole thing.
But then I realized that none of this would have happened if my good blogging friend Barb Knowles hadn’t recommended me to a Word Press editor. Barb writes a funny, poignant and insightful blog called Sane Teachers , and has been a wonderful source of inspiration and support. I didn’t want to let her down or have her think I wasn’t grateful for her recommendation so I decided to just go for it. I figured between my spam filter and my ability to moderate comments, I could handle whatever negativity came my way.
And you know what? The nastiness, the criticism, and the spam never materialized. In the past week, I’ve added about 500 new followers and the last time I looked, that post had about 1,700 views. My spam filter caught no more than the usual amount of spam, and I moved about eight comments into the trash only because they included what I thought might not be a legitimate Word Press link in them. Even then, I may have been overly quick to hit the “trash” button, but I didn’t want to run the risk of any of my readers getting a virus from a link on my blog.
My point is not that all those people loved my blog. I’m sure that most of them didn’t even read it, and simply hit the “follow” and “like” buttons in the hopes that I would do the same for their blog. My point is that the onslaught of negativity that I had anticipated didn’t happen. Instead, I received lots of positive and courteous comments from other bloggers. Being “discovered” connected me to many people who also struggle with finding the courage to put their true thoughts and feelings into their posts and then send them out into cyberspace. It let me communicate with people from all over the world, both getting and giving encouragement and good wishes. It was an awesome experience.
I am very, very, grateful to Barb and to Word Press for the chance to be “discovered.” I am grateful for the new views, follows and the comments on my post. But what I most grateful for is the way that this whole experience reminded me that there is still so much good in the world, and so many good people in the world, if only I’m willing to open my eyes and see.