I've read this post a couple times, plus the comments. I think Ron Blechner's comments rang true with me. Maybe you start out just writing for yourself but as soon as you discover you have an audience, you have to recognize you are influancing someone. Sure you can start out desparately seeking attention and maybe you get some, but if your work isn't of any value you'll never influance anyone. I do understand that not everyone is seeking recognition, but it comes with the territory I think.Very interesting thoughts.
From my own experience, blogging feels very different once you have an audience. I had maybe a dozen or two daily readers for the first couple of months blogging here. It was very much my Second Life diary. It freaked the hell out of me when NWN linked to me out of the blue and I became something of a public figure overnight.
For the next couple of years, I tried very consciously to be a positive influence for readers experimenting with virtual identity. I wanted to inspire people to think expansively about identity and use virtual world experience to shed light on atomic world life.
From very early on, I also tried to offer a non-dogmatic perspective in ongoing controversies about Linden Lab's management of Second Life. Sometimes I sided with my fellow bloggers. Other times I took a contrary position, like during the blogger's strike in protest of the trademark policy.
Four years later, I'm a lot less idealistic about the potential of avatar identity to change the world. And I'm even less optimistic about whether the Second Life community can impact Linden Lab's management of Second Life.
So have I given up on the idea of being influential? Fuck no!
Being influential isn't about having the power to change people's minds or alter the course of events. It's about offering inspiration and support to those of like mind and compatible interest.
I'm not ashamed to say that I've been very influenced by some of my fellow bloggers and social networkers. For instance:
- Crap Mariner influenced me through his tireless 100 Word Stories work, which inspired me to create dozens of stories, comics and videos.
- Whiskey Day influenced me through both her brilliant tweets and deeply personal blog posts. She inspired me to dig deeper and risk more vulnerability in my writing.