January 18, 2008

In one of my psychology classes during my undergraduate studies, we learned of an experiment in which children were asked to color pictures. They happily complied, and busied themselves with their crayons. The experimenters also asked another group of children to color, but these children were paid money for coloring pictures. They complied as well, but when asked later about how much fun they had, their reports were not as positive as those from the first group. The experimenters surmised that once the external reward was presented, the children could no longer deem that they were coloring for their own enjoyment, and a fun task became work.

And here comes the analogous situation . . .

When I first began Streeter Scene soon after starting SL, I did so in order to chronicle my time in SL. The blog was not really intended as a way to meet new people, but more of a way to record the enjoyment and excitement I felt as a newbie in the metaverse. As time went by, though, some people began to read my blog. I don’t know how everyone found it. I know that I posted it in my Flickr profile, and I also posted it in my profile in world. Eventually, it got added to the links of other blogs. Some people came, read the blog, and went on their merry way. Some people came and saw things that interested them, for one reason or another. Some of them decided to comment. Some decided to check back to see what I had going on. There were even those who decided to contact me in world.

As I’ve changed in Second Life, so has this blog. I no longer keep an account of everything I do in world, partially because I don’t have that newbie enthusiasm about seeking out new places and new people. I realized that most of the time I’m in world these days, I’m alone. I’m either seeking locations or taking pics for Kyūketsuki. I’m shopping at my favorite stores . . . or stores that have a great sale going on 🙂 I’m creating new shapes and tweaking old ones. I’ve become a solitary little kitty who has significantly reduced her world in SL.

When I began this blog, the metaverse seemed large and open and ripe for exploring. It seems much less so now. Plus, now I’m part of the blogosphere and have made connections with other people whom I never would have met otherwise. Some really good things have arisen entirely because of my blogging, but I have to ask myself why I continue to give this blog so much attention. I update this blog often (I used to try to do it daily), but why? The people who are interested in what I’m doing probably already know what I’m up to, and I’m no longer expressing my love of a new platform.

I think somewhere along the way, I fell into the trap a lot of people do who put themselves out for public consumption. I began to worry about popularity. It’s not that I wanted to become the most popular avie in SL.  Far from it.  I just wanted certain people to appreciate me and my thoughts, and the situation changed from one in which I was blogging often because I wanted to talk about what was going on into one in which I was blogging often because I realized that people would lose interest if I didn’t supply them with something to read regularly. It got even worse when I switched to WordPress and could see how many people were viewing my blog. When very few people were stopping by, even after I had added a new post, it began to feel like people were losing interest, not in the blog, but in me. It’s like I had once been interesting enough to garner attention, but I no longer was.

Do you see the connection yet?

What happened was that I had gone from blogging because I wanted to keep a record of my SLife (like the children coloring for fun) to blogging in order to maintain external interest, as represented by views and comments (like the children being paid to color).

I’m trying to promise myself that I’m going to give up on checking views daily (yes, I’m doing it daily) and only care about expressing myself here. I hope to catch some of that early excitement I got nearly a year ago.

Ultimately, that has to make the blog not only more interesting for me, but for everyone else reading it, right?



  1. Fine…I’ll stop paying you, then!

    You didn’t have to make a blog post about it. Sheesh.

  2. Honestly, I may have never met you if I didn’t read this blog. I really like your musings and allagories that you put up. It is the reason why i read your blog. I don’t really read Natalia’s blog anymore because all it is an exploration of the grid, which I don’t do to often because I have found the places that I really like to visit. I also don’t spend a ton of time with friends, I IM them a lot more.

    I also have the same problem with trying to get my name out there and somehow I have come not really to care. My blog has really become somewhere to upload my thoughts, happy or just plain depressing. And posting comments has become fun as well, just for the fact of writing a comment.

    So get out your box of 96 crayons and take a wiff of the innocence and pleasure of childhood and oddly enough the money will come down the road when you really need it. (Unforuntally not when you want it :p)

  3. I must just be a big kid then cos I am still the same with my coding. The moment it is paid work I lose interest. So much for my dreams of being rich!

    Now where did I put my crayons ….

  4. Chloe the Marxist

  5. I don’t look at my blog stats and it is always a very pleasant surprise when I get a comment from someone I didn’t realise reads it. I have no idea how many people read it on a regular basis but that really doesn’t matter to me. Somehow, just putting it out there is enough. I do fret over not writing often enough though, but that is when I allow myself to compare my blog with other more ‘successful’ blogs in my worst moments of insecurity. I also go through phases of thinking I should write something substantial and thought provoking and then feel bad when i don’t do it. All of which is crazy because my blog is supposed to be a place to write whatever I want – not to reflect what other people are doing on theirs.

    I love the balance you have here, Chloe, though i can see a change in what you have been writing about. Keep being yourself and write whatever comes into your head, because that’s what we keep coming back for 🙂

  6. Tobie: I would gladly accept payment right now. I’ve been spending a bit *too* much money in world lately 🙂

    Adia: Thank you 🙂 My situation was more like, OK, I’ve attracted the attention of a certain number of people, so how do I maintain their interest? Whenever views went down, it felt like rejection, as if people came by, though the blog was interesting for a while, then decided that it was not. It seems foolish when scrutinized from the outside, but I think it’s something a lot of us go through (judging by similar posts I’ve read elsewhere).

    Wolf: I don’t think it’s something we ever outgrow. For example, I love to write, but when external pressures such as deadlines and criticism are applied, my enjoyment decreases significantly. I’m no longer writing for my own pleasure, but to meet the demands of others. It’s strange that the external forces change it that much, but they do.

    Dirk: You’ve found me out! Harpo was my favorite.

    Phoenix: I totally understand what you’re talking about. There’s always the question of what your obligation to your audience is. I mean, because we’ve succeeded in bringing others into our second lives through our blogs, do we then owe it to them to continue to share on a regular basis? When we don’t meet expectations, either in regards to regularity of posting or in the content of our posts, have we done our readers an injustice?

    About comparing your blog to others and how it can make you feel insecure . . . I think that may have contributed in part to this post. I mean, I’ve been maintaing a blog for nearly a year now, and my average is nearly 1 post every 2 days (I think there are 176 posts on the blog, as of this writing). That means I’m regularly sharing myself and my second life with the outside world; yet, aside from good friends, no one seems interested. That shouldn’t mean anything, but it does make me feel terribly uninteresting sometimes when I see other blogs that are rarely updated and are much more popular. I guess I’m inferring judgment of my own worth based on that. Like I said, my goal *isn’t* to be popular, as I don’t think I could handle that type of attention, but being dismissed isn’t a great feeling.

  7. Hmm yes that is such a strange thing about humans… When we feel free and we choose to do something, we can have a lot of fun. All of a sudden when we feel we have to do something even though it is something we enjoy we loose our enjoyment and our playfulness.

    I think the trick is to learn to be free and to play durring those times we have to do stuff. I mean in life most of our time we are doing stuff we have to because we want to have food, shelter, and sex. So we work or study hard at school.

    Learning to play and allow the creative part that is in all of us to flow forth. The things that keep your imprisioned are things that you usually choose to do.

    Hmm where am I going with this? Choose the mindset of playfulness and your freedom will follow… it is like when you want to practice drawing and you have no idea what to draw and you have no good ideas… so you just start doodling anyways then from your doodles you get ideas and soon some of your best drawings come forth.

  8. Hey there ! Yes I’m sort of back, lol. And even when I was away I stopped by this home of yours once in a while. I can’t explain why I always stop here. Guess it’s your simplicity, the way you just drop out words about your concerns and the things that move you one way or another.

    As for me… I never cared a bit about visits. This thing I call a blog is above all the place where I shout and cry my heart and soul away, chase my ghosts down and stack the shadows that from time to time haunt me. In a way, the less visitors I have the better ;D

  9. Yay! It’s great to see you, Sand!

    I’ve quit checking the stats for Streeter Scene now, and it’s made me much happier. It really is like they quit paying me, and now I can go back to coloring for fun again 🙂

  10. This is a very interesting post. I just posted a similar idea, but from a completely different perspective. I just joined WordPress, but to get away from the pressures of popularity on another site, which I felt were undermining my creativity. I understand exactly what you mean, and I guess we all find our own paths in blogging. My best wishes to you, and great post.

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