Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

Revisiting The Quaker Questions: Say What? Naked Who?

This is a photo of a deer standing on the side of the hill in our backyard. This deer is not being a pest per se because he’s eating shrubs that grow wild. He is naked, but to my knowledge is not a Quaker.

• • •

Sometimes, I dunno.

I looked at my WP list of Top Searches wherein I can see the list of questions and queries that, through the magic of search engines, have brought people to The Spectacled Bean.

I generally get people looking for information on deer as pests OR information on replacing door handles on interior doors OR [oddly enough] issues Americans can agree upon.

However, and this is where it gets interesting, to my knowledge no search engine has ever sent anyone here who wrote as their query: “naked quaker questions and answers.”

Let’s unpack this query, shall we?

I can explain the Quaker Questions part.  You see, years and years ago I wrote a post [HERE] about answering the Quaker Questions.

Z-D and I were in the process of joining a Presbyterian church and instead of having everyone in the new members group jibber jabber about who he or she was, the leader of the new members group had us answer the Quaker Questions.

But I can assure you that the questions in question were intended to be questions answered while wearing clothes. There was no nakedness involved with these questions nor with our answers. Plus, and I’m assuming here, the Quaker who originally asked these questions was [probably] fully clothed.

It’s an odd subject to be researching, but that’s not what worries me about this particular query.  What I’m wondering about is the twisted reality underscoring a search engine’s algorithms so that it sent someone to find the answer to that query on my sweet little PG-13 blog.

Naked deer I got.  Naked doors I had.  But Quakers?

The ones I’m familiar with wear clothes. 🙄

• • •

THE QUAKER QUESTIONS

[We were asked the following questions. My answers are in the comment section below. Do what you will with this information.] 

Where were you born?

When you were 7 years old how did your family heat your home?

What person in your real life growing up influenced you in a way that makes you who you are today?

• • •

As Autumn Begins: Saying Hello And Goodbye Up In The Sky

As the seasons change so does the early morning light, meaning that when I’m up early drinking my coffee out on the deck, I see things differently.

[Or is it that I see different things?]

Above is a photo in which you can see a jet plane, headed one direction, and the waning crescent moon headed the other direction.

[Look closely, they’re both there.]

To me this seems like they’re saying hello and goodbye as they pass each other, rather like the way in which summer and fall pass by each other on the calendar.

[Or something like that.]

I’m not a poet, nor do I profess to be profound.  Instead I notice things, photograph them, describe them, then allow my thoughts to meander.  Perhaps with no purpose.  Perhaps with a keen insight that I have yet to understand.

[Regardless, I think the above photo is cool.]

Happy Autumn, everyone.  I’m looking forward to it.  Whatcha got planned?  Spill the beans in the comments below.

Rambling Thoughts That’ll Light No One’s Way, Yet Here They Are

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE LONG WEEKS when I’ve been doing things, but haven’t felt very good.  My stomach kind of hurts, no specific reason.  My ancient old knees hurt, no specific reason.

My head hurts, courtesy of seasonal allergies.  My eyes are an itchy mess because of those same allergies.  And I’ve been sneezing.

Sneezing so loudly, in fact, that while I was outside on the deck when I sneezed a neighbor, who I’ve never met, who lives on the other side of the forest primeval/ravine behind our house yelled “God bless you” towards me.  I shouted “thank you” back across the forest primeval/ravine, thus ending the longest conversation I’ve ever had with any neighbor on the other side of the forest primeval/ravine.

+ +

AND THEY SAY THE SUBURBS ARE SOULLESS. Ha!  We’re not soulless here, we just live far enough apart to not know each other personally while being midwestern polite to a fault.  And aren’t good manners part and parcel of having a soul?

Me thinks so.

And on that note of profundity [?], I shall end this post.  You know I try to be here at least once a week because I made a commitment to myself and to you, my gentle readers, to do so, thus I am here.

It would be bad manners to not show up.

However some weeks it takes all I’ve got just to find a photo [enhanced by Waterlogue app], plop it on this virtual page, and then write the words.  In this case Muse is here with me, but my Energy Level isn’t up to snuff.

‘Ya know what I mean?

The One About Birdbaths, The Path You Choose, & A Survey About My Blog

Over the weekend we went to a garden decor center to look at birdbaths for my butterfly habitat.  There is no end to the exciting things we do here.  In fact I sometimes hesitate telling you, my gentle readers, what we’re up to because I don’t want to make anyone jealous.

We didn’t find a birdbath that’ll work for us because it’s early in the outdoor season here so the selection was minimal– and because the ones available required electricity which we don’t have where I want to put a birdbath.

But we had a nice time walking around the property in the sunshine.  YAY SPRING! 😎

+ • + • + • +

In the parking lot of this garden decor center is a sign that directs you one way or the other.  You can either meander down the Scenic Route that wraps around the front of the property where there are displays of ponds + fountains + birdbaths to give you an idea of what you might want to do in your yard.  This path is kind of artsy fartsy.

Or you can use the Main Entrance and go directly to the merchandise in the back of the property where it’s organized in large quadrants of similar items.  This is where the helpful sales people are ready to get you all squared away.  This path is fast and practical.

Scenic route or main entrance?  Those are your choices at the garden decor center.  And it seems to me, an English major who can find meaning in anything, those are often your choices in life.  Which begs the question:

WHICH WAY IS YOUR USUAL CHOSEN PATH: MEANDER OR DIRECT? Hmmm…? 🤔

+ • + • + • +

On a whim yesterday afternoon I created a free survey about this blog using SurveyMonkey.  Having never done anything like this before, I followed their suggestions about the questions to include.

There are seven questions that according to them will take you 1 minute to answer.  Trust me when I say that it took me longer than 1 minute to make this survey– learning curve, kind of steep.

I have my *fingers crossed* that this is going to work.  Also, you’ll be anonymous.  There are no demographic questions and I won’t know your IP address.

Click on HOW AM I DOING? to be magically transported to my survey, should you care to take a minute of your time and answer my questions.  Thank you in advance for your kind participation in my first online survey. 🤓

SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.

Blogger’s Block: Muse Is Missing And I Am Without Flapdoodle & Twaddle

Two Adirondack chairs in the park, a perfect resting spot for anyone who needs to take a short breather while looking for Muse.

Where is my Muse?

I’m ashamed to say that I am without a story to share here today.

Nor do I have any research projects in process so I don’t have any little tidbits of information to toss into the blog.

I’m not feeling sad or snarky or silly, so there’s no blog post to be plumbed from those emotions.

Instead, I have blogger’s block, a specific kind of writer’s block wherein a personal blogger, such a meself, has the photo and the time to write about it, but can’t find the inspiration, the catalyst, the spark one needs to create the blog post.

There is no flapdoodle. There is no twaddle.

And I am bereft.

I place the blame for this unusual blogging situation squarely on the shoulders of Muse who has scampered off, probably to play on the swings in the park.

I’m sure you, my gentle readers, understand this situation.  Muse is, after all, a flighty thing. 😉

Where I Was When I Wasn’t Here: San Antonio, TX

TO BEGIN

Colorful bat mosaic on wall at zoo.

“The world is a book. If you do not travel, you read only a page.”

The above quote, that I see every day when I’m at home, is on a framed piece of artwork that I have hanging on a wall in our home office.

I only mention this quote, attributed to St. Augustine, because I believe it to be true, a guiding principle.  Thus I said “hell to the yes” when I had the opportunity to spend a few days in pleasant and pretty San Antonio, TX.

You see, last week Zen-Den was in San Antonio for a conference.  Remembering how much fun we had there years ago, I joined him after the conference was over and we goofed off for a couple of days doing things in America’s 7th largest city that is celebrating its 300th birthday.

[Did not know either of those facts before visiting there. Feel that I’m a better person for having shared them here.]

THINGS WE DID

• The San Antonio River Walk which is a meandering multi-level path around an urban waterway surrounded by restaurants, shops, and hotels.

• The Briscoe Western Art Museum which was beautiful, and wherein I saw Roy Rogers’s saddle, a real Wells Fargo Wagon, and ate a complimentary cupcake.

• The Alamo Quarry Market which is an open-air shopping area filled with stores and restaurants, not necessarily unique to San Antonio but a nice place to wander around in the warm sunshine.

• The San Antonio Zoo which was lovely, with more animals from South America, Australia, and Africa than any other zoo I’ve been to.

• The Alamo City Comic Con which was our first adventure into the happy, trippy subculture that revolves around comic conventions.  Here are my observations: 1) people, often entire families, were costumed like comic book or TV or movie characters [we were not];  2) people were standing in line waiting to pay to have photos taken with and/or objects signed by celebrities [we did not];  & 3) people were buying memorabilia and posters and t-shirts from the displays set up by many vendors [we did not].

IN CONCLUSION

And with that I’ll end this post with a hat tip to St. Augustine and his travel advice, suggesting to you, my gentle readers, that San Antonio, TX, is a fun + friendly place to visit for those of you inclined to want to read more than one page of this book we call the world.