View from the Outside…

Amy left a comment the other day in my “Call for Help” post that got me thinking. You see, there is this whole Inner Circle Syndrome (ICS) going around and … well, it bugs me.

I’m associated with an inner circle that I haven’t felt a part of for months. Sure, the people I’m lumped with are my friends, and I treasure them dearly. But I have always been one of those people that has friends in every group. You know how in high school there were 100 cliques? Yeah, I liked to have friends in all of them. It has always worked well for me too, because I always have had friends to turn to when I’m in need of one. Remember those high school days if you ticked one person off in your clique of friends and then they told all of the other clique members not to like you? Yeah, I just moved on to my other friends. I don’t play those games well at all. Ironically, it normally bugged the person that was mad at me so much that they would try to patch things up. Funny how humans work, isn’t it?

But back to my babbling point here. I have friends near and far in many different circles. I am friends with the supposed “A-List” (that’s a rant for a whole other day.) I am friends with bloggers here in Houston. I am friends with war bloggers, gay bloggers, tech bloggers, geek bloggers, pretty bloggers, mom bloggers, dad bloggers, just regular bloggers, not so regular bloggers, and people that don’t blog at all. I have never looked at a comment from anyone as “I don’t know them so they aren’t worthy.” No, quite the opposite. Some of my nearest and dearest friends I have met were because of the comments they left behind here.

I’ve been very nostalgic lately. I was telling Jennifer last week that I was in a funk. At first it felt like I had the “No one likes me blues”. Then I got a grip on reality and realized that isn’t the case at all. I have had no luck on the job front lately, so that leaves me quite melancholy. But in the end, that wasn’t it either.

Then it hit me as I had a long talk with Kathy the other night (Long girlie talks are so much fun!) Looking back over the past year as I am prone to do – it is Dec. 30th after all – I realized that friendships come and go and change in this cyberworld. I’ve lost touch – thanks to work, being busy, not having time – with some people that I truly adore. Others have lost touch with me. Such is life, and you can’t always change it. However, I’m going to try.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you suffer from fear of the ICS and think that I’ll ignore you if you’re not cool enough? I promise … that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Every new person I meet through this site is just a friend waiting in the wings. I’ve met some truly incredible people thanks to the Internet. People that have helped me in times of need, helped with tasks small and large. People that have lent me an ear when I needed someone to talk to. People who have laughed with me. Cried with me. Just been there for me. Who knows – the next person could be you?

In all of this, I know one thing that I will stay true to – I write what I write here for me first and foremost. It’s not about the traffic. It’s not about being noticed. (Well, unless I’m playing a game like Blogwhore or Big Blogger where I need the links!) It’s really about me & you. Yes, YOU. You there, reading this. An individual, a person – a friend. And if your viewpoint is different than mine, that’s ok. Like I said before, diversity is what makes the world go around. I like it when people challenge my way of thinking!

It’s time for a change around here. It may be subtle, it may be huge. I don’t know yet, I just know that I need to shake things up a bit. Hope you will stay along for the ride!

So, what are YOUR thoughts on all of this? Come on, you can tell me…

Addendum: Just to be clear, I never said I didn’t like the circle of people I’m often lumped in with. I just meant that I like a lot of people outside that circle too. Circles happen naturally – you are normally drawn to those like you and like similar people. Also, I never said nor claimed to be on an A-List anywhere, and as a number of people can back me up on, I’ve laughed whenever people tell me I am. I am nowhere close, nor do I want to be. I just want to live, let live, and be. I mainly just wanted everyone that travels through without commenting to know that they are welcome to comment any time. That’s why the link is there! (Edited at 8:21pm.)

Today’s Featured Blog: One Girl’s Life

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

60 replies on “View from the Outside…”

I’ve been thinking about this as well. I used to feel very much a part of the “blogging circle,” whether that circle was A-list or Z-list, and now, I don’t feel like I belong to any such group. I feel very estranged. I’ve recently been redoing my links and such, adding new bloggers and revisiting some I haven’t seen in a while, and the truth is, I miss them. I miss that crazy blog pandemonium that used to be so prevalent with all of us. Maybe I’m the only one feeling the disenfranchisement? But then, you’re feeling it as well. I wonder how many others feel it too?

I don’t fear the ICS treatment from you, but there are certain other bloggers out there that sometimes seem to give that vibe. I’m sure no one does it on purpose though. Like you, I was always the kid in highschool who had friends in every group, and I try to make friends in every group of blogging too! πŸ™‚

You know what I have noticed lately, though? A growing amount of hostility in comments. Not just the people leaving them, but the bloggers recieving them as well. I know that the blogger runs the show in his or her blog, but some people seem so unopen to comments that are not in line with their own thinking! One of the reasons I like your site so much is that I don’t see that around here πŸ™‚

I’ve always considered myself a “floater” in school, I wasn’t one of the “cool people” I just existed. I was friends with everyone. I didn’t care if they were disabled or the jock, I was their friend. And that is how I lead my life today, still. In real life and online. I’m a floater. I like it this way. I don’t think I could ever be settled down into a certain clique. It’s just not for me. I’d so much rather get to know all different kinds of people. I have made so many friends online, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been in any particular clique and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. a clique doesn’t make a person. Their whole being makes a person and either they like you or not. It’s really as simple as that. =)

If there is an “inner circle” I wish them the best, but I never got the impression that your site was an exclusive club and I wasn’t invited.If that was the case, I wouldn’t visit. High school wasn’t that great. I’m in no hurry to repeat it.
If there are changes you want to make, go for it! It’s your site, but don’t let someone in the audience dictate your tone, you sound fine to the rest of us.

I’ve been feeling the same way. There are people I’ve met this year that I thought I’d stay friends with for years to come, yet I haven’t heard a peep out of them recently. There are others I know I’ve neglected. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt, because it does. But you’re right, this is life. Maybe it’s because bloggerdom is so instant that friendships come and go so quickly. It doesn’t make the pain any less hurtful. And I for one love coming to your site, even if I’ve been a lurker, not leaving comments. I’m here because I like what you have to say, and you make people feel like you’re talking directly to them. It’s a wonderful trait to have, and I am happy to call you friend.

As someone who is fairly new (6 months) and not that good (coding stuff), I have to say that I really feel there’s a lot of ICS going on among the big bloggers. Not you of course. Most of my readers are non-bloggers. Friends, family and co-workers. It just seems really hard to “break into” the inner circle. But maybe I have different motivations. Because I’m writing professionally, I DO want to get noticed. But I also write about “blog” stuff too… life and junk like that (oh how poetic). Maybe I’m going about it all wrong.

I was the same way in high school…friends with all kinds of people. Two years ago back when I was at Diaryland it started getting way to cliqish (is that a word?) which is when I ended up getting my own domain and leaving there. I still read a handful of people there that I consider friends and I’ve made more and more online friends over the past two years. I’ve met about 9 bloggers in real life and each time had a great experience. I feel like there is a little bit of an ICS in the blogger world – I don’t notice it much except on days where I’m feeling like I don’t fit in. Most people who I read respond to my comments and usually end up linking me back which is cool.

Intersting that you bring up HS cliques, b/c that is what I always think about when a situation like the one you’re describing comes up. In HS we had a lot of different cliques and we were a small school. I was friends with everyone in all the groups – didn’t really fit entirely into one and not another. And I think that is a benefit, b/c now I can be comfortable in almost any situation I find myself in. As far as ICS goes, though, I am afraid that I haven’t really encountered that…I am only INSIDE one group really, with the rest I am simply teetering on the edge!!!

ics has always haunted me. though i’ve tried to fight it and convince myself that none of it matters, i still can’t seem to get to that ethereal plain where it really doesn’t matter.

maybe for 2003? πŸ™‚

and i really only just recently started reading your site but i’ve never gotten that impression from you….

Personally, I don’t see an “Inner Circle”. I do see people with popular blogs. Why are they popular? Because they take time to have eye-pleasing site designs, they spell check their entries to make them easier to read, and they provide quality content. I won’t read a blog that is written poorly, or has yellow lettering on a red background, with flashing banners. Those people make it difficult. If the blogger creates a quality blog, makes an effort to make friends… if the blogger is happy with what they’re doing… that’s what matters, in my opinion.

(Wow Christine, you must encourage spouting off at the mouth… πŸ˜‰ )

Hey Christine, I know what you mean. And did I overlook you in my blogging update/new home news? I’m sorry. I swear I went A-Z and I must have just missed you. Forgive me? I’ve been in a funk lately too. Having to move my site and other things and just feeling blah.

This is something I was thinking about recently, too, Christine. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I, too, have friends all over in the blogging world. I don’t consider myself “in” with the A-Listers, but I do associate with some of them. I read blogs that interest me, because they are written by people that interest me.

You have always struck me as a very sweet, smart, and humble blogger and person. That’s why I stick around here. πŸ™‚

My fiance has a theory: That everything almost always recesses into High School. Oh how true this statement rings.

it is essential in life to have girlie talks… where you can gab about everything and nothing for hours on end. and it also helps when the other person talks back as well… we have no problem there. πŸ™‚

i’ve been trying to compose something here but i keep getting distracted as my phone keeps ringing off the hook.

what is so funny to me (and it’s a shame that i feel this way) is that i feel so much more closer to the bloggers i read on a daily basis which extendes to those i’ve actually met in person rather than to those i’ve been close to in real life who don’t even bother reading my blog. i think it’s because with blogs and people you’ve met through blogs, the effort to get to know the person is there. you want to read the blog every single day to find out what’s new with that person. because everything you read is NEW to you. with the people you’ve known forever, you take for granted… and really that’s a shame… because they don’t really know you know you anymore… and how your tastes have changed.

i’m only speaking from experience because that’s how i’ve been feeling with the friends i’ve met just recently (mostly through their blogs) than those i’ve known for years. i’m actually offended that when i tell someone i know in RL to read about my blog and they say they do when they really don’t, it’s like a slap in the face. you’d think they want to know what goes on in your life when you hardly see each other.

as for the ICS, i try not to let that affect me so much… because you don’t have to comment on their blog if you don’t want to and vice versa. but you know what? it doesn’t hurt just to say hi and that you’re there.

i hope that answers your question – i feel i just went off on a tangent. πŸ™‚


Well, I dunno. I am in no blogging circle. My blog is an autobiographical experiment. My real name is not even Didion Sprague. But I carry around notebooks, finished a novel, and just had a short story accepted for publication in Ploughshares.

What does this mean? Nothing, really, except that it’s amusing to hear bloggers talk about a circle. Especially for someone like me who has no idea what you’re talking about. A circle? Who has a blogging circle? Who cares? Are there blogging circles? Am I missing something wonderful?

Toot, toot, toot my horn. BFD. Breaker, breaker, ten-four, rubber-duck.

There are days when I feel very shy about leaving a comment, when I am not sure if it will be misconstrued or offend someone. This is partially due to who I am and partially due to the feeling that I may be intruding on someone else’s space, that I am a stranger in their group of friends.

I don’t think that it is intentionally done, this cliquiness of the Blog worlds. I am not sure ho to explain it, but I am aware of it. Sorry Christine, this is not at all helpful. πŸ™‚

I hope that we don’t leave people who visit our site with the same feeling of unwantedness. Like you, I very much enjoy having people drop by and leaving behind their thoughts and ideas.

Well, since I made the initial comment I guess you know where I stand! πŸ˜‰

I want to give a great big “what she said!” to Theresa’s comment up there.

Also, thanks for having the courage to write this post. It’s so refreshing! AND, it’s giving me the opportunities to meet new bloggers with similar views that I wouldn’t have sought out otherwise.

Just keep being yourself and screw the jerks.

You know, I was just thinking about this myself the other day; blogging popularity can be really fickle. I feel like I could post 10 times a day about dryer lint or my boobs, but who really wants to read that? (By the way, people are absolutely free to post about their boobs as they wish, but I have a no-boob policy on my site, though I’ve been told I have a nice rack.) I keep thinking of Brad Choate’s tagline: “Stuff that interests me.” That’s what my site is to me – part journal, part commentary, part widget-fest – I loves me some blog toys, as you know. πŸ˜‰ I comment all over the place, even on the popular kids’ sites, and I love it when people comment on mine – that kind of exchange is what blogging is all about. Popular, schmopular. Content is king!

Hey, Christine, I love reading your site. I’ve been a reader since before you took the blah out of the blog πŸ˜‰ and I read you because you’re honest and real. At least, you appear to be. In high school, like you, I had friends in several different cliques without really belonging to any of them. I graduated from high school and never looked back, preferring the adult world to the juvenile one.

I’ve made more friends since I got online than I ever would have thought possible. I thought surfing the ‘net would be like watching tv; a solo experience. I love that the opposite is true. I like meeting people from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. Some friendships come and go, but as in real life, the ones that matter last. There are several acquaintances that I’ve made over the years that for one reason or another sort of melted away, and that makes me kind of sad. People change, though, and they grow apart, and they move on.

As for the inner circle of blogging, yeah, it appears there is one. I’m not one to get all hung up over whether or not I’m a part of it though. I choose who I read by whether or not they have something interesting to say, and a cool layout can’t hurt. I don’t think I’ll ever find myself getting more than one or two comments a post on my page, but any and all are welcome.

Me? *sniffle* You care, you really do! πŸ˜‰ I’ve never felt that you were clique-ish at all … in fact, you’re far from it. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy stopping by – because you share views from so many different people and add your own thoughts. πŸ™‚

See, I always used to try to spot the ‘inner circle’ of groups, whether it was in school or at work or online. I spent half the time cursing the people who belonged to that so-called inner circle and the other half the time trying to worm my way into it. Then suddenly, I joined a group online about two years ago and found myself becoming a part of what the other people in the group referred to as said inner-circle. I realised then that there were no secret initiations or codewords or rites of passages that would magically make you a part of ‘the cool group.’ If there is an inner circle, which in most places there is, it’s not some secret group, but just as you said, a group of people who know each other and are good friends with each other. And there’s nothing wrong with having friends.

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to get to know my fellow bloggers better — I’ve been at my current blog for over a year (and have actually been keeping a journal online since 1996 — when everything had to be coded by hand!) but I haven’t really branched out beyond the group of friends I knew from the group I mentioned beforehand. At first I wasn’t sure what to do, but I’ve been visiting blogs, leaving comments, surfing through blog lists, and linking on my own site to those people who I’ve found interesting. I’m having fun, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know alot of new and interesting people. Which is really what this is all about, no? πŸ™‚

Very interesting post, Christine. I actually read the one at Jennifer’s blog first and came to see what you had to say. Just a few days ago I was asking in my blog if my posts were too boring because I didn’t get any comments and that I knew I wasn’t popular at all, but that I liked to get feedback. The point is, some of us feel like there is only a little crowd that deserves attention in the blog world and I’m sure it’s a wrong impression.

In fact, your blog is really popular, but I’ve always considered you different from others that, well… I don’t know what to say, except that they think they are “the last Coke in the desert”, like we say in my country. We all are full of prejudice and decide by ourselves that someone popular simply won’t care about us. It’s silly, I know.

Munin says she feels shy to leave a comment sometimes and I feel like that too. When you’re not in the circle, you tend to think you’re not as funny or witty, so you simply don’t bother. And since I’ve seen some of the popular bloggers attacking those who don’t share their point of views, then I prefer to avoid trouble πŸ™‚

But thank you very much for your words, Christine. You’ve touched a very important issue, not only in the blogging scene, but the general society as well. It is always nice to know the human being behind the blog.

There’s an inner circle of bloggers? *chuckles to self*. I for one have never noticed it, and you certainly shouldn’t be worried about if other people think you belong to it. Just keep writing!

Excellent post. However, to be quite honest, I am surprised you feel this way, Christine. It’s refreshing that you do, and I’m happy to see this post, so I hope you’re not insulted by my saying that. I have always tried to maintain my blog for me and not be influenced by others in the “blogosphere,” so it is really great to see so many people feeling the same way. I was starting to wonder if anyone really blogged for reasons other than to feel popular and “an online star.”

Ok, enough rambling, thanks for this post, I”m glad to see so many people staying grounded in why they blog.

Good luck on your job interview!

Our schedules have both been so out of whack the last few months, we’ve lost a lot of contact time. I think that’s been one of the biggest adjustments with me at my site over the last year — I don’t know everyone that reads me anymore. And I want to. It’s just impossible to do so. I think as such, people might perceive you to be “above it” when really you’re not. You haven’t changed as a person…or as a blogger… Or at least I’d like to hope I haven’t. I always feel sad when people say they were afraid to comment. Lord knows I’m never afraid to post. πŸ˜‰ And really, that’s what it’s all about…there’s a bit of security in having a monitor between you and the next person. As a result, I think the friendships tend to grow faster and become more deep at times. Maybe that’s also why it’s unfortunately so easy to let them slip away… Am I making sense? I think I need better cold medicine. πŸ™‚

I adore my friends. I count on them, and they know that they can count on me.

Many of my friends are people I’ve met because of my blog… and NONE of them are regarded more or less by the number of hits they get, or whose links list they’re on.

I also never get upset when I link to someone and they don’t link back… I know MORE than one of my links don’t reciprocate, and that’s fine with me.

Finally, as for cliques, I’ve never been for them, having fought them all through HS (while somehow finding myself in a few of them as well). The only “clique” I’m in now is the one that the rest of my friends are in: the 30-ish (or nearly 30-ish) Houston Friday Night Club crowd… πŸ™‚

Why am I awake at 2:40 a.m.?!?!?!?!!!

I’m pretty new to blogging—I never had anything I wanted to say to world until recently. I would like to think that, whether or not anyone cares to read what I have to say, a community of people using their own voices to tell the world what they will, would support my right and choice to do the same. It’s sad and ironic that that is not always the case.

I know I tease you about being an A-Lister, but you can’t deny that you get a lot of linkage. That you manage to keep yourself grounded in reality about how “important” that really is says a lot about you as a person.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, blogging brings out the inner 8th-grader in most people.

There are almost a million people just using Blogger alone, so there are too many blogs out there now to really be concerned about being in the “Top 100” or any other list of rankings — it’s meaningless.

I have sat and watched the comments come through out the few days on this topic. I see an inner circle of blogs, I have tried to ‘get in’ and like school, I didn’t make it in. Am I dork? Is it because I don’t swear? Don’t smoke? Wear tacky clothes? I don’t know… I was upset, then reminded myself, that this wasn’t a club I joined. I do this for myself. Not for points, hits or comments. Yes, I wish sometimes people would comment on my blog – but once again.. this isn’t for them… I love your journal and like everyone before me who has said it, your real and honest. πŸ™‚

Yes, it’s a shame that circles happen naturally. I try hard not to be lumped in with one particular circle either. Sometimes it’s hard. But also, if I’m lumped in a circle, I’ve made really awesome friends that I wouldn’t trade in for the world. Sometimes it’s a sacrafice. That said, I don’t think I’m unapproachable either, and I’m not going to turn down new friends. Sometimes just being busy comes across that way. Good post Christine.

That was well said. I had someone refer to me as a “popular” blogger once and she was really excited that I had linked to her. I thought it was funny because I never considered myself in that way. All that mattered to me was that she had left a comment with her url and once I read some of her posts, I liked what she said and linked her accordingly. It’s funny how life can be such a game here online.

I’ve found a lot of good reads just because someone leaves a comment.

Oh, this seems to be a hot topic!

It’s a shame that many people feel like they are on the outside looking in. That game wasn’t fun to play in school.

I have trouble posting commenting in the first place because I’m shy, very shy, and fear I’m going to make a moron out of myself. Sometimes, that quality in myself makes me feel like I’m an outsider. It’s not a good feeling.

But, I have tried to tell myself and such that it shouldn’t matter if I have 1 reader or 100 readers. I should just do my best and be friendly to all.

i read your site – mainly because you make me smile, and also because you remind me so much of myself.

i was so much like you in high school…never part of a group, but always part of many groups. i read blogs from all over, and i find it comforting that we tend to “group together”, and i can’t ever put my finger on why that happens. i know a lot of it has to do with popularity, but it has to be something else, something more….something we just can’t describe. maybe one day, i’ll be able to put this into words, and maybe someday someone will just invent the feed that does it for me. heh

blogging has been a huge help to me this past year…it has been my therapy and my connection. it has been an eye opening experience, and a learning one at that. i have taught myself to use html, and started actually designing my own MT sites. i’m proud of those accomplishment, albeit small, they are MINE.

i love that you posted about this, because it reminds us that we are all just people…with many similar backgrouns, as well as many different ones. many similar ideas, as well as many different ones.

and, i’m especially glad that you are my blogging friend.

happy new year! πŸ™‚

Our school experience sounds quite similar. I too did, and to this day still, enjoy friendships with a myriad of people – both from the past and those I continue to meet along the way. I am fairly new to blogging, and pleased I stopped by to see your latest, it’s nice to meet you πŸ™‚

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year!

Count me in. I’ve been a covert reader for 6 months now, so I’m along for the ride no matter where you decide to detour. ICS? I’m a loner by nature, but I resolved this past year to change just a bit of that. If I hadn’t taken that first step — sent the first email or left a comment — I would have missed out on life-changing friendships. It’s amazing what happens when you just say “hi.”

There are rude people in every crowd – when you put yourself out there one of the chances you take is that you’ll run into them. Sometimes I think it’s people on the “outside” that create the Inner Circle by seeing themselves as “not good enough” and projecting that assumption onto their interactions with others. Oh well… a rant for another time:)

What you said was well said.

Hello πŸ™‚
I just wanted to leave you a quick note, of my own “experience”.
1. I’ve always thought that you and a few others were an “A List” clique. But that didn’t stop me from writing and asking you a question (which you immediately answered, thank You πŸ™‚

2nd. Every time I come across a “clique” of sorts, and I have reason to communicate with these people (and sometimes, even ‘work’ with them) I find that they don’t see themselves as an “A List Clique”. They’re just being themselves, and making friends as they go.

YOU have always tried to have a good outlook, you have a wonderful way of writing, that is both insightful and amusing. I “lurk” around, but hardly ever comment, mainly because you have so many that leave comments, that usually someone says what I’m thinking/feeling.

And MOST OF ALL. This Is YOUR Blog/Journal. NOT any one else’s. YOU do this for yourself, and that’s the way it should be.

πŸ™‚ LOL now, I guess I made up for all the times I never wrote anything.

If we met tomorrow for the very first time
It’s getting so lonely inside this bed Don’t know if I should lick my wounds Or say woe is me instead And there’s an aching inside my head It’s telling me I’m better off alone But after midnight morning will come And the day will see if you will get so…

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