Let me tell you a little personal story.
As a teen, I went to a private school for a couple of years, and then transfered into the public high school in tenth grade. A lot of the friendships were already signed, sealed and delivered by then especially as my community generally involved people who had never ever moved. I may have been the only new girl out of two hundred tenth graders. Having trouble finding my people, I ended up with a unique crowd of artsy folk. And things were okay.
But in eleventh grade, I found that my group didn’t really fit me anymore. Some of them had gone from artsy to druggy. Some were heading to the VoTech school for half the day, while I was staying after for music and theater.
So I set my sights on a group of girls who were also into music and theater. It wasn’t necessarily easy. I’d talk to them in homeroom, but if I walked out to our lockers with them, they’d start leaving me out of the conversations. Then I could walk to the lockers, but if I walked down the hall with them, they’d talk about people I didn’t know. Then I could walk down the hall, but I knew I couldn’t sit at lunch with them. I just knew. But by the end of my private campaign, I was not only in the group, but a trend-setter within it.
Additionally, each day I’d go home and tell my mom of my progress in a detached way. I didn’t get bent out of shape that they didn’t embrace me from day one. Why would they? They didn’t even know me. If I wanted to be part of the group, then it was up to me not them so I made the effort. I remembered to cut out the article from Seventeen about the cute actor that one of the girls liked. I always had an extra pencil on hand to share. I may have made a mix tape.
Didn’t my feelings get hurt sometimes? Sure. But that’s life. These girls weren’t actively mean. They didn’t say nasty things to me, but they weren’t going to make me their new best friend just because I wanted it. I had to prove that we had something in common, that I’d add something to the equation, that I was... worthy, I guess. It didn’t hurt that I was talented in our shared interests of music and theater, but that wasn’t enough really.
There had to be that “click factor.” Not “clique factor.”
Now put that whole experience in with the blogging world, and you’ll get my point. It parallels my own experience in blogging almost perfectly. Instead of “music and theater,” it’s “books and reading.” Instead of “talk to them,” it’s “comment.” Instead of “my mom” it’s “my husband.” Instead of “article in Seventeen,” “extra pencil,” and “mix tape,” it’s “emailed them about something kid-lit-related,” “linked to a great post,” and “started the 48 Hour Book Challenge.”
And you know what? I’m still doing it. I keep up with my kid-lit peeps, but I still reach out there. I comment on Surburban Turmoil, though she’s never mentioned me. When Defective Yeti an A-list blog had a contest, I played and I told people about it and he mentioned me for it and I probably got some new readers.
Now when I opened up my interview question meme yesterday, one person said they’d do it. ONE. What a great chance that was for a blog who wanted some face time to get attention, because I went over to Zee Librarian to look at her blog. And lo and behold I saw this cool thing she had done with her young adult display. I found she writes about movies too, which I love, and I’ll certainly be back to visit her. That’s how you do it, people.
Am I saying that the kidlitosphere is like high school? Noooo. I’m saying that all of life is like high school in a way. Things become more refined, sometimes. But if you need proof, look at who society pays athletes and actors (beautiful people).
I bring this up, because Monica brought it up and wanted some feedback. I commented there, and at Fuse#8, where I originally saw the post. She didn’t mention my article on how to be a B-list blogger specifically, but she did reference the A-list, B-list status thing. My idea in writing that article was to tell other blogs how to get out themselves out there assuming that’s their goal. It doesn’t have to be.
As for Monica’s related point of how to teach our children within classrooms and literature and parenting about not excluding people, I’ll teach my daughters not to depend on everyone else being nice and fair, because life isn’t nice and fair. However, be nice and be fair. I’ll teach my daughters to be proactive about their destiny, not reactive. Oh, and that friendships even blog and literary friendships take effort, time, and often that “click factor.” And that’s not the same as “clique factor.”