I was extraordinarily bored one day, and I was on the brink of desperation. Seriously, I was actually considering cleaning my house. And so, in a last ditch effort to try and alleviate my ennui, I decided I needed something good to read. Obviously, I couldn’t avoid cleaning my house forever, and I’ve discovered that starting a good book is one of the best ways to avoid it for at least a couple of days. I can break up fights, retrieve juice, apply band-aids and play I Spy in between chapters. But, clean house? Hey, I’ve got priorities.
No. What I needed was a quick read. Something that I could enjoy over a cup of coffee or two. With acute hesitation, I turned to Associated Content.
Don’t get me wrong. I love AC. But sometimes, I find it hard to sift through an almost overwhelming sea of articles when I don’t know what I’m looking for. I wasn’t searching for anything specific – just something good. I’d already read most of what some of my favourite contributors had written on this site, so where did I go from there?
I perused my scant list of favourites and settled on the brilliantly talented Ms. Maria Roth. I respected her as a writer, so it could only stand to reason that I would find similar levels of genius among her list of favourites, and I clicked on one at random. I was brought to the profile page of one Allene Newberg Bilodeau.
I scanned through her articles until one caught my eye. Intrigued, I opened the page to find this thing staring me in the face. It was a nasty, bulbous-eyed creature (presumably from Mars) that looked like the evil spawn of a mutant grasshopper and an inbred frog. Of course, upon further review, I found out that the hideous creature was not, in fact, an alien, but rather a locust. Or a cicada. Or a katydid. Or a Neopet. Okay, the jury is still out on that one, but it was decidedly an insect, and certainly of earthly origins.
I expressed my disgust for the repulsive little beast in the comments section of the article and moved on to be further entertained by the writings of Ms. Bilodeau. But alas, dishes needed washing and I soon succumbed to the inevitable and the mundane.
When I returned to my computer, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Allene had left me a message in my inbox and a comment on one of my articles. This article, to be specific (aren’t hyperlinks fun?). I couldn’t help but smile at her words, which were filled with encouragement and unwarranted flattery. It’s hard to describe what it feels like when your efforts are being appreciated by someone other than your mom. But, it lifted my heart and renewed in me a determination to continue writing as well as I could and as often as possible. Allene spoke of the most rewarding aspects of being a member of AC – camaraderie, friendship, belonging. I sincerely hoped that I too would find my niche within the community.
As I continued to bask in the warmth of the praise I had received, something started to happen. My inbox started filling up with notifications. People were suddenly leaving comments on my article. I was accumulating fans. My goofy grin converted to outright laughter as I read the ridiculous comments that people were leaving on my article. What the hell was going on?
There was only one reasonable explanation for this sudden influx of page views on an article that had been published days beforehand. Sure enough, Allene admitted to telling some of her colleagues about my article, and I couldn’t have thanked her enough. After weeks of flying under the radar, I was suddenly getting noticed. I was finding my place.
The moral to this tale? We can post and promote and tweet and sprinkle it all with a fine layer of handpicked keywords. But don’t forget: there is an entire community of people – potential fans and followers – right here on AC. They may not see you unless you stand up and make yourself visible.