Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was a boomer blogging on my own blog, writing for free to an audience of what is considered to be pretty good numbers in the boomer blogosphere: 200 or so honest-to-God subscribers.
I wasn't sure why my numbers had stalled at 200 -- and why fellow boomer author friends of mine, who had also taken up blogging -- were telling me how great I was doing compared to them. After all, 200 hard-won subscribers is not the couple of hundred thousand readers I'd garnered for my books over the years. And one op-ed alone for a daily national newspaper had on one day several years ago put my writing in front of a couple of million eyeballs. But that was all in the past.
Taking my stalled numbers as a mandate to try something new, I turned my blog "Fierce with Age" into Fierce with Age: The Online Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality. Instead of lofting my own wisdom out into the world, I would scan cyberspace every day, seeking out the best content about spirituality and aging by other talented bloggers on the web.
Like the nickel slot machine whose time had come, not only did the tally of visitors to the revamped Fierce with Age Digest website light up with flashing lights, sirens, bells and whistles, but the light bulb went off in my head. I suddenly knew why so many of our individual blog website results had disappointed, while the Digest turned up all 7s.
It's a perfect storm, actually. For starters, there's the recessionary economy that has been largely unkind to aging boomers. As a result, there are unprecedented numbers of underutilized boomers, with excellent writing skills and the pent-up desire for self-expression.
They are former marketers, book editors, school teachers and journalists. Wordsmiths all, their suddenly released ambition has simultaneously surged into cyberspace, whipped forth by the democratization of the web. The moment I hit the Digest side of things, I was inundated with boomers seeking wider readership for their blogs.
Each one had a title more clever than the next, heavy on stereotype-busting words like "dangerous" and "frisky." Every time a late-in-life reinvention was undertaken, a search for meaning initiated, every time another child left the nest, I was among the first to know.
This next part is hard for a life-long professional author like me to admit. The thing is, they're good. No, not just good. They're great! This is, after all, the best-educated generation in history. Boomers are the first generation to grow into adulthood exposed to the greatest literature, spiritual and otherwise, from around the world and across the centuries, available to them first at the university bookstore, then on the web. These boomer bloggers have lived long, rich lives and along the way have gathered unto themselves ridiculous amounts of wisdom, inspiration and spirituality. There's pathos. There's depth. There's brilliance.
Without the traditional gatekeepers of selective agents, picky publishers and "The Oprah Show" on network TV, not only anybody, but everybody, can stake out their territory and find the 200 boomers in their world who aren't doing their own blog yet.
I think this is a really good thing, as long as you're not a boomer blogger hoping for 201 prospective readers. Although, now, at least, you've got me.