country by country, what draws you in?

On Friday, I gave a geography lesson. I haven’t done any review of the geography of Africa in quite some time, but when asked, I think I did pretty well. A co-worker was asking me if Libya was in the Middle East. Rather than laugh, I remembered that I was always better at geography than most of my classmates. There’s a certain grad student who’s from Libya, and comes by the cafe regularly, so this is why my fellow employee was curious.

Before I got my Kindle out to double-check, I was able to tell him that Libya was in northern Africa, either the country next to Egypt, or one more over. I couldn’t quite remember. I was pleased to find I was just about right, Libya being on the western side Egypt (while it’s Algeria and Tunisia that are to the west of Libya) . I was also asked about the location of Lebanon, but I knew exactly where that was, right next to Israel. Apparently, another student had been talking to him, and he found out they were from Lebanon, but wasn’t sure where that was.

From there, he wanted to know a little more about Libya, and I didn’t know much. And then I remembered that Benghazi is there. He was aware of what happened in Benghazi, to our ambassador, so this gave him some information he could really connect with. Again, I find it interesting that several of my co-workers will come to me for news and information, whether it’s local or international. They seem to be aware that I keep up with current events, and I do my best to fill them in on anything they want to know.

The day after the Boston Marathon bombing, as soon as I got to work, I used my Kindle to get back online, and continued to check updates. I was not expecting to be immediately surrounded by my co-workers, wanting to know what was the latest news. Sure, one news channel was on the tv, but it seemed to be looping the same stuff, and was no help. But without even realizing that I was reading the news, as they spoke to me, they knew I would be able to tell them all I could. At the time, the first bits of information were coming in about the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston manhunt.

I was actually thinking about this, while looking at my blog stats page. In one day, it is so fascinating to find that I received views from not only the U.S., Canada, and Australia, but also Slovenia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, Algeria, the U.K, and South Africa. What is it that draws people, from country after country? Of course, it could be only one person, per country, who looked up a picture, and never read the post. But doesn’t it make you curious who they are, what they’re interested in, and why they come to you for stories and information?

Of course, when you’re checking your stats page, you can get an idea of what blog posts people are looking at, and you become even more curious over who’s reading the Australia posts and who’s checking out the ones you wrote in the last month. Is it the kitten pictures? The travel photos and explanations? Or maybe you just write things a little more clearly, and interestingly, for someone who has never been to the U.S. or Australia.

I managed to connect these slight threads of thought, because as I wonder why my co-workers look to me for information, or what it is about me that draws them in, the same relates to my writing. You want to think you’re just utterly fascinating, but that’s being a little too… well, less than humble. You want to think that you can tell them things that no one else will. Or that you have a perspective that no one else ever looks at.

To think about it from the other side, what draws you to other people or other bloggers? What makes you want to talk to them or ask them questions? What do they know or how do they speak, that draws you to them? Is it their personality or just their fascinating array of knowledge? I don’t have answer, as I’m just rambling over a few ideas here. But I thought I would go ahead and share, anyway.

Even if you pretend no one’s listening, people still see you and hear you. Are you saying anything worthwhile? What will you be remembered for?

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