I’m one of those people who’s willing to try new foods, even if I think I probably won’t like them. One of the good things my parents did for me when I was a child was get me to try new foods. My mother loved to cook, and my father and I were her taste testers.
A typical dinner table conversation might go like this.
Mom: Here’s some Brussels sprouts.
Me: Ew. Everyone at school says they’re yucky.
Mom: Oh no, they’re good.
Me: But they look yucky!
Mom: Well, have you ever tried them?
Mom: Then how do you know you won’t like them?
I had no answer to that, so I tried them and have loved them ever since. That happened many times over, with different foods. I didn’t love all the foods I tried, but many I did. If I hadn’t tried them for myself and just assumed I would hate them because other people hated them, I never would have discovered how good they were.
The same thing is true for just about everything else. When I decided to start a blog in September 2014, I had to decide between Blogger and WordPress. Yes, there are other blogging platforms, but those two are the biggest and most well known. I talked to a few people online who told me that WordPress sucked. They said it was full of snobs and the people were unhelpful to newbies and unfriendly. They also told me it was hard to learn and the templates not user-friendly. No one had much of an opinion about Blogger. All my friends knew was that it was owned by Google.
So I decided to go with Blogger. I opened up Blogger and started the process to set up my blog. But I ran into a problem almost immediately. Because Blogger is connected to Google (and I already have a Google account), it kept wanting me to put in my real name. For a blog like this one, that was out of the question. I tried to write over it but it kept defaulting back to my name. I even tried to change my Google account information, but for other reasons that wasn’t going to work for me either.
Frustrated, I closed Blogger and opened up WordPress. I had no idea what to expect and was sure I’d be completely lost. I chose a theme. So many attractive free themes to choose from. Which one to select? Finally, I settled on the Twenty Ten theme and within 10 minutes I had my blog! I went to the dashboard and took a look around. Yes, it was a bit confusing but I started to play around with it and try different things. To my surprise it wasn’t hard at all! No, things didn’t come second nature to me yet. There was a bit of a learning curve, but after my first few posts, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the basics. When I got stuck I went to the Forums and asked for help there. To my surprise I got my questions answered pretty quickly and in a friendly manner. As I began to attract a few followers, I also found that the other bloggers were helpful and very welcoming of newbies. I can’t say whether the same is true of Blogger, but I decided that my friends had been wrong about WordPress, at least WordPress.com. (WordPress.org is too daunting for me right now and at the moment I have no need to self-host).
I would never have been on WordPress at all had it not been for the name issue at Blogger. I can’t even imagine that, because my experience at WordPress has been incredible. I’ve never known such a warm and friendly bunch of people as the other bloggers here. I don’t know how WordPress got a reputation for being snobby and unfriendly, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
The moral of this story is that you really can’t assume things based on what other people tell you. You have to form your own opinions, just like you should always at least try a new food if you’re not allergic to it. There’s no way to know what you’re going to like or dislike until you actually experience it for yourself. Other people may be well-meaning (or not!) but their opinions are going to differ from yours, and if you just go along with them rather than making your own decisions, you never know what you might be missing.