- - - - -
- - -
Current topic:
We'd love to include your perspective! Send submissions on any topic to fourperspectivesblog at gmail.com.

Next topic:

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Declaration

Pin It Out on the playground, a little boy approached a girl sitting under the sweeping branches of a gnarled oak tree. She was reading a book. "Hi, Jane. I'm Max. I just wanted to tell you that I really like your red dress today. It makes me think of my Grandma Mertie's teapot. It's really cool. It whistles."

He waited, but Jane didn't glance up from her book. "Oh, okay. Well, bye, then. Guess I'll see you tomorrow."

Off he ran, to the swings at the far end of the playground.

In her mind, Jane pondered his compliment and smiled a secret little smile. A red teapot? That sounded...cheerful. Her inside smile grew bigger. That was a very nice thing to say. She smoothed the front of her red shirt, and resolved to wear it again the very next day, as long as her mother would let her...

I have this problem, and from what I'm hearing, many of you other blogger-people do, too.

Here it is. I'm just going to say it. I love blogging, but blogging is a time suck.

There's so much involved in creating and maintaining a successful blog. There's first the daily hour or so spent writing. That's the fun part. Actually, it's all kind of fun--that's sort of the problem. Blogging's a lot more fun than cleaning toilets and doing laundry.

You tap, tap, tap at the keys and then sit expectantly back and await others' critique of your brilliance or your folly, as the case may be. You check back at periodic intervals (read: every ten minutes) to see if anything's changed. You reply to comments. You obsess over why no one has commented, and of course you can't clean or cook while you're obsessing. You read other people's blogs. You comment on other people's blogs. You discover new blogs. If you Twitter to promote your blog, you tweet, and try to be heard amidst all the other self-involved tweeting going on. I'm personally not much on twittering.

Possibly the biggest time suck aspect, according to several posts I've read lately, is the whole replying to comments thing. Since I rarely have over ten or so comments, this really hasn't been too big a problem for me. I know several of you have been struggling with it, though, so I'm just going to lay it out there.

Blogging works because a connection is made between two parties. When I speak of a connection, I speak of the early give and take that forges an authentic relationship between author and audience. The blog is a curious genre where this reliable, present audience is an integral part of what makes the blog succeed or fail. It's as vital to its health as water is to a thirsty body.

I've visited blogs before that I liked and left a comment. If it's not acknowledged, but I really like the blog, I'll still return on a regular basis for a while and leave further comments. After several times without any kind of acknowledgment, though, I generally stop. At this point, it's like I sent a letter off to an author I liked and never even heard back from the director of the fan club. I'm not trying to be mean, but a connection has just not been created with the individual behind that blog, and let's own it: we're all just people behind a blog. We're not celebrities stinking up the blogosphere. Probably the only couple of blogs that are strong enough for me to return to continually with no real connnection are Pioneer Woman and Dooce. Even so, I rarely comment on these blogs. Who wants to be one of a couple thousand comments that may or may not really get read?

A problem arises when you genuinely want to give replying to all those wonderful comments a fair shake, but just have so many that it would take all day to respond to each one individually. Don't get sucked in to feeling like you have to! I don't personally feel like it's necessary. Readers comment in the first place because there was something in that post that rang true, that triggered a memory, that inspired them, that they identified with, or that simply made them smile. They just want to acknowledge that connection, and those are the key words: acknowledgement and connection. You don't have to write another post in response--not unless you're really driven to do so. I don't know about you guys, but as a reader, I'd be perfectly happy with a blanket ":) thanks, guys. Appreciate your thoughts." What do you think? Can we hereby institute a Declaration of Comment-Reply Independence, and not feel constrained to necessarily answer each and every one?

(And of course, if you want to comment, feel free. :)


Chrissy said...

You covered it very well!. I've made a few close friends here... One is a close one from another site, a few from this that understand the personal stuff I've gone thru... in fact I was quite surprised that what I had gone thru had made them rethink their own situation... Me, I'm constantly learning and amazed at the depths of understanding and compassion.

Merri Ann said...

Maybe if we could just all agree to a certain kind of reply. For instance if someone just says, "I agree" or "Good post", that kind of thing does not require a response for the author. But if someone has a thoughtout comment then they want to start a discussion and they should be replied to.

That is actually how I'm trying to manage things right now. I was not able to find time to do it all. I personally have 1 hour each day to devote to blogging right now ... that includes reading, writing, and commenting(and some days I don't even have that). I'm sure that will change at some point. My kids will all be in school 7 or 8 hours a day ... some day.

I'd like to continue to build my blog but I need to do it slowly and in a manageable way.

Thanks for the insights.

YogaSavy said...

I agree! One does not need any more pressures.... blogging should be fun, and stress free.

Anonymous said...

I think it can be a reflection of real life in a lot of ways. If you are someone who can be made to feel guilty about not contacting a friend when you just don't have time, or not going to a party when it's just not the best thing for you, then you are probably someone who feels guilty if you get comments but don't write back. I try to live life with healthy boundaries, and I try to blog in the same way. It's not always easy, but my goal is to do what I'm inspired to do, what I've committed to do, and what's best for me and my family. As long as I'm doing those things, I don't give it much extra thought. I see a lot of posts on this "dilemma" lately, and my wish for anyone who is spending more time than they want to spend or can afford to spend on blogging is that they find a way to make healthy boundaries, and then go forth with that plan. Don't give it another thought. Because I, for one, love comments, but it sure would take the wind outta my sails if I learned someone commented out of obligation. Just like I don't want people coming to a party if they aren't genuinely interested in being there. Because my blog is a party, y'all. And yours is too!

Teachinfourth said...

Good post, I agree...

Teachinfourth said...

Okay, I just couldn't help myself there…call me a jerk if you will.

I have noticed something similar in my blogging as well. Also, when I get busy (like the last two weeks of school) I find that my reader suddenly has 200 posts which still need to be read.

I have started to read them, but then found myself too overwhelmed to do any more. My number is still around 180ish.

Mamma has spoken said...

I totally agree with you too (and I mean it). For some OCD reason, every time I read someone's blog, I feel like I need to post a comment. I'll blame it on all those years of working in a school. I've gotten better with this. I do try to comment back to those who comment on my blog, but it can be a time sucker especially this time of year. Come next week, when I am on summer break, I'll be better with it, I promise!

Anaise said...

Yes, I get bogged down because I want to show I "came." I want to leave the writer some evidence that what he/she posted isn't just floating anonymously in cyberspace.
And having the author reply to my comment is fun, but truly, I just can't keep up with that on my own blog. I want to, but there are only so many hours in the day, so I just can't.

Thanks for writing about this.

Lori said...

Maybe it's the teacher in us...I know Gerb has had a similar problem, and it looks like Jason and Bonnie are right there with me...what in the world does that say about the teaching occupation? :)

I love Merri Ann and FabuLeslie's responses. Manageability and boundaries. Me likey.

The Empress said...

Thank you for posting this. There is so much guilt involved on my level. I just let things stockpile, and then I'm overwhelmed.

I enjoy so many things about blogging: the reading of other's material, meeting others, and hitting "publish post."

It's all fun..but how do you get to it all? When there are things more important?

Excellent. And you do not have to comment back, honestly...just putting in my 2 cents worth.

PMC said...

i just appreciate knowing i am not the only one doing this 'obsessing' thing i do after i post something. i am trying to relax and not do it. writing itself is helpful to me, without comments actually...the ability to create something with my mind and life and this keyboard. but the comments are what validates the writing. blogging is different. i decided to keep it light though. i just want to relax and read and comment when i want. i always want to respond to comments on my blog though. i didn't used to do that, but now i can't not do it. i only write something once in a while though. so i can do it. anyhoo- thanks for the post!!!! :) cute lori. have never met you...but i just like ya. i guess that's why i love blogs so much.

Rachel said...

Which would be one of the reasons I took a break for a week....

And now I'm trying to "catch up" and it is taking FOREVER!! :)

Kelly said...

I really agree and appreciated your perspective. I think responding to comments is an 'extra' that isn't really necessary. Just like commenting is not always needed if you don't have anything to contribute.

Lori said...

Alexandra--honestly, how can I not reply? :) honestly? Even if it's just to say that?

Misty--you sound just like my friend Joann here in VA-- "cute Lori"--that's EXACTLY what she calls me when I say something goofy. Now I feel like I have this personality that really fits you, and based on your posts, it kind of does--wise, and funny, and just so much fun. Is that crazytown? I kinda like you, too. :) I'm laughing right now, btw. And feeling very validated. Thanks for that.

Rachel--you needed to take a break...you're like...super poster. I can't keep up with you, girl!

Kelly--love it! I hate reading a post and wanting to say something, but not really having anything to say. So I just sit there and stare dumbly at the screen, fingers poised...waiting...waiting...crickets chirping... ;)

Sarah said...

No crickets chirping here, LOVED this post. I started my blog to help keep in touch with family because we are out here on the border and NOBODY wants to visit us down here.

I enjoy the interaction my blog gives me, though I am working on the right balance of blogger/momma time!

Sue said...

I don't comment on every comment I receive. But I do when I have something to say!

I always check out a person's blog when they comment on mine. I am, after all, looking for kindred (or non-kindred in really interesting ways) spirits; when I find either one, I tend to sign on. I admit to being picky about the blogs I follow...but if I do follow, I'm committed.

I agree that blogging is all about the connection, and if I don't feel it, I will generally stop visiting. (Exceptions are Pioneer Woman, Nienie, who doesn't even take comments, and, occasionally, cjane.) I don't bother to comment much on PW or cjane, by the way, because it's such a drop in the bucket.) When I feel very strongly, though, I comment anyway.

I like this blog. And I'm glad I found it through teachinfourth (by way of cjane).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...