21 July 2011

Two Way Street

I was reading a post on That Wife the other day, and the comments that ensued in response to that post really made me think twice about my role as a blogger, and a blog reader. It made me ponder my interactions with my blog readers. It made me feel bad about not always responding to blog comments. It made me feel guilty for not commenting on other's blogs as much as I'd like to. It made me a little peeved remembering the times I have been ignored as a reader/supporter of other's blogs. I don't like being ignored, and I hope I do not make any of my readers feel that way! (If so, please feel free to slap my hand.)

It is hard for me to draw any hard and fast lines about which "side" to be on, because I am on both sides; as both a writer and a reader. However, I think over the past year or so, I have fallen off a bit in the support department. I became really caught up in my health issues and in my little blogging world. I had lapses where my tunnel vision made it easy to forget to be grateful, humble, and generous. At times, it made me lose sight of exactly how much the support of my readers means to me. And it means a great deal.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and emailing over the past few years. I value the time you spend with me in this little corner of the online world.

Do check out Jenna's post if you have the time. I think it has created some thought-provoking discussion.


22 comments:

  1. Interesting. I think it depends on what you are using your blog for. If you are interested in having a blog to share your thoughts, writing, etc., I don't think there's any obligation to interact beyond posting. If you are expressly trying to build a community, you probably need to interact with readers if you want them to stick around. I don't think there's any one right way to blog.

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  2. I actually got into blogging because I found I was commenting so much on other blogs! I found I wanted to contribute to this global conversation and perhaps someone could find something inspiring, interesting, or helpful about hearing about my life too. Ya never know who you might touch. :) Always love to get comments myself (though I have a MUCH smaller readership - just over 30 followers in 3 years, and almost no one comments. lol). I found that, eventually, the blogging is a little bit for others, and a lot a bit for me.

    I agree that there is no "wrong" way to blog. As long as you're giving what you'd like to receive or what you feel the community needs, you're doing good.

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  3. I started blogging because I just had so much to say and it was easier for me to type it out than to write it out in a journal. But the more I comment on and read other blogs, the more I wish I knew who my readers were. I sincerely believe I have 3-4 regular readers and if that's all that I have, then that's all that I have. I try to comment on blogs that I read because I think it's nice to know when someone consistantly comes back for more. :o) I read some blogs where there are hundreds of comments and I think, "Aw, so lucky!"

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  4. @Two Chicks Nest: I agree there is no right or wrong way to blog. There are no obligations to interact, but I think there is a level of consideration that bloggers should have toward their audience. Even if it's just an occasional, "Hey, I notice you and thanks for reading!" Not obligatory, but definitely appreciated!

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  5. Her post really made me think. A huge reason I haven't been commenting is because Blogger has been giving me a veryhard time. Sometimes I can comment and sometimes I can't -- particularly on my own blog. I've been bad also because I feel like a lot of time I agree with the topic or opinion of a post but I have nothng to contribute.

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  6. I read tons of blogs and suck at commenting, I wish I was better at it and I often want to comment but then I over think it and change my mind.
    Writing my own posts I figure well at least I know my aunt will read it and like the pictures. As my blog is also only 6 or so months old when I do get comments it makes me day and I try to reply back with something relevant or at least a thanks.
    I sometimes do looks to see if a blogger wrote back but if not I just assume hey they were happy to know someone was reading and caring and move on.

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  7. I've been finding that with being busier at work and life in general, plus reading blogs through google reader, I just don't usually take the time to click over and comment. But I should - I know I appreciate when people take the time to comment on posts I've written, so I try to keep that in mind and make more of an effort to comment.

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  8. This is why I : 1 stopped blogging, I was not passionate enough, 2: just did a huge overhaul on my reader and deleted tons of blog because quite frankly, they became self obsessed and no longer interesting and 3: never bothered to follow many blogs (That Wife included) in the first place.

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  9. This is a really interesting subject... and one I haven't thought about for a good many years... Probably because I fell off the personal blogging bandwagon in 2004, and haven't really been getting my legs back until recently, but I digress.

    While I'll certainly admit to have commented on blogs with the sole purpose of hoping that the author will read my comment and then come check out my blog, it's not something I ever expect from someone that I read and comment on regularly... Especially if that person has a large readership. It's nice when it happens though.

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  10. @GabGirl: Interesting! Where do you draw the line with self-obsessed? I think about that a lot when I write my blog, and when I read other blogs. I am constantly trying to achieve the proper balance between talking about myself, and sharing things that might help others. It's hard when you are writing a blog centered upon your own life, but I think it's possible.

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  11. @Anonymous: Have you tried signing into your Blogger account in Google Chrome? I often can't access my profile when I use Internet Explorer. No idea why that happens!

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  12. @Carly - For me, it isn't as much about sharing about yourself as much as it is about opening it up to a dialogue. Which you do.

    I literally just deleted about 80 blogs from my Google Reader. This was for various reasons ranging from the blog being old (hadn't posted in the last 3 months) to no longer relevant to my life (a few wedding blogs or blogs I followed because I liked a few posts but then the "tone" of the blog changed) and other reasons. Among them, there were two blogs that I've found myself shaking my head saying "why do they think people care". Yet, I still read. Finally I cut them today. These two blogs in particular could possibly qualify as "food/healthy living" and the bloggers themselves essentially just listed what they ate and pictures of them and their husbands and everything was always sunshine and butterflies. There was no depth to their writing (one actually has announced she's quit her job to blog full time) and often I found their posts to be about the same thing over and over. That's what I meant when I say self-obsessed. I wasn't LEARNING anything about the writers or LEARNING anything about anything.

    Also, I'm getting my eye candy via Pinterest now, making my Twitter account, blog and google reader irrelevant in some ways.

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  13. Previous commenter had a point - I actually get very board w/ blogs that are all butterflies and rainbows as well. I mean, my blog is basically a very filtered diary. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes its documentation of what a PIA something going on in my life can be. Last year it was totally my way of working through my illness while My Sailor was away. In some ways, it helped me cope, as well as keeping the few family members and random friends that care up to date on how things are going.

    Example:
    I LOVED the Disney Wedding Blog best when it was actually about Carly's wedding planning. Now she does wedding spotlights - which are okay, but don't quite hold my interest like blogs about life do. I guess I like a good story and feel like everyone has a story to tell.

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  14. Well, I kind of think Jenna's post was a mistake in the first place. It definitely was inviting rebuke, and if that's not something you want to listen to, then it won't go over well. Sometimes, you have to take people's feelings in for what they are, and not get upset about it - because it's how they feel, and as you said, it's a two-way street, especially when you yourself don't respond to emails or take a long time to respond. It's the pot calling the kettle black. Sometimes... you just have to calm down about it. The difference is that you aren't scolding anyone, so you're on equal ground.

    My comment here probably doesn't make a TON of sense, but my point is - you aren't scolding anyone - no harm, no foul. It does also remind me to get more active in supporting my fellow bloggers and commenters! (to take something positive out of something that really doesn't make anyone feel very good)

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  15. My comment is totally confusing! In a nutshell - yes, I agree with you that Jenna's conversation is a great reminder to me to be more supportive as well. Jenna's post was a mistake because she is not a quick email responder herself - and if someone points that out, it's better to say "You're right, and I should think about that" and take people's comments as something to consider.

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  16. A great reminder to me to keep at my comments and be more responsive on my own blog!

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  17. @GabGirl: Gotcha. Thank you for taking the time to explain where you're coming from. I think my Google Reader could use some sprucing up, as well! I have found that the blogs I consistently gravitate towards as a reader push me in some way to think differently. I'm also a sucker for a good "story" so, of course, I like tagging along with bloggers who are on journeys whether it be weight loss, education, cooking, pregnancy, marriage, etc. The sunshine and butterflies blogs are nice up to a point, but overall they are hard to relate to. Also, I really need to join Pinterest! I've resisted for far too long. :)

    @J.Darling: I agree! When you documented your health issues on your blog, I learned a lot. Subsequently it helped me feel less alone when I went through my own surgery ordeals.

    @Penny: I also think that Jenna's post was a slippery slope in some respects. I understand where she was coming from, but the tone could have been a bit different (which she acknowledged later, I think). I was much more interested in the discussions that came in response to her post, because I felt like readers were being very real about the two way street aspect, and their expectations as readers. As you said, it was a good reminder!

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  18. I definitely think blogging is a two way street. As a reader and a blogger, I try to interact with my readers, because I like it when bloggers I follow interact with their readers. (Using Blogger instead of Wordpress does not makes this as easy, unfortunately!) I will admit that I will stop reading/following and/or commenting on blogs where there is no interaction between the blogger and their readers. I realize that some bloggers are extraordinarily busy and have a LOT of readers (and I honestly don't know how they do it all) but I feel like they need to respond to a few comments on their posts, and make an effort to read and comment on a few readers blogs. It makes the reader feel engaged, and honestly, makes them want to come back. I try not to take offense to people not commenting on my blog, especially when I know them and I see them commenting on everyone else's in my circle of friends. I choose to believe that it's just not the right blog for them. But I'll admit, I don't visit their blogs often.

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  19. Oops, I responded before I read the other post, so maybe my comment above wasn't really relative to what you were saying, I'm not sure. But having read the other post now....all I can say is..well, nothing really. I honestly have nothing to add to that. I chose to not read her blog for a reason.

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  20. Hey Carly! Like others have said I definitely appreciate that you open yourself up to us.... it helps me relate to you and feel less alone in my own struggles with infertility and its also great reading your posts about marriage -like the typical weeknight... I also get pretty tired with butterflies and rainbows ONLY blogs. As for commenting... I know I don't as much as I should especially on blogs like yours where I seriously check in daily to see if you have posted! I hope that doesn't make you feel unappreciated or unmotivated or anything like that! Sometimes I feel like i don't really have anything to add... sometimes I feel like if I write "thanks for sharing" or something like that without any depth...it's lame and not worth even commenting... ya know? Does that make sense? My point I guess is, is that's its an issue on my end as a reader and now that I am getting the perspective of the blogger (I don't have a blog myself) I will try to be more conscious of it and comment more!

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  21. I don't think you should feel guilty for not commenting on each comment received. Would it be nice if you had the time to do so? Of course. But who has that kind of time? It is your blog, it is your decision. And I think people who are up in arms about it, really need a hobby.

    And I really don't mean that sarcastically. I mean that as in, something that is fulfilling to them that doesn't require a strangers constant approval.

    Keep on keeping on. I like your blog, comments or no. :)

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  22. I think problem with blogging is the same problem that is happening with emails and facebook. These type of things allow us to sit back and read things on our "own time". It doesn't really require a back and forth conversation and thus people get lazy. I know I am BEYOND guilty of this. I used to read and comment on blogs every day. Now I get on MAYBE a few times a month. When I have coffee with my friends there is a back and forth conversation. With digital interactions it is way to easy to be lazy, not respond, do things only on your time, and generally not keep up on everything and with everyone. Now-a-days I find that I forget to read the blogs I used to all the time and if I post something on my own blog, I forget to follow up and see if someone commented and responded. For some reason, it seems so much harder to stay "on top" of digital relationships than those that are face to face. I think it takes a lot more effort.

    Not really sure the point of my comment :-) haha! Maybe just to say that it's nice to say "thank you" to those who read but that you should not feel too bad about not responding to everyone. I am impressed with how well you have kept up this blog for so long. This past year I have gotten so busy that I don't really know where I even found the time before. I think we all just do the best that we can :-)

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