The sound of one blog blogging
hypomanic high, I wrote my first blog post.
It was cold and lonely out there in cyberspace at first. For various reasons, I had decided to post under a pseudonym--not because I was ashamed of anything I wrote, but for other practical reasons. Plus, I wanted to be able to say what I wanted without the risk of offending those I knew, though I don't think I've posted anything cruel or unfair.
As a result, I told no one I knew about my new venture--no family members, friends, or colleagues--except for my boyfriend BG. Since then, one person who reads and comments is from my "outside" world, but that's it. Everyone else I've met via Herman, my trusty Apple PowerBook G4.
My very first comment was witty, wise, and wonderful. In other words, it was from me.
RE: The sound of one blog blogging.
Hey, shithouse Rat. I'm adding comments to my own posts in a pathetic atttempt to make it look like someone is commenting (and thus reading) this blog.
I thought about contacting an AA website or board and welcoming them to comment on this topic. I'm sure many of them would love to since they can be a spirited and verbose bunch. But do I really want a bunch of hate mail? Something to consider...the only bad publicity is no publicity, right?
Well, take care of yourself, you crazy (and breathtakingly beautiful) chick, you.
Rather than continue to comment to myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Since my post was controversial and involved negative experiences with AA, I proceeded to troll around the internet and try to incite some comments and maybe stir up some trouble. I contacted some anti-AA sites, and a few people visited. One of them, a certain Dr. Bomb, got a little ornery on my ass, but I put him in his place. I'm not afraid of criticism, and have never censored any comments on my blog, except for a few spambots. I welcome lively--even heated-- debate, and I'm perfectly ready and willing to defend myself to all comers.
I put up a site meter right away, and was instantly obsessed with it. I confided to one of my very first blogpals, revealing my shameful secret--yes, I did care about visitors, dammit! If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, has it really fallen?
In any case, what all this is leading up to are some issues I've touched on recently, but wanted to really get into now.
The other day, I was surfing around and discovered a blog that looked interesting. Although the guy seemed to have a healthy number of posts, and had been blogging for about 5 months, I saw nary a comment.
The blog looked interesting--it was kinda one of those Boing Boing type things where you find provocative, noteworthy media clips and post links to them--but I should have known something was weird when I looked at the profile-ette on the home page:
5'9" 150 lbs
Never before have I seen someone's height and weight posted on their blog before. It gave me pause.
In any case, I also wanted to see if people read and commented to more than their most recent posts, because it seemed that a lot of people didn't. I think some folks just didn't choose the template option of receiving copies of comments to their e-mail box. This in and of itself seemed puzzling to me.
In any case, I decided to leave a few.
First I went to an older post--but not very old.
Here's the post:
Monday, August 29, 2005
Chris Farley gets a star on the walk of fame. Link.
posted by Aaron at 8/29/2005 10:36:00 AM
Here's my comment:
elvira black said...
Helloooo, Aaron? Can you read me?
I just wandered by and was browsing, and decided to be lazy and just post to this for the time being 'cause it was short and I'm a bit smashed.
Also, I don't know if you read comments from old posts. If you do, and you see this, let me know, maybe. It's kind of part of a survey. Sort of.
Anyway, here's my comment:
Then I went back to, I think, the second most recent comment and left another few lines there--trying my best to be amusiing and clever, the better to evoke some sort of response.
Now, this brings up one of several nagging issues I have, after blogging for several months. As far as Aaron and his ilk goes, I am mystified at to why someone who has recieved none or very few comments (as far as I could see) wouldn't want to respond to one when he finally received it. If he didn't want comments, why not turn the comment option off? (OK, maybe he couldn't figure it out, but I doubt it).
I finally told myself that since he was fashioning himself after BoingBoing--about the most popular blog in the universe--he might consider commenting irrelevant. However, if you want to get somewhere between zero readers and a zillion, wouldn't it behoove you to respond with at least a "thanks for the comment"--sort of to encourage a reader to return? Boing Boing has a reasonable excuse for non-response--and for all I know they do respond to comments sometime. Shit, they're busy staying at the top of the heap, so I can understand if they lack the time to give every reader personal feedback. And granted, that kind of site is not a "personal" blog, so comments may seem less relevant--but not necessarily so.
But this guy?
So without further ado, here is my list of things that personally irritate me about some blogs. Note that this is just my opinion. In fact, some of these things don't irritate me as much as merely lead me to ponder the curious nature of mankind at large. Plus, I'm just a blog baby, and I know I have a lot to learn. So cut me a break, ok?
1. Blogs that bite the dust.
They just give up the ghost after a few posts. As with anything else, it pays to be proactive and persistent. When I first started, I trolled the internet to try to entice people to visit. I visited message boards and mentioned my site on the writer's and mental health e-groups I belonged to. I visited the NY Times message board once or twice as well--which is where I first encountered the incomparably cantankerous Mani DaLi. This was before blog fever had smitten me, and I followed his website link and e-mailed him. This developed into a quite a contentious e-mail exchange about modern art that eventually became too much for even me to handle. But like a bad penny, Mani did show up on my blog months later and started some fireworks of his own. The backlash from other bloggers was so excellent that I posted one of my occasional SIZZLING HOT comments of the week! posts about it. These are my personal tributes to contoversial commenters who like to stir things up. Excellent return on my investment.
2. Blogs that don't allow comments.
What's up with that? I always thought the internet was, as they say, one great big worldwide conversation--an exchange of ideas; a dialogue rather than a monologue. When I wrote for publication, most of the time I had no idea of what most readers thought about what I wrote; any sense of reader demographics; or any of the other neat goodies you can find out just by taking 5 minutes to install a site meter. Stats, together with comments, make me feel like I'm not just writing to hear myself write.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I am a craven comment whore. I am happy to see that people feel free to rant as much as they like--there is no length limit imposed here. When people apologize for going on and on, I always try to reassure them that this is just what I hope they will do. I really do believe that comments can be as integral to my blog as the posts themselves. Sometimes it's a way of delving even deeper into an issue than I've done in the original rant. Plus, it's a chance for me to blab even more.
3. Blogs that don't respond to comments.
I can't help but think of these folks as just plain blog snobs who think they are too good to respond to someone who was thoughtful enough to drop by and respond to their post. To me, it seems like a slap in the face and an implication that they think their shit don't stink. Well, it does--and so do you.
4. Bloggers who delete comments and/or let everyone know they can and will do so.
I fervently believe in the sanctity of free speech. Why, then, would a blogger choose to censor a post merely because it takes him to task or offends him? Do you simply want a bunch of yes-men, telling you only what you want to hear? There's a word for that--B-O-R-I-N-G. No, no, not that positive comments aren't cool, but the whole idea of blotting out any dissent is really distasteful to me. Yes, of course, it's your blog and you'll delete if you want to...you would delete too if it happened to you--blah de blah bullshit.
5. The late comment conundrum.
I've been dismayed to discover the unwritten rule that on some blogs, comments to old posts are much more likely to be ignored. Again, it makes me wonder if these bloggers don't have the e-mail option turned on, or if they just don't want to revisit the past. I like to browse an interesting blog and drop the odd comment to old posts too. And I am more than thrilled when someone comments to an oldie but goodie(?) here as well.
This is a bigger beef for others, but it does mystify me, for example, that there are a few people hailing from California who spend a lot of time reading but never chime in. It's kind of creepy, but I'm not complaining. I'll take what I can get.
7. Spam-ette comments.
These look like spam, sound like spam, and taste like spam--except that they're from real people (I think) who just post 3 words like "check out my cool blog"--(oh, I guess that's five words) with a link back to their site. Self serving, lazy, rude, and cheap.
8. Old blog pals who run away.
Most of the time it's my own self-centered paranoia, but there's at least one person I'm thinking of in particular who used to comment often and is now nowhere to be seen here-though I catch him on other pals' blogs. We've had no rift, so it's mystifying.
Anyway, here's my final take on the matter:
1. I figure if I'm gonna blog, I want some feedback. Otherwise I may as well just talk to myself in a rubber room.
If someone comments, I will comment back. There was a period where I was falling behind, partly due to an e-mail friendship that got outta control as far as time management issues went. I spent so much time on my e-mail that I didn't have sufficient time to respond promptly, post as often as I wanted to, check out and comment to other blogs, and discover new technologies and innovations relevant to blogging. But I've learned my lesson well.
2. If you want repeat visitors, I think it helps to respond to comments.
People like to see comments to their comments, and it can be an extra added incentive for them to visit again. Why turn your nose up at your "audience?" Are you too good to come down from your lofty perch and respond?
If you're super popular, and can't possibly respond to all, at least put a general note saying thanks for all the comments. Walker, for instance, gets tons of comments on every single post--and posts virtually every day. He also takes the time to respond to all visitors. If he can do it, why then oh why can't I? Am I right or am I right?
3. If you have your comments option on, I think it helps to have your "receive your comments via e-mail" option on as well.
I've heard people say "I didnt' know you commented until my friend told me" or "sorry--I hadn't checked my blog in awhile." What's up with that? When it comes to your own blog, who wants to be the last to know?
Well, that's all I can think of right now. I hope people will feel free to comment about my comments about comments--if so, I promise I will comment back.