Confession, I wanted to talk about blog etiquette or more specifically the lack of manners in the blogosphere, and I was going to write a scathing commentary about a particular high priestess who writes from Mount Self-Importance. I was going to say the air at her temple must be so thin that the lack of oxygen surely accounts for her delusion that the rest of us are her underlings rather than her peers. Then I questioned if that was mean, inappropriate. Couldn't I just share what I think are the basic manners that we seem to be forgetting when we jump from one virtual island to another?
And don't let my fella get started on the pitfalls of the blogosphere (I made the mistake of sharing my topic for today). He thinks our virtual islands are eroding community and the network we say we want. He thinks cultivating community was better when message boards were the preferred medium for interaction. He argues that a message board community centralizes activity, responses are concentrated and this combination creates a distinct tone and allows for an intimacy that is difficult to replicate in a patchwork of blogs. I agree to a point. I also understand and enjoy the appeal of blogs.
I think each kind of community has its pros and cons. For today, I want to focus on a big sore spot for me: comments. Now, as my mother would say, some folks act as if they have no home training. Weren't we all taught that when you go to someone's house you greet the hostess and other guests? And weren't we taught that when we are the host, it is our job to greet everybody and make our guests feel welcomed? In my mind, our blogs are our virtual homes and as such, we should acknowledge our guests. And since we are communicating online, the only way to acknowledge someone is to comment. If a guest shows up at your home, takes the time to read and comment to what you took time to write, you the host should acknowledge the response. Now if you're inundated with responses, write a reply to the group, but say something. Honestly, if you can't be bothered to respond, I can't be bothered to read you. It goes both ways, sweetie.
And dear reader, I'm sure you have run into those folks who like to hear themselves talk, but for the rest of us regular folk, we really do want to hear from you. Your comments matter. And for me, I write expressively to interact with you. We are friends and peers. I already know what I think. I blog (a very public activity) because I'm want engagement, discussion, feedback. Talk to me. I promise I will thank you for taking time to comment, and I'll respond thoughtfully to questions or comments that ask my opinion.
I realize we have lives outside of our islands. I'm not arguing a reader should comment to every post nor that a blogger should respond to every comment, but I am making a case for more exchanges and replies than not.
And my last peeve is about what I perceive as a greater interest in getting attention rather than giving it: when you participate in a meme, remember to give what you want- comments. Don't drop a link for others to read you, and then fail to make a real effort to comment to several other participants. We shouldn't have to rely on tracking widgets to learn if we're being read. Exercise your digits and crank out a few dozen keystrokes. Comment, people. That's all I'm saying.
What's your view? I have very thick skin and prefer candor so tell us how you really feel.
If you want more confessions, visit January's place.