Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Readers, I need you to give it to me straight. Do I need to let go of my hope for connection? Over the past the year, I've done some serious blog hopping, commenting and participating in a variety of online activities and events. I've just signed on for several challenges for 2010. I confess I'm a joiner. Before the Internet, I hung out at coffee houses, joined clubs and served on committees. Today, my social life is insulated, centralized. I confess I now spend most of my social life online.

With every meme or challenge, I hope to meet new people or to connect in a more intimate way with bloggers I've met and enjoyed, but more often than not, I find I'm not meeting new folks, I'm not interacting more; I often feel I'm shouting to the wind. Even here, followers are multiplying but less than 1% comment. I'd love to chat with you all at least once. Is that silly or unrealistic? I'd visit your blogs and comment in your space but many of you don't have links in your profile so unless you initiate, I can't even say hello.

Holidays aside, is it unrealistic to expect participants in memes or challenges to visit and comment to one another? Do we join so we have a larger audience and another opportunity to chat with established friends? What about the obvious new folks? Are we invisible? Am I the only one joining these activities so I can meet you?

I'm beginning think that the majority of bloggers are very interested in saying what they think in their own space and among close friends, but not very interested in widening circles. And maybe it's time I stop hoping for inclusion. And those of you who have been reading me for awhile no this complaint isn't new. I want FEEDBACK. I want to go into 2010 with realistic expectations so tell me if it's time to let go.

I'll close with something not narcissistic but very disturbing to me. This week when a young man suffered severe burns in a terrorist attack on a flight to Detroit, one of our stateswomen said he shouldn't have been taken to a burn center but straight to jail. Now, at-large many will condemn the terrorist, but what about the mindset of the political figure, a woman who represents a group of citizens? Where is this woman's humanity? Humanity isn't doled out to the deserving, it is a core characteristic that moves us to behave at the highest level and that means to treat all people humanely because it's the right thing to do.

I was saddened by the young man's warped actions, but the stateswoman's comments stunned me. I was appalled. Are we as a society equally demented, so willing to shuck our humanity because others want to do us harm?


Nymeth said...

I don't think it's unrealistic. Interaction is what makes blogging fun and interesting for me. I'm here to connect. Having said that, I have been a lousy commentator this month, and not a brilliant one the previous month either. Sometimes I star posts I want to return to and comment to later, and next thing I know it's been two weeks...

I completely agree with you about that young men. The moment we forget that someone who committed or tried to commit a horrible crime is a human being too is the moment we become what we are supposedly condemning.

PS: I think I sent you a DM on Twitter (ha, what does not being sure say about my state of mind?), but thank you again for your lovely card!

susan said...


You have been one of my joys. Glad you like the card and thanks. It's not quantity but desire, and I instantly felt welcomed at your blog.

January said...

I wish I had the time to make more connections online, but between the kids and work I can barely keep up with the comments I get now. I try to visit 5-10 blogs a day. Doesn't always happen, but I try. And this is one of my favorite spots to visit.

susan said...


Not you. I don't know how you do what you do with little ones. The lament is more about activities that I thought were meant to foster interaction like memes and challenges. It's about lurkers (who I'm thinking are lovely people) who never speak up).

After reading your post, I thought about how cool my circle of friends really are. Maybe I need to not be distracted by the other kids playing down the street.

hcmurdoch said...

This was an interesting post because I, too, crave the interaction. At heart I am a people-person so need/want that interaction, even (or especially?) online. I am new to blogging and just in the last couple of weeks have figured out that commenting is so important to the process.

I now follow your blog and look forward to conversations and interactions.

Michelle said...

You and I seem to be quite on opposite sides of the scale, connection-wise. I'm probably a lurker in this sense. =)

I've been leaving more comments these days than I have been previously, it's just the need to take baby steps, one at a time. I'm just not that great with initiating new friendships, real life or online. It's something I've got to work on..

But anyway, you come across as a really warm person. I'm glad I found this space. =)

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to do better about commenting. Honestly, I get intimidated and don't want to sound like an idiot in my comments. I do try to make up for it by sharing the link EVERYWHERE. and you know I'm the queen of link sharing.

I do have one teeny suggestion: post a question. Instigating dialogue may be easier if you simply ask a question. Just like what you did with the post about a recent The Bluest Eye review. Maybe about the book industry regarding POC writers or books or toss out a theme for your readers to give examples of and let things unfold from there. One good question could lead to tons of future topics, IMHO.

Whatever you do, I'm here always looking forward to your posts.

susan said...


So there with you on asking questions. I forget to ask so I am making a point to ask questions before closing.

I'm glad we connected, too. We need a mix. I have friends who are more laid back, some shy yet I don't get on their nerves. :-)

I've been visiting your site since you joined WU. Happy to hear you like coming here, too. I'll make a point to comment often for you and me. I love a good conversation.

susan said...

Forgot to add I used to worry about not coming off too bright but I got over it. I figured anyone who continued to read me would discover my flaws and strengths anyway. There's worse things than tripping over my tongue. :-) That and I figure I deserve brownie points for simply making an effort. lol

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have always thought we need a new system. I feel like we ARE communicating except that I don't always have a response to what you say, except "yeah." So there should be a checkmark or something that readers can check, that says, I was here, I listened to your whole thing, and I don't have anything more to say at this time except "yeah, I know" or whatever! That being said, I wish I got more interactive comments too, but especially with book reviews, if the person didn't read the book, there's not much to say, even if you read the review. Okay, rambling now. Need second checkmark for rambling...

Zetta said...

Well, I can honestly say that I'm not a joiner and I follow about a dozen blogs now so I have to decide what level of engagement I can sustain. I mostly blog to get something off my chest or to share good news--having comments is nice, but not necessary. I feel like I have a strong circle of friends OFF-line, and I work to sustain those relationships; my ONline circle of friends can't get that same amount of energy--not b/c they're not worthy, but b/c I just don't have it to give. I read blogs to get information, not so much to connect with others...that's been a very surprising and wonderful consequence, but it wasn't my intent when I came online. You might get higher participation with fewer activities--this is one of the most "active" blogs I read! There's always something going on, and I do find I'm more likely to comment on a blog that only changes once a week...but that's just me.

January said...

I think if you can find a small group of people like to interact with through memes and discussions, those are the relationships to foster.

Maybe it’s the memes themselves. Hard to know which ones will catch on and which ones will die on the vine. Just a thought.

Happy New Year, my dear!

susan said...

Jill and Zetta,

We chat regularly outside of the blog. I know you don't do memes and challenges outside of CORA Diversity Roll Call and I love that the one meme you do is the one I co-host.

I think for 2010, I'm simply going to focus on the circle I'm close with, participate in fewer activities and not expect a response. As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to incorporate questions.

Zetta, it's been pretty slow here. I average 3 posts a week and I had to scale back at Color Online. You actually post more than I do. You read both blogs so combine there is a fair amount of activity. LOL

Wonder if I should simply add a poll on the side for those who simply want to say they've been by. Thanks, Jill

Jessie Carty said...

I crave the interaction as well since I'm not outwardly social. I've had decent luck with my blog but I've been disappointed in my attempts to break into some of the YouTube communities via vblogging and commenting. Guess we each have to find our niche :)

Anonymous said...

Thinking about the stateswoman and her comments. You know, she probably felt she's speaking what too many are thinking. It's getting to be a scarier and scarier world, but joining in the ugly, losing our own sense of humanity isn't going to make life any safer.
This close call has shaken a lot of folks who thought they had it all figured out. If someone is determined, they're gonna get you. To stop them, you have to make them want to stop.
I think.

Zetta said...

You're right, Susan--the two blogs combined make it seem like they change every day! Not to add MORE work for you, but if you ever did a book club, that's something I'd invest time in...it's hard to comment if you haven't read a book or read it lately, but if we ALL read the same book for one of your challenges, then discussion would flow more readily, I think. It is fun to choose your own books to review, but we've got to have something in common if we're going to connect in a meaningful way...maybe it could be like diversity roll call--one book selected with 3 weeks to read and then join a "chat" on one of your sites?

susan said...

"To stop them, you have to make them want to stop."

Now that is saying what I've been thinking for a very long time. Surely there are others like us. When will we address why we are hated? When

susan said...


I'm going to approach the library about a book club. I could easily share the club's choice with the online community. Two places, same focus. Will let you know how my visit goes.

My first book choice is already decided: A Wish After Midnight.

Zetta said...

Now, you know that was NOT my intention in making that suggestion! A lot of your followers have read Wish thanks to your constant support. I actually thought maybe we could all "join" one of your many reading challenges for 2010 by simply following one of your choices...good idea about checking with your other club; two groups, one prep.

susan said...


Of course I and everyone who has read you know you wouldn't suggest it, but there are a lot of girls here in the hills who could benefit from getting to know Genna. I'll work that out separately.

I hear you though.Bernice McFadden would be a good choice because she has a new book though we may want to read Sugar because I want to be sure we can get copies and have them read for February. Reading Bernice would help me, too, because I need to add "You're a grown woman" books to my reading pile.

I like reading from one of the challenges, too. I'm hoping to meet with staff after New Year's.

Jodie said...

I think I'm really coming down off the challenge high, they seemed such a fun way to meet new people but I'm not sure they work out that way. They're great for expanding your reading horizons with all those lists though. I much prefer group readalongs and it's easier to ahve a discussion and connect when you're all reading the same book and there are is a smaller group of you.

I love to comment but like everyone else I read a megillion blogs and any new ones I find have to be slowly worked into my checking system so they become a regular place to hang out and not somewhere I check in a panic when the feedreader overflows. Yours is totally becoming one of the first kind by the way and I love your superhero in the post above.

susan said...

Hi Jodie,

Thanks. Got me blushing. I hear you. I love interaction and I'm working on getting my fix without making you all feel guilty.

I'm going to organize a few read-alongs because I do love an extended conversation. With the challenges, I'm participating and lowering my expectation. If others come by and comment, great. If they don't, I won't be disappointed because I'm no longer hoping it happens.

Happy New Year.

TheEnglishist said...

I have a friend who stopped blogging because she felt like nobody was reading but admitted that she would often read and not comment. So, I think, as long as you know you have readers, you aren't posting into a void, and that means there's a conversation going on because people are considering what you say.

I think memes (such as the diversity roll call) and even blogged responses to something you say also count as feedback and conversation. I certainly wouldn't have found your blog if it hadn't been connected to Color Online, which I found because, I believe Justine Larbalestier mentioned it in response to something you had posted over there.

Marjorie said...

Well, maybe I'm a case in point! I'm gradually working backwards through people's blogs I follow - so, just like your post that I commented on yesterday, I arrive very late to the party! And that also means I spend longer reading the post because of all the comments collected along the way!

You know, I so wish I had more time to spend reading my way around all the blogs I have got to know over the last couple of years - and we too have gone through the I-wish-more-people-would-comment scenario as we see the blog as a way to connect directly with our readers in a way that the website can't... Anyway, that has helped me to make sure I do leave a comment on someon'e blog - even if it's just a quick thank-you.

So I just want to say a big thank you to you for stopping by at PaperTigers as often as you do... And I'm so glad you have joined me on the Reading the World Challenge :-)

As for what you report about the stateswoman's statement... It is perhaps a common enough knee-jerk reaction but I hope that most of the people who come out with that as a reaction would rethink their stance - and anyone who has the privilege of a public voice should already have worked that through their systems before they say anything so detrimental to drawing people away from fanaticism and convincing them that violence is not the answer...