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I've had a rule for myself about comments for quite some time now.
This is the rule:
Don't talk about comments on the blog.
Simple enough, right? And I've had the rule for multiple reasons, but mostly because I personally think it's not so tactful to talk about/beg for comments on your own blog. Just my personal opinion.
But today I'm going to break that rule. Not to beg for comments, but to just discuss them a little bit. I hope you'll hear me out.
A couple of weeks ago I was in a funk. About blogging. It was right about the time I changed my layout (which helped) and revised my sponsorship contracts to be a whole lot better (which also helped). And I've been feeling much better about it all since then, but for a little while I was just, well, in a funk.
I talked to Bryan about it. He's both a good listener and a good helper/fixer at the same time. I've always loved that about him. And as he listened to me talk through some things on several occasions he said, "You've been really emotional about your blog lately. I don't know why."
He was right. I had been really emotional about my blog lately. But I didn't know why either.
Although one lame excuse did keep coming to mind and it was this:
I wasn't getting as many comments.
Really? A lack of comments was contributing that much to all the emotions over my blog?
I felt sheepish about it. Well, let's be honest here, I felt outright dumb about it. To get emotional about something that doesn't even really exist. Or does it?
It's a funny thing we do--living in the future. Leaving aside the aliens, time travel, and teleporting (which I will be ecstatic about when the time comes), the lives we live have already far surpassed the expectations of our ancestors. And our lives have complexities they never dreamed of.
How to keep up a piece of real estate that you can't set foot on? How to be tactful about things that come into (and go out of) existence with the click of a button?
It's tricky business sometimes. And, like anything in life--whether it's tangible or not--it can have real impact on our lives, on our feelings.
Now, what this post is not is a mopey post about not having enough comments and boohoo to me. Because I honestly don't feel that way. I'm honored and delighted by the comments you leave. You remind me each day how wonderful this big world is and just how many nice people there are in it.
What this post is is a reminder of all the good we can do in the lives of others, even in small and simple ways.
After my own little realization about how effective comments can be in lifting others up I decided to really take it full circle and put my thoughts into action. And this, once again, was largely due to one of Bryan's thoughtful observations.
A very whiny Me: "Sometimes it just feel like nobody leaves comments on my blog anymore. I put all this time and energy into the things I share and then it seems like nobody really appreciates it."
Bryan: "Well, do you leave comments on everything you see that you like?"
Bryan made a good point. And it's that that I've been trying to put into action lately.
In other words, I've really been making a conscious effort lately to comment on the things I see on others' blogs that brighten my day. Because they do put a lot of time and effort into the things they share. And I do appreciate it. The things I see on others blogs inspire me and challenge me and make me smile and laugh. And it makes me sad to think of all the times I've just clicked away--closed the tab, shut the computer, moved on to something else--without so much as a "Thanks! I like this!"
Sometimes it can be intimidating to leave comments. To say something to somebody that you've never met.
Will they care what I have to say? Will I be accepted here?
The more I've commented on others blogs, the more the answer rings out loud and clear--YES! People love feedback, especially when it's positive. I've loved all the fun little reply e-mails from other bloggers who's blogs I've commented on lately. It's like making new friends. And it's great to know that I could give back a little to all they've done to share their work with me.
So, my message today is this:
There are so many good people out there. There are so many good ideas out there. Perpetuate that good. Leave good comments.
Online stuff doesn't always seem "real." But the good that comes from it all most certainly is. :)