Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Your Company Is Nicer

Blogs are all about connecting and sharing.  And as much as we love to talk about how people who write blogs only want to show the best part of themselves and their homes and their lives, blogs are ultimately about real people.  We love sharing real ideas--however big or small they may be--while we make real connections with real people.  The great divide between the writer and the audience is so thin.  We have the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions and support on virtually everything we see in the blogging world.  And that is special.  

After all, when I see something great in a magazine I can't instantly thank the author or photographer for sharing their work and time and talents with me.  Nor can I ask them questions I may have or talk about why I connected instantly with their work.  So to be able to write in a comment form and say, "Hey, I like your stuff," is special to me.

When I think about blogging I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It has done so much for my own personal growth.   As I've blogged for the past several years I've grown as a photographer, creator, and as a writer.  Over time I've made several wonderful connections and built long-distance friendships with other bloggers out there.  Sometimes it seems like there's so much to compete with in the blogging world.  But, the truth is, there isn't nearly so much competition as there is support.  To be able to bask in the friendship of others who share the same passions I have is such a gift.

And so it is out of loneliness and not ego or complaint that I share with you some of what I've been feeling lately.

As a blogger--but more importantly, as a human being--I thrive on your feedback.  I look forward to it with happy anticipation.  I love your comments.  I love the funny things you say.  I love the helpful and inspiring ideas you share.  Even the short little, "I like this!" and "So fun!" comments brighten my day.  The comments you share make my e-mail inbox a treasure trove of happiness.  Thank you so much for that.  I know it takes time and some thought and a bit of your heart and attention to leave every single comment.  I'm honored by each and every one.

And so, it is with a sad heart that I talk about about the way comments are trending.  People are leaving less of them.  And that makes me sad not only for myself but for everyone--bloggers and readers alike.  In our effort to pin and mark and organize and get in as much as we can get and capitalize on the little time we have to spend, we are trending toward pinning more and commenting less.  Beckie talked about this on Infarrantly Creative and she put it all so well.  As bloggers, we want you to pin the things we share.  We're so flattered by it!  But seeing projects pop up over and over again on Pinterest and watching the corresponding blog stats skyrocket doesn't do the same thing for my soul as your personal words do.

Climbing blog stats are nice.
Your company is nicer.

I hope you won't feel guilted by what I'm sharing here.  This is not a guilt trip.  It's just something I've been thinking a lot about lately.  I know we can't possibly comment on every post we read.  I know I can't.  And I can also relate to the fact that sometimes I read something, enjoy it completely, am inspired by it... and then don't feel like I really have anything to say in reply.  That's natural and I think that's okay.  

But I think more than being sad about the trend of declining comments in the blog world, I'm sad about the opportunity for connection that's lost.

I've been noticing the significant drop in comments on my blog lately and, I'll be honest, it hurts.  It feels lonely to spend time writing up a thought or a project only to be met by... nothingness.  I think a lack of feedback is harder even than negative feedback.  

Anyway, I thought maybe you all just weren't as interested in what I had to say.  There have even been several times lately when I've thought of writing about things and I talked myself out of sitting down to write up the posts because nobody seemed to be all that interested in what I had to share anyway.  But a few days ago when I read Disney's post on this subject on Ruffles & Stuff and Ashley's post on Lil Blue Boo that's similarly related and then today when I read Beckie's post I began to realize that it probably has less to do with me personally and more to do with the way things are trending.  Which is a bummer.  Boo to this trend, I say.
Anyway, I won't beg for more comments.  And I won't even tell you that you should comment more on blogs in general.  But what I will do is encourage you to think about the people who write the blogs you read.  Just think about those people once before you click off the page.  Because I can tell you that we think about you readers all the time.

In closing, I just thought I'd share this part of the comment I left on Beckie's post because I think it sums up what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, I’m never sure exactly what to say about comments and the lack thereof, despite increased page views and readership. I love the extra traffic from Pinterest, but there are days I think I’d choose comments over pins. Growing stats are exciting, but lonely. Comments are more than statistics. They’re company. And being in the good company of my readers is the real reason I blog.

I think you guys are great.  I hope you know that.  I miss it when I don't hear from you.  I love love love it when I do.

Your thoughts?


Kathy Haynie said...

I have noticed a decrease in comments in all the blogs I read, and I have wondered about it. The impact of pinning hadn't occurred to me. I agree that it's a little lonely to not get comments. Thank you for this post.

Alma Boheme said...

As a new blogger I get completely excited when I get a comment. So for me I don't know the difference because i haven't been doing it long. But I do know that in order to really connect you must comment ... even if a small one. I makes a difference.
I find that people may be following too many therefore why bother comment. Just an assumption.
I like having a small group that follow me, I guess because there is less pressure.
I found you through Under The Sycamore... she was one of the first blogs I ever followed.
Hope this comment brought a smile even if the second comment ;)

Krista S. said...

I follow a lot of blogs through Google reader, and honestly, lately it seems as though there are so many "sponsored" post and giveaways that it has become less fun for me. It feels less somedays I find that I'm so frustrated and click "mark all as read" just to get rid of them all.
P.S. was at Sew To Speak this week and looked for your buttons :)

Misty said...

Very well said! I know exactly how you feel! As much as I try to think that people are busy, it's still super hard to write to a silent audience. I always try to respond to everybody who leaves me a comment to thank them for taking the time to leave one, but that doesn't always mean they will come back again! What to do, what to do....
Thank you for writing this post! I hope you know your posts are still enjoyed! :)

Amy said...

Katie-I'm totally guilty of this! Look at how long I've been reading (and enjoying) your blog, and this is the first time I've written a word to you. But having just started my own blog, I'm realizing that comments are so meaningful... when someone not only takes the time to read one of my posts but say something about it as well, it makes me want to write more and more and more... Keep up the good work! I definitely appreciate all of your amazingly creative ideas!

Emily said...

It's so true. Comments are just nice. That's just the bottom line. And it's not that we blog for comments but it is nice to know that someone is actually "listening" and cares enough to say something back. Anyways, I love you and your blog and I hope I always comment on your blog! :) Because you're my friend and I love you and because I almost always have something to say back to you. :)

Whitney said...

It's true, everyone loves a comment! Thank you for the good reminder to be better about sharing them. I sometimes think that comments don't matter as much to other people as they do to me, because I have this puny little blog that has a couple readers, and so when someone says something it's kind of exciting. But I read these blogs that have a lot more readers (like yours) and I guess I think that my little comment just doesn't matter too much. Because obviously people like what you have to say, because you have such a large fan base! Does that make sense? But after reading your post (and those others you linked to)I realize that I was wrong about that. I am hereby resolving to be a better commenter!

Kristie said...

I lost my brother a couple of months ago, he was hit by a car. I didn't get to tell him goodbye, or how much I love him, even though I know he knows. And after that I had this moment that went like this. If I have something to say, if someone looked cute, or if they said or did something that impacted me and made me happy, I wanted to say so. I started telling people in walmart that I passed that I liked whatever they were wearing, or if I found something on a blog that I liked I would start commenting. Sometimes I psych myself out, thinking they don't want to hear what I have to say. But just like you, I like to be connected to people.
I just had to learn the hard way to be brave and tell people what I think and how I feel because it is important.
Thank you for addressing this!
Have a great day!

Infarrantly Creative said...

Love your heart and your desire to connect people. I hope you are able to and find a few that it makes it all worth it. It is hard to keep going when you feel all alone. We all have been there.

Sew Much Ado said...

I just left a different comment (hehe), but I'm catching up on your blog and had to comment on this post too. It's so true about comments. I wonder about ways that I can engage my readers more, while still being authentic, but in the end I think there's not a whole lot more we can do about it than try to all support each other. It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who's noticed the trend, though!