Why Stop? Why Not?

25 Jan

A fellow blogger did a post recently about bloggers who stop blogging and what impact it has on those readers who have been left behind. Shybiker said,

“…none of us has to blog; it’s an entirely voluntary activity.  And all of us are free to stop anytime we want.  We don’t owe anything to the blogging-world.”

That’s true, too. I could stop blogging today and nothing Earth-shattering would happen. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be missed by at least a few people. But life would go on.

Think about the different blogs you frequent. Would you miss any of them if they just went away? If the blogger just all of a sudden, or even with some warning, stopped blogging?

Shybiker posed two questions at the end of that aforementioned post: “Are you happy with your blogging?” and “Have you ever thought about stopping?”

Here’s my unedited reply… “I have thought about stopping on a few different occasions. It does take time and effort to keep a blog going. One of the most disheartening things for me is when people don’t bother to comment. I know not every post is worthy of comment. And I don’t want people to comment just for the sake of commenting. But to a blogger, comments are the only way you know people are reading. I really treasure people like you who actually read my blogs and have frequent, thought-provoking comments.”

I’m not trying to guilt you into commenting. Really. I just thought I’d give you something to think about.

If you are not a blogger, perhaps you don’t get the whole comment thing.

Maybe this will help.

Pretend you visit a coffee shop every day. Or at least a few times a week. You’re not the only visitor. You really like going because people often tell funny little stories, share pictures of their kids/grand kids/dogs, tell you about interesting news stories, show off their vacation/hobby photos, etc. Every now and then another visitor will laugh at one of the stories, or say “nice picture.” One might say, “Cute kids!” Someone else might have a constructive photo critique. Yet another may go on and on about some other facet of whatever is being shared.

Now, what if no one ever said anything to those folks doing all that sharing? No one ever said, “nice picture,” or even so much as giggled. Do you think they’d continue? I doubt it.

By the same token, what if everyone felt obligated to say something, anything just for the sake of acknowledging the person? Would the comments be as meaningful? Probably not.

I’ve met a number of people via my various blog-related activities (writing my posts and reading other peoples’ blogs). Like Shybiker, I’ve gotten attached to some of them. Or at least I look forward to seeing their pictures, reading their posts, seeing their comments on my blog, etc. Most of the blogs I read regularly (about 20) are personal interest blogs to some extent. They’re not all just diary-type blogs, but they do all reveal certain aspects of each blogger’s life. Most of them are photo-intensive, too. If they’re good, it’s hard not to get attached.

I decided to encourage some of the bloggers whose blogs I frequent by adding a special feature to my own blog. I’m calling it Peeps I Know. Periodically, I’ll profile one of my favorite bloggers. Hopefully you’ll take a peek at each of their blogs. Maybe you’ll discover something new and of interest to you. Maybe you will even leave them a comment?

In any event, all of the people I will feature are most definitely people I would miss.

I’ll have to start tomorrow though. ‘Cause right now I have to get to work. And I want to make sure I have plenty of time to introduce these people properly. Because they deserve it.

If you have a blog, maybe you would consider adding a Peeps I Know feature. You can call it something else, of course. You don’t have to use a dorky title like me. Feel free to use my funky chicken. Or, if you’d like, I’ll make you a special graphic that you can use with every introductory Peeps I Know-type post. As long as the graphic isn’t too elaborate.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for the next appearance of my chicken. You’ll have a chance to “meet” some very cool people.

8 thoughts on “Why Stop? Why Not?

  1. I like the idea of you “introducing” the people in your computer. I mean, you already have your blogroll – sometimes it’s ok to just click on a name/title that sounds interesting, but I’d be much more inclined to do that if I “knew” a little bit more of what I was getting into. Know what I mean? Somehow it’s kind of intimidating for some reason.

    Anyway, I think it’s a great idea. It’s like networking for bloggers. You’ll make some introductions, relationships will take off, other bloggers will do the same, and next thing you know everyone knows everyone else! Ok, well, maybe not quite to that extent, but I think you get what I’m saying and so Imma let you finish now.

    😀

  2. The Peeps idea is a great notion: it encourages people to check out blogs that you enjoy and forges connections among your friends. Good work!

    And I sympathize deeply with your wish that readers would comment more to let us know: (a) they’re reading, (b) what they thought about our post, and (c) who they are so we can visit their blogs.

    One way I encourage people to comment is by always including questions in my posts. I believe readers are more likely to answer a direct question than just write without prompting. It seems to work.

  3. “Are you happy with your blogging?”

    I find the feelings about my blog pretty much follow the way I feel about my life in general. When I’m happy – which is most often – I feel good about it. When I feel insecure or down on myself – I feel bad about it.

    Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I only feel bad about my blog when i make the mistake of comparing myself to others. I can be terribly hard on myself when I do that. I’m learning to give myself a break and to stop, slow down and remember why I began doing this in the first place.

    From my point of view – the blog is a way of sharing a piece of yourself with the world. It’s a diary. It captures a moment in time that I as the writer hope to remember. Sometimes, you are sharing an idealized piece of you, your wishes and dreams, you are sometimes sharing something raw and unfiltered and others still you are just putting the dalliances of your day out there. All meaningful to you as the writer. The fact that sometimes you find other souls out there whom those things resonate with is icing on the cake.

    Sometimes – like now – I feel like I need to re-focus the way I’m doing things but that’s just part of growing and changing as human being, I guess.

    “Have you ever thought about stopping?”

    Sure. Many times. Especially when people are cruel and hurtful and tear you, your appearance, what they *think* you’re like, your children and lifestyle apart. It’s amazing that the scathing words of an anonymous person can hurt you so badly. But… they can. And like anything else, you’ve got to just pick yourself up and move on.

    Those were painful lessons for me. They in turn caused me to be a bit guarded and completely remove the appearance of my daughter from the blog. It’s difficult to “hide” such an ever-present piece of yourself at times but, I felt that it would be the best course of action for me.

    I am absolutely thankful for my readers. They bring their own color and life to my thoughts. But… I would still blog if no one else read it.

    “Would you miss any of them if they just went away? If the blogger just all of a sudden, or even with some warning, stopped blogging?”

    Yes.

    Even though I am a terribly tardy commenter, I read everything and take it in.

    In that reading I build an idea of what I think that person is, what they’re like how they respond to life. Even if it’s “imaginary” or one sided, something about that friendship/person appeals to me. If they were to just shut off – I would miss knowing about their life’s adventures; big or small.

    Don’t we all strive for connection throughout our lives? Blogs do that for us. Electronically.

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