Letting Go

gi-letting-go-butterflyI don’t like to ask for help. I’m also not naturally good at it.

Last night, I read the prompt for My 500 Words and saw it was about letting go. At the same time, I was trying to learn more about blogging, mainly, how to leave feedback that was meaningful and impactful, the type of feedback to make writers feel seen and heard.

Today, I decided that instead of scouring the Internet for an answer to avoid making myself vulnerable, I would just let go and ask for your help.

The question I asked was “Bloggers, can you tell me what do you MOST want me to do when I visit your blog?”

Your answers touched me because behind them was this immediately evident human concern to be seen and known through writing, a need to know that the sacrifice of vulnerability and openness of exposure mattered.

According to Laura Scott, “The hardest thing about starting a blog from scratch is having very low traffic; you feel like you’re posting into the void,” and Shelley DuPont makes a point about comments that they should be “Preferably…beyond the generic “nice”, “Interesting”, “neat, “cool”, etc.” She also said funny things about queens.

Denise Beidler Jackson further highlights “I love when someone makes a connection to my writing and shares it with me. The vast majority of people just wander through, without making a peep. An increase in traffic is fun to see in the stats, but not as much as connecting with the readers through their comments.”

And over and over again, regardless of gender, we agree with what Michael voiced, “It is about starting a dialogue.” And Christine Royse Niles drilled into this need for engagement saying, “I love when someone comments to further the conversation — adds another idea/example/story, asks a question, or offers another perspective. Comments like “this is great!” lift my ego but really don’t further the conversation…if that’s all they’re going to say, I’d *honestly* rather they just share it.

Then, Lynn Ewbank said “Same as the zoo, museum, restaurant, etc. I want folks to like what they experience, come back again and again, say nice things to others, and bring their friends! But (the) main goal for my blog is for everyone to be encouraged and equipped to tell “their story.”

At this point, it was very clear that above platitudes and empty compliments, you wanted meaningful discourse and genuine engagement. You want the ability to enhance the lives of others through your writing.

Prescription

From what you said and what I surmise, reading your blogs is like a visit to your home. You invite me there and hope for good behavior and pray I don’t jump on your couches.

What does this good behavior look like? It’s basic Manners 101.

What exactly do we do to be a good guest? Well, here’s what I learned from your responses ranked from most too least important:

1) Comment and Engage

Basically, Don’t come to my house, eat all my cookies, drink all my pop, play with toys and then leave without saying goodbye or letting me know it mattered. These two points outstripped all other comments by a minimum of 3:1.

2) Share and Subscribe

This is the equivalent of telling me and others that I was fun to play with and that you’d like to come back again.

So, that’s it, the whole prescription: comment and engage, share and subscribe.

Thank you for taking the time to help me and help each other. When I read blogs going forward, I’ll know to do so with my best party manners and the highest hopes that I’ll be a good guest.

And finally, Vanessa von Mollendorf demonstrated that much interaction can be silly, harmless fun, when she said “Uhmmm interaction, friends and….chocolates” demonstrating once and for all that engagement takes many forms and above all, should be a PLEASURE.

17 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Leaving a reply is the most important thing to me in a blog. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to leave responses, on everyone’s blog, so I only read a few blogs every day or every few days. On top of writing blog entries and social media entries, and answering emails, sometimes I don’t move from my chair for hours on end. Over the nearly two years I’ve been blogging, I have personally met one blogging friend, become FB friends with several, and email friends with several more. I have video chatted with one friend from Australia, and sent my bear to visit three friends. I feel very close to my blogging friends, just like I do some of my favorite FB friends. 🙂

    1. Marsha, that is so cool that Manny visited a blogging friend. I love him. He always make me smile. One problem though: my bears complain they don’t have the lives of the glamorous globe trotting Manny.

  2. I love the analogy of visiting my home. I would be so happy if everyone would just say hi and tell me where they are from and maybe click Like if they liked it. I get visits from Malaysia, Vietnam and all over but I never know what they thought. So “hi” from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I liked your post very much!

  3. Tonia, you are wonderful, thanks for sharing, through your writing, I got more idea when visit blogs. Thank you all for sharing the opinions, and most thanks Tonia, you are amazing!

    1. Candy, you are so sweet. I’m not sure I understand blogging, though I understand what I like and that is people. I like to talk to people and listen to what they have to say. How is Taipei today?? Btw, I’m really way more amazed than amazing. Thanks.

  4. I love that you turn around the question “what do you want to see when you come to my blog?” I concur that blogging is about interaction. My purpose in putting words out for all to see is not to make an announcement and then disappear behind the curtain; I really want to know if other people think about (and possibly even think the same way about) things that are meaningful to me. It’s about building community, not just expressing myself.

    1. Becka, my eyes have been opened by this little experiment. I may be making slower rounds through the blogs, though I go with a different mindset. I tried before to read the blogs thoughtfully and always felt my comments were paltry and stupid. Now, I just realize there is a person behind the curtain.

      If I had a further question to ask (having read your blog today with the poem by Robert Frost) it would be, when I read someone’s blog, how do I engage if the issue isn’t one appropriate to laughter. I guess that’s where I get stuck, my heart gets stuck, but on those posts, peoples words linger with me for days or even weeks. Not so good at the quieter, emotional waters in terms of how to be supportive.

  5. Nice article, Tonia. My main wish for people that come to my page is that they find the content so engaging that they’re willing to subscribe to my mail list and allow me to reach out to them occasionally. Considering how guarded I am with the things I’m willing to sign up for, I know just how much I’m asking.

    Regarding your thoughts about how to comment on quiet or emotional posts, I think the best thing to do is to put yourself out there. Usually you’ve just read something where someone has made themselves vulnerable to the outside world, a response in the same manner is helpful and appropriate.

    I also think it’s fine to read something quiet and contemplative and not have anything to say about it immediately. So long as you’re being genuine, I don’t think people will ever begrudge how you leave a comment.

  6. Yes, Tonia, experiment. I know for me I am guarded in sharing my blog because I don’t really know whether or not others will like my content or my style of writing. No stick, Tonia…… Though I do have a pile of them I keep in hiding unfortunately. When someone engages with the content of what I write, it makes me feel like writing matters beyond myself. I would still write anyway. I just need to write. It just feels good though knowing my words can matter to someone.

  7. Nice piece, Tonia. It took me forever to figure out how to leave a comment (as in days). On my screen, it’s so faint that I completely missed it. Just mentioning that so you know–not because I think it’s wrong.

    I’m so glad you survived your childhood to have so much grace about you now.

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