Sunday, January 15, 2006

Blurkers Welcome

Unbeknownst to me, last week was National De-Lurking Week. I guess everybody is allowed to make up there own special silly pseudo-blog event. I sure am guilty, so I can't throw any stones at that house. Besides, they have much nicer looking buttons than me, so they must be doing something right.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love comments. I’ve been accused of blatent comment whoring before, but I don’t have anything against lurkers, blurkers, or even lost HornyGooglers®. Everyone is welcome at my blog, except for spammers, trolls, and flamers (the internet kind, not the Sean Hayes type; this is an all lifestyles accepted blog).

Bloggers are at the bottom of the status ranking of people with compulsions to put one word after another. For every Kurt Vonnegut, Jared Diamond, or even Steven King, there are a thousand people out there talking about their divorce, their vasectomy, or their bikini wax. And just because they aren’t being listed on Oprah’s Book Club, doesn’t mean they aren’t writing great stuff.

To abuse a metaphor to within an inch of its life, blogging is like the theater. I love going to New York and seeing big names in lavish productions. I also like going to regional productions that have actors just as talented that for one reason or another won’t every see the lights on Broadway. I even like seeing student productions and community theater where the actors might flub some lines, but their heart is in the show. They aren’t up on stage for the fame and glamour, and definitely not the money. They do it because they love the smell of the greasepaint.

But how would actors feel if after weeks of rehearsal, no one showed up. They need an audience, even if they are doing it for free. And not everyone that goes to a show harbors a secret desire to sing and act. Some plays have an audience participation element. I was disappointed I didn't get selected to be a guest speller when we went to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. My wife, on the other hand, would have been mortified to have been dragged on stage just for buying a ticket.

If bloggers didn’t want readers, they would keep diaries instead. If people had to leave a comment to read a blog, a lot wouldn't go to the trouble. Some just want to be amused for a minute or two while surfing the web. For those people, for my audience, I’m glad to be their dancing monkey.

Every commenter started as a blurker, and every blogger started by making comments on someone elses site and saying, “Hey, I’ve got ideas too.” Browbeating lurkers into leaving comments is self-serving and counter-productive. Writing the best blog you can is the best way draw people into the fold.

If you like what I say, go ahead and leave a comment, or bookmark me to see if I am this witty and charming next week, or add me to your blorgroll, or best of all, write your own post telling others about what you thought of mine (but make sure to linkback). If you don’t like something I said, same rules apply.

And welcome blurkers. I run the easiest blog around to comment on. I take anonymous users and don’t make anyone jump through silly word verification hoops. Even my 65-year-old computer illiterate father eventually de-lurked. But take your time and wait until I’ve said something that makes you go “Hell yeah!” or scream “Bullshit!” or just reminds you of something that happened to you. Then comment when you are good and ready. It’s a slippery slope, but once you get the hang of it, I know some of you will eventually become bloggers too.

21 comments:

Freedom Fighter said...

well hell, I'll say what's up! I'm currently rolling through random blogs and stumbled on yours. It would be nice to get some more comments every once in a while, so I thought it would be nice to send some out as well. You can visit mine if you want, other than that, good luck and take care.

Anonymous said...

Okay, here's what's wrong with bloggers: when the guy is telling about his divorce, and I'm going with it, feeling his pain, and really getting involved in his story, and then he says that since he's a lawyer, when he appears in court as one of the parties of the divorce proceedings he will "literally be a fish out of water"--and then I have to stop reading. How can you get through law school without knowing what a metaphor is? Okay, I'm a snob, and that is my problem. And now that I think of it, another notable characteristic of blogs is the lack of editorial support, which means we're working without a net, and stuff gets by. (uh-oh, that's a kind of mixed metaphor, isn't it.) I better quit while I'm ahead. Figuratively speaking.

Read/Think/Live said...

I didn't mean for that comment to be Anonymous--the comment software isn't giving me the option of typing in my name today.

--Karen
/ReadThinkLive/

trusty getto said...

Excellent post, YJ! I know I have lotsa lurkers, based on the pure numbers, but that's fine. Nothing wrong with it, says I.

And, of course, my most humble apology to Karen for being, not-so-literally (or not-so-literary?), a fish out of water with my blog writing, too. I never promised a literary masterpiece, and, yes, you can stop laughing now at the very thought. :)

But that's the wonderful thing about blogs -- if you don't like what you read, you stop reading and move on to the next.

Suburban Turmoil said...

Great post! I feel the same way- Except that I started my blog without having read a blog before! Weird, huh? It took me a while to get the hang of things...

Plain Jane said...

*lurk*
*lurk*
*lurk*

yellojkt said...

I see you, Jane. You can try to lurk, but your IP address gives you away. And my metaphor about the community theater is why bloggers should be given a little slack on spelling and grammar. We're not perfect and not trying to be.

2fs said...

I'm not lurking, but I also have nothing to say. And am saying it. In fragments. Repeatedly. Even after people want me to stop and shut up already.

Mooselet said...

Here are some coins and a banana... now dance, monkey!!! Dance like you mean it!

I, too, wish more people who lurk would drop a comment to let me know what they like/don't like about my blog. Not regularly comment, just a one-off kind of thing. Fortunately, my counter lets me know I'm blogging for more than my family and close friends.

Hey, did I say you could stop dancing?!

Claude said...

I'm with mooselet on that one. I've gotten hundreds of hits on my Don & Mike post last summer and got one comment from yellojkt and one from some other person. It gets a little weird when they take the time to go to the page based on whatever search they were doing and then wind up saying nothing at all.

Karen: I've been a professional writer but writing for public consumption is definitely a muscle that you have to exercise (you'll excuse the metaphor, I hope). I go back to stuff that I wrote in my own blog a year ago and some of it, in my eyes, is truly cringe-worthy.

While my spelling is probably better than most, even after a little more than a year I have to sit back and admire the thoughtfulness of many of the people I read on a regular basis. They give me something to which I can aspire and I'm willing to cut them a little slack on the mechanics of their work. I doubt that, on the other hand, people are reading my posts and saying, "Gee, this material is pretty thin...but the spelling is impeccable and he didn't split a single infinitive!"

Then again, maybe they are.

yellojkt said...

Nothing is worse than going to an old post and finding some glaring error that makes me think that anyone who read it must realize I'm a complete moron.

And no one, but no one, comments on old posts. For some reason it just isn't done. The freshness date for a post to get comments is about 36 hours. I post about every 2-3 days when I'm on a roll, so that leaves a lot of slack time when there is absolutely nothing new happening on the blog comment-wise.

kontan said...

dance monkey, dance! lol.

i'm on my way with your psuedo blog event...enjoying brainless novels here and there. such a wonderful break. i've read 5 or 6 so far.

la la la I can't hear you said...

I know what you mean, but there is someone in California that reads my blog like 700 times a day and never comments on anything.

I'm just dying to know who that person is.

If I'd known about de-lurking week, I'd have put serious pressure on them.

Alas, being out of the loop has foiled another devious plot I could have had once again.

yellojkt said...

He just likes looking at your picture, Lisa. Can't blame him. I need to track down the person(s) that look up "Cute Baby Pictures" on Yahoo several times a day. I make that the title for one post and they come forever.

FlyBoy said...

You're a witty and charming dancing monkey. Happy now!

Wickwire said...

I commented in a new blog I discovered about five months ago and some jerk on her blog went psycho on me. I don't venture out much and when I do, I'm reluctant to post a comment.

Impetua said...

I never get posts on my blog because it's damn boring, and preoccupied with photos of my daughter (age 19 months) and domestic travails of various sorts. So I hear you on the whole I love comments thing. And I love yer blog too. You rock. :)

DrBear said...

Comment. Happy?

(seriously, found your blog when somebody mentioned your FBOFW comments. Nice job.)

Teri said...

YJ -- You are truely member of the Blognoscenti. I love it when you blog about blogging. Let's see, what's that called, Blogorrhea, no, Blogstipation, no, oh yes, meta-blogging.

I am terrified of typos. I really need a proofreader for my blogs. I find it so difficult to catch my own. I am glad to know there is a little slack on the blurking/commenting community. I am going to force myself to always save as a Draft, then post later going forward on my new blog. It's that important to me, but I will admit it takes away some of the instant gratification of publishing globally!

Teri said...

Oh and this is what I love about blogging. The comment above from Mooslet had me LOL!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll bite. I found your blog the other day and I love your perspective. I'll be checking in every day, sometimes three times a day, and commenting often if you amuse me enough. Mwahahahahaha.