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.