Connecting in the Blogging Community

There are times when I dive into the world of blogging and feel like I’m constantly swimming around to try and find where I belong.  What is it that I contribute?  Mostly, I end up feeling like I’m just treading water.

I started my blog to have a place to talk about my life as I become the person that I want to be.  For the most part, the things I have shared coincide with that.  I share about my continuing education cake courses, I share weekly pictures that I take (my dream job would be to be a photographer – I am nowhere close at the moment), and I have shared a few things about my weight loss/exercise journey.

And then I go to read other blogs and feel like mine is so pointless.  I think a lot of that stems from the fact that, when I read amazing post after amazing post, I feel like I have no life experience at all.  I’m not married.  I don’t have children.  I was raised in a happy home with both parents and my mom was a stay-at-home mom.  I feel sheltered.  I feel like I don’t really have a voice.  And that leaves me feeling as though I’m grasping for anything within reach; anything that keeps me connected to the blogging community.

Usually, my ‘grasping’ is manifested in commenting on others’ blogs.  I want to connect to people.  I love to read what others are experiencing.  But, without the same type of experiences, I feel like my comments are trite.  Last week, I read a post at Chosen Chaos that I wanted to stand up and applaud.  The post talks about having a “like” button for blogs, similar to that of Facebook.  I would LOVE to have such a feature available (I believe it is available on WordPress, just not on other blogging sites).  It’s so hard for me to come up with something meaningful to say to the mom that had to clean up puke all night…..but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading her humorous account of it.

So my question is this: do I comment or not?  Personally, it makes my heart skip a beat when I log in to my blog and see that I have a comment awaiting me.  What is said doesn’t always matter, I just enjoy that somebody took the time to do it.  But what about you?  Do you mind if I leave a “that was hilarious” type of comment?  Or would you rather I quietly click away from the page simply having laughed at or been touched by your story?

This week, I’m linking up with yeah write.  Check out all of the amazing writers that are also linking up there this week!

36 thoughts on “Connecting in the Blogging Community

  1. I feel exactly the same way as you. I often wonder, what is the point? Blogging is a strange and odd thing.

    Personally, any comment for me would be fabulous! Just knowing someone actually read what I wrote, and just to tell me it was hilarious would make my day, probably my week.

  2. I’m so glad you liked my idea! For what it’s worth I’m on WP and I don’t even know about the damn button, oof. Also, I have kids and I’m married and I STILL feel that way about blogging. Some weeks I’m an Eeore and some weeks I’m all Winne the Pooh. The lovely roller coaster that seems to reflect my life in general. I will also tell you that after posting that I got some awesome emails from my dear readers and they were honest with me. One in particular said that when he reads me he feels like he’s reading my soul and would feel bad not to leave a comment. Just more fuel to add to the fire! If only there were a manual, right?!

  3. I love seeing comments – I say comment away. I don’t expect anyone I read to have common experiences – part of what I love about connecting with people is finding experiences I have never had, and experiencing vicariously through the blog. I’ve had various blogs through the years, and have formed lifelong friendships this way.

  4. I see where you’re coming from. But you’re right….there’s nothing better than getting a comment saying that someone laughed out loud or related or was touched somehow by a post. Just because you see your comment as trite doesn’t mean the recipient feels that way. Quite the opposite, I’m sure!

  5. Oh definitely comment! Even if it is just to say “I liked this!” bloggers thrive on comments and a feeling of audience and community. And maybe you are just struggling to find your authentic voice – we all are! Do you ever read Abby With Issues? She has wonderful posts about the struggle to find and maintain your voice as a writer.

    And sheltered or not – that’s just perception and labels. We all have things we want to share, questions we want to ask, experiences we learn from, and we all have people like us who want to listen!

  6. See, I’m torn about this. I feel like a jerk when I just say “Aww, haha” or something like that, but a lot of the time that’s my reaction to the post. Not necessarily a BAD thing – it just didn’t inspire me to say anything *about* it. And that could be because I didn’t relate or I related too much or whatever – NOT because it was a bad post at all. So I want to say SOMETHING to let the person know like “Hey i read this and appreciate that you blog,” but I have nothing better than “oooof, what a day” or “very cute pic.” Gah! What to do?!?

    Frankly, I’d rather see a short comment on MY post to show that you (general you) have been there. But that has to sometimes get mixed with more legit comments too. If all I see are just like “lols,” then I think you’re not even reading. I think posters who leave great comments on every post they read are awesome.

  7. Food for thought: What if you knew 1000 people a day took the time to read your posts and chuckled or thought they were good but not a single one commented. Would that be enough?

    I’m asking because the things you wrote about on your post are thoughts that I think almost every new blogger has at one time or another. Most of us are not going to end up with a blog of thousands of loyal followers but that doesn’t mean our words don’t touch anyone or reach anyone or inspire anyone or make others think.

    I think there are things that you can’t really “know” until you have gone through them. That doesn’t mean an insight from a different angle is not worthwhile.

    What I do know is that every single person has what to contribute in this world and ever single person makes a difference daily to countless other people. You never know when your smile or your words (verbal or written) may change someone else’s day or even the course of their life.

    BTW-I love writing on blogging because it is cathartic and helps me work through things.

  8. While I think the idea of a button is fun in theory (who doesn’t love a good button?), I think the comments are what help us grow as writers. Therefore, I don’t think what you bring to the table when you are reading something is important as what you find in the piece and reflect back to the writer. I like posts that appreciate a single sentence as helpful as those that liked what we were trying to say. Even those that reveal we didn’t really get across our point are valuable for bringing that knowledge. I would say that one of the things I have I learned from our very brief time blogging is that the internet is a lovely place to build a community of writers. Our community building is comment-writing—it is the “work” of blogging, but it is also the thing that elevates this craft from pretty jazzd-up emails to something more profound and elegant.

    And for this piece, I want to say that I always appreciate a post that comes from an honest, real place. Thanks for talking about this, Erin

  9. I love feedback in whatever form. You are more than welcome to just leave a smiley face at anytime on my blog 🙂
    I don’t think you are being fair to yourself. You don’t need life shattering stories to make a difference. You are taking time to write, to express yourself and you are exposing your dreams publicly. That’s pretty brave in my book and worth a read.

  10. So many thoughts…first of all, I couldn’t agree more with you’re occasional feelings of a fish out of water in the blogging world. As a new blogger myself, and someone who strives to obtain a legitimate “fan base” with more followers than just my friends and family, I see where you are coming from. Personally, I LOVE comments. Any and all comments – whether it is simply to say that he or she enjoyed reading my post or something substantive about the content. I sometimes worry that no one is reading what I wrote and it is just hanging out there in the abyss so I am eternally grateful to anyone who takes the time to read my words, much less takes the time to comment on them. Thank you for your comment on my post. Please continue to comment in any form.

  11. Like a few others before me, I am torn on the issue as well. On one hand, with my blog being only a few months old, I still love reading any and every comment. I am overwhelmed with joy when I link a post up with something like YeahWrite because I know that post will get at least a few comments on it. I always feel a little sad when a post of mine gets no comments. I enjoy having others read what I write about and, without a comment or a Google +1, I have no way of knowing if it was ever really read by anyone.

    That being said, I find myself only commenting on a few blogs myself because I feel compelled to only comment when I have something substantial to contribute. Or because something in the blog resonated with me on some level. Much like this one.

    P.S. I’ll comment yours if you comment mine. Ha ha 🙂

  12. 1) I’ve found that everyone has something to say that will be valuable to someone else. EVERYONE.

    2) I like comments, but I also understand not commenting. I’m not a frequent commenter myself, but YES, I do appreciate it when someone has something to say, and I will say that when I finally started commenting on blogs I liked, a whole new batch of friendships opened up to me. So, I am pro-commenting, but I also don’t mind if no one comments on a post I write.

  13. oh, I struggle with the same thing too! sometimes you read so many great “voices” out there, my voice seems to pale in comparison- but that’s just it. don’t compare. just speak {it is something I’m learning too!} I don’t have an earth-shattering point of view, but it is mine. Share away, friend!

    Also? I down right love comments. I don’t care what they say, as long as someone tells me they are reading. I try to explain that to people who don’t write their own blog, when they say “oh, I didn’t comment because I saw all these other people commenting” or “I didn’t have anything to add but I liked it” – – um, that is MORE than enough. As writers we don’t get to see others reactions to our words. we just send them out there…it is fantastic to see they found a “home” with someone else too.

  14. I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have anything to say that contributes to a real conversation. At the same time, I love to get comments on blog. I am ok with something simple that lets me know you enjoyed it or it resonated or whatever. I say comment away!

  15. I think everyone has had that feeling of not belonging or not having anything to contribute in the blogging world. I know I sure have. I will confess that I am a terrible commenter. Horrible, truly it’s shameful. Ask the other yeah writer’s, they’ll tell you. It’s no excuse but there are just not enough hours in my day to accomplish everything I want/need to do. I read a lot of posts on my phone while cooking or waiting in line at the store or supervising bathtime. I get distracted easily by my kids screaming bloody murder or smoke coming from the kitchen cause I forgot the meatballs on the burner.

    I love to get comments on my blog even if they are just a “haha”. That’s enough for me. I’m pleased somebody read it at all. I don’t think every comment has to be an in depth thought. Not all posts need that type of comment. I need to do better at commenting and replying to comments. If only I could manufacture time….

  16. Well hello there from the other side of the fence. The other side of “normal.” Now look here, young ‘un who is a newbie blogger with a fab blog: part of finding out what you have to say is just by following your own words – so keep on writing, and blogging, and commenting (I think I comment on every blog I visit – it’s like a little gift to the person who took the time to write it). To me, the fact that you come from a loving family and “have no issues” is in itself extremely interesting – so start there! (Also I envy it. You have no idea how lucky you are! It might be “vogue” to have issues but it sure isn’t easy – I’d switch with normal in a minute.)

    And on the blog-envy front – I read in that wonderful book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, that every time you encounter envy or deflation or some other kind of a reaction when you see (in your case) a really good blog post – that’s your inner artist telling you that this is the direction you want to go in.

    Blathering on now…see you around the blogosphere, great post. (-: And yes, I think you should always comment on every blog you visit – doesn’t have to be an epic like this one – just a line or two! (-:

  17. i can’t remember who wrote the post this week on yeah write, but someone (very funny) wrote about how bloggers are necessarily egomaniacs, because we are constantly writing about ourselves (i think it was kim at the g is silent). i’ll go a step further and say writers are pretty much egomaniacs because everything is created from some need inside of us. so comments and feedback on blogging and writing are a necessary part of growing as writers. sure, there are a lot of days i would (and do) click the like button – because like most people, i don’t have as much time as i would like to spend in the blogging community. but growing as a writer (and the evolution of your voice, which i think is lovely) is so linked to the communion with other writers and bloggers that without the back and forth, i feel like i would stagnate. in a wordy way, i guess i’m saying YAY WRITING! YAY COMMENTS! And when you doubt yourself, just write your way through it, even if all you write is “Today, I ate a turkey sandwich, and it was good.” (which i do about twice a week). because, frankly, i think you’re great.

  18. You have described so many of my exact thoughts. Since I have started blogging, I really struggles to find a “community.” I always felt like I was at a party where everyone had already formed social groups so I just kept walking up with my drink saying, “Haha, that’s so funny!”

    I love comments but sometimes everything has already been said, so I just wanted to “approve.” I have the FB “Like” on my page, but I think it would be nice to just have a blog specific button.

    • Your description of being at a party is so accurate. It is sometimes a bit scary to feel like you’re walking into a place where friendships are already established and you feel like the new kid in school.

      Also….your blog was being mean to me and wouldn’t let me comment. The word verification would flash for a second and then disappear. But I said something along these lines:

      First off – I love your graphic. As soon as I saw it on yeah write I thought “Lisa Frank!”

      I know what it’s like to be somewhat indecisive because I am a bit so myself with small things like what restaurant to go to for dinner, etc. Hopefully I’m not as bad as your friend. Maybe you should come up with a detailed plan for your “couch-to-my-way” program. Give him some ‘steps’ that he could check off as he built up his decision making skills. 🙂

  19. I am totally with you! I don’t have kids, so I have the same problems with commenting. I often have no idea what to say, because I can’t really relate to certain types of posts. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them, but it does mean that I can’t add a meaningful comment to the discussion just because of lack of experience.

    I personally love reading about other experiences, experiences different from mine, so feel free to keep sharing anything and everything that you like. You may think that you don’t have anything meaningful to share, but I’m betting your thoughts, ideas, and experiences are just as fascinating as the next person’s. Just look at this fabulous and thoughtful post!

  20. comments is what keeps us plugging along in a public fashion, i think. a “like” would suffice, too (it’s available on tumblr too i believe), but i think there would be even less comments then.

  21. I love the transparency of this post. You expressed so much of what I, too, feel about blogging. Am I significant? Do I sound disengaged or insincere? Continue to move through your fear, exploring your voice here and in comments on other blogs. Because you Do have much to say in spite of your view of your life being “sheltered.” I want to hear about it. Even though your experiences are different than mine, we share things in common…qualities that make us part of humanity. I really, really, love this post. Regarding comments-the like button would be nice as sometimes I fear “saying” something wouldn’t be much of a contribution, but I do want the blogger to know I was there and read. The validation of being read is part of the process of making connections. Connections to others are my favorite thing about blogging. Without them, it would feel empty. I hope you feel encouraged. That was my goal. And I apologize for the length of this…. carry on….looking forward to more. 🙂

  22. I have the same feeling you have after sitting through a webinar about increasing blog traffic.

    In the webinar, they talk about using your “expertise” in your niche to guest post, which in turn, drives traffic back to your blog. The problem is, I don’t have a niche in the sense that they mean niche. My blog is the beginnings of my writer’s platform. I hope to launch a writing career from it. I write essays and sometimes I publish poetry on my blog. I talk about myself and I hope to showcase my creative writing, too. So when I think about my “expertise”, then I get confused. What’s my “expertise”? How is what I write “significant”?

    I want my blog to reflect me and my writing. I guess that’s my “expertise”. But it seems like people want to know what your “expertise” is and in a way, that parallels feeling “significant”.

  23. I get what you are saying, there are so many blogs out there, and so many great ones! From time to time I feel tiny and wonder what I have to contribute.
    But your blog is about you, no matter how much life experience you have.
    You are an individual, you must have things that are funny, weird, likable or whatever about you. And even if you don’t, just enjoy your little place in the blogosphere.
    Always comment, if you don’t mind taking the time. Most bloggers love to connect with people and we love it when someone takes the time to let us know they read or appreciated our words. Some of the best friendships came from connecting through comments.

  24. Great post. I too struggle with things to write but I usually try to leave comments when I have the time or come back to do it because I know how much it means to me to know someone enjoyed something I posted. I’m not a great writer, but sometimes I take pretty decent pictures that I like to share and my blog is my place to do that. I just hope along the way that I make a few friends. ( I already have made quite a few.) Do I feel like I fit in? Nope. But I feel like that in real life too. I’m not sure where I fit in except at home. Keep doing what you do. I like what I have seen here thus far.

  25. It’s taken me a few days to comment on this post, and I think it’s because I relate so strongly to what you’ve written. I love what the other commenters have said (esp Ado & Sperk), so I’ll just add that comments literally make my day. I spend hours and hours on every post (embarrassing as that is to admit!), and when I post something and don’t get any comments, it breaks my heart a little. That feedback (and improving my writing skills through reading other posts) has been my favorite thing about yeah write. I say, keep writing and keep commenting!

  26. I’m a bit of a loner, but I also get the “Oh goodie!” feeling when I see the page hits matched with comments. Most of the time though (other than link-ups designed to get people talking to each other), I get NO comments whatsoever. But then later, people around me – some of whom I barely know – mention a post I wrote or thank me for a helpful tidbit I had up months ago. And then I know they read and appreciated it. That’s worth so much more to me. But my blog is kinda-sorta local/neighborhoody, so I DO run into people who have read my blog. How would I get that feedback from someone across the country?

    One thing I also like on WP is the LIKE button. I always feel honored when someone uses it because, as with comments, it happens rarely.

    You have a lot to say, clearly! And in this kooky world we live in, I think you’ll find there’s plenty to blog about. (I also used to feel like being without a traumatic past gave me less of a voice. Now I think it’s just a different voice. The world needs balance – and pain fights to be heard more often than joy or reason. Add it!)

  27. Pingback: yeah write #50 winners |yeah write

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