Monday, November 12, 2012

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Nov 11

Our topic of the week was how we can extend the positive spirit of LOL Day to the rest of the year. Here are your thoughts.

SpankCake: One thing that makes the internet so accessible is that it is anonymous. Anyone is free to browse what is available. How does a blogger encourage people to comment? To make their blog more interactive? I would love to know as so much of the joy of blogging comes from connecting with said contributors.

All bloggers love comments. We write hoping to be read. If a blogger actively dislikes comments, they can disable them. I would hope that every lurker out there felt welcomed, always knowing any comment they make is appreciated. That being said, when I throw out a question specifically to the readers and don't get many answers, I feel somewhat rejected. And as a lurker on several blogs, I know that I feel like I don't have anything new or interesting to add to that particular blog. In fact, I'm half tempted to 86 this comment! LOL.

TL;DR: LOL-love our lurkers... everyday. Make them feel welcomed to interact with us. Give them the same attention as we would our regulars and maybe they will grant us the kindness of joining us.

Kitty: I agree that the anonymous part of the internet is good. And so I think is the fact that we continue to be a community of relatively low drama in an internet world normally filled with angst, and that people will join in as they feel able. And otherwise, I don't mind if people just peak in once in a while.

Roz: I think sometimes this can seem like a exclusive community to those 'outside.' I'm sure I have read anonymous comments on blogs where they felt shy about commenting as they felt they didn't 'belong.'

Perhaps we need to continue to invite comments in our posts from lurkers and old friends alike. This is particularly true when we are posing a question.

Prefectdt: I often see bloggers and website performers doing sponsored events and suchlike. This helps the image of the community as a whole as well as supporting good causes. Making an effort to help and support those who do these things, year round, is an effective way keeping the goodwill fly wheel spinning.

LOL day is great way to get everyone focused on the blog community and spread some good faith around. Thank you for all the effort that you put into this event, Bonnie.

morningstar: I am not sure I have an answer to that question. I have been thinking about LOL day a lot. Define lurker - they are by definition folks who don't want to be noticed. And I can't help but wonder if we make them nervous asking for them to comment one day a year. Perhaps they are happiest about being in the shadows - an unknown - only a number in the stats?

In my humble opinion, as long as I keep writing, I am giving the lurkers what they come for day after day, a story to read about my struggles, my joys and my failings.

I think celebrating LOL day once a year is a wonderful idea. It's a day to thank the "lurkers" of the world for being there for us - for raising our stats and keeping us going. Truthfully, folks, would you write if no one read?

I don't think the comments are the most important thing. Just knowing someone out there is reading warms my heart and keeps my fingers tap-tapping on the keys.

Hermione: What can we do to keep the friendly, supportive, welcoming spirit alive all year long? We can each make a determined effort to leave comments on blogs where we don't usually comment. It's easy to leave a comment on a friend's blog, but not so easy when you don't feel you "know" the blogger well.

Although I don't consider myself an outsider in this community, I am indeed a lurker on a large number of blogs. I click, read, then close the page and move on. If I took the time to say a simple "hello" or better yet, leave an intelligent word or two about what I have just read, I would be doing my small part to extend the hand of friendship to another valued member of our vibrant community.

There you have it: My New Year's resolution two months early.

Six of the Best: One of my suggestions would be for 'spanko' bloggers to answer as many 'lurker's' comments as possible.

Our Bottoms Burn: First, I don't know, so just skip to the next comment.

Ignoring the socially inadept wankers, I think most lurkers are just folks who seldom take the initiative to do much of anything. Nothing wrong with that. When we were young marrieds, we had a parties once or twice a month. Some of these parties would last into the next day, so people were having a good time. There was a regular group. Only one or two would host a party. I think most lurkers are like that, nice folks, but they feel no need to express themselves.

Fondles: I sometimes feel ignored when I don't get a reply after I leave a comment, which is why I reply all of mine.

So that might help, for a start. I also agree with Hermione that if we tried to comment a little more there'll be more "love" going around. I try to say hi to the newer bloggers, but feel overwhelmed when I'm new to a blog and people there already seem to know each other.

But then I understand that's just me, and it has nothing to do with them.

I should start commenting here more for a start.

Houston Switch: As a sometimes poster, I appreciate two things when trying to post:

1) Being able to post as Anonymous. I do not have to use a Google or other account to log in with prior to posting.

2) Making it as easy as possible to READ and POST using smart phones or tablets, not just PCs. People are more mobile and using these other devices outside the home in their spare few minutes, such as in a carpool line or in a waiting room, to read and post.

Anything bloggers can do to simplify interaction will help to encourage interaction.

Joeyred: I prefer to refer to people who do not comment as readers. I have learned from blogger friends Lea, Ronnie, and Hermione that replying to comments encourages more comments. Also, polite and respectful answers to comments will encourage readers to identify themselves for the first time as a reader.

Wordsmith: Answering every comment is a must for me. I always try to do it. Also, I am often put off commenting by the difficulty imposed by the anti-spam systems. Sometimes I have to try 3-4 times before I can get Blogger to accept my Wordpress ID.

One question I have: Can someone with a blog ever be a "lurker"? Somehow I always think of a lurker as someone who doesn't want to interact. We need another category :-) - maybe "reader" as Joey suggested.

Lea: I feel I have a nice group of regular readers and many of those comment. I hope that I encourage the interaction by being open and always responding to the comments. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to do so because I know there are so many blogs out there and it's nice they stopped at mine.

I know many people say they don't feel like they have something to add and that is why they stay quiet. But as a blogger, even a "Thanks for sharing" or "This was really interesting" is nice to see. I try to do at least that on the blogs I enjoy reading if I don't have anything elaborate to add.

There are some blogs I've seen that never reply to their commenters and don't seem to get a lot of comments. I think we can put two and two together there.

Susie: Every once in a while, maybe it is a good idea to openly ask readers whether they have any questions. I know that when we've done that in the past, the quieter folks have jumped in. I think they felt less shy than usual. I'll have to try it again soon.

Respecting Mistress: It's a difficult question. I get a few comments to my blog posts, but then I'm guilty of not opening up my blog to invite more readers to interact. I love it when I get people posting comments. It's great to be able to interact with others of a similar interest. So I do try to reply to all comments. And I like to comment on other blogs because a) I enjoy the interaction, and b) people take time to write about their experiences. The whole point of blogging is to encourage comments, isn't it?

Minelle Labraun: As a former lurker, I agree with everyone that answering someone's comment is the key. It takes so much courage to leave one, to put yourself out of your comfort zone and respond on someone's blog. If they never acknowledge your words, it makes you feel as though you offended or your words are silly to them.

Sir Q's mlb: I know many have already said what I was thinking but I will reiterate. I think that responding to comments is a wonderful way to let your readers know that you appreciate their comments. I think allowing anonymity is also important, as long as it isn't being abused.

Thanks again for your organizing of LOL. It was my first and it was fun!

Kaki: I don't have a blog, but I would like to add to what others said about replying to commenters. I don't mind if I comment and don't get a reply back if the blogger doesn't respond to anyone. Some bloggers respond to one or two and ignore the rest, I think that is rude, especially when that person has asked a question.

Bonnie: LOL Day serves (among other things) as a kind of graduation ceremony. We celebrate the transition as silent readers become commenters. At other times, we see active commenters take the next step and become bloggers. In with the New salutes these friends. This is a natural, albeit completely optional, progression.

The challenge, as I see it, is to create an environment where more people feel comfortable advancing in their own time and at their own pace. We can do that by providing support and encouragement at each step.

When someone delurks, they step into the greater blogging community. At this moment, what had been a solitary pursuit becomes a collective, collaborative one. A community is constructed one human relationship at a time. By reaching out, we have the opportunity to build connections that are strong and long lasting. Not everyone will choose to join in, but those who do are well worth the effort.

I have some additional thoughts on the word lurker that I will share in my next post.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to making our LOL Day 7 a big success, and to you, dear brunchers!


Anonymous said...

Katie Spades was the first spanko blogger who I saw do back comments. And I thought it was a great idea. I've since suggested it to other bloggers and they've taken up the idea and it's been good. However I'm sure it makes for more work, especially when you get a lot of comments.

If you comment on a blog where the author comments back, you're more likely to come back to see what the reply was, thus encouraging interest and traffic.

A couple of times I've gotten into situations commenting in which I'd been commenting for quite a while on a blog, and suddenly I might inadvertently embarrass the blog author with a question or statement.

And then I'd be excluded from the blog. Needlless to say, the experience left me conflicted, and with little recourse for resolution. Obviously such experiences have reduced my enthusiasm for commenting. But perhaps that's a topic for another day.

Karl Friedrich Gauss

Brian Haynes said...

My wife and I love writting and love spanking even more. I have no idea how to begin a blog though. The isolation of her being deployed overseas and literaly not knowing so much as the name of anyone in this xity or state, brought me out of lurking. Like when someone responds to a comment of mine it lets me know im not dead and in purgatory lol

Anonymous said...

Your next to last paragraph about the community of people is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

@ Brian -- Many bloggers will help you get started. Send me an email and I will help.

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