Comment Confidential: The Perks And Pitfalls Of Reaching Out To Newfound Bloggers

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I feel the need to confide.

One change brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic is that some bloggers, often longtime bloggers, have stopped posting. As a result many of my bloggy friends, ones who were here and I was there all the time, aren’t around anymore.

I miss them but understand why they’ve moved on and I realize that my blogging community is different, a bit emptier, without them in it.

Thus a couple of months ago, as I was sitting here at home still, I decided to be more extroverted and started reaching out to bloggers who were new to me. I felt that as a longtime blogger I could be proactive about creating bloggy friendships, especially with newfound bloggers.

These newfound bloggers came my way: 1) by leaving comments/likes on my blog; 2) when I saw them comment on blog posts elsewhere; and/or 3) when I saw they were part of the A-to-Z Challenge.

To be clear I only commented on blog posts that I found interesting, never as a way of ingratiating myself to someone hoping for reciprocity, never as a troll. I just said what I was thinking in the moment, like I always have, hoping that my first contact didn’t seem too weird or too nutz.

Then I waited to see how I would be received.

Below is a list of the perks and pitfalls that happened when I reached out to newfound bloggers. ‘Twas an enlightening experience. I’m glad I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone and do this, but now I’m back to being my more introverted [ambiverted?] self, happy to chat with friendly bloggers who show an interest in what I have to say here.

Thank you very much.

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ONE: Encouraging. Many bloggers seemed pleased that I jumped into their comment section, replying in a timely fashion that made me feel welcome.

TWO: Confusing. Some bloggers sent out mixed signals. Despite generic polite replies I couldn’t figure if I was butting into their circle of blog friends or if I was wanted and they were just surprised by my interest.

THREE: Different. A few bloggers have tightly structured comment sections reminiscent of the singsong Episcopalian worship service’s Collect of the Day. Everyone who left a comment got a pleasant reply [blessing? response?] but the conversations in the comment section never went any farther.

FOUR: Duly noted. A few bloggers ignored my comment, or marginalized it by only ‘liking’ my comment, so that I got the clear impression I was not wanted.

FIVE: Perplexing. Some bloggers have commenting systems that ate my comment not indicating if it was being held in moderation or was not accepted. Should I try again? Do they want comments? [Was WP screwing with me again?]

SIX: Questionable. A few bloggers don’t seem to reply to comments at all, even though they had many of them. Without clearly stating how they process comments it was impossible for me to know if some commenters get an email reply behind the scene and I wasn’t worthy of one or if everyone doesn’t receive a reply.

SEVEN: Uplifting. After leaving a comment for some newfound bloggers, they were curious to see who I was and came here to this blog, often immediately jumping into my comment section.

EIGHT: Sociable. Often when commenting on a newfound blog I came across bloggers who also comment here. As a way of introduction in my first comment to the newfound blogger I’d mention our mutual bloggy friend because interconnectedness is one of the best things about blogging, right?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you inclined to leave comments on newfound blogs that you come across in blog land?

How do you feel when you do that? Do you assume the blogger wants your comment or do you figure you might be an intruder? Or some point in-between?

What’s the best thing that can happen when you leave a comment on a blog post?

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In Which I Answer Five Brilliant Questions, Outstandingly

I’ve received the Outstanding Blogger Award from Laura Bruno Lilly who asked some great questions. I don’t usually do awards, but like Laura said doing this award is a good way to break out of a blogging rut & I’ve felt like I’ve been in one lately. Thus I’m answering these five brilliant questions to the best of my free-spirited ability.

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LAURA’S QUESTIONS FOR ME

What’s the first thing (or two) you’ll do once you ‘get your shot’ and/or the world otherwise opens back up after the Pandemic?

I have two things. I’m tired of my hippy hair so I’ll get it cut, but I’m keeping it longer than before. Who knew it was easier to have longer layered curly hair than a short stacked bob? The second thing is I want to go to a local restaurant, order a pear martini, crab cakes, and their house salad. Maybe two martinis now that I think about it. 

What makes you break into your ‘happy dance’?

Pots and pots of flowers around the outside of the house. I like geraniums and petunias and coleus and zinnias and dipladenia and impatiens and marigolds and whatever else will grow. I’m not fussy about what’s in the pots, I just want pretty. 

What was your favorite subject when you were in school?

I liked English class. No surprise, huh?

Which of your blog posts is your favorite and why? Please provide a link.

After ten years of blogging I can’t just offer one post so I’m going to answer with three posts. If you like funny, read this: Fun With Pedicures: Conning Mr. Man, If Only For A Moment. If you like melancholy, read this: Strange Days Indeed. If you like badassery, read this: Good Morning To Everyone Except WordPress, My Frenemy.

Coffee, tea or ????

Yes. Coffee, tea, seltzer, beer, wine, aperol & soda, margaritas, vodka martinis, a shot of whiskey even– but never anything with rum in it. *bleech* 

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Now it’s my turn to nominate and to ask questions. Considering everyone who reads this blog is outstanding I nominate anyone who wants to do this. You may do this in the comments below or on your blog.

There’s no obligation to take up the challenge, but if you do then please answer the following questions. If you do this on your blog then you may nominate [5 or however many] other bloggers, and then compile a set of your own 5 questions. 

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MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU

Q1 – What’s your favorite movie?

Q2 – When trying to buy shoes, what’s your biggest problem?

Q3 – Ice cream cone or cupcake?

Q4 – What’s one good thing you have learned about yourself during this pandemic?

Q5 – Any eccentric people in your family? Discuss.

Applying A Business Framework To This Personal Blog To Tell A Tale

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Above is the Rudolph Framework. It’s from marketing guru + author Ann Handley’s newsletter called Total Annarchy. The framework is a lighthearted take on the Christmas song and children’s book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

While the Rudolph Framework is meant to help a business clarify its purpose, it’s applicable to personal blogs. It’s easy to conceptualize a personal blog as a business. As such the blog provides customers [that’d be you] with a product [my blog posts] that solve a problem for you.

I know that I’m getting abstract here, but I have a tale to tell and I feel the need to explain how I came by it, lest you think I’m nuts. Which I probably am, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Just go with it.

Thus using the Rudolph Framework I give you the following story created by moi by filling in the blanks, occasionally adjusting a few words so that it makes more sense. See what you think.

In fact, should you like to fly your freak flag, you could get jiggy and try applying the Rudolph Framework to your own blog, even. I’d love to see what you come up with. ‘Cuz, you know, I’m nosy curious.

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THE TALE OF THE SPECTACLED BEAN AND THE COMMUNITY IT HAS CREATED

Once upon a time, there was a delightful personal blog called The Spectacled Bean.

It had the capacity to be a catalyst for conversation based on the tales, thoughts, and tribulations of a free spirit in suburbia.

Some people doubted it because it was not all about the benjamins.

But one day, the woman who writes the blog realized she was perfectly happy doing what she was doing in the way she was doing it.

Which meant that the blog could be as varied and wonderfully idiosyncratic as the cool kids who read and comment on it.

To help them have sense of belonging online where they are understood and accepted, as long they’re polite and not spammers and not stealing my content.

And that matters because the cool kids are the heroes of this blog and what make The Spectacled Bean fun and engaging.

Thus in the process, this blog has helped coalesce a community of articulate + good-natured lurkers, readers, and cool kids who have the savvy to know a good thing when they read it.

Everyone gets a kiss. And a big ‘ole thank you.

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A Simple Hello: Ms. Bean Goes For A Car Ride AND Returns To Blogging

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A few days before Christmas Day I realized I hadn’t driven my car in over a month. How very 2020 is that, I ask you?

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To remedy this situation I decided that we, that being Zen-Den and I, would go for a car ride to make sure that my sweet old car, now 18 years old, was still working.  She was.

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Inspired by the beautiful clear December day, we went to a city park where instead of walking, we drove around to see what we could see.  A different way for us to enjoy a park, but considering everything about 2020 was unique, it seemed fitting.

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A few people were outside walking, but for the most part we were by ourselves. I, of course, snapped a few photos to share here because what’s the point of having a camera in your cell phone if’n you don’t use it? I mean, really?

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Thus with this little vignette of a day in the life of Ms. Bean, I’m back here in the blogosphere with a renewed sense of vigor and, I hope you’ll agree, a snazzy new template for The Spectacled Bean. It was time for a change here.

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Also, for those readers who care about such things, I’ve decided on my word of the year. *drum roll please* In deference to my good intentions gone awry by things outside my control in 2020, I’ve decided to reuse my 2020 word of the year.  Yes, my #OneWord365 is going to be SIMPLIFY.  Again. 

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Planning To Be Kind AND Kindly Planning My Future

PLANNING TO BE KIND

Tomorrow, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. It’s based on another one of those core values that I think is important. The value being [obviously]: KINDNESS.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines KINDNESS as: the quality of being kind as in treating people with kindness and respect. The dictionary goes on to say that synonyms for KINDNESS are words like: benevolence, courtesy, favor, grace, service.

Musing on these words while thinking about my childhood and the way my WASP parents reared me, I suspect I never had a chance to not be kind. I just didn’t, but that’s only me. 😇

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE KIND?

So what do you think, a good idea?

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KINDLY PLANNING MY FUTURE

Opening a Franklin Planner catalogue that came in the snail mail a card fell out onto the counter top. The card, featured in the photo below, clearly states the raison d’être of the company.

I started laughing because, well– hell to the yes, this company wants me to plan. Thanks for reminding me, just in case I didn’t notice the name of your company.

But the more I looked at the card the more I realized that I adhere to a slacker philosophy that is more geared toward doing good enough. This is because I realize that plans change, often– and that I can live contentedly not planning every stinking detail of my best life.

Yes, I’d say that I’m being kind to myself by allowing for things to not be best. 🙄

HOW ABOUT YOU, DO YOU PLAN FOR YOUR BEST LIFE OR FOR YOUR GOOD ENOUGH LIFE?

Perhaps I’m being ornery, but isn’t *good enough* good enough?

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