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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Flowers Of Yellow Make Me Feel Mellow When Words Escape Me

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It’s Tuesday, the day of the week when I plan on posting to this blog.

‘Tis a fact.

However, I’m finding that I have less to say than normal, words escape me.  Or perhaps I’ve become more succinct with my words when I use them.

In truth I’m becoming more relaxed, introspective about my current lifestyle.  All things considered I’m cheerful and content to spend more time at home;  I figure if this is how you stay healthy, why not become a hermit?

[Meant to be a rhetorical question but worth pondering.  How well are any of us adapting to this stay at home lifestyle?]

So in lieu of me rambling on here, attempting to write about my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, I’ll give you the following which is delightfully wordy and worth a listen.

On The Allusionist, a podcast by Helen Zaltzman, there is an episode called “Tranquillusionist: Your Soothing Words.”  It’s 10 minutes of unexpected aural mellowness while Zaltzman reads 343 words.

[Click on HERE to be taken directly to the page on which you can find the doohickey thingie that lets you listen to a podcast on your computer. Or follow The Allustionist on a podcast app on your phone and find the episode there.]

And with that, I wish you well, my gentle readers.  May you find ways in which to honor and center yourself while remaining safe during a strange time in the history of the world.

Live with intention. Engage with clarity. Share with joy.

Everyone doing OK under the circumstances?  

In Which Ms. Bean Contemplates Human Nature: Do You Play Up?

A marble in a martini glass because, I ask you, why not?

Everyone plays up.

An acquaintance said that after going to a party for the parents of middle school boys who play basketball.  She was making an observation about the group as a whole.

I got what she meant, having been to a few social events myself wherein people missed no opportunity to #humblebrag about their blessed lives, posing as someone more important than they might really be.

Acquaintance, who like me is an introvert with an extroverted personality when necessary, admitted that she’d played up in her own way.  That is, she’d bought a new dress for this party, but one that she’d be wearing to other events.

I’m not sure I’d say that is playing up per se, but I got her point.  She’d done something to make herself look better in the eyes of other people.

The conversation was short & lighthearted, but got me contemplating the ways in which we all play up depending on, I suppose, your need for external validation in a particular situation.

In my observation, and perhaps yours too, some people seem to need to belong to a group, any group, and will say or do anything to remain a part of it, fearing, I guess, the possibility of being alone.

I’m reminded of the old adage that there are makers, takers, and fakers.  If I’m entirely honest, in various situations and at different points in my life, I’ve been each of these to some degree and that seems normal to me.

Anyhoo, getting to something that resembles a point here, all of the foregoing got me thinking about this idea of playing up.  Here are my questions:

Does everyone play up? Is that a fact of human nature?

 And if so, does that mean you’re a maker, making something of yourself by playing up? OR are you a faker by playing up? I can see both sides to this.  What say ye?  

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Say What? Botox & The Fine Art Of Conversation

HERE’S A NEW-TO-ME PROBLEM…

I’m Botox-free, but have a micropeel at the skin care department of a doctor’s office every couple of months.  I started doing these peels about 15 years ago, on the advice of a doctor who told me they’d reduce my acne.

And they did.

Now I continue to have them because they keep my skin looking clear and healthy. Plus the peels kind of reduce wrinkles. Sort of.

I admit to being vain, to a point, so I’m not going to stop using them any time soon.

BUT HERE’S THE THING…

I’m beginning to interact with people in my real life who have availed themselves of the other services that this type of doctor’s practice provides.  That is to say lately various people who I know have wrinkle-free frozen faces that seem to be the result of using Botox.

I’m talking about people as young as their late 20s and as old as their late 60s whose faces suggest to me [or sometimes they tell me*] that Botox is part of their regular skin care routine.

To be clear here, I’m not writing this post to pass judgment on whether anyone who does this medically approved procedure is more, or less, beautiful because of it.

Do what you want, that’s cool by me.  Be pretty in your own way.

No, what I’m getting on about here is the fact that these people suddenly appear to be devoid of emotions.

AND IT’S THE DARNEDEST THING.

I’m an above average communicator with the ability to read people… if they give me something to read.  Yet I cannot, for certain, tell you if when speaking with these Botox-ed people if they understand what I’m saying, or asking.

There’s no emotion.  There’s no feedback.

And to be honest, as an introvert interacting with seemingly non-empathetic people who lack expressions, I feel more alone than usual.

And a little bit scared.

Because without some visual clue from a person about what’s going on within their mind, I’m left to parse their words to determine if what I said was, at least, heard– and then, possibly, understood.

I mean, suddenly I’m conversing with people who are most likely distracted, complicated, perhaps even not the clearest communicators to begin with– and now I have to guess what they’re feeling, too?

Groovy.  Just groovy.

* So are they confiding in me?  Or are they telling me I need Botox, but they don’t want to come out and say so?

Share Your World | Bright Green & Dark Blue

Bright Green: river birch tree leaves and catkins in the spring.

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.

 When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

A pen. No doubt this is because I was taught to write with a Zaner-Bloser pen.  This pen had what you’d expect a pen to have: that is, a teacher-approved inky writing tip, guaranteed to help make your cursive writing legible.

But on the other end of the pen was a pointy pokey plastic tip that was good for jabbing annoying boys.  As a 4th grade girl might want to do.  Should she be fed up with their silliness.

In retrospect this was the first multitasking tool to which I had access– and it taught me that if you make do with what you have at hand, you can solve your own interpersonal problems.  Isn’t that right, Danny & Tony?

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

While I like the idea of being amazing I don’t want to be on stage, therefore being an amazing dancer or an amazing singer ain’t gonna happen, kids.

Now should you want to refer to me as an amazing blogger, then we’re getting somewhere.  😉

Dark Blue: full moon in the early evening perfectly clear spring sky.

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

Ok, again, I’m not one for being on stage so a debate team wouldn’t want me.  Regardless of the subject I’d freeze up while on stage trying to declare or contradict or refute– or whatever it is that one does when one is on a debate team.

All those people looking at me… *shudder*

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I’m pretty good at snarking.  Rolling my eyes.  Seeing the absurdity in the moment– and calling it out.

Also I can throw ingredients together, sans recipe, and usually make something edible.  And I merchandise/decorate spaces by second nature, fussing around with things until they are visually pleasing and inviting.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the fun little video below that summarizes my pre-Easter week shopping experiences.  Just like the red bear in the queue, no matter where I went I made some less than prudent decisions about which line to stand in. Gotta laugh, ‘ya know?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to a local garden nursery, only open a few months a year, that’s known for its unique plants.  I’ve a list of some small garden tomatoes | peppers | cucumbers that I’m hoping to find at the nursery, so that I can have a manageable veggie garden in pots on our deck this summer.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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