Yesterday, I had a rude awakening of sorts. I found out that possibly, maybe even likely, I’m a jerk.
I found out in a rather rude and, because of the rudeness, shocking way.
I subscribe to about sixty blogs. As I mentioned before, when I subscribe to a blog, I commit to reading it. Meaning that, if there is a new post on one of those blogs, I set aside time and read it. Most of the time, I find the content of interest (otherwise I would not be subscribed to said blog).
Usually, and by usually I mean a lot, when I read something interesting, I will leave a comment. I do so primarily out of consideration for the writer. Anyone can click “like”, but a “like” is seldom an indication that your content has been read (per my experience, much, much less than half the time).
A comment takes time and effort. A comment is a better indicator that your precious words and thoughts had actual eyes on them. Not always so with the ubiquitous “like”.
This is where my rude awakening came in. I usually leave one of three types of comments: something humorous, something serious, or something that says “hey, I was here” in a generic way.
That last one is what got me into trouble. I won’t mention the post, but I wrote something along the lines of “Interesting. I don’t do that.”
The topic does not matter, but the bottom line is that I found what I read very interesting, but really not applicable to how I approach the particular subject.
I commented and went on with my life. Well, I got called on it (a reply to my comment) and basically got told to fornicate away. Specifically, that if I did not have anything useful to add, I should keep my comments to myself.
Understand, I’d had previous discourses, some quite fruitful and cordial, with the persons from the blog in question and, if asked, I would have said that while not friends by any means, we had a tenuous rapport. Yet, there I was, being told to fornicate away (they used cruder and more expressive versions of those words).
There was obvious, palpable, and unmistakable animosity in their response, probably an indication that previous interactions had been as unwelcome, and this last one put them over the top.
I went back and read what I wrote. Perhaps I had misspoken or said something insulting.
From my point of view, it was just something to let them know I appreciated the read, but from their point of view, it came across as dismissive. I don’t blame them, I’m not mad at them, and I don’t hold them at fault. It’s their blog and if I crossed a line, even inadvertently, they have a right to be pissed off about it. Really, their point of view is all that matters.
Obviously, I am sorry about it, but it also got me thinking.
How many other bloggers see my comments not as I intend them – a casual remark as one might make in an informal setting – but as the remarks of a troll, or someone meaning disrespect?
What about all those times where I attempt humor? Holy crap on a cracker! While I assume a measure of familiarity, to many people I must come across as an annoying appendage.
After some soul-searching (that’s a figure of speech as I am, in fact, soulless) I must conclude that perhaps more people than I care to imagine see me as nothing more than a disruptive and irreverent clown. What I see as a casual semi-informal interaction may come across to other as some jerk kicking sand in their faces.
How many, I wonder?
There’s no way of knowing, but this one incident – and considering matters from a different perspective – leads me to believe it could be a high percentage. And, it’s not just blogs . . . there’s also Facebook and Twitter. Well, there’s also G+, but I don’t usually comment there as I’m seldom there.
It was a sobering and troubling contemplation.
The irony is that I am perfectly content minimizing or even eliminating all interactions. My contributions are overwhelmingly based on the (obviously erroneous) assumption bloggers want to hear from their readers.
However, having been schooled, I resolved to minimize the potential of being a negative in someone’s life. To wit, I can be more careful with my comments and I can be a lot stingier with my comments.
Only, the word “can” was immediately replaced with the word “shall”.
Understand, like most habits, it might take a while to break, but I’m nothing if not very good at sticking with things I set my mind on. After all, I quit racquetball – arguably my most favorite thing in life after family – and never looked back.
The first step is to unsubscribe from bloggers who seldom comment on my blog. Obviously, they are not interested in a two-way conversation, rapport, or increasing our mutual familiarity. That alone cut out a lot of blogs (yes, already done).
My initial plan was to read their blogs and not comment. To me, that not only seems disrespectful and dismissive, but it’s in conflict with my desire to let people know when they do something I appreciate. That’s a conflict I don’t need, so I just said goodbye to a lot of blogs. I’m pretty sure they won’t miss me.
The second step is drastically cutting down on comments I spread around. And I mean, drastically. Unless I have something useful, profound, or otherwise self-evidently brilliant to add, I’m going to keep my fornicating comments to myself, as was suggested.
I’ll be more of a lurker, and much less the participant. This will apply to blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, and pretty much anywhere that is not my own playground.
Again, I’m pretty sure that’ll be OK with many people . . . sometimes feedback is not welcomed.
Third, I’ll still use the occasional “like”. Rest assured, my “likes” carry a bit more weight than most. They mean I read and liked what you wrote. If I read something and it doesn’t do anything for me, I will not click on the “like”. It doesn’t mean I hated it. It just means it did not move me.
Of course, if I don’t click on “like”, you won’t know that I read your stuff. Again . . . If I’m subscribed to your blog, I’m reading your stuff or – in the case of photos – looking at your stuff. Facebook and Twitter are another matter. I’m seldom on there. If you don’t see my “like”, I probably did not see whatever you posted.
Lastly, none of the above applies on my blog. Comment away. Joke, be serious, be mysterious, be anything you like, and I’ll likely respond in kind. Basically, although I’m not a social person per se, if I’m out in public (figuratively or actually), I will interact.
You can count on me to be me on my blog, on my Facebook timeline, on my Twitter feed (such as it is), and if unsure what that means, peruse previous posts and any comments therein. If you don’t like what you read, don’t subscribe and don’t leave any comments.
If you do subscribe or choose to comment in response to my ramblings, know that I have very few rules. You’ll get one warning if you come close to breaking any of them (usually in the form of a private message). It’s highly unlikely you will ever hear from me about my rules, but one of those rules, and probably the strictest, is you don’t attack other commenters on my playground. Do that, and . . . well, I won’t be happy. Luckily, that’s rare (I think it only happened twice)
OK, this was long, boring for most, and likely unread by many. Just know that if you ask why you’ve recently not heard from me as much as you might have in the past, I will refer you back to this post. Honest, I expect few inquiries.
Also, comments are turned off for this post. Thank you, one and all.
Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website. Could be they also torture small mammals.
Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so. I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards. I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way. That would mean something to me.
If you wish to know more, please read below.
Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.
. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.