Am I in a Commenter’s Clique?


This year I discovered a new feature of my wordpress blog. Most of you have it too. At the top left corner there is a black button that says “My Site.” Beside it is a blue one that says “Reader.”
If you push “Reader”, your first choice is “Followed.” You can click it and see all the postings in the sites you follow.

Now, this is a great help, I said to myself, upon making this discovery. I can easily find and respond to my welcome wagon- first year slicers. I can respond to my personal friends. I can respond to the others I have chosen to follow.

If someone I follow posts late at night, after I have quit, I will see it the next day and I can respond.

I really, really try to keep up with all the aforementioned, because I just love comments. I figure karma in the blogosphere must be like karma everywhere- put out what you wish to receive. Do good in order to feel good. Treat others as you would like to be treated- oh, wait- that’s the golden rule. I would like to be treated- with comments!

But my thinking has shifted a bit, by this- my fifth year of slicing.

I feel more responsible than ever to comment. But I think hard about how I choose where to put my commenting energy. I am reminded of an exercise to start to examine racial equity, where we were each instructed to pull out our cell phone and look at our contacts list. How much diversity was there?

The sites I am following is like my contacts list. It’s a pretty long list of “friends.” It is already a lot to get through. But using it as a guide to comment didn’t feel right. I felt like I was in a clique. A happy, satisfied group of friendly people circulating support among ourselves. It felt great. Like being one of the popular girls. And therefore, wrong.

So, I look at the diversity of writers I am commenting on. Some aspects I can see- sometimes gender, sometimes race. Of course those goofy icons don’t tell you much! And another type of diversity has to do with how embedded into the challenge a person is; are they connected or going it alone?
So mostly, I just try to be random.
I neglect some of my followed friends in order to save some comment energy for others. I comment randomly throughout the long list. If I find someone with no comments, I read their piece extra carefully to leave a meaty one.

The only problem? Discovering more writers to follow!

9 thoughts on “Am I in a Commenter’s Clique?

  1. I really appreciate the care you are taking with your comments. I am a first year slicer, but I’ve been talking with the #TeachWrite group for a long time, so I get a lot of comments from them and, in turn, I feel obligated to comment back. It’s a great support system, but I do feel like I’m sometimes missing out on awesome posts by other people. Hopefully next year I can be more mindful with my commenting like you are.

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  2. First of all, THANK YOU for all of your thoughtful comments! Your encouragement and feedback have made a profound difference in my experience as a first time slicer.

    I read many posts, but I comment on only 3 or 4 a day. I rarely know what to say. “Gotcha. I can relate” usually sums up my feelings, but I’d like to leave more specific feedback than that. I respect you for leaving many comments on different people’s posts. That is not easy!

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  3. I find myself doing a lot of random commenting too. I tend to get a lot of comments on my slices and I feel more responsible as a result to make sure I leave a lot of comments on other slices. I have also found myself neglecting longtime slicing friends to make sure some of the newer slicers have more feedback. It’s hard to balance all of it! Each year, I try to add two or three new bloggers to my permanent clique!

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  4. Whenever I see your comments, I appreciate how thoughtful they are! It takes a lot to comment in a meaningful way. I like to try to comment on some random posts, but this year I’ve barely been able to maintain with my Welcome Wagon slicers. I have loads of unread blogs in my Inbox and many others I’ve read and haven’t managed to write a comment for. “Commenting energy” is a real thing! Great slice!

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  5. And that is why I love your posts and comments. You think deeply and act accordingly. Meanwhile, I try to do something very similarly, but did not have the courage to write about it. Thank you for this post.

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  6. I am a first time slicer! I started with only my co-workers’ blogs because I feel I could be as lame as I am at times and they would not judge because they know I am not ALWAYS like that. LOL.

    After the first few days, I went to the Two Writing Teachers page, scrolled all the way to the bottom (first ones posted) and read the snippet or links provided. If it was something I wanted to read more about, I did. I still feel I am missing out on a lot of great slices and slicers, but there really is so much time in a day.

    I am hoping to expand my commenting as the years go on, and my expertise grows.

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  7. These reflections are great. I like the effort you use in trying to avoid commenting on only the clique. Even though I’ve participated several years,I’m not connected to most of the other slicers so I try to randomly comment on a variety of slicers’ posts. It still is easier to comment on those I have come to recognize.

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  8. Great post Fran. As a first year slicer, I have appreciated your comments and encouragement. My comments are mixed. There are two people whom I follow regularly, a couple friends I know blogging, whom I read from time to time, and then I just scroll down to see what grabs my interest in the titles people write, and I try to pick some people I do not know at all and explore. I have not paid attention at all to how many comments a person has, that is a good idea. I do use the reader button and it is helpful. Thanks for being so thoughtful and for being there to keep people going.

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  9. Fran,
    Your reflection on comment is powerful. On the one hand, I find comfort in commenting on those I know. But you’re pushing me out of my comfort zone to consider inclusively pushing to find more. Great question: How much diversity was there?

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