In a world where every advice piece about blogs suggests that commenting, liking and replying to comments (“engagement”, collectively) is paramount to building readership, quality commentary tends to take a backseat. Unfortunately, this is a world where every advice piece about blogs suggests that commenting, liking and replying to comments (“engagement”, collectively) is paramount to building readership. The result is an online blogging culture (the “blogosphere”, as it’s also known) in which bloggers read, click “like” and comment with empty-headed nonsense and nothing more:
“Hey, loved it! Check out my blog here: http://www.PleaseReadMe.com”
I’m not saying that a genuine pat on the back is useless–or that it isn’t good to do, or that it isn’t polite–but it’s become hard to discern who comments just to drive traffic to their blog and whose comments are the result of critical thinking. This has fallen into the category of the antiseptic exchanges we have in America where no information is transmitted and cursory sounds signify acknowledgement, nothing more:
“Hey Bill, what’s up?”
“What the fuck, Bill, I said what’s up. Aren’t you listening?”
“Yeah you too. Have a good one.”
“Huh? Oh, uh, what? Yeah.”
Give the world more, damnit! Stop coddling people! Especially writers. It doesn’t help anything. It creates an atmosphere where anyone with a thought in their head doesn’t think twice before putting it out into the world. To these people I say think twice! For the love of God, we should all think twice! We should respect the opportunity to share things, and respect our readers by refining our writing, or photography, or whatever the hell else we want to share. And we should do the same thing with our commentary and feedback! We should respect the craft, or subject matter, or blogging ethos by giving the people who are choosing to participate in it something to work with!
So I give you carte blanche, at least when it comes to my own work. If you like it, do let me know! But if you hate my work, or disagree with it, lead with that information before plugging your blog in the comment section. Like any criticism, the initial sting will wear off, whereupon I’ll begin to consider the fact that there might be some truth in it.
And that’s when the good conversation starts.