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Friday, April 17, 2009

Every Time You Read a Blog and Don't Leave a Comment, a Fairy Dies

Just kidding.  I'd be the worst kind of fairy-killing hypocrite myself.  I don't leave a lot of comments on blogs -- usually only when I really have something to say.  But I did begin to comment more after starting my own blog, because before then, I had no understanding of how you go crazy for the comments when you blog.  

Before I started blogging, I guess I had this idea -- don't laugh -- that blogging would be more, well, social. In retrospect this is funny. I mean, duh. Me publishing something, alone in my house (actually "alone in my house" is a rare luxury, but you know what I mean), with no idea if or when any stranger might be reading it = not social.  But in fairness to myself, I was coming from my background of reading blogs, that activity where you're looking in on other's lives and reading their thoughts, and that does feel kind of social.  And there is a moment when, as a blogger, the experience can turn into a social one: the moment when someone leaves a comment.

"Houston, we have contact."

I get some statistical reports on my blog through Google Analytics.  The other day I figured out that there are around 260 people who have visited more than 9 times, which kind of blew my mind, even if it's a tiny number in blogospherical terms, because: who are you?  What is your favorite color? Do you like cheese?

A couple of times I've had the experience of running into an acquaintance who I didn't know had ever been to my blog but who makes an insider reference to something they read here.*  And I'm like, wow, all this time that person knew that about my life and I didn't know that person knew that about my life.  It's kind of a bizarre experience to me not to know who knows and who doesn't. How do I keep track?  If I start telling this story to this friend or family member, will she have already heard read it?

So I'm requesting that from now on you will please leave your initials in the comments field after every post you read.  With a link to your full life story.

Just kidding again.  I know some people feel there's something shifty about "lurking" on someone's blog without revealing yourself -- and maybe that's becoming more true with the huge explosion of friends-and-family type blogs -- but I've never been of that mind.  I always figured that was exactly what I'd be signing up for if I decided to publish myself on the internet. 

OK, is it just me, or have I now used the word "blog" enough times to reach that critical mass where a word takes on a life of its own and becomes a strange jumble of sound divorced from meaning?  I'll take that as a cue to end my metabloggy rambling, after this quick summary of what I've written so far:

Blah blah blah BLOG blah blah BLOG blah blah blah blah blah BLOG.

Blog.  Bloggitty-blog, blog, blog.

*One friend I hadn't seen in a while greeted me with, "You're sarcastic.  I didn't know that about you.  I am too."


J and M Lloyd, est. 2004 said...

This is a post I have written in my head multiple times but I couldn't ever get it to come out quite right and certainly not funny. I think I've commented on a few of your posts and I have definitely read EVERY ONE of them. I've laughed out loud about many of them. The sewing/crafty ones make me jealous. So just in case there is no ML in the comments section - know I'm reading.... Have you checked out my blog:

Anonymous said...

I always leave comments, unless I am eating cereal. But I think you knew that about me. (But did you know I'm SARCASTIC?!?)

Once I made up a story about how if you come to my blog and read all my stuff but don't comment you're like Goldilocks breaking the Three Bears' furniture but running away when they came back home, and I put it in my sidebar, but I took it back down about two hours later, I guess because I didn't really want lurkers to feel like there was a bear about to come home.

Anonymous said...

. . .

Moments later, it dawns on me: Are you saying blogging's NOT social? Then (GASP) you are also saying . . that . . . I have no social life.

(Actually I already knew that. But when I'm stuck home with sick kids, I'll settle for a pseudo-social life.)

Lili said...

I like this.

It is social. Yesterday, I was reading a blog of Kohleen's friend. She's a graphic designer (a good one) and also a young mom. Anyway, she posted about an Arts & Crafts wallpaper store and I had to de-lurk, to introduce myself and to tell her that I'd been admiring the site just the week before.
She then visited my blog, left a comment that she wants to blog about my final show...
and voila. A new friend (albeit the blog kind) is made.

Also, Nancy French (Evangelicals for Mitt) commented on my blog the other day after I posted on hers to tell her that her story (that someone linked to) really made me laugh. This was after she commented on Rob's, there's definitely some kind of inter-connectivity going on...

anyway. I'm done now :)

(Oh yeah, I was also going to say that some people host giveaways to get people to de-lurk)

Annie Japannie said...

Here's a good story for you:

I'm studying for my empirical research & statistics final, and Chapter 5 of the textbook gives an example of a research project that's investigating health problems in normal babies versus those in "crack babies." The authors explain what they mean by "crack babies," but they then continue to use the quotation marks around every single instance of the word, and this is academic writing where we're not allowed to use synonyms so they end up printing the phrase "crack babies" 27 times on the next 3 pages. I know because I counted. And it's awful, because I'm rolling out of my chair laughing because crack babies aren't funny AT ALL, and yet in a statistics textbook they are so very, very funny.

And it makes me a little guilty about my generation and our sense of humor.

I think it was your comment on the word "blog" that made me tell that whole story. Also the fact that I felt I had free license to leave a comment no matter what the cost.

Don't you just love this new sort of sociality we've invented?

Acheté said...

HTH. Periwinkle. I love cheese. There was a third tree, to the north, but that one they're trying to prop up again. If AnnJapan can comment at 1:23 AM, I can admit I'm reading this at 1:33.

I read every post, usually the same day.

Peter is brilliant, and so are you.

Anonymous said...

I feel a little better now that it's 1:58 and I'm *trying* to make myself turn off the computer. I shouldn't write blog posts at night because I end up waiting around to see whether comments happen. (But then again, if I don't write blog posts at night, I don't know *when* I will write them.)

The crack baby comment made me laugh out loud.

Steve Amstar said...

Hi, SM here. Long time reader, first time commenter on your blog.

Question: Was it rude of me to comment how much I liked your blog in the Easter candy aisle at Target having never said the same thing in your comments?

So with no further ado, "I really like reading your blog."

I feel like this is the new social etiquette that will once again make me feel like an outsider, just like I did in high school. (Or was that Jr. High) There has to be a Ms. Manners of netiqutte somewhere that one can turn to for advice.

Oh and here is the last 8 years of life as summed up by my loverly wife, Jamie. Half in blog form, half in email newsletter. I hope that will suffice for life history. Morningstar Happenings For those not in the know, we just adopted a beautiful little girl from the other side of the planet. Big adventures.

Emily Brimhall said...

I'm leaving my name...EB. you have access to my life happenings already. You are a great writer and extreemly clever. This is why people you know and don't know are so interested in this hose drinking blog. If I see you have posted something new on my sidebar, my finger can't help but click left. I know you were hesitant about starting a blog in the first place but aren't you glad you did? so fun to learn more about family eh.

Jstar said...

Jamie here (Steve's prettier half, but with shorter hair). Long time reader... long time commenter (because as a blogger I understand the thrill of seeing that sweet, sweet comment appear under a freshly written post).

1. Jamie
2. Brown, sometimes orange
3. Yes, but really only the mild kinds, like swiss and brie and provolone

marymary said...

Michelle, yep, not only have I visited your blog, I subscribe to it on Google Reader and read every post.

In fact, everyone who's commented so far is someone whose blog I read religiously.

Zina, if I were as quick or as funny as you, I'd always leave comments too. Every comment you leave here increases the reading value of my blog.

Lili, Social! Yes! And the best kind of social when I wake up to words like "funny," "clever," and "brilliant" in my inbox, directed at ME! My days don't usually start this way. Thank you! I'm speechless. (I mean that kind of speechless where you go on and on in a comment on your own blog, of course.) I can see that I should write thinly veiled desperate pleas for comments more often.

Anneke, Today I laughed out loud at the words "crack babies"and it's your fault! Terrible!

Tracy, I had no doubts about your love for cheese, but I didn't know that periwinkle was your favorite color. I'm glad to know you're one of my immediate family members who reads. I'm guessing the ones who don't are Alex and Andy. And the ones who read only occasionally are Dad and Suzy. And the one who reads out of a strong sense of obligation is Spencer. :-)

Steve, No! Not rude at all! I'm sure I don't know all the ins and outs of netiquette either, but I can unequivocally say: I will never consider it rude for anyone to tell me he likes my blog, under any circumstances. And I love the Morningstar blog. I cried when the judge said Sasha was yours forever, I cried when she became a U.S. citizen, I cried when your friends stocked your freezer with casseroles -- I think you get the idea.

Emily, most of the time I'm glad I started a blog. When I blog right before bed and stay up too late and start my brain going so that I can't sleep for another couple of hours after I go to bed, I'm not sure. But when I read a super-sweet comment like yours, yeah, I'm glad.

Jamie, Swiss, brie, provolone . . . Mmmmmmm.

Ligia said...

It is social. I got the egg idea from your blog and so I've furthered my own craftiness. I feel so much closer to you now. :oP

The Drinkwater Family said...

The other Drinkwater's were here!

mermaids said...

thanks to bloglines, i always read. don't always comment. why? no good answer, especially considering how much i enjoy getting comments on my blog. :)

Jill Freestone said...

Finally, someone who says it how it is and how I feel! Hooray! I've almost decided to quite blogging several times lately - feeling quite uncomfortable knowing so much about everyone (but really enjoying feeling connected) - not having time to blog what I really think about - nor the desire to be that open with such a big audience - nor do I like the one-sidedness the blog gives to me . . . so, hmmm?
Thanks for the interesting posts

Betsy said...

Who I am: your Mom
My favorite color: color, color, color--I LOVE COLOR!
Loving cheese is something I know you know about me.

I love your freakin' blog and I read it every freakin' day.

hannah said...

I'm adding you to my sidebar. Reading you blog is almost like I having 260 friends of my own. HH

Stephen said...

Red. Cheese is succulent. Sometimes I comment. Sometimes not. But then, you know that already. I look forward eagerly to each of your posts... as well as the comments variously left.


marymary said...

Hannah! How long have you been on wordpress? Here I thought you hadn't posted anything since February since I'm still subscribed to you on Google Reader at I've got some catching up to do.

Lori Printy said...

well we only just met but ok I'll comment. LAP

Mak said...


I found your blog via a link on Jamie Morningstar's blog. I'm Melissa and I worked with Peter at Ancestry.

I blog at:

Love the blog and your cute kids!

Deb said...

I am weeping to think of all the fairies that have died due to my lack of commentability! Sad, really. You are a part of my daily joy - Thanks!

Lily said...

LM (otherwise known as The World's Worst Commentator.) for the sporadic life story and a full inventory of our movies, games, and children's books (not my idea) in case you're ever in the mood for some social theft.

Thanks for being such entertainment during our Jane's naps!

Your blood cousin, Lily

GrittyPretty said...

i am just happily discovering your blog. i am a huge fan of your family update e-mails and was thinking THEY ARE WAY TOO RARE so I am so glad you have a blog. i never leave comments but here you go!

The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

I've never been to your blog before.. but, found you through the Morningstars... :-)
I couldn't NOT comment... LOVE THIS post!!!

I try to comment on the blogs I read often.. totally because I want to get commments... sometimes it works... others seem to comment when I have commented to them... :-)
It's great to meet you...
to meet my family.. check out my blog if you'd like..
and be sure and leave me a comment!! ;-)
Lanetta Gobble

Melissa said...

Melissa Palmer
Favorite color: Blue
Like Cheese?: NO!
Current book: Pride and Prejudice
Favorite liquid caffine: Diet Pepsi

Nice talking with you and Jenna today. I will let you know when the hiking commences.

Libilu said...



Libilu said...

Wait... here:
Favorite color: orange
Like cheese? Yes, usually.

You know me, particularly my early childhood, too well to need my life story.

Shaun Roundy, MA, EW, RMT said...

Initials: SR
Favorite color: dusk, and the light at the end of the tunnel.
Favorite cheese: all the white stuff.
Favorite blog:
Life story:
Wondering whether this abrupt plethora of comments is detracting from Mary writing entertaining new posts: yes.
Willing to wait for the next post anyway: reluctantly.

melissa said...

Hey Mary, I especially love smoked gouda cheese right now. I have been paring it with procuto and it is more than lovely. I don't know how to spell that but you get the idea. You make me want to be a good blogger than I decide to sew instead. Go figure.

OhSusanna said...

Suzy, blood relation
all the colors
love cheeses of many kinds

I READ AND LOVE ALL OF YOUR POSTS. I just sometimes purposefully avoid the computer for days except in tiny spurts and then I catch up all at once. I avoid blogging 'cause I've too much to live up to with all of my witty and clever relatives.

But I still relate so much, because I loved that there were 20 comments (actually about ten of them were probably mine) on my facebook status from last night. I guess it was a subject that really strikes a chord.

And I'm a wee bit upset that I'm laughing so hard about crack babies.

OhSusanna said...

p.s. you do realize that it's been awhile since you last posted?

Adrienne said...

Hey, it's Adrienne, wife of Josh, formerly Peter's co-worker. Awesome randome connection we have! Yet I always did feel that if we had met at some other time in our lives when we weren't so darned busy with all of our small babies etc. we would have been friends all on our own. Is that a lame excuse? Anyway, after Josh pointed your blog in my direction I added it to my feedreader and I always read all your posts. Who knows why people get all shy and neglect to leave comments all the time? Sometimes I just feel like I don't have anything particularly witty or zingy to add to the conversation so I just read everyone else's. Anyway, I love reading your writing and I think we should figure out some way to betroth some of our children because your kids are just so darned funny and cute. We're not related so it's okay.
Also, PS, I like all the most saturated colors now that I live in a land of perennial darkness. And, I do love cheese more than I can say. There's a grocery store out here that has a cheese section that could easily be its own store, and they even employ a cheesemonger (!)--this makes me unspeakably happy. Anyway, keep a-writin' Mary. :)

Stephen said...

We're all waiting.

Betsy said...

Every time you get heaps of comments,and then it's over a week until you blog again, Darth Vader 'spodes a planet.

Shaun Roundy, MA, EW, RMT said...


Your efforts in behalf of the "Save the Dying Fairies Foundation" by generating 36 comments on a single blog post have made a real difference.

Which have not gone unnoticed in Fairyland, might I add? In return, you are to be awarded a special honor:

All of your teeth will soon be returned by the Tooth Fairy. Check under your pillow.

stay said...

Hi Mary! This is Steve Taylor (no, not that one, the other one, the one with whom you (sort of) went to high school).

I'm seldom up to date on your posts and I only recently added your blog to my subscription list, but it makes a nice break between many many web comics, and it's *almost* as funny as Marmaduke!

Anyway, thanks for the excuse to leave a comment!