Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"These are lost drunken men who don't know where they are, but do care!"

In the last five days, I've come across various versions of a similar gripe. Be it comments in a blog's comment section, a cheer at a show or laughs at a stand-up act, people are quick to think nobody cares when there's no immediate response. Well, I think I should speak up and say people do care, but they don't know exactly what to say or how to express it. And just because we don't say something right away does not mean we don't care at all.

Here are a couple of examples of where I'm coming from. The first is from Donna:

I'm depressed that the last two entries I did -- about various aspects of my teaching philosophy and practice -- have garnered exactly zero comments.

Here's what Idolator said in a post about a new Ash song:

Judging by the dearth of comments on our previous Ash posts, we're guessing only a handful of you will be interested in this one--but what if we told you that it was written in Bono's house? Or that it's a mid-tempo ballad that seems destined for one of those painfully hammy closing-episode montages on Scrubs? Actually, that probably won't help . . .

As a blogger who gets a few comments here and there with each post, I sometimes wonder if what I'm saying resonates with anybody. Based on some conversations I've had with regular readers, there is a lot of resonance, but that doesn't mean they're always going to leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Sometimes they simply don't know what to say. Some don't want to come across as a jackass in the process. I can relate because that's what I think about when I read blogs.

In my time of blogging, writing reviews about music and movies, playing records on college radio, I'm used to not getting immediate responses. I assume there are people reading or listening, but I rarely hear from them. And that's OK.

I'm often really moved by stuff I read, hear and see, but I don't speak up every time. In the case of blogging, I sometimes leave comments in hopes that the writer doesn't feel like he or she is talking to a wall. That said, sometimes I just don't know what to say. Maybe I don't have time to write a comment. And I don't want to just say whatever comes off the top of my head.

What I'm saying is this: life can't be solely based off of a knee-jerk response. Sure, it can feel isolating and lonely when nobody seems to kick up a response. Maybe the people you hoped would leave a comment weren't reading your blog that day. Maybe the people you hoped would laugh at every joke you told couldn't come out that night. Maybe you said something that flew over people's heads and it's taken them a while to get what you're talking about. The possibilities are endless. The point is people care. The number of them may not be what you hoped for, but they're out there.


fuzzbuzz said...

Cosmic! I was just thinking about this today. I was going through my blog and realizing the no comment thing and was just about to feel the frown form on my forehead when it dawned on me that I write my blog for myself so what do I care what anyone has to say about it? I mean, it's nice if someone connects with it but if we really wanted to garner a lot of response from the topic wouldn't we be in alouder forum to begin with? In my case my computer sucks azz and usually gives me a hard time about posting comments. ;(

Mr Atrocity said...

I think a lot of people leave themselves open to zero comments by writing pieces that do initiate a debate or demand a response from the reader. If you include a "What do you think?" type closer people are more likely to respond. That said, the number of posts I comment on compared to the number I read is probably about 1 in 20 partially due to apathy but mostly because I have nothing to add.

Not all posts require a response; it's a useful function but cheap group therapy isn't why we write is it?