Has it changed or have I?

I recently unsubscribed from another blog via my reader. It was an infertility blog written by someone who has gone through some failed IUIs and is waiting to begin another. I started reading her for one of the major reasons I start reading ANY blog: she commented on one of my posts.

She came here via another blogger, who had linked to one of my posts. I love seeing new bloggers stop and comment here. Seriously…I love it. I have subscribed to every blogger who has left a comment.

Every one of them.

Now if I never unsubscribe, I’d have a reader with hundreds of blogs, but my list remains at a near constant number for one of two reasons: 1) they either stop blogging (and I mean completely deleting their blog as I still have blogs in my readers from those who haven’t posted in years); or 2) they never reciprocate. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t subscribe to uber popular blogs because they’re either so popular they don’t even allow comments or they could care less since I’m just one of 233 comments about:

  • Their fear of clowns
  • Their hatred of crocs
  • Their extolling the virtues of mommybloggers who do or don’t do it for money/free/by behaving badly
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

But I always add because despite what seems to you as perpetual cynicism, I like to meet new people and explore new ideas. So I would read. Occasionally, I would comment, and while I’ll admit I’m definitely not as prolific a commenter as I once was due to a less lenient environment (I use to blog at my other job – there, I said it), I would make an effort. Unfortunately, in most cases my attempts were rarely reciprocated. My poor ego does not thrive in this current blogging market, that’s for damn sure.

So then I’m thinking, why did that person even bother commenting on my blog in the first place? Sure, most of the time, it was in response to a call for support, which I can’t even imagine how I could have got through the past four years without at least one person taking pity on my pathetic little soul. But the things is, I’ve tried to figure out how I’m suppose to take the comment, “I’m so sorry” when left upon the news of another failed pregnancy by someone who never again stops by my blog. Can that kind of singular sentiment without any emotional attachment actually be sincere?

I’ll be blunt and tell you that in the world of Mommybloggers, it’s difficult to break into an already established cloister of bloggers. My circle of parenting blogs is made up of those that I knew before they were parents. And I do love that circle very much because that level and range of snark is totally mutual; but sometimes I really would like to blog with simple joy about Doodicus and/or Aitch…to blog like Mrs. Soup or Amanda or Eden.

When I get the desire to add new reads, I often go back to my roots: infertility blogs, especially those just starting out, like the one I mentioned above. Unfortunately, the camaraderie in infertility blogs has definitely been removed or at the least, watered down. Even the content has become tamer, “gentler”, and dare I say – happier.

Do you think reciprocation in commenting has changed since the “good ole’days”? Or have I become that irrelevant – old news – in today’s blogging nation? Maybe a little of both??

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20 thoughts on “Has it changed or have I?”

  1. I think I’m perhaps the last person who should weigh in on this matter, but this is just to echo what the others have said. I’m quite happy in our group of old-school IF bloggers; if I’m honest, I’ve read some of the new guard and some of them make me want to fall asleep. I occasionally add new blogs (that I then fail to read), but only because they are writers I find humorous and entertaining.

    I do need to cull some blogs though. There are a lot I could care less about anymore.

  2. This is my “philosophy” for commenting for what its worth. I started as a commenter only- for years I think. Then I started up my own (rarely updated) blog. It never ceases to amaze me that people drop by and comment and I certainly try and comment on pretty much every post that someone who has commented chez moi writes. I add new blogs usually because some blogger I know has recommended them or they write fab comments on someone else’s blog. It will usually take a bit of time before I comment on someone new. I also have plenty of blogs I read where I never comment – some are what I see as big blogs, some are people I dont feel I “know” well enough to make sensible comments, some are on topics where there isn’t the same drive to comment back and forth (science/medicine blogs mostly), and others are ones I have no real idea why they are still on my reader. The only times I leave a comment and never go back are the ones where for eg Mel has sent out a support request via LFCA or someone I read has done so – then I feel bad about leaving without saying something cos if they are a blogger who reads stats etc they will have seen thatI have arrived from the UK and gone without a word when they are in the throes of a tragedy – not that any of these bloggers are likely to do that in a tragedy but I dont want to be like someone rubber necking a a car crash when in fact I do feel sorry that they are going through some sort of hell.

    Not sure that answers the question mind!

  3. Blogging has changed and circumstances change.

    I started blogging 4 years ago this week. In my niche (adoption) there was such a tight knit community, it was a pleasure to blog and get to know everyone. Many of the people I started blogging with no longer blog. Everyone (myself included) uses a reader these days so it takes more effort to comment. There were a lot of blogs when I start blogging but now there are an insane number. Because I’ve been blogging for a long time and have a full reader, I don’t often venture out to find new ones so I rarely expand my readership beyond its dwindling numbers by commenting on newer blogs. And I don’t link to others often nor do I get linked to (unless someone *ahem* does something nice and calls me a beautiful blogger and I never get around to acknowledging it on my blog) – we all used to do memes and lists and link like crazy. Facebook and twitter have eaten away at my blogging readership too – people generally know what is up w/me in a sentence or two w/o having to check my blog (which can be long winded). My final theory on the death of my community of blogging is lack of drama. I had a lot of readers back in the day. Thousands of people visited me daily and acknowledge my humor and brilliance when my life was a roller coaster (both adoption and pregnancy). Now, my life, and by extension my blog, is rather quiet and honestly a little dull. I don’t have a lot of blog fodder and it isn’t exciting to check my blog – there won’t be news of some huge snafu w/paperwork in a third world country or news of a miscarriage. But honestly, I know most of the folks who visit me now. I have some sort of relationship with them even if it is very loose and casual. There is a comfort in that.

  4. I just went through a unsubscribed from a bunch of blogs. Because I had never actually done so in the past 4 years; I was too afraid of missing out on reading people I had grown really attached to.

    But I do comment MUCH less than I used to. I also blog less than I used to. Part of it is that I think you’re right – the community has gotten really big, and it’s just not as much of a community as I felt like it used to be. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a mom now that I don’t have the relationships I did. I don’t know.

    xxx

  5. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that my commenting of late often involves me deciding I’d like to comment on a post, opening the post in a new tab to comment, then never getting around to leaving the comment. After a few weeks of having the post open, I realize the comment is no longer going to be even remotely timely and I close the tab. Comically (to me, at least), this is remarkably similar to my blogging of late. I think about posting, maybe I start a post, I never finish it, then I delete the draft when the proto-post no longer seems relevant. The few posts I manage to make tend to be uninteresting and insubstantial. As a result, I rarely have any comments from anyone, much less new people, and therefore rarely find myself exploring new blogs.

    I feel like a lot of blogs I read get fewer comments these days, but wasn’t sure if it was because more people were using more different media for communicating, as others have noted, or because their circumstances had changed or because the circumstances of their readers had. I suppose it may be some of each.

  6. I go in phases with commenting, although, I was pretty much just lurking for a good period of time. I’ve been trying to be better about it this year and I think I’m doing fairly decent.

    That said, given that I’m like, ridiculously old timer in terms of blogging (class of ’01, 99 if you count my manually hand coded no longer online archives), it has most definitely changed. It’s now about building your brand and part of me likes this, not to be a super star, but I think there’s a good sense of community there. But, it’s not like it was when I started blogging. You knew everyone, there wasn’t a major sense of pressure there. It was just fun. I met so many great people in those early days, most of who I still consider close friends.

    I think the sea has gotten too big, and it’s overwhelming for so many people to reciprocate. Or they’re just assholes looking for the feedback, but not wanting to put anything into it, to get it back. I don’t get how some people become so popular, and others who are clearly more funny, are just a tiny blip on the radar.

  7. Great question, my dear. I don’t know — I would say that both factors are there. Not that you’ve changed, in yourself, but your circumstances have. While infertility is still a theme in your life (ah, the gift that keeps on giving), it is no longer an “acute” state, and a new visitor, even if she likes you immediately, may not make a mental note to return (or to return and comment) as often as she would have before Aitch came along. The IF blogging world has become so big that it’s even possible to forget a new acquaintance — I’ve even been in that situation of wanting to add a blog to my feed reader and somehow missing a crucial step, and then being totally embarrassed much later when I realize I’ve totally missed out on someone I wanted to keep up with. Also, paradoxically, Mel’s LFCA, as wonderful and useful as it is, promotes the kind of drive-by comment you describe — most of us have more than enough blogs to keep up with, and are left with the choice of simply ignoring a stranger’s cry for help, or offering support in a crisis while being unable to make the commitment to do more.

  8. I wish someone would give me a list of the big blogs, because I’m not sure!

    Everybody has their own kind of standards and determinations for commenting and reciprocating. Mostly I just read what interests me and comment when I have something to say. I try not to get all political and psychodrama about it.

    If I unsubscribe, I am bored or there’s lots of bad grammar.

  9. I rarely comment on any of the blogs I read. Perhaps that’s because although I’ve always kept a private diary, I’m not really a blogger myself. I do keep a public blog, but it’s to document research and teaching and as such isn’t really much of a social endeavour.

    I started reading IF/parenting blogs, including yours, when I was pregnant and realized that anybody who knew not only how many months pregnant they were, but also how many weeks and days, had probably gotten pregnant the same way I had — with difficulty. And because IF is something that carries into how a lot of people parent (i.e., the not taking anything — kids, marriage, work, life — for granted), it’s the main reason I’ve kept reading.

    So even if I rarely or never comment, I remain a grateful, if silent reader.

    P.S. My mother has kept a literary blog for four or five years, and has noticed the same thing you have — over the past year or so a lot of people have given up blogging (relying more on Facebook and Twitter) and/or seem less likely to participate in the commenting community.

  10. I think the community has changed so very much since I first started blogging in 2003-2004. Then there was a handful of us, we all blogged and commented on each other, and now it is , not to sound unkind, over saturated. I love that people are able to come out and talk about their issues, that it has become a place so that anyone can talk about what is going on with their IF but there are so many, and there really aren’t responses back.

    I’m on my third blog, and I almost never get comments anymore, while with my first blog, I got all kinds of comments, and when I didn’t have enough money due to some bad stuff in our family, even one of the big name bloggers who asked never to be named sent me some baby clothes. I mean, when I was pregnant with Aiden, I had so much stuff delivered to my house that my poor mailman, I swear, had to have a hernia. But the support of all those people, that meant so much to me. The comments, the fact that people I didn’t know cared, etc.

    I went two years almost without a computer, and in those two years, I missed the big change. The big players were different. And there were so many IF blogs that I had no clue where to go and who to read.

    Ok, don’t know what I’m saying anymore. BYE!

  11. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for about 11 years, frankly, before I ever heard the term blogging. I average 35 hits a day. I regularly read 12 blogs a day. Only 12 and I suck at commenting so bad that out of those 12, 4 of them have probably never received a comment from me and have zero idea who I am.

    I’ve read a couple “big” blogs and you’re right, there’s no need to comment. Plus, I’m really not a “rah-rah, you’re the greatest, everyone else can suck it” kind of commenter that a lot of these big blogs seem to feed on.

    I came to your site once upon a time because of a link on another site on a day where you did need support. I’m always looking for new blogs since I read so few so I happily clicked the link. I have no idea if I left a comment that day, but obviously I put your link in my favorites and I read every day.

    I’m just not into blogging etiquette. If someone new comments on my blog and they leave a link, of course I’ll go check it out, but if the content isn’t for me, then I feel no obligation to continue reading. I simply don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to try and play the I’ll-read-you-you-read-me blogging game.

    All of this explains my 35 hits a day, many of which are family. But honestly, I don’t blog to be a part of a community. I blog to keep a record of our life and because there are people out there who care which puts a smile on my face. But I know they are there, I don’t need a shitload of comments to prove it.

  12. I love how honest you are in this post. And I have to echo Edenland, that some of the “big” blogs, well, it seems like more of a right place at the right time kind of thing, than a wow-this-chick-can-write. I think things *have* changed, whether it’s commenting through twitter, reading through rss feeds or simply having too much to accomplish in the time allotted for surfing, commenting as it once was has changed.

    Sometimes it is harder than others, but I cling to the satisfaction I get from challenging myself— to extract the thread of a storyline from something that happens during the day, to honing my writing so that it is better. Posts come and go, some resonating with people, others slipping quickly into the ether. My experience is that just as my resolve to run my own race weakens, something happens, and I realize that I don’t want to hock products, don’t want to create an endless stream of woe-is-me, look-at-me blah blah blah blogging sensationalism. I want to be plain, old Amanda, writing about the bliss in burying my face in braids that smell faintly of maple syrup.

    That said, good writing is good writing. Yours is good, some people have just forgotten what it is to enjoy a good read.

  13. Awesome post. And you LINKED to me, man, thanks.

    OK. So. I read big blogs too. Sometimes I think, ummmm, why is this person “big”. I don’t get it. Some of the best blogs I read aren’t “big” at all.
    Blogging has so much to it. I will never forget the first time I came across a blog that WASN’T an IF blog, I was like, WHAT?! This blog is just about …. life and stuff? That’s allowed?

    I was going to close down my blog when Rocco was born. I’m so glad I didn’t ….. I think I’ve found my voice. Wanker alert, I know.

    And I suck dogs balls as a commenter. Sometimes I turn comments off because then I won’t get any and won’t feel bad about not reciprocating. It’s a time issue, but geez I feel bad. I try to comment on as many blogs as I can, like a covert operation BANG BANG BANG. But, I can NOT leave a stupid, “Oh, hai. Good luck, HUGZ!!” …. kind of comment, because I find them insincere. I have to really read someones post and comment properly.

    Blogs aren’t that big in Australia, yet. Swear to God, you American chicks saved my Godamn arse during the hardest time of my life. I will never forget that.

    We all have different reasons and motivations to blog, sometimes they change. That’s cool. But when I read some words on a page and I get a real sense of the person who wrote them …. man, that’s connection. Fricken awesome.

    XOX

  14. I’ve been wondering about the sociology of blogging/commenting. Why do I feel a strong pull to some, a regular pull to others, and no pull to a few? Why do some feel a pull to me and others feel nothing?

    In my good old days, I did every meme, followed every commenter (both of them that first 6 months, haha), was a real joiner. Then, out of necessity, I got choosier. It usually takes me several comments (and returning the favor) to add someone to my reader. It’s almost as if we do a dance, or the human equivalent of doggie butt-sniffing while we decide if we’re going to be blog friends. It doesn’t always work out.

    Sometimes I see a name on a comment on someone else’s blog and I think, “Oh, yeah! I remember her. It looked once like we were going to be blog friends. But it fizzled.” Not sure why that happens sometimes. I’m probably on the giving end (oblivious) as well as the receiving end of these misses.

    It seems like grown-up junior high. Kinda clique-y, but this time I mostly don’t sweat it.

  15. I’m always curious about the people who comment on my blog, so I will always go to theirs (if they have one) and read some of their posts and recipricate a comment. I don’t usually tend to subscribe right away. I guess I like to try to develop some kind of relationship/connection before I subscribe. Every once in awhile, I find that I don’t really connect with them and so I never subscribe to them.

    I do think the IF blogging community is different these days in that it used to be I could read and follow every IF blogger and they would know of my blog and not necessarily have to follow it if I only commented once and lurked the rest of the time. Now, the community is so big, I think continued commenting is a must if you want to have a relatively large readership.

  16. I wander around and comment, sometimes on things I know I’ll never read again. But I try to only comment if I feel like I have something positive to add, or I can make a reasonable argument without being rude.

    I haven’t been blogging too long, so I don’t know how it was in the old days. I’m not really that much into the IF community, because I don’t like to talk about general stuff let alone inportant stuff. I appreciate any comment left, and try to return them if I can think of something to say.

    I usually find new reads by reading comments or links on the blogs I do read…

  17. I dunno, I’ve always been terrible at commenting – not because of the bloggers, it’s all down to me. And, to be honest, I think there are just so many IF blogs out there these days that comments don’t necessarily mean as much from people who aren’t long time readers – and that’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t mean the commenter isn’t sincere, just that they may have wanted to pass on yay! or FAIL or condolences…wait, I’ve lost track of what I was saying.

    And it’s not going to come back either, so I hope what I wrote makes sense.

  18. I always go to the blogs of people who comment on my site, and return the comment. I’ll read a few posts and if I am vaguely interested I’ll subscribe. But like you, if I get no reciprocation, I’ll unsubscribe. Of if I just don’t find anything they write about to be interesting, I’ll unsubscribe.

    It is getting to be harder and harder to make new friendships. I can’t remember the last time I got a new commenter. But when I do I always make an effort.

    I’m also a lousy commenter lately. I often think I’ll go back and comment later when I have more time to put together a more cogent comment, and then I forget. I should really try harder.

  19. Over the last year, I’ve stopped commenting on “big” blogs. Most days I even just skim over their posts because I feel like I’m nothing to them, so why should I bother reading what they have to say.

    The blogs that I truly enjoy (yours is most definitely included!) are the ones where the authors interact with me. Maybe it’s silly, but it makes me feel like they care that I read what they say and they want to hear whatever drivel I’m posting about.

    Perhaps I’m just delusional. Or I need to drink more wine.

    I’d place bets on a combination of both.

    (Did I even come close to answering your questions??)

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