I'm not really a part of DC's blogging "scene." I tried to go to two happy hours, which didn't work out. So, I figure I'll chuck a few water balloons and see what happens. Hopefully, this will engender some healthy, respectful discussion. Or at least keep me amused for a bit.
I read and comment on a fair number of blogs, but, honestly, there's so much out there that just isn't to my taste. I don't see the point of monotonous woman-bashing, writing posts that are full of in-jokes and nicknames (sort of like one of those epic TV shows you have to watch from the beginning), posting tons of photos of myself (unless they serve a narrative purpose, or are funny), or dutifully cataloging every aspect of my weekend. So I choose to click my way over to things that catch my fancy. I like thinking blogs and humor blogs, vs. this-is-what-I-did-yesterday blogs. Differences in taste are not moral failings.
By the way, I'm not talking about any blog in particular. This is a post inspired by five years of writing this site, reading blogs, and thinking about what it all means. I got here a long time before most of you, and I have no plans to hang up my spurs. So if you're still convinced that I'm talking about you, lower your defenses for a minute and hear me out.
Because the defensiveness is exactly what puts me off reading blogs. Especially comments sections. Yes, blogging is a very personal thing. No, that does not mean that everyone is going to laud you as a misunderstood genius. We're all imperfect beings. So when we put ourselves out into the world, it's totally unreasonable to expect perfection back. Far too many blog comment threads run something like this:
Anonymous: I don't agree, because of A-B-C.
The Blogger: Well, I cannot believe you just called me a stupid hairy ape, you twit.
No, I'm not talking about random anonymous hate comments. I get 'em too, after all, and if they bothered me I'd forbid anonymous commenting. I'm talking about bloggers who respond disproportionately to any opposing view, or freak at even the slightest whiff of criticism.
Criticism is an opportunity. It helps you grow. When your boss gives you feedback, do you whine or do you listen? You listen. Well, your audience is your boss. If you really were writing "just for you," you wouldn't be broadcasting live on the Internet. You'd keep a diary. So see what you can learn if you just put your dukes down.
Also, it's almost impossible to convey tone over the Internet. So if there's a nice way and a mean way to interpret a comment, go with the nice way. Guaranteed to extend your lifespan in no time flat.
We all have our reasons for doing what we do. But if invisible commenter elves are going to ruin your day, then you need to just chill. And if you respond to this post with anger and froth, or decide that it means I've called you out personally, well, then, you just proved my point. According to the rules I just made up in my head, you now owe me a drink.
What do YOU think? Bloggers, readers, lurkers, step on up. I promise to not call any of you stupid hairy apes.
PS - I really do believe commenters are a bunch of invisible elves. I also think that tiny musicians live inside radios, though, so don't take my word on it.