Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Words About Last Words

As I hop around the hocoblogs neighborhood, I see how each blog creates its own little island for commentary and discourse. And some days I wonder if perhaps it isn't about the blogs at all, but about the comments.

Why do some blogs produce good-natured give and take, while others bring out rude and ignorant trolling? Some blogs foster a gentle and supportive tone, some, a humorous one. And then there are the blogs which produce (insert ominous music here.)

Is this something to be feared? Are comments the mark of popularity or influence? That's a matter of personal preference. But, if blogging is seen as an open-ended form of communication with the reader, then a lack of comments can seem like living in a ghost town.

Now, some bloggers take a blustery, pugnacious tone that may dissuade readers from making any comment. "Disagree with me? I'll bite your nose off!" But there are some blogs, and they can be quite good, that get little or no comment. Why?

I am beginning to think that readers may place a hierarchy of value on blogs, some perceived to be the "real stuff", others seen as "soft", not worth putting one's mark on. Could it be that the hocoblogs neighborhood has its cool kids, outcasts, wild ones, and "invisibles"?

In this world there are some people you want to be seen with, because their popularity just might rub off on you.
These are the people whose parties you want to attend, because something interesting is bound to happen. And you want to be seen with the "in" crowd.

I learn a lot from our local blogs and bloggers. And I enjoy hanging out in a variety of venues. I don't always enjoy leaving comments because the rules of engagement vary so widely. (I'm a lover, not a fighter.)

I guess I am asking: why do we promote whom we promote? And, why do we validate whom we validate?
What is the force at work here, and is it based on good writing, meaningful content, an engaging tone? Or, is it just like high school and the law of the lunchroom: in order for a few to be celebrated, many must be ignored.

You'll see I've added a blog list in the sidebar. It's time I shared the places I like to hang out in the neighborhood.



  1. I think what you said "... the hocoblogs neighborhood has its cool kids, outcasts, wild ones, and "invisibles"? "

    Thanks for embarassing me into thinking I'd better post an entry sometime this year, btw! 5 months since I last updated. There's really no wonder if I don't get comments. :)

  2. I like that HoCoBlogs is a venue for local people to connect through blogging. The Blogtail parties sound interesting, and I hope to make it to one someday.

    Thanks for the link, Julia!

  3. JMC,

    I am thankful that people take time and comment on local blogs. It definitely makes reading them more interesting.


  4. Totally agree with WB. It's interesting how the different blogs have different types of commenting atmospheres. It's also interesting to see what posts generate the most comments-- sometimes it's obvious, other times not so much!

  5. Blogging inhabits this interesting piece of who we are and how we talk. To blog means to have something to say (one hopes) and often people rally around two causes - agreement or disagreement - all under the veil of anonymity, or at least, the comforting mask of *the internet*.

    It's hard to find something in the middle. When people talk politics or current events or other known factors, comments appear like lightning to agree or disagree. When people talk real life - home, work, the day to day - comments aren't always as present. This is not to say that there aren't popular day-to-dayers (we've known a few) who collect comments and even, perhaps, fans. There are also those who have genuinely interesting reflections on life and genuinely interested readers.

    The trickiest bloggers are those who ask questions that no one can answer, or that no one wants to answer. I think it's hard, on the internet, to come down to real conversations that make us uncomfortable and somehow at the same time willing to talk. It might go beyond that old high school scheme of popular, invisible, and despised - it might end up hovering somewhere between I don't know what to say and I don't know how to say it.

    It may also be that high school gives us a good example, because we either were or remember the kids who were questioning and uncomfortable and sincere. I think that blogging can be that way. And I think people, even masked visitors who leave with a quip and a quick judgement, still don't know what to make of that kid in the corner who writes poetry and reads foreign literature and asks far, far too many questions.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.