Are you a blogger? Do you remember what it was like to get your first comment? Your first trackback? I sure do.
Pure bliss. To know that people were actually reading what I had written when they could have clicked to a zillion other places instead, was both amazing and incredibly affirming.
Sure, there was some indication people were reading (or at least they were searching and ended up here); I learned to read the stats. However, for someone to comment and speak to me, or trackback and actually write a post of their own that connected to the provocation of mine, well, that was mind-blowing.
If I was not a blog writer AND a blog reader and commenter, I would have never known the JOY in my life which has come from connecting with Scott (his was the first blog I ever read) Yvonne (hers was where I was inspired to leave my first comment) Wayne (who taught me very early on that bloggers give away what they know freely) Toni (who gave me my first comment on Talking Story) Heath (who was the first to link to the then-unknown z-lister me!) Anita, Bren (who gave me my first trackback. Back then, most of us didn’t know how pings worked), Burt, Paul, Michele, David and Dave (with his NYEve comment, I just knew this “blogging thing” would stick with me.)
These 12 people will always have a very, very special place in my heart. Most of those early connections happened before Managing with Aloha was published, and my blog had to stand on its own slim merit. It was unbelievable to me that they actually noticed it at all. Since then?
Well, since then, I have discovered another way to get that same kind of high I had gotten with receiving those early connections, and that’s to give them. The very best of all? Giving them to a new blogger just starting to get their own good words out.
It happened again yesterday, and the blogger I had left my comment for wrote me a private email to let me know I was his first. Wow. What a feeling to know I had done that for him, not even realizing it at the time, and just wanting to tell him thank you for the gift of his writing.
I share this with you to ask that you not deny yourself this high, this delicious pleasure of giving new bloggers the encouragement of your comments.
I have a new challenge for those of you in the Ho‘ohana Community who are bloggers regularly receiving your share of comments now that you’re no longer a newbie. I know you’ve worked hard to build community and get where you are, however I still ask that you remember what it was like to wait for that first breakthrough comment to come through. I know you are terrific with your own readers because I visit you and see what a pro you have become at this :-) Now, step outside your normal conversation circles, and give someone new your aloha and some of that joy.
Let’s reach out, comment, connect and encourage. When you arrive at a new blog and those comment numbers are mostly at zero, zero in on a post that intrigues you and say something about it. You are all so brilliant at being positive, optimistic and enthusiastic; I know this because that’s what you share with me here all the time!
For those of you who are new at blogging, I have a suggestion for you too. Love the personal email you send, really do, however duplicate it in your blog’s comments for everyone else to read too. That’s the only way that other readers get the message that you do appreciate them, and that you are responsive.
If you invite conversation, you have to continue it! Once a commenter puts themselves out there, believe me, they need the public acknowledgment from you that you understand what a big deal it was. They reveal themselves in their comments, and the way you say thank you is to answer them back and keep the conversation going, or comment yourself on their addition, complement or insight.
Let’s talk story folks, the blog post itself is but the humble beginning. The good stuff is in how the post keeps giving, and that giving is in the comments. Blogs are such great aloha-conductors!
For those of you who continue to comment here on Talking Story, thank you so much. Keep them coming!