Friday, 9 October 2015

What To Say?


...Or, where to start? Well really it started with Julie. Maybe you know Julie? She's a friend and a blogger I like and admire very much; and I'm regularly to be found hoovering up whatever she has to say over at Notes On Paper. Now, Julie recently launched herself on a campaign: a 300 Comments In 30 Days Challenge.



She wrote about it; and then she wrote about it again, just to double check her readers understood she was on a course of discovery and investigation herself and not on a mission to lever comments in her own direction. Because what she felt like she'd started, she said, was a "Mexican wave of guilt"..

...actually, you should read what she wrote for yourself. If I quote any more I'd probably start breaching copyright law; and that's guilt of a different kind, in a librarian. Worse, even, than that time I tied a knot in a bow. See, Julie? Worms, snails: we've all done it.

I've done that other thing too. I've read, and hugely enjoyed, many posts; but I haven't said so. I've pinned pretty pages; but I haven't said "Thanks. I'd love to keep this pinned so I can look at it again." But that's one I'm going to make an effort with. (Solidarity in numbers, Julie! 300 in 30 days? I'm up for that!). Because the reason I started this blog in the first place was to meet other scrapbookers. I couldn't fine anyone round here who liked cutting and sticking. I had to search further afield; and when I discovered the cornucopia of scrapbooking talent spread across the internet, I decided the only way to make contact was to say hello. And it's a delight when someone replies. It really is.

Why I'm writing and not sticking. Or decluttering. Where to start?


Years ago on a forum I saw a thread about blog commenting. Someone said something along the lines that, although she had a blog, she had never understood why a reader would stop in to write "Hi. I like your layout today." Frankly, she said, she wasn't interested in that kind of bland comment. That brought me up short (-er than usual) because I did - and,yes, still do - write that if I mean it; because I'd always thought that, if I am short on time, a quick friendly hello is better than nothing . Maybe it isn't, though? That was a lightbulb moment for me, when I realised that we don't all put the same interpretation on, or look for, the same thing in someone else's reaction to what we write. I thought about it again recently when I joined Instagram. Until I started posting there myself, I had never, I have to admit, understood why so many erstwhile bloggers had converted. Now I get it. Now I see how easy it is and, with that information, I can understand why someone might comment there but not here (or any other blog). It's just a different way of doing the same thing. We aren't all the same, even in our little scrapbooking world. It would be reductive and silly to think so. But even so, even if you always take milk in your coffee while it makes me gag, maybe we're still - mostly - coming from the same place?

I came looking for a community and I found one. I wanted to be somewhere where others understood what I enjoyed doing. That's important, we're alwys hearing these days, for our mental health. Joining in, being a part of something bigger. We know it's good for us. That's why we encourage our children to sign up for school clubs, why we put our name down for swaps and that's why I hope to keep on saying hello.

Oh look: there's more. It's everywhere..
And why I want to thank Julie for generating the great discussion on her blog (seriously: read it if you haven't already); and thank anyone who has ever helped me to feel part of something bigger by leaving a few words here for me. Julie discovered that there's a measure of shyness out there, and even a little belief that whatever you have to say isn't worth the time it takes to type. Believe me, I think it's worth it. Some bloggers use comments as market research ( so in the spirit of Julie's put-it-right-out-there ideal, I'm just going to come right out and say I get fewer comments on my scrapbooking posts, so does that mean you don;t like my scrapbooking?) ; or as a bit of cheer on a grey day (yes, I've felt cheered too). Mostly, though, it's back to that community thing. If you like being part of it, then what you have to say is worth the hearing.

Now, if you have kept going to the end today...I'm delighted! Yes, of course I'd like to know what you think! But if you gave up halfway through or skipped to the end...no worries. I have only one thing to say about guilt. You can read as many blogs as you like without saying a word. Just never tie a worm in a bow. It won't thank you. And you'll be haunted by the look on its face for the rest of your life. Probably.

Me? Look out for me! I'm taking Julie up on her challenge. I'd like to try some investigation and discovery for myself. I could be coming your way...

43 comments:

Julie Kirk said...

Sian ... this is an *amazing* continuation of the theme! Thank you so much for standing along side me and adding your voice. There's *so* much I could comment on here!!

I'm learning so much from my experiment that I've no doubt it'll change how I feel about the whole subject from now on. It probably won't mean I keep leaving so many messages .... but - I will definitely be more aware of what I'm doing. And it might - like you and Instagram - mean I'm more active on other platforms too [Twitter/Facebook] ... like you say, it's all about the community feeling, wherever you can nurture it.

Interesting point re: whether or not to just say 'Nice layout' etc. I'm torn on this ... I *always* appreciate your comments even short + sweet ones [because I *know* that what you're doing is saying 'I saw this, I wanted to connect' so, to me, I don't mind those kind *at all*. However ... in my travels around new blogs I've found I daren't?? say things like that to people I don't know. which, now I've said it out loud seems ridiculous!!

As always with some of my impromptu "I know what I'll do ..." type projects on my blog - this one's leading me in all kinds of unexpected directions. Your wonderful post being one of them.

It's always those posts/moments where I've thought "Do I say this? Should I admit that?" that turn out to be the best decisions in the long run. This feels like one of them.

Thank you again. xxx

Jane said...

I did read right down to the end Sian and found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of it. It's made me have a fresh approach to blog reading, I think I have become lazy. I'm also one of the ones who thinks my little comment doesn't really matter, there are far more worthy people posting what I would like to say. Although I won't commit to 300 comments as I hate to fail at anything, I will make an effort to comment more this month and hopefully in the future.

alexa said...

I love your scrapbooking, Sian - I was very taken aback that you receive fewer comments on your scrapbook posts. There is so much gorgeousness to comment on, I am amazed that should be so. And I haven't got my head around Instagram yet, so I'm not sure what it contributes or offers that a blog doesn't (now there's a post for you, if you'd like one!). Like you, I value and enjoy every comment that comes my way, regardless of its content or angle - the fact that someone has stopped by to listen to me and say 'hello' means a lot.

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

That's interesting about your scrapping posts (among many other interesting thoughts/points) being the least commented upon. Are they the least visited though? I was looking through my stats the other day and my card posts are by far the least commented upon. I didn't know whether that's because they are not liked by/interesting to most of my readers or (as I suspected) because they are the few posts which are not related to a meme on another more popular blog. Having had a closer look the last paper craft post I did got 5 comments and around 60 visits. Other posts get less visits but up to double the comments so I'm not sure now! Lots to think about, as always. With regard to the short and sweet comments I'm quite happy to receive them, but try not to leave them myself. I always feel I need to make a considered comment or the blogger will think I haven't read the post properly! How silly is that?

Ruth said...

I was surprised to read that your scrapping gets the least number of comments. I'm guilty of reading and running on occasion, but I plan to try a read and comment mantra from now on. So far, it's going well! You're blog number 5 and this is my fifth comment!

Barbara Eads said...

I always LOVE your posts. I can count on them to be unusual and interesting. I try to make a point to comment on the blogs I follow. But I do not comment on the "big" ones---with hundreds of followers. I always figure that what I might have to say has already been said or would get lost in that great big blog following shuffle! Sometimes "I like your layout" is enough! Whatever! This challenge will be a piece of cake for you. I'm pretty certain you leave 10 comments a day as it is!

Gail said...

Very thoughtful and thought provoking post Sian, it's one I'm saving to read again. I'm shocked that your scrapbook layout posts get the least amount of comments. I read Julie's post the other day when I started my catch up phase and thought yeah I could do that - I'm definitely guilty of thinking no one's going to want to see me say - I really like that but. So this is my 80th comment since I read Julie's post on the 1st.

Beverly said...

I have blogged, read and commented very, very little in the last 6 months. I have always felt I need to comment on almost any blog I read (I don't follow the bigtimers), the person took the time to write and share and I want them to know it's been read. I do sometimes do the quick comment but wonder if others do. Of course, sometimes I am super wordy just like real life and then wonder if people think will she ever hush lol! I think I am going to have to give myself amnesty on all I have missed (but what if I missed something really important in someone's life and I'm not friends with them on facebook?!?!?!)

Louise H said...

Aren't we a daft lot - we know that on our blog we appreciate and like any comment made, but then sometimes worry about leaving even a 'hello' on someone else's blog. You are right Sian - we are all mostly coming from the same place.
I think our meme posts probably get more comments because we all like to visit and appreciate each other for being a community - and perhaps by joining in with posting we are reminded to join in with the commenting.
I do love your pages - I find some wonderful inspiration in them. My pages will never look like yours, but that is OK because we all have our own style.
And like you Sian I don't know any local scrap bookers so your blogs are my source of support and inspiration.

Patio Postcards said...

I like your post today. I am going next to visit Julie. As a new blogger, you have no idea (ok you do) how much encouraging comments mean or even that quick hello. I absolutely started to blog to be part of a community that I had long admired. This world has encouraged me to think about things, try things, admire things and tickle my curiosity about things. And I think it makes us all better people. Thanks Sian. Thanks Julie. Thanks Bloggers.

Sian said...

Well, thank you :) It's a constant surprise to me in my own blogging which posts really take off > I think lots of bloggers will take this post of yours and run with it!

Sian said...

What can I say except I always enjoy a comment from you and every one is very much appreciated

Sian said...

Yes..some of my scrapbooking posts can have fewer views BUT that doesn't mean that my pages have been seen by fewer people. Because what can happen is that a layout is pinned and then it goes round Pinterest and is repinned without anyone else actually visiting the post itself. Weird.

Sian said...

I don't really do FB so I can't answer that!!

Sian said...

..and the thing about encouragement is that it's easier to pass on when you have received some. So it's the gift that keeps on giving

debs14 said...

Ironically, I've had a real problem commenting on this post! The comment box would not show up on my computer and the only way I could get round it was to click 'reply' under the last comment and then it re-appeared below. Strange!
I think my commenting has gone down since I started reading blogs in my lunch half hour at work with the intention of replying once I get home. We all know what they say about good intentions don't we?
Everyone loves a comment - even if it's a 'hello' or a 'that's interesting' because it's nice to see that what you've written has been seen. There's such a fab community of bloggers out there but I do think that things have changed since I started. I definitely comment more on things that I have a genuine interest in and I do especially love a good meme or regular series (nostalgically remembering Storytelling Sunday, and Alexa's Simply a Moment) and I'm loving the Me on Monday. I lost momentum in commenting on people who did Project Life as it wasn't something I did myself and it sometimes felt like you were commenting on someone's private diary!
I once tried discovering new blogs to follow by choosing one blog from someone else's reading list - that was fun and I definitely found some new people I would never have found otherwise.
300 comments in 30 days - wow, that's quite a challenge - on your marks, get set, comment ....!

Susanne said...

I had already read Julie's post, given the issue some serious thought and I will share the way I have started looking at it. I prefer reading blogs to reading a feed in a scrapbook forum, Facebook, Pinterest or even Instagram. Blogs are my chosen form of staying connected. And I like to leave comments, always have. But lately, rather than further cut down on the number of blogs I visit because I used to always comment on every post I read, I now feel the freedom to pop in and comment when I feel strongly. I am finding myself less with the "pretty page" short comments, and more with the two or three sentence, I can really relate to what you just said and here's why comments. And I am hoping that eventually all the regular places I visit will see that I am still a regular visitor if not a regular commenter. PS I do make one exception, anytime I find a brand new blogger I try and comment more often, because I remember those early days. And I remember the dozen or so bloggers like you who were around with me in my early days. It's a blessing to still be hanging out with you Sian.

Jo said...

I found this so interesting to read, I often don't comment because I think my comments aren't worth reading and I know that's down to my low self-esteem. Good luck on doing your 300 comments x

Lizzy Hill said...

Yup....said what I have to say on Insta....which, I must admit, I don't that often comment on....& been over to Julie's cos I thought it would be way interesting.....it was ......Me? I'm positive I just like reading and writing & this is the current form of it. 'Done' with the writing books and short stories for the time being, in fact, all those stories I wrote and saved in folders for years? They're currently being used as scrap paper under my scrappy projects!!! So, the focus shfts. As does one's blog readers and reading/ commenting patterns, no doubt. Interesting, though. I READ the comments peeps leave....but I rarely go into that statistics place on blogger..... so I wouldn't know. But then, to me it's all about the scrapping. So you're a bit of a 'rare hen' on my list....I tend to be blog reading to look at scrappy stuff...it's just you write so succinctly that you 'succ-ed' me in! Oh! And you would know Scrapping Cavewoman?? .....that life style is really interesting and has got me in too.... sorry for the long reply..... good luck with the challenge;)

Julia said...

What a fabulous post Sian. You're right it's easy to read and carry on. I'm inspired to leave more comments after reading this. Me? I love your scrapbooking posts and pages. You have a great eye for colour and detail :) (it's the socks I'm not sure of - never know what to say lol!) good luck with your 300 comments and thank you for all that you have left on my blog - I love getting them x

seemownay said...

I really love what you wrote. I have been blogging for years and mostly made an effort to leave comments on blogs elsewhere. I have tried to leave at least 5 comments a day but then "real life" starts to fall behind.
I have been reading your blog for one or two months now and never left a comment to say hi. So: Hi. Here I am. I am usually reading all you have to say. And liking it!

Maggie said...

And good you are Mary Lou at replying to most of our comments which is time consuming in itself!

Maggie said...

Well not only are yours and Julie's post interesting but very thought provoking. Where do I start? I guess blogging and commenting is bit like life. Some people are th talkers and some the listeners. Some have something to say about what has been said others keep their thoughts more to themselves. Some as is evident from your comments above have less confidence in the worth of their comments. Facebook is the same I know of people who read my Facebook and my blogs and never comment.
I do try and leave a comment to show I have been there but I don't always. I always read your scrapping posts and I appreciate your flair for it but I rarely comment on these because it is an area I know little about! I do always try and look and comment on other people when they have joined in a meme that I have also joined in. It does all take a lot of time though (enjoyable time).
When I started blogging I was thrilled when people started commenting and I still am. I do worry that less comments mean a post is less popular. Sometimes I read other people's blogs and think why has that person commented on that blog and not on MINE. How pathetic is that!
Well good luck on 300 comments. I wonder how many I do? 10 a day is quite a lot.
The other thing is the mechanics of commenting. Sometimes the comment system plays up and I have to refresh the page and start again and I get really annoyed by proving I am not a robot and having to decide which picture is a pizza etc!
And lastly well done to the bloggers who religiously reply to my comments. I'm not very good at that!
Sorry for the long ramble!

helena said...

all so interesting - your thoughts and Julie's and all the comments already been left here. I'm with you on Instagram - clicking heart to say yes I saw and liked is so much easier and often all I need to hear from others. I daily get more liked on IG than I get comments on a blog post.

I do wonder about the blandness of writing a short, liked it comment on a LO or photo but often do if I can't think of anything more to say or I'm tired or busy.

I will admit to rarely commenting on your LO pages - mostly because I don't paper scrap anymore and our styles are so different and it would 'just' be nice LO. I do comment if I have something more to say about the story or some aspect of the LO. And I will confess to skipping over all paper based product driven / design team posts I come across anywhere in blogland - I'm not in that market.

Sian said...

Well, thank you :)

Sian said...

Your comments are ALWAYS worth reading. As is your blog!

Sian said...

I'll have to check out Scrapping Cavewoman..I'm ashamed to say I don't know her, no. And thanks so much for reading my other stuff :)

Sian said...

Haha! The socks! I hadn't thought about those!

Sian said...

Thank you so much for saying hello. It has made my day :)

Sian said...

Maggie: that's a good honest comment. When I started I used to think why that post and not mine? too. Not so much now because I realised it could be for any number of reasons not connected with me at all. But yes, I did sometimes think that

Deanna Anthony said...

I love to pop in and read your blog! I don't always comment because I don't know what to say! lol And that is, by no means, a reflection of your blog post, but of my scattered brain. I have a blog, too. It's quite haphazard and I don't know if anyone reads it other than the couple that will comment on Facebook when I share that I've blogged.

Sian said...

That's a fair point. Thanks for sticking with me and reading the other stuff then!

Sian said...

Deanna..you've raised another interesting point here. I went to read your blog and leave you a comment. But I can't because I don't have a Google+ account and sorry I don't have your email to reply personally. I hope you see this :)

Sandra said...

Firstly I think I'm as shocked as others to read you don't get as many comments on your scrapbooking posts, I wonder if people just pin them without commenting. As seriously, you're not telling me people aren't in awe of your layouts. I just don't believe it.

Next, you know me. I'm a big believer in commenting. I'm not a fan of the so called famous bloggers who don't comment. Every comment makes the blogger feel valued, even a hi.

I am guilty of rushing my catch ups sometimes, or not clicking into certain blogs and I need to kick myself into gear more on that. I love the blogging community and I can honestly say I've made many friends. I may not know them in the real world but by allowing me into their lives through their blogs, I feel very close to them. For me, IG is a similar place. Full of like minded friends tat I've got to know so well that we've actually shared private messages, phone numbers and have even face timed. So yes, I agree 100% in what you've written ... It's all about reaching out and making great connections.

Ok, off to leave more comments on more blogs now xx

Melissa said...

What a fantastic challenge. I, too, often leave a short comment but realize how much I enjoy the longer, more thoughtful comments on my own blog. And I always appreciate your thoughtful and consistent comments on my rather eclectic posts!

I am really surprised by the fact that you get less comments on your scrapbooking posts. I wonder if it's because we see so many layouts online these days that we don't comment on each one or take time to express what we really like about each one.

I've found that I get less comments on my Bible Journaling posts, but I think that's just because that form of journaling doesn't appeal to all my readers. However, the comments I do get tend to be more in-depth. Interesting.

Great thought-provoking post today - I'll definitely be paying more attention to my own comments now.

Winwick Mum said...

If I've read and enjoyed a blog post I will always leave a comment. If someone has taken the time to write, then why shouldn't I take the time to tell them how much I enjoyed reading it? We're not always good enough at giving praise, and whilst it's much easier to do so on Instagram, clicking a heart is also a bit lazy! I love it when new people visit my blog and comment because it leads me to another new blog to read - like yours! We become a world-wide conversation, even if it's only a line or two, and that makes me happy xx

Jennifer Shaw said...

Another great post. It seems to be the new trend to Facebook or Instagram over blogging. I still like blogging best. I like writing and I like reading the stories of the every day, of others. I think that all comments are appreciated, even if they are short. Sometimes there isn't anything in depth to say and that is just fine.

Sian said...

Thanks! yep..I think I’m pretty close. You’d think by now I’d be able to type faster. The kids talk about me “carving out a few comments” because I hit the keys slow and hard

Sandie said...

First I'm glad I'm not the only one having problems finding the comment box Sian. I see Debs had difficulty too. Strange....
Anyway, a great post and very thought provoking. I laughed a couple of times because I have spent the whole morning writing my own post, echoing your words. I agree about instagram and other social network sites, it's horses for courses. But I recognise that I have spent so much time on these others that it leaves less time to visit blogs, and those are my first love. I always leave your posts feeling uplifted and inspired, thoughtful or excited. There is a connection you can not recreate on the other networks mentioned, so for me joining in with Julie is a way of re-establishing that relationship and regular visiting that I once had. Some great comments and feed back here Sian. A warning should go with visiting blogs - you might loose yourself for ages on one post!! Here's one!!

I Will Bloom said...

So well written, Sian. There are so many reasons why people don't leave comments aren't there? (Is it, perhaps, that people Pin your LOs from your scrapping posts? Is this perhaps why many bloggers have a Pin button on every photo that keeps count of the number of times a photo has been pinned?). I've also found IG a great place to keep the contact with people when I can't get to my blog....Helen

Jennie Hart said...

Hi Sian, great post, I will go and see what Julie has to say too. The reason that I come back again and again is that you responded to me when I was new and joining in and you always take time to reciprocate, even if I haven't blogged for ages. I do follow and comment on a few 'big time bloggers' and I have had responses from them occasionally, but generally the blogs I follow are ones that have great content and there is an element of 'getting to know you' even if it is a an online relationship.

It is curious about scrapbook pages posts, but my blog is the same I get way more comments on story based or content based posts than a 'this is what I made' post. I hope i'm making sense, I am tired this evening!

Sian said...

That’s reassuring to know! But then you do write such a lovely story it’s impossible not to get drawn in and then want to say something Smile

Sian said...

I honestly have no idea what's going on with the comments box. I can see it fine here and I haven't fiddled with anything. I hope it fixes itself..

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