If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Conversational Styles: Internet Version

The first week of NaComLeavMo has ended and I have to confess it's been harder than I anticipated. I think the following doodle best expresses my current feelings:


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

214 bloggers answered Stirrup Queens' call and signed on to submit 5 comments a day as well as return one comment a day during their regular blogging program. I, in all my nerdyness, created an excel document to track my progress. At the end of Week 1 I'm barely holding my own. If you miss a day you are allowed to "catch up" the next day by doubling your comments. I did miss a day last week because I was getting overwhelmed with reading and commenting. However if 6 comments can overwhelm me you can imagine what happened when I had to face 12 the next day.

Don't get me wrong I'm enjoying the event. I've found new blogger friends; read some fascinating (and heart breaking) posts, and have really and truly enjoyed the comments people have been kind enough to place here. I think my problem stems from my natural conversational style. As I mentioned here and here, I'm not good at small talk. I can do it, in a pinch, if I really have to, but I don't usually enjoy it and I can't shake the feeling that I'm a little off. Relatedly I'm not much of a flirt either.

There are some topics I can chit-chat about more than others. Motherhood being one of them, followed by work and martial arts. After that I'm pretty much left with the weather. Even with motherhood, however, I find it harder and harder to go back to the baby/young children small talk now that Boy is really a man.

Stirrup Queen started this event because, as she aptly put it

Comment leaving is an integral part of blogging. Without comments, blog posts are as flat as...Flat Stanley. Blogging is a conversation.

I agree whole-heartedly and I started blogging because I wanted to get into the conversation. However to meet my numbers I find myself struggling with "small talk" comments. I also feel rude if I don't return all the comments left here and I have not been able to keep up with that either.

FSP has a interesting post reflecting on her two years of blogging. She mentions that she doesn't and has never done memes, tags or other internet "reindeer games." I respect her decision and love her posts but it does seem to me that these games, as well as inter-blog links and all comments (from chit-chat to debate to supportive hugs) serve a purpose beyond just conversation--that of building community. And community is about sharing--good news, sad stories, and daily life.

So I'll continue to muddle through, trying for my 6-a-day, and I hope you'll excuse my sometimes awkward comments.


Ginny said...

Great doodle, thanks for the link to the site! I'm enjoying NaComLeavMo but it is hard to keep up. You commented on my coupon post, the woman that runs the Super Savings Saturday has an awesome blog that gives tons of tips. I don't have the link on me, but if you click on Super Savings Saturday in my post it will pull it up. Walgreens & Cvs are the easiest to get started with it I think. I haven't had to pay for shampoo/conditioner, toothbrushes or toothpaste in months!

Dr. Bad Ass said...

This is my first comment of the day. (one down, five to go.) I have to say that I'm struggling as well, though I don't know if I can put it down to my inability at small talk. I'm not good at small talk, but I think that my hesitation to comment comes from 1) wanting to say something meaningful and thoughtful, at least helpful; 2) not having anything like that to offer -- particularly in the case of blogs about children, since I don't have any; 3) honestly, not being willing to take the time to write something meaningful and thoughtful.

But I'm working on it. I didn't think about a spreadsheet, though -- what data are you keeping track of? Just overall numbers? Blogs commented on? types of posts? Types of comments? It could be a research project all in itself . . .

Sam said...

I haven't gone quite as far as doing a spreadsheet, but I do have a little book where I have done five-bar-gate symbols in order to count how many I have!!! (also have a print out of the 200-odd blogs and am ticking those off and hope to have visited them all by the end of NCLM!)

I have to say that my problem is slightly different in that I get carried away with commenting and have to restrain myself from doing too many comments otherwise I may run out of steam towards the end!!

Brigindo said...

Thanks Ginny! I'll be sure to find that site and start saving.

Dr. Bad Ass - I think that is exactly part of the reason why I'm not good at small talk or lots of comments. I think too much about what I want to say and if I don't have something "important" to say I feel I should say nothing. I also agree about the infertility blogs -- not having experienced it I find it hard to engage in the conversation.

As for the spreadsheet, I've kept it simple (as I'm spending too much time on this and not enough working on my grant) and just track which blogs I've commented on by name and I have a column for the "return" comment although often there are more than one. Hey doesn't commenting on your own blog count?

Sam - I hadn't thought of anything systematic for hitting all of the blogs on the list. I've mostly been going randomly. Hopefully I'll make it through them in the next three weeks.

Michelle said...

here from NCLM...I love the doodle--I'm feeling the pressure as well. I've got a spreadsheet working for me too--I just enter the date that I make a comment,and then just note if it's a blog I want to return to.

I always appreciate any friendly comment--even if it's just a 'hey, stopping by, have a good day' sort of comment.

Momma Mary said...

Thanks for the comment and the vote on the Van name! :)

I'm getting a bit overwhelmed by all of the commenting and reading. It's a LOT harder than I thought it would be.

I might have to do the spreadsheet thing as well. It might keep my reader from getting crazy full!

Deb said...

Brig - I have not found any of your comments on my blog to be awkward. Instead they are supportive and, when appropriate, funny. I don't "know" you obviously, but you seem to conversate just fine. I enjoy reading your blog and thank you for commenting on mine.
Especially the last post. To have someone validate my feelings actually makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. I am thinking of stopping by the DIL's house since the phone calls are not working. That is what we call a last ditch effort ;) Maybe I can catch her at home and try to get some resolution.
Thanks again for ALL of your comments!

Lee said...

Glad you like the doodle! You'll also probably like this one too.

I think most bloggers are appreciative of all comments great and small. I've yet to meet a blogger who dislikes "small talk" comments.

Deb said...

Thanks one more time for your support. I got to looking at the last line of your comment:
"Good luck with the diet and with the visit to the DIL. Remember it may not work at first but persistence can pay off."
I think persistence on both counts is a great idea. I am not gonna give up - I will have pics to post of her soon (confidence-huh) because I cant just let her disappear from my life without fighting with everything I have.

Thanks again!!

Pepper said...

I'm keeping an Excel spreadsheet, too. I got the idea from another blogger and I'm so glad I did. Not only would keeping track of everything be more difficult without it, but I've decided to try to comment at least once on every blog.

Anyway, it's definitely a challenge to come up with something interesting to say to some posts, but in others I have to shut myself up. I love that NCLM is expanding my horizons. Without I sometimes feel awkward commenting, as if I'm inserting myself into a conversation that didn't involve me.

Hang in there with those comments! I hope it gets easier.

alicia said...

NaComLeavMo can be a bit overwhelming! I too made a excel spread sheet I was even going for the iron commenter! ha ha! Now i am just tryign to hit them all once or twice. silly me! I love that doodle too!

Thanks for your comment! I appreciate you taking your time to visit!

Anonymous said...

hmm I think the first comment I left didn't make it. Ah well.

I'm here from NCLM and am also finding it overwhelming! I am using a notepad doc to keep track of where I've been & the 1 comment I've returned per day. HOpefully when this intense month is over I can visit every person who comments on my blog in return - but honestly just keeping up with 6/day is a challenge for me.

I enjoyed your Flat M post too!

Nit said...

Hola from NCLM :)

I know exactly how you feel! I get on every evening to do my mandatory 6 comments & before I know it 3 hours has passed & I am still reading. It's really neat to see whats out there...but very time consuming :)

I'll be back, nice blog!

Duck said...

I agree, i'm enjoying the nacomleavmo, but, find it hard to do small talk to, especially about grown children, kids, anything other than being pregnant or a new born, or infertility, i can't seem to contribute anything... i have no way to relate to it i guess.

MoxieMamaKC said...

It is hard to keep up, but hang in there. I love your posts! We can do it...