A couple of days ago, I asked if you get cubicle anxiety. I was surprised by the response because sometimes I feel like I’m alone in my suffering.
Following up on my cubicle anxiety post, I was curious if any of you out there get what I call “blog anxiety.” Blog anxiety can apply to bloggers and those who visit blogs. It’s just like regular anxiety, however, it more-or-less centers around the blogosphere.
Anxiety for Bloggers
There are several causes of anxiety that I will describe that apply to bloggers.
My blog anxiety more-or-less centers around what other people think. In real life, people always tell you, “Don’t worry about what other people think.” But in the “blog world”, you are basically putting something out there and asking what people think.
I received some excellent advice from another blogger who shall remain nameless (to protect the innocent). He more-or-less said that people will get pissed off about anything. The negative comments might outweigh the positive comments tremendously. However, all the feedback is going to make people curious about you and your product. If you have aggravated somebody (and that somebody is a blogger), you can guarantee that you’ll see more traffic your way. To sum this up: bad publicity is more downloads and/or page views.
My take on negative comments is that some people will just cut you down just to be mean. Ignore all personal attacks. Ignore the people who question your credibility. Listen to those who have actual, legitimate grievances. Listen to those who have actual, legitimate feedback.
You’ve worked on something for hours, days, or perhaps weeks. You proof-read it and publish it. And nothing. Not one comment! Did you do something wrong? Did it fall on blind eyes?
Sometimes you might have had a total disconnect with your audience. Sometimes your audience that you want reading your stuff isn’t the audience you have. For example, I’ve been writing my Christianity and Fitness series since November and the series received its first comment this month.
Sometimes it takes time. Don’t worry about it. Keep blogging for you, but keep your audience in mind. If you have something interesting, your audience will warm up to it eventually.
High Profile Posts
I submitted an essay for the WLTC Essay Contest in December of ’06. This was by far the biggest audience I had ever written for. And being that my essay was rather controversial, I couldn’t really handle the negative comments. The first few comments were positive. The first negative comment had me walking out of work early and straight into the gym. I was a young blogger. I should have known better than to enter a high-profile contest with an essay that basically said, “Don’t write about this, please.” My skin had yet to thicken. I’m still not sure it has.
My cure for the anxiety of a high-profile post was to basically ignore it. I tried to forget it was there. After two weeks or so, the buzz around the post died down and people stopped getting all frantic and offended. People moved on.
You have written a post that an A-Lister has commented on. Wow. Now the reality sets in that this A-Lister doesn’t agree with you.
I’ve had this happen to me quite a bit since I started writing for Devlounge. I’ll put something out and somebody that’s “somebody” in the blogosphere will leave a comment voicing disagreement.
The anxiety is high because you know these people carry a high influence in the blogosphere, but you also don’t want to look like a wimp and say, “Yes Mr. (or Mrs.) A-Lister, you are absolutely correct. I retract my poor blog post and bow down to you.”
If I were an A-Lister (and I’m far from it), I would want somebody to come up with an intelligent argument if that person disagreed. My advice would be to respectfully disagree and give your reasons for the disagreement.
Anxiety for Commenters
Breaking Into the Conversation
I read a lot of blogs. I comment on maybe three of them regularly. Perhaps four. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually written out a full comment and then decided to just leave the page. I admit that I was afraid.
I’m afraid that I’ll be intruding on someone’s turf. I’m afraid my comment won’t be well received. I’m also afraid of interrupting. Every blog has its own community. Sometimes I just don’t want to butt in.
Coming from a blogger’s perspective, I respect any and all comments on this blog (besides comments that personally attack me). If you want to join in on the conversation, please do. We won’t bite (hard).
You’re a Noob
Perhaps you’ve been surfing for a while, but you’ve just started to understand the concept of what a blog is. Blogs to all of my friends (with the exception of a few) are just normal websites. It’s hard for them to differentiate between what a website is and what a blog is.
People visiting blogs for the first time are generally afraid to leave a comment. It’s a foreign experience to be able to leave a comment on a website. It’s also not a nice experience, especially if the comment is held for moderation or a nasty “spam filter” message pops up.
I have to admit that I’m guilty of having my spam filter set up, but it is necessary so that my users aren’t overwhelmed with Viagra ads. If you are new to blogs, I apologize that blogs aren’t as friendly as they could be. Blogs have come a long way, however. Please give blogs a chance and leave that first comment.
Lost in the Shuffle
I typically don’t like leaving a comment on a post that already has a good amount of comments. I yearn for the conversational style of forums, but dislike all of the admin overhead. With comments on blogs, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of things. What difference is one comment actually going to make?
I am encouraged, however, that a lot of A-Listers have said that they do read the comments and check e-mails.
Lost in the Blogosphere
I leave comments all the time on random blogs. Some of the blogs have mentioned an article I have written, or have an article that appeals to me. I leave the comment and then that’s it. I don’t remember the address for the blog. I may have subscribed to the blog, but I don’t remember exactly which post I commented on.
Why leave the comment if it’s just going to be lost?
Luckily a lot of blogs are starting to have comment subscriptions. I find this tool highly valuable. I will add a comment subscription tool on this blog soon.
Blog anxiety can affect both bloggers and commenters. Are there other forms of blog anxiety other than those I mentioned? Would you like to add on to some of my points? I respect any and all feedback that you may provide.