There's Real Life etiquette: The stranger opened held the door open for the woman juggling a stroller, crabby toddler, and loads of shopping bags. She smiled at the act of kindness and sighed out a tired, "thank you."
Then there's Blogger Etiquette:
A post is read by countless strangers and faceless friends. Some even like it so much that they take the time to leave comments. And that crazy woman who was juggling the stroller, toddler, and shopping bags? Yeah...she'll get back to you on that because now she's got the laundry, the toddler (still), dishes, another blog post to write, bills to pay, work to do on her manuscript, a husband to feed, and a Zumba class to get to.
The Unspoken Rule of Blogging is this: Build your blog by posting frequently, interacting with readers, and commenting in kind on their blogs. If you're a writer with hopes of having a book in actual stores one day, then of course the goal is to get your name (and words out there) as much (and as often) as possible. Not only are you showing your readers you give a damn that they stopped by to read what you had to say, but you're working on that nifty little industry-standard platform that agents want before they sign you.
Awesome. All pretty and packaged with a bow. Blogger Etiquette at it's simplest.
So why can't I seem to follow through with more than responding to comments on my own blog from readers? Don't be fooled into thinking that *I* don't give a damn that you clicked on over from a Twitter link or subscribed to a feed. 'Cuz I do. It's a little known fact that the size of my ego is directly affected by my daily visitor and page view numbers and yesterday was a good day. So thanks for reading and saving me boku bucks on therapy sessions where I whine about no one caring what I think. This little thing I've got going where I talk to myself (on the internet) and you read and then tell me that you *get* what I'm saying? You have no idea how many times just logging on has saved my sanity.
And have you seen my nifty little blog roll? I've got some awesome sites by awesome writers on there. Sometimes when I'm rambling incoherently on Twitter (because having the blackberry on my hip just makes it way to convenient) I even come across more super awesome blogs to add to my roll. And sometimes I actually remember to follow through. After Buttercup's in bed, The Husband has been fed, kissed, and sent off to his midnight shift, and the kitchen cleaned, laundry put away, and to-do list made for the next day, of course.
And what about twitter? I interact all damned day with readers and writers and random somebodies who say funny things. I might read a link they posted and tell them in a tweet how much it kicked ass. I can't tell you how many times that that happened to me, which is just dandy. I don't care how you tell me you think I don't suck, as long as you tell me that you think I don't suck. (And for what it's worth, I think you don't suck, too.)
I have been known to leave a comment here and there for others on posts that stood out to me, as I am sure is the way it works with everyone. But it seems I am sorely lacking in the Balancing the Scales portion of this Blogging Etiquette competition. I'm thinking this is kind of like what the swimsuit is to the Miss America pageant. No matter what anyone says, you better look good in that bikini or you're not even in the running for Miss Congeniality.
So does that make me a big bloggy bitch? It might...if my intention was to ignore all of you (and the rest of the world) while I expected you to spend time reading my words. But I've got a Facebook page for family and friends back in Michigan to get daily updates of Buttercup and friends I'm supposed to be trying to keep in touch with by phone and email and an online mom's group I've belonged to since I got pregnant and the mom stuff and the wife stuff and the writing stuff and the sleep stuff and, well, I'll stop now because I know you're busy, too. The bottom line is that none of that gets updated with the regularity I had planned before I got the genius idea to start two blogs and try to write a book about losing weight (which meant I had to start working out again, which snowballed into less time for everything else.)
Comments on my blogs? I try and usually am able to respond to those. But comments on other people's blogs? Yeah...I want to do it. But I know I can't make any promises I won't keep, no matter the reason. So I'll start small with a promise to try to comment on one blog that belongs to someone else every time I sit down to post. How's that for an olive branch? Just promise not to beat me with it if I miss a day, or a week, because I'll keep trying.
And I hope you keep reading. Because whether or not I ever score a book deal, I'm here to stay.
*Comment already posted on Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe, by the way. One down, and a million to go.