Friday, April 13, 2007
Comments and community
When I started this blog I didn't think much about readers. But within a few short weeks, the blog was discovered, first by Annie of The Transplantable Rose and shortly thereafter by Pam of Digging. I'd left a comment on another Austin garden blog (The Great Experiment, I think) and from there they tracked me down. As Pam said, once you comment, you can run but you can't hide. They, and a few others, left comments here and there and my perspective on blogging started to change. Blogging wasn't just writing for myself, record-keeping or navel gazing. I wasn't exactly sure what it was but I started looking forward to seeing those comments.
It took me a while to understand something about the communal nature of blogging, that thing that Annie was writing about the other day. I started out reading food blogs and there is certainly community there. The same people — from Paris to Seattle to Munich to Bloomington, Indiana — cheer and gripe and share, back and forth and around and around. When one travels, another throws a dinner party and invites bloggers from the neighborhood to join in. The food blogging community has contests and fundraisers and gift exchanges.
As I started reading more garden blogs I saw that a similar, if apparently smaller, community exists here as well (smaller maybe because it's easier to share a recipe than a plant? Or because everyone eats and only the discriminating garden?). Events like Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored by May Dreams Gardens, and the Mouse & Trowel Awards (have you submitted your nominations?) bring garden bloggers together. And shortly after I was found out by the Austin garden bloggers, they kindly invited me to an actual gathering, face to actual face, in Annie's garden. Now we're planning an all-afternoon tour of our Austin gardens, north to south and back, with snacks and, no doubt, lots of garden questions and advice along the way. Being part of that community is certainly welcome (especially since my friend/next-door neighbor/fellow gardner moved a few years ago, reducing my garden gossip chances by at least half).
I have to admit that, although I check on about 20 garden blogs a day (among the 50 or so blogs that I get feeds for through Bloglines), I mostly lurk. So maybe, in that sense, I'm not truly participating in the garden blogging community. I don't know. I enjoy getting comments, I like knowing that someone is reading, I like that sense of connection. But for some reason I wasn't commenting much.
Then, over the past week or so, I put up several posts and no one seemed to notice. No comments at all (okay, since then several people have commented so I guess someone is reading). Every time my e-mail dinged (I get notified of comments by e-mail) I'd stop what I was doing and check to see if it was a comment. I realized how much I enjoyed getting comments and became determined to comment myself more often. Turnaround is only fair play, right? Or should that be, what goes around, comes around?
I still have some more pondering to do about the difference between personal reflection and a larger readership. About keeping notes for myself and writing something that might be interesting to others. But plenty of time for that.
Oh, and the picture at the top is my attempt this morning to catch Climbing Pinkie at what is absolutely her best moment ever (why do I think of my roses as she? Do you do that?).