For a blogger, what a difference it makes when someone takes the time to add a comment to a blog post. It is an ego boost, of course, to get a response even if it is just your Aunt Gertrude. But beyond the simple pleasure from being acknowledged, there is so much more value in those comments because they can help you improve your communication skills.
First of all you can learn from what they appreciate and respond to in the post and how they relate to it. Maybe you thought that the value was x and your readers tell you that they saw y. That can tell you something important about your priorities or about your audience. Then you may also find that they completely miss the point you thought was so beautifully made. If you have a big ego and think that you are a pretty good writer, it can be deflating and maybe make you angry.
You think, “No, you fool, that’s not what I said. Can’t you read English?”
But, of course, you don’t say that. You don’t want to antagonize or insult anybody and you definitely don’t want to discourage them from coming back so you just answer, “Thanks for stopping by.”
That ego-centric mental perspective probably helps explain at least some of my difficulty in getting comments but there is more to learn. Good as I think my writing is, it is only as good as what my readers understand it to say. If I clearly make a point about the sky being blue and my readers enthuse about how lovely a green sky can be, the problem is not with them. My communication skills suck.
I always have a fantasy of just zapping a thought into the air and having it understood exactly as I meant it. It never happens that way. Words and language are imprecise and people have different interpretations of almost everything. My experience and understanding of words is never the same as somebody else and if I insist on being clear to myself, I will certainly fail to be clear to others. If my very clear writing is interpreted by others in a different way than I intended, it is always my fault. No body else cares – or should care – what I thought I was saying.
So thank you to my commenting readers. Thank you for giving me feedback about my posts. Thank you for helping me see that my clever turn of a phrase didn’t work. Thank you for letting me know that I am really saying Y when I thought I was saying X. And thank you for helping me get over my ego trip about what I great writer I am. I started this blogging gig with the idea that I have something to say that can provide value to somebody. I do hope that this is true and that I am learning each day how to be better at it. But what I am really finding is that I am learning so much from others on this same journey, especially those who take the time to read my posts and leave a comment.
Originally posted 2010-01-25 09:48:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter