I was sampling some of Sheffield’s new draft beer choices with a buddy when the inevitable subject of blogging arose. My buddy appears regularly in another Chicago publication and writes a blog for their online presence.
Spoiler alert: ChicagoNow is the benchmark of local blog spots.
My buddy, who I will call “Al”, was well into his 4th beer, when he started talking to me about what he called the “inanity” of some comments left on his blog.
Al breaks inane comments into several categories, but the bulk of his ire is focused on a group that leaves no comments at all. They don’t even read his blog. We’ll get to them after we talk about a few categories of those who actually read Al’s blog.
The first group he calls Armchair Quarterbacks. We all know these guys and gals who know everything but don’t really do anything. They have no original ideas or thoughts but somehow feel qualified to comment on what everyone else does without ever having any skin of their own in the game. These folks generally remain as spectators throughout their lives.
Al had the most to say about a group he calls the Haters, which he further breaks down into two sub-categories. There are those who hate everyone and there are those who hate everyone unlike themselves. Haters include those with a pathological disdain for their fellow man as well as racial and religious fanatics who hate and fear everyone not on their wave length.
Haters have no suggestions, no ideas, no solutions and seemingly no interest in improving anything. They’re simply there to spew hatred and the irony of the ones who do it in the name of a religion that encourages tolerance is usually lost on them, as is the irrationality of their fears. No one has ever explained how a gay couple living next door destroys the fabric of their family.
Complainers are life’s squeaky wheels. They don’t respond when you suggest a fix or a solution to a problem because their goal is to complain, not to fix. Similar to haters, complainers are just there to complain, but without the rancor or vile diatribe.
Complainers are the ones who always get the wrong table at a restaurant, are never happy with the weather and have a stupid boss. They may tell you they strongly disagree with something you’ve said in your blog, but they won’t respond when asked for clarification.
As a rule of thumb, Al says he pays most heed to constructive comments from other bloggers. Clearly, though Al was seriously frustrated, angry and confounded by a group that leaves no comments on his blog because they don’t read it. This group he calls his so-called friends.
When Al began writing, he assumed his friends and family read his stuff. When he began blogging, he assumed they read those, as well and became subscribers. That many did not came as a serious disappointment to Al.
Most of us try to patronize businesses run by our family and friends. It only stands to reason that, all things being equal we would support those we know and love. Why, then wouldn’t those same people take 15 seconds out of their life to type their email address into the Subscribe box?
It’s possible people don’t realize that a blog is like a business and having subscribers gives it import. “Hell”, he says “they don’t have to like it or even read it. They can send it right to spam, if they want. They sit around my house, eat my food, drink my booze, but they’re too busy to subscribe to my blog?”
Writing is work and like any worker bee, bloggers like to feel a little love for their efforts. A healthy list of subscribers can also help a blogger leverage his writing into something bigger, like a book deal.
So, while I can recommend the 50-tap beer selection at Sheffield’s, to Al’s friends I offer the following: Take a few moments to fill out the “Email” box and then hit the “Subscribe” button. It’ll make Al feel better, it’ll make you feel better and it may just help Al get to that next level.
Not reading your friends blog is your choice, not subscribing to it is the most unkind comment of all.
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.