The unexpected side effects of blogging

Frarochvia noticed an important detail in one of yesterday’s pictures – an ASL book. Last night I started taking ASL classes through Minneapolis Community Education.

“Hey, big kitty, what does this mean in Kitty Sign Language (KSL)?” -Mayhem

“It means you’re smooshing my ear and cruising for a bruising, May!” -Chaos

ASL is one of those unexpected side effects of blogging. (Not making the connection yet? Read on!) Like many of you, I’ve developed a number of friendships through blogging and have met bloggers from the Twin Cities, from across the US, and from overseas. Spoken English has been the common language; however, it isn’t the common language of some deaf bloggers I very much hope to meet and spend time with: my dear friend Fraro, local Limedragon, and Tiphanie. I don’t want our meetings to consist of us typing frantically and staring at our computer screens – we already have that down without leaving our own living rooms.

So I’ve been inspired to go forth and learn ASL. And I find myself thinking about blogging and the direct benefits (connection! community! friendship! laughter and tears!) and some indirect benefits, such as this ASL class. What have the expected and unexpected benefits of blogging been for you? The direct and indirect benefits? I’m curious. This seems a great topic for discussion.

Speaking of discussion, recently, Deb aka Chappysmom wrote about a post she’d read on getting more blog comments by replying to comments via comments instead of via email. She was curious what we thought about it; a very interesting discussion subsequently developed in her comments as the author of the aforementioned post and others participated.

Now, I personally really like replying to comments via email because some great conversations and friendships get started that way. You know who you are! 😉 But since I’m curious to see what sort of discussion develops in the comments if I reply there and maybe some of you return a time or two to contribute additional thoughts to the discussion, I’m not going to reply to the emailed comments for this post. Nor am I going to reply to every single comment with a comment of my own. I’m just going to participate in the discussion, and I hope you will, too!

“Gee, I guess he wasn’t kidding about that one… Hey, what do you think this is the sign for in KSL? Maybe ‘Help?!!’ Or ‘Unpaw me, you wretch?!!'” -Mayhem

(Nope, they aren’t dusty or dirty – they are simply covered in catnip…)

122 thoughts on “The unexpected side effects of blogging”

  1. You’re on your own, bro.

    @ Chris – Yes, non-knitters subscribe to well over that many blogs. And more. However, hitting anything close to 50 comments is something close to Guiness Book of World Records, unless you’re Darren Rowse of Problogger.net (who does not participate in his discussions or comments) or Brian Clark of Copyblogger (who does participate, but very little.) Most of us who are peddling our services through our blogs don’t generate the type of commentary going on here – it’s a business blog. It’s not really expected to.

    I’m tempted to do the interview thing. Hm.

  2. @James – Good point about business blogs. Tangentially, my MS is in technical writing. Of course, I worked for about two months as a technical writer and have been a systems analyst ever since.

    Anyway, you should do such an interview! She’s a fellow Canadian, after all. You can find out her secrets, like how to deal with several hundred comments a day (did she turn off email notification??). Is Doctors Without Borders going to erect a statue of her? 😉 She just celebrated her fourth blogiversary… and that post generated 501 comments!

  3. If I subscribed to ten blogs, I might like the conversational aspect of the blogger replying to comments in the comments section. Since I subscribe to something over a hundred, there is absolutely no way I would ever go back to a post to follow up on the comments. No way, never.

    Having said that, I just remembered that yesterday I did that exact thing. I had asked the blogger a question (not a knitblogger) and I remembered that she often comments herself, so I went back to check. She had very nicely answered my question.

    But that is a one-in-a-million shot. Give me the e-mail conversation any day.

  4. That’s a tricky one. I try to reply once in the comments for each post that gets more than, say, three comments. But I also try to limit my comment-replies to things which would be of general interest. Like if someone asks a question about my post, I’ll put the answer in the comments (and usually email it to them as well).

    It’s a tough line – I try to make it obvious that I’m responding to comments, to any visitor who stumbles across the thread later. But on the other hand, I don’t want ten comments followed by one massive, ten-response comment by myself.

    One day Miss Manner will write a chapter on blogging, and we’ll all have an easier time of it.

  5. I have the same issue where I wonder how to respond to comments–individually on my blog, in a few lump replies (again on the blog), by e-mail, or not at all. Since I prefer blogs where the blogger actually responds to comments, I’ve ruled out the last option, and time makes the first one difficult, but the others? It’s difficult. I’ve gone with replying on the blog to a) aide in the discussion and b) show hesitant commenters that I do care about comments and will reply.

  6. ohhh how fantastic! I started a musical sign lanuguage at my previous church that was fun but haven’t been able to find a local sign language class near by. You’re going to have so much fuN!!

  7. Erika – I bet there’s already a blogging etiquette book out there… or probably two that contradict each other! I definitely think I’ll continue replying via email, but also make more of an effort to respond to comments via comments when, as you note, it’s of general interest.

    Caryn – Hmm. Your point B is one I hadn’t thought about before – and it’s a very good point. Hmm.

  8. Hokey smokes! About 25 years ago I had this idea to learn asl and become the “deaf naturalist”. Not sure how to put that, but you know, naturalist to guide deaf folks through the woods… Love watching sign at concerts, it seems to make sense. But all I know is a deaf joke (that a deaf person ‘told’ me, at least it helps me remember a few signs), one not so awful swear word, the command to ‘line up’ (from having a couple of deaf boys in a tae kwondo class), and to tell somebody to look. Look! See? (from teaching a bug lab that had a deaf student in it). Doesn’t get me very far. Like all languages, exposure and practice helps a person remember. But to really get it, I think you need to ‘talk’ with people… go beyond a class. Maybe watching asl at concerts or also doing some physical thing like dance or martial arts help? (get that right brain thing going)

  9. how cool that you are learning ASL.

    You know, I noticed that idea on Deb’s blog. it sounds good in theory, rather like a chat room environment… but me, with my hectic schedule cannot get back to blog posts after I commented – so following a conversation would be an amazingly impossible featIn fact, I hardly ever have time to read the comments before mine…. crazy, but true..

  10. I have a question … I’ve decided not to keep hunting and pecking the many, many blogs I read daily but to sign up for a feed aggregator. How did you decide on bloglines? I’ve also seen people praise google reader and other services?

  11. Personally, I keep feeds “going” in three different readers, Bloglines, Newsgator, and Google reader. I primarily read out of one and just mark the others “read,” but I started doing this over a year ago after several days in a row that Bloglines was down and I couldn’t remember the “real” addresses of all of my favorite blogs to go to them manually!

  12. I’m glad it isn’t just me doing that, Deb! I use Bloglines and Google Reader and keep them in synch with each other. After running them in parallel for a while, it seems like they pretty much balance out – one might pick up certain feeds faster than the other for a while, but then it will flip flop.

    I also just heard that FeedDemon is now available free, but I haven’t checked that out at all.

  13. *laugh* Interesting experiment.

    I think that I’ll try replying via my blog instead of emails…Now I need to go & spend an hour figuring it out.

    I think I’ll knit instead.

  14. Hmm, very interesting thread here, but of course, I do not have time to go through 119 comments. I prefer to reply to comments by email, individually.

    However, if I were getting comments like Wendy and Stephanie, yes, I would reply in the comments, or reply in a follow-up post to comments in the blog post.

  15. That is how commenting works in my blog–discussions captured within–no emails. i prefer it that way myself (in my own blog). The problem, here, seems to be that the comments aren’t threaded but are instead chronological–?

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