Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reflections on Blogging

One positive result of waking up to wind and rain each day this weekend was that it forced me indoors and gave me a chance to actually comment on a lot of blogs. I do keep many blogs in my RSS Feed and read them daily, though I often get distracted before I can comment. I have to remind myself that the most enjoyable part about blogging is getting a conversation going through comments. Most people don't care if I just read the post, but like to hear a few words from people in response to their post. I suppose by not commenting regularly, I've become the wallflower at a school dance, or worse yet a lurker in a chat room, though I actually haven't visited any chat rooms in probably 10 years since I got kicked out of the first one for being a lurker while trying to figure out what it was all about.

Opening up your dashboard and seeing comments there is kind of like seeing presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Well, that is the case if they are friendly words and comments that make us laugh. Unfortunately, someone always has to come around every once in a while who has to leave a steaming pile of $%!+ in our comment box. I've never figured out why some people feel the need to ruin other people's day by being mean and nasty. People are sensitive, and when you take swipes at them, it not only affects them, but they usually turn around and say or do something negative to someone else because you have put them in a bad mood. On and on it goes. That's why I love performing random acts of kindness: Same effect, just in a better direction.

Don't worry. No one has insulted me lately. I'm just mentioning a fact of blogging.

The other day my husband and I were talking about different parts of the country, and I said, "One of the nicest persons I know is from Louisiana." Then I had to pause. I was referring to a blogger who I've never met in person, but only through words within posts and comments. In case you haven't already guessed, I was talking about Andrea at Swamp Suburbia. I'm sure everyone would agree with me that she ranks up there with one of the nicest people you can "meet".

I realized that there are so many people whose lives I care about through reading their blogs. There are days when I actually think, "I wonder how so-and-so is doing today," and I go out to her blog to check on her welfare. Perhaps I should just leave the words, "Welfare check!" in my clipboard and paste that into comment boxes so that you know I've been there.

Occasionally, something funny will happen with one of my neighbors and I'll think, "Oh, I've got to remember to tell Lytha that!" Who would have thought I'd become friends with A Horse Crazy American in Germany? I've never even traveled outside the United States. Oh, and the Canadians! There are so many Canadian bloggers who are also amazing horse women. Shirley of Ride a Good Horse has morphed into the most wonderful mentor to me over this past year. She always has suggestions on how to improve my horsemanship skills and how to resolve each little horse challenge as it arises.

Then there's the amazing fact that I could become friends with two next-door neighbors who live in New Mexico, even though I have never been to New Mexico: Val at Fantastyk Voyage and Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch. They really add an interesting twist to blogging by spending time together and each writing about the same experience from their own perspectives.

Then there is Katharine from Pony Tales Blog who is almost always the first to leave comments, and her comments often lead to responses from me, and next thing I know she is leaving a response to my response, and before I know it we are both blogging about the same thing and wondering if we are leading parallel lives.

There are so many bloggers who have touched my life. I think I will do a post like this every once in a while to let you know that the time you spend conversing with me through posts and comments is really appreciated, and I'm sure there will be many more posts from me apologizing for not commenting as often as I should. Once a crazy life, always a crazy life.


Sydney said...

It is great to see comments on your blog. I used to miss a lot of mine until I put the moderation for posts older than 3 days. I don't miss much anymore.

fernvalley01 said...

What a nice and thought ful post .I think there are some wonderful people in this litle blogging comunity ,and I have met some wonderful new friends as well.I like to see comments too but, well the comments you have left have been so kind and supportive ,that I sure don't mind if they aren't on every post ,just love them when I see them!

Paint Girl said...

I haven't been blogging for very long, well not publicly anyway, but I always would read a few blogs and comment from time to time, as you said, made me feel like I was a "lurker"! I like to comment especially if a post is funny and interesting. I have really enjoyed getting to know new people and everything they go through with their animals.
There are alot of amazing people out there, and a couple bad ones (mean people who leave nasty comments on blogs, just need to get a life!)
Speaking of commenting, I would like to thank you for stopping by my blog!
Have a good week!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

This was such a terrific post, NM! I had no idea you felt that way, but I think it's so cool that you do.

You know what I would love, and suffice it to say, Val, too? Is if you moved to New Mexico and became our neighbors!

Imagine the interesting spin that would create for all our blogs!

But it might be a little boring on your blog as you wouldn't have any nosy, nut-job neighbors bothering you anymore (unless you count Val and I, that is! hehee).

Oh, and by the way...I already consider you my friend, NM.

Luvs ya!

Katharine Swan said...

Awwww, you blogged about me! :o)

I think we do lead parallel lives, except I don't have creepy neighbors. ;o) I'm a writer, and I believe you said you've done some of that too; we both work from home (though under different circumstances); we both love Arabs; and we have a lot of the same views on horsemanship.

The comments are where the community is, I think. Your "welfare check" comment idea made me smile. Perhaps you should! I know I miss hearing from you when you get busy!

lytha said...

Oh what a nice Christmas present this post is! *grin*

Geography and Neighbors:

When you said "next door neighbors in New Mexico" I thought you meant "next door" to you cuz isn't Nevada right up against New Mexico? Or...is Arizona in between? Oh geez, I'm losing it. I should know this - I've been to both the Grand Canyon (with my man!) and the Star Trek Experience (twice!).

Well, wouldn't it be cool to drop in on the NM next door neighbors this summer and have a party (without hats) in their barns? OOOOH!!! Let's not tell them! Just kidding! Let's invite ourselves though. They are luring me with constant photos of the strange landscape they live in.

Anyway, as an example of how "near" Nuzzling Muzzles is to our lives in Germany, the other day I noted to my man that whenever I visit the neighbors with the terrier, I never even have a chance to knock/ring, they are always just outside their door to welcome me. My man said "OOH! You have to tell Nuzzling Muzzles that our neighbors have a camera trained on our home and know what we're up to at all times!" *LOL* Of course they don't, but they probably just see me coming from their window and save me the trouble of finding their doorbell.

Lord save us from the crazies that live in Nevada nextdoor to three Arabian horses.

It's scary to meet people you'd only known online, but so far I've been blessed and the people turn out to be exactly as they portrayed themselves. But then you throw in a measure of extra risk when the people online are horse people cuz so many of the horse people I know in real life seem to be socially "off" in some way, myself included.

p.s. Unless you are at a standstill in that driving photo, that truck behind you is tailgating you!

Leah Fry said...

The resulting conversation in Comments is indeed the best part. And yes, sometimes it's hard to get through what seems to be an ever-growing list of blogs one follows.

Promise said...

I don't comment much for many of the same reasons you stated. I tend to lurk and then forget to post, or some times, think I don't have much to contribute to the conversation right then, so put off responding to think and then never go back to do it.

I enjoy reading about your horses. Although I have been slacking on my blog reading lately, so it seems I have a bit of catching up to do everywhere...including writing on my own blog! I hope you'll stop by and take a peek. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sydney - I once tried letting comments publish on their own, but missed them too, especially if the comment was for an older post. I wish Blogger would indicate the title of the post that the comment is related to, because sometimes I will publish a comment, and then I can't find it because it was attached to such an old post.

fernvalley01 - I'm so glad to know that you appreciate my comments. Sometimes I will comment on other people's sites a lot and never get any response, so I wonder if I'm not welcome. That's not the case with you, of course.

Paint Girl - I'm trying to visit more blogs through selecting the comments of those who left comments on my site instead of just relying on my old list of blogs on the sidebar and in my RSS Feed. It always takes me a while to get into the habit of lurking at a new site. I'll stop by more often.

Lisa - If Val could see you on the ground on your tush and just think you are playing a game with your horse, she's not paying close enough attention. That's the type of neighbor I need, unless of course I'm hurt and need help. (Val!) It would be nice to have neighbors who I have something in common with, who I can speak to and they will speak back kindly instead of staring off into space or criticizing me for having weeds in my yard. I love New Mexico, so you never know...

Katharine - I'll try to keep that in mind and not get so busy.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - Geography lesson for a rusty German / ex-American mind: Nevada's neighbors to the east are all of Utah and half of Arizona. Arizona's full neighbor is New Mexico. Hee hee. I'm working off a cheat sheet. If someone asked me what my state's neighbors are without having a map in front of me, I wouldn't know. Yes, I think we should descend on Lisa and Val and drive them nuts, but not without first driving my real neighbors nuts. Do your neighbor's invite you inside when they meet you on the doorstep, or do you think they are hiding something in there from you? Perhaps a drug-dealing terrier? Hee hee. I admit it... I am totally socially off. But that's a whole 'nother novel. Regarding the picture, I was driving 10 MPH in a 45 MPH zone on a single lane highway just so I could get that photo, and all the drivers behind me were honking and waving their fists in the air. Nah, we were all stuck in a construction zone.

Leah - Yeah, there's always qualm of choosing between quality and quantity. Follow a lot of blogs and comment little, or follow a few blogs and comment a lot.

Promise - Yeah, I figure that if it takes more than ten seconds for me to think of something to say, it's too late, so I move on. Sometimes I'll read a post on my way to work and think, "I wish I didn't read that right now, because I want to leave a comment and now I have to wait until I get home or I'll be late for work." Of course, by the time I get home, I've completely forgotten about it.

Callie said...

What a sweet post! And I "ditto" your feelings about everyone out there, suprising sometimes, isn't it, how we can all connect without having actually met each other in person. Pretty neat, really!

Andrea said...

Oh!! You are the bestest ever and just made my day!! You are too sweet!!

I have actually been a comment slacker. I have been super busy with the warmer weather and not inside as much. But I love to leave comments.

I have gotten a few that were just...uhm.....rude???!! But then maybe I was just reading them in a rude tone?

And I call you my friend too!! I will be talking to people and I will say, "I have this friend who is doing such and such to her horse" I bet those people think i am nuts, but I think that most of my blogger friends are my friends.

Thank you so much for your kinds words!!!

Vaquerogirl said...

You nailed it on the head! Bloggers just seem to gravitate to one another and I do the same thing- I kinda feel I 'know' the folks that I blog to! What a nice way to begin my day! Thanks!

AareneX said...

NM, I'm mostly a lurker on your blog, but there are some days that I just want to show up at your place and help you knock sense into your weird neighbors.

I have the best neighbors in the world, maybe you should move next door to ME (but only if you like rain...!)

Alex said...

i agree, comments are so fun to get! But I know what you mean about reading and clicking off without stopping to say hello... im guilty there too! Thanks for the reminder that we all love to "hear" from others!

Mikey said...

I hear you on this. Great post, my friend :)

lytha said...

Agh, I totally didn't notice that NM is the same abbreviation for Nuzzling Muzzles and New Mexico.

I meant that it would be cool to meet up at the New Mexico neighbors' barns - not the crazy outer-space neighbors you've got! Sorry to be so confusing.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Callie - You were one of the very first blogging buddies I met... and I haven't lost you yet!

Andrea - Yes, there is always the risk of just reading the wrong tone into comments.

VaqueroGirl - Glad you enjoyed it.

AareneX - I'm so glad that you lurk here. I lurk at you blog too. Thanks for the neighborly invite.

Alex - I've been lurking on your blog too.

Mikey - I lurk at your place too.

Lytha - I knew you meant New Mexico when you mentioned party hats, but your husband also suggested coming to my place to hassle the neighbors.

KD said...

I love checking on my bloggy friends. I've narrowed my Google Reader list down to just a few but enjoy checking other links on my favorite blogs. I tried to explain to my 76 yr old mom recently about cyberfriends in different states and she had a hard time understanding why I care about people I've never met. :-)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

KD - That's funny. I have a hard time keeping up with every post from everyone. There's always a better chance that I'll have time to read a post if it's short and to the point. I'm always amazed when people leave comments on my longer posts that show that they actually did read the whole thing.

Cas said...

That was a great post. I read so many, and rarely make it back to comment before I click to read the next one!

sue said...

that's pretty funny, because I will share stories that I have read on blogs with my hubby and say something like...."my friend "so and so" is having fun with her horse " (or whatever) and he looks at me and is trying to think what friend am I talking about... then I have to clarify it with.. "oh..my BLOG friend"... as you said, If I met you on the stree I wouldn't have a clue, but I am always checking your blog and seeing how it's going with the neighbors and all.... it's a strange world this blog thing...

Shirley said...

Thanks for your kind words, it teared me up a little! I too think of the people I connect with in blogland as friends. I don't know how it works with other types of bloggers, but horse people all seem to be a close knit bunch whether in cyber space or in real space; the love of the horse is a powerful commonality.
As far as comments go, if you go into your blog settings for comments and put your email address in where it says comment notification email, all comments will be sent to your email address as well as your blog. That way you don't miss any of them, even if you disable comment moderation. Also, it tells you what post the comment is for.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cas - Thanks for stopping by and dropping me a line.

Sue - Your husband must think you have imaginary friends. LOL. Wouldn't it be funny if none of bloggers were real people and each blog was just being written by a computer?

Shirley - I'm glad I could produce some good tears in you. I used to use the email notifications a while back, but it got to be too messy with all my other emails mixed in. I didn't know the emails tell you the title of the post. Thanks.

sue said...

actually, that is a scary thought... that all the blogs in the world are being written by a big computer somewhere and we aren't real.... hey, would make a good sci-fi movie!!!!!!