What I’ve learned from Blogging, Part 17*

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Culture, Games, HowTo, Musings |

It amazes me I’ve learned social skills here in blogland that I’ve actually used in Real Life. Usually it’s portrayed quite the other way in the media: those of us who spend large chunks of time in the fantasy worlds of WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or Role Playing Games are at best geeks, and at worst clueless social misfits.

I beg to differ.

I have learned, for one thing, to moderate my emotions. Note that I’m not saying to “not have” them, but rather to moderate their expression. During the first year or so that I had this blog, I would sometimes receive comments that were critical, or challenging, or argumentative. One person even said “That’s just…wrong!” (Actually, that one didn’t bother me much, because it was just…so…blatant.) But I will admit that I’d sometimes feel “attacked” and have an immediate emotional reaction. The most useful practice I’ve learned for these occasions is: “Do not respond to such a comment when feeling great emotional intensity!” One of the things I most like about blogging is that there is time…(if time really exists, but that’s another discussion) πŸ˜‰ Time to calm down. Time to meditate and do energy releasing practices. Time to realize that no one can really “attack” me on a blog. A person can type her/his words, opinions, thoughts, and even rants, but they belong to that person, not to me.

What I can do, is sort through the comment for a “learning”. I know, I’ve just stated that the comment is theirs, not mine, but I also believe (somewhat contradictorily) that it shows up on my blog for a reason. It’s my job, should I choose to accept it, to observe the learning opportunity, compare and contrast it with my values, and internalize what I find does have value. Fortunately, I rarely receive comments which disturb me anymore! (Perhaps I’ve learned!) I am so blessed in the amazing and wonderful people who visit my blog. I’m truly grateful for that.

So, now, I don’t often respond to a comment the moment I log in and read it. This not only goes for comments I “don’t like” upon first reading, but also the ones that delight me immediately. I always feel that if a person has taken the time, care, and thought to comment on a post of mine, I owe it to them—and to myself—to provide a thoughtful response. These can change in tone depending upon the nature of the topic, from lighthearted to deeply serious. Each comment is a gift.

Another thing I’ve learned I’m still learning is: “Don’t justify yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) on a blog!” Again, if upon first reading of a comment I’m feeling my ideas are “attacked”, there is such a great temptation to try to explain them further, or show why “the other guy’s” position is inferior, etc. When I step back, and lose the emotional reaction, I am certain that my blog friend’s opinion is every bit as valid as my own. I remind myself that I’m not here to convince anyone of my point of view, because that’s all it is—my point of view. I’m pretty attached to it myself, but, heck, I wouldn’t read any of your blogs if all you did was repeat exactly what I’ve said on mine, would I? So now, if a commenter challenges my point of view, I do what I can to find common ground, and then try my best to celebrate diversity! I still catch myself out in this regard more often than I’d like, so if I’ve argued with you at all recently, please forgive me. I’m working on it! πŸ˜‰

And that’s another thing I’ve learned—an expansion upon the last point, perhaps: “Do not argue upon the blog!” I know there are some bloggers and commenters who enjoy igniting “flame wars” where they’ll post something controversial or inflammatory and wait for the angry responses to start pouring in. In many of our cultures, negativity is much “juicier” or “energetic” than positivity, so I can understand how stimulating this can be. It’s not what I’m here for, though, and, in the end, I’ve found that in a “discussion” I learn things; in an “argument” I don’t. The difference is in the emotion I bring to the exchange. If I’m “getting all defensive”, my mind tends to close, restricting understanding and joy. I suppose it goes without saying that I seek to refrain from criticizing others on my or their blog. Or in my or their life! Another ongoing project. πŸ˜‰

At this point, I almost don’t want to publish this post. When I look at “what I’ve learned”, it seems I just have a list of “behaviors to avoid”. I do think these are valuable, and have helped me have a pleasanter blogging experience, but I would be remiss were I not to include some of the many joyous things I’ve learned!

I already pretty much knew this, but it’s been reinforced from blogging: People everywhere in the world are more alike than they are different. We all want to be loved; to be acknowledged; to feel our existence matters.

I’ve learned that I CAN write (relatively) consistently. I don’t write here every day, but I do get something out once or twice a week, at least, and have been doing that for nearly two years. When I started, I wasn’t sure I could do that! πŸ™‚

I’ve learned that I have a greater variety of companions here on the blog than I do in other parts of my life, as I’ve met people online who, if meeting me in person would run screaming from the room perhaps decide instantly I wasn’t “friendship” material because of my social status, age, other people I hang out with, or blah, blah, blah. Here we’re all in the same living room. There are a couple of qualifications. Once must own or have access to a computer—and I realize that still leaves out many world citizens I might like to meet—and the ability and fortitude to string a few sentences together fairly regularly. Other than that, anything goes! Whee!

And finally (at least for this post), I’ve learned that this is a fabulous place to learn! Not only do I get to explore my own ideas in a way I would not otherwise, but I get to explore YOURS, too! Does it get any better than that? We’ll just have to see! 😎

* There are no Parts 1-16 on this topic; at least not here. It’s just that I’ve learned So Much From Blogging that it didn’t seem right to confine it to one set of ideas held in time.

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18 Responses to “What I’ve learned from Blogging, Part 17*”

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this is so true i feel the same too.. get to learn a lot through blogging.. keep going..

I too, have learned from blogging. I think in my case I have learned a lot about myself. The most important thing I have learned is I love writing. I honestly didn’t realize I had any writing ability at all. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a writer but I do enjoy writing.

I also have learned from other people’s blogs. I love reading other people’s opinions. I may not always agree but you are so right. It is their opinion and I respect that. I too would never want to be in a flame war.

Well, I enjoy your blog and your opinions.

Great post, Muse. I find it’s hard to always know what a person is all about on line because I can’t see the body language or mood they are in. They could be joking or not. So, taking time to step back and not react would probably be wise. I try not to print anything I think can be misconstrued and if I think it could be, I try to clarify it as best as I can.

One thing is that having to do that just feels unnatural. To always have to state things like that. It makes things awkward. But such is life.

There are plenty of times I have felt that I have just been ‘slammed’ (and sometimes I have) but I usually ignore it. Far from my heart. I get over stuff pretty quick. Especially on-line. Not that I don’t enjoy a good debate. Not that I don’t have it in me to be nasty. But seriously, why bother? Where does it get anyone?

But it is so true, we can learn so much from other people. People we only know on-line. I have changed my views on many things from reading someone’s post! I am more social in real life because of the internet. For real. I was quite shy years ago. Now, ha! Not a chance. I’ll talk to anyone.

It is harder to communicate on line to ensure you are taken the wrong way, where in real life by your facial expression or tone would just say it for you.

As for flame wars and stuff. I think it is far easier to be that way than not. I could write twenty pissy rants or comments a day. Maybe even more. Sometimes it is hard not to!

Many times I’ve typed things in a comment box, and deleted it. (Thank Goodness) I have many things I’d like to rant about. Ahhhh. But there have been times I just have to say it.

I too have learned to step back, ask myself: Does this really matter? In ten years will it still have an impact on me or my life? Is it really hurting someone? Or is it just the way someone feels right now. Brush it off, and ignore it.

On the other hand, if it is something that matters for real…watch out! LOL!

By the way, your last few paragraphs had me smiling. You sure have a way with words, Muse. πŸ˜‰

i echo joanharvest about learning about myself. yes, you definitely are consistent with blogging, though more in quality than quantity, in my opinion. πŸ˜‰

still haven’t quite learnt the lesson of not needing to justify myself. i always feel the urge to because i’m afraid people will judge me if i don’t. which they probably do even after justifying anyway, yet i do because at least i think i’ve tried. but justifying makes me rather defensive at times, i notice.

and definitely a big thumbs up to the fact that i’ve met many people i wouldn’t have been able to meet in daily life. i’m not sure if half of the people who comment in my blog would talk to me (or i them) if we met in real life.

Thank you, oorja, I will. It is an amazing experience, and different than I thought it would be. πŸ™‚

joan, you are such a good writer, that, from a completely selfish point of view, I’m very glad you discovered blogging and writing! I like what you said about learning about yourself. Yes, indeed. And getting to look at things from another point of view is a priceless education. Thank you, I’m glad!

Excellent point about eye contact and visual clues, BD. Those are such a huge part of communication that I actually put blogging and people met there in another category. I have mixed feelings about ever meeting someone I blog with (I haven’t, as yet) because it would just have to change the relationship. Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing, but I like a lot of them the way they are! πŸ˜‰ I see what you mean about it feeling unnatural to think about how things will be taken when you write. And that’s true for me as well. Sometimes. Other times it’s actually more freeing to just write here, rather than talk to someone who’s staring at me while I speak! Pseudo-annonymity has its plusses and minuses. I think you have asked the most important question of all when considering what to write in comments—Does this really matter? Bingo! You’ve reminded me that I only like to comment when I feel I have something to contribute, or, at the very least, have something friendly to say. πŸ˜€

Thanks, sulz. I think I’ve watched you learn about yourself on your blog. πŸ˜‰ Yeah, I’m not as prolific as I was when I started out, but I’ve found a comfortable pace, for me. I know some people start blogs and they’re on fire, and then they run out of steam (am I mixing my metaphors?) πŸ˜• but I’d rather not post 12 times a week for two months, and then take three months to recover. Thank you, about quality! I appreciate that, coming from you!!! πŸ™‚ Oh, the justifying thing is hard sometimes. “But, they just didn’t understand!” I know for me, at some point I just have to let go of the need for others to understand my point of view; some just won’t. In real life, too. I know, that’s so cool about blogging! If you and I met in, let’s say, a bookstore, πŸ˜‰ we might not even say “hello”. I’m glad we have. πŸ˜€

The best thing I’ve learned from blogging is:
ignore useless and provocative comments.
That way, we hone our patience too.

Hi Muse πŸ˜€

This is so true… Blogging contributes so much to our personal growth. It’s a mental and spiritual exercise that brings great satisfiction.

Gosh I’ve missed so much, there’s a lot of catching up to do. You’ve posted atleast 20 posts since my last visit and I’m a sucker for your writing. πŸ˜›

I’ve been sorting out my career and getting new projects off the ground that have taken all my time, even my family and girlfriend are complaining. I reckon it’s time I take it a bit easy, I worked extremely hard over the last month and a half.

Thank you for always dropping by my spot to check up on me, your presence I felt strong as if u physically visited me at home.

I’ll stop being a stranger from now on. Takecare mate πŸ˜‰

I think the Internet in general can be a great place to learn about the world, especially about other cultures and personalities that you’d never come into contact with offline.

Learning to keep a cool head when dealing with trolls should be number one priority when writing a blog!

Honing ones patience does sound like a good idea, poch. πŸ™‚ Thanks for that!

I like your description: “mental and spiritual exercise”. Indeed, Tazzy! Oh, you flatter me! πŸ™‚ Starting your own business must be very time consuming. You don’t exactly have “quitting time”, do you? πŸ˜› I wish you great luck with that! Perhaps you can give your family and girlfriend a really good photo of you, so they don’t forget what you look like. πŸ˜‰ Well, sure, I’ve got my eye on you! 😎 That’s nice it feels like a real visit. It’s always good to hear from you whenever your time permits!

I agree, B0bby, we can go anywhere online! πŸ™‚ I don’t really get very many trolls. Do you? I used to like trolls. Not the internet kind, nor the kind who sit under bridges, but those funny little dolls with the hair…so I still think of them when I read about blog-trolls, and it makes me smile. πŸ˜€

I can honestly say that I have NEVER posted anything remotely controversial!

Well, not here any way LOL πŸ˜‰

Great post, Muse.

I so wish I learnt what you have. There are times when I stop before responding to a negative comment or try not to take it too personally. Though I must confess that I am far from it!
I must concur on the point that this is a fabulous place to learn! πŸ˜€ To get insight from those who know better, “meet” people. The way you, BD research topics you post on amaze me!! The way Sulz, Laksh and many others share their lives in beautiful words! The creativity, language, information blows my mind! πŸ™‚
To me blogging definitely has been an enriching experience.

thank you for the wonderful compliment, apar. a high one coming from you! πŸ™‚

Oh, no, not you, Will. I can’t imagine why anyone would think you’re the least bit controversial! πŸ˜‰ You do behave yourself over here, for the most part. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

It can be very, very hard to not takes these personally, Apar. After all, they’re talking about you—or something you wrote, which IS personal. It’s wonderful that you go on learning, too. Thank you for that beautiful compliment! It touches my heart. “Enriching” —that’s a perfect description of our blogging time. πŸ™‚

Indeed, it is, sulz, and well deserved, too.

Hello Muse,
I have been absent for quite some time but I still remember my blogging woes related to comments. When I used to blog regularly, it was so hard not to react (positively or negatively) to a comment. Cos I put a lot of effort in my blog and feedback was an important part. Now I wish I had better control over my reactions – not all reactions were moderate. Anyways….

Now I am a bit too far away from blogosphere. I just wanted to tell you… I GOT MARRIED! πŸ˜€

I hope to get my blogging wheels going at full speed some day again. But now I am simply enjoying marital bliss. There’s a right time for everything!

Thank you, Apar! Well, I have learned an awful lot from you as well! You are right, that is the beauty of the internet. That we can all connect. And I am so grateful for the connections I have made here!

As for the research, I am just repeating what other people wrote. But I do like finding this stuff! I enjoy it as much as I do beading! I am in awe of some of the thinkers out there!

Netty Gritty, it’s great to see you, wayward blogger that you are! Congratulations! I agree, it is hard to not react too emotionally to a comment, sometimes. I’d love to see you get back to blogging; I’ve always enjoyed your vibrant personality! And, um…I’ve heard rumors…that there are a few frequent bloggers who are, actually, married! πŸ˜€

I agree with what you said about Apar—and about what she said about you, BD! I’ve learned from a lot from Apar’s blog! And research is more than repeating what others have said; you have to find the material and present it to your audience in a compelling way. You do that very well.

I just love your attitudes! In real life, it’s rather difficult to get ‘out there’ and really get to know someone different. Our daily paths just don’t often cross – especially with that time construct issue. But here in the blogosphere, you can spend time and even feel an energy connection. I find that most bloggers are overall very ‘nice’ and open minded. but then, I seem to only spend time reading blogs by the seemingly nice and openminded types!

Thanks, IdeaJump! That’s a good point about getting to know someone “out there”. With bloggers, you can proceed at your own pace. Certainly the majority of people who come to visit me here are extremely nice, and open-minded—like you! πŸ˜€

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