I think I actually freaked out when I saw my first comment. The fact that someone had read my awkward first steps of bumbled writing thrilled me to no end. Society, or at least one representative of it, had smiled upon me.
Then I began to moderate comments and include verification codes. Somehow, for some reason, random spiteful comments or ads that seemed to come from whatever unexplored dark maw of the internet began to crawl in. With some action those comments stopped, and it was also good.
Slowly real comments trickled in, and I was happy. Certain posts were racking up as many as 40+ comments. People were reading my posts and so the writing gained a slow momentum and a style unique unto itself. I was able to define myself out in the open through my writing and explore my own culinary creativity. The comments were supportive, thought provoking, witty, and humorous. And it was very good.
Some comments however weren't, and it was not good. Some comments seemed to be more of a personal advertisement in appearance rather than constructive feedback, as the comment might read "Great Post! I really liked the way you (insert post topic). Visit my website at...". A slippery clutch at a rain-slicked precipice to be sure, but if the comment seemed significant and it demonstrated that they actually read it, I allowed it albeit with with some reservations.
As an avid proponent of the Socratic method even the comments that disagreed with me were more than encouraged, as open discussion is a fantastic way to enlighten oneself. Detractors welcome, one and all! Assuming you do it with some class and style, and not a "Yer stoopid and so is ur opinion," or something equally clever.
Some commentors however were (and are) far more parasitic in their comments, refusing to actually write anything they simply write a "nice job" and plug themselves, their life story, and pet's middle name all with a URL included. To this the comment is simply swatted down. Vanquished in a way that most people would a mosquito; annoying and insignificant.
Not to say I'm not guilty of the crime in question. I remember my early days of commenting like a mad-man. Leaving my ideas, thoughts, and opinions (genuine and otherwise) in every digital locale I could find. Tagging here and there using the internet as my own freeway wall to graffiti with my own personal publicity. It was like running a second blog.
But eventually I stopped, it became too tiresome and I was weary of writing disenchanted, fragmented sentences. I now read my favorite blogs once a week (some still everyday) and leave comments when I am particularly smitten with a certain post or find myself awed by their innovation, creativity, and passion.
Given, I don't mind advertising if done in the right way. If I post about a recipe using pears, and someone leaves a thoughtful comment about pears and that they, in fact, also just wrote a perfect little pear post then by all means please leave a link. If you have a similar story, please write it down! I encourage it! It's a way for me to learn. Plus, my recipe might not be exactly what the reader is looking for and if they find yours is just right, then excellent. I want each reader to leave the blog feeling happy they took a moment from their day to read it. You get a new reader and I am still remembered as a wellspring of helpful links and information. Win-Win.
Ah, and lets not forget the comments left by my proliferate friend Anonymous. Anonymous is a fickle fellow, but usually accountable and friendly. In fact I greatly enjoy his assumed unbiased input. Anonymous may even sign their real name (thus rendering Anonymous' anonymity moot) and allow me to thank them for their feedback. However, he may sometimes trip up and decide to leave scathing or otherwise pointless wastes of the English language. Or in some cases, unnecessarily correct me on my diction and grammar (a massive pet peeve).
He will write "Shibby is not a word," or "It's 'anyway,' not 'anyways.'" Yes. I know. I wrote it that way on purpose. Or in some cases it's a blog, and I just didn't feel like proofing my grammar at 2 AM. I write for a living (hell, I teach it) and I know my dangling participles like the back of my hand, and am very diligent about making my prodigal semicolons sexy; therefore, all the more titillating when read. If I forgot to mention something in a recipe, or I misuse a word, I flub my grammar, or a link isn't working then by all means please let me know. However, please inform me of these things by e-mail. Not a comment.
Yes, Anonymous, sometimes I love you but sometimes you are the prime example of the Greater Internet Dickwad Theory:
Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total DickwadThis will only render you a candidate for a program I wish to create which revokes certain individuals access to humanity at large. Or at the very least internet chat rooms and forums.
All and all, comments are the lifeblood to the blog world and at times the link to the Outside as scary as it may be. They motivate us, network us, give us the raw sociological connection to the world we sometimes so crave from behind our computer personas. Ideas, inspiration, and comfort come from those we have never met, yet cheer us on regardless! In times of sadness, while we cannot feel their hugs and sympathy, their concern and joy travels in pixels and signals through miles of fiber optics and can actually provide a tangible warmth.
They can at times make you feel alive.
And for that, I and every blogger, to every single reader and commenter we say thank you.