The Commentologist

funnyThis week has been draining due to poor sleep and losing my patience with my two spirited young girls far too often.  Meanwhile. I’ve been sooooooo frustrated with writer’s block, which, coincidentally, happened as soon as I stopped writing over thirty minutes consistently.

Apart from reading L.E. Henderson’s book A Trail  of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond (the perfect book for me as she insightfully addresses bipolar disorder, creativity and writer’s block),  I’m following some well-known writing advice.  The advice is to simply write and not worry about what you’re producing.  It can all be trash, but the point of the exercise is to move the hands and engage the brain and one’s pen…or laptop keyboard, if you’re like me!

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As simple as that advice sounds, I can’t write gobbledygook – I need to write about something that interests me.  Today my topic focuses on Facebook friends, commenting, reading blogs, commenting on them and “liking” posts.

I’ve been thinking about all these things for some time now.  Last year I had deactivated my Facebook account.  After reactivating it last fall, I noticed I had no meaningful connection with hundreds of my “friends”, so I trimmed down my list.  My guiding rule was to unfriend people I had no contact with for over a year, with the exception of longtime friends and a few other people.

I had two fall-out experiences as a result of my choice.  One person I barely knew messaged me and wrote that she didn’t understand why I was no longer Facebook friends with her.  I explained my rationale and then I  friended her in a feeble attempt to people-please.  She accepted my invite, but I haven’t heard a peep from her since.  

The other person who messaged me gave me a harder time, and I wrote about that in a previous post because she acted so weird.  I totally stand by my decision, but unfortunately I know I’ll be seeing her this summer face-to-face.  My husband told me last weekend she showed up at the community pool and she’s an avid member, as is our family.  Oh well – if she’s angry, she can’t drown me there – there are too many lifeguards!  Plus I’m pretty strong these days and can kick some serious ass.  Don’t mess with a mom with bipolar!

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As far as Facebook goes, obviously there are pros and cons to using it, but so far the pros have outweighed the cons for me since I reactivated my account.  I’ve “met” some wonderful people, and lately  it has been the ideal vehicle to share my puppy pictures with everyone.  (I realize that these folks don’t need to see 30 pictures of me and Lucy within two weeks, but I figure they can give me a well-deserved break!) For now I’m remaining on Facebook.  I do spend far too much time using it; precious time that could be spent on writing my book or blog.  Maybe I should look into those programs that shut you down on Facebook after using your account for an hour!

(I most likely won’t do that.)

I had yet another Facebook-related snafu happen a few days ago.

It began with my sharing a post about an Australian news article that I thought sugarcoated bipolar disorder.  I wrote my opinion about it without apology.  I received a comment from one of my Facebook “friends” who I never see or have communications with.  I’ll refer to her as “Snafura”.  Snafura and I have barely anything in common except for being mothers with bipolar disorder and for living in the same area.  Her lengthy rebuttal to my Aussie article post and her subtle passive/aggressive tone frankly pissed me off!

Snafura generally appears out of nowhere every six months to comment on my Facebook account in her annoying, oppositional style.  I consider this to be a form of lurking.  Meanwhile, I never follow her feed, and I have no idea what’s going on in her life.  That’s just fine and dandy with me.

You’re probably wondering the obvious question: “Why haven’t you unfriended her?”

Well, I haven’t unfriended her because we live very close to one another, and I don’t want to rock the boat if I run into her, which will inevitably happen if I unfriend her according to Murphy’s Law.

I’m not losing any sleep over this, but it helps to “write it out”.  It feels invasive when someone with whom I have virtually (or literally) no contact decides to comment out-of-the-blue and be argumentative.  It also disturbs and annoys me because I would never do that to someone else.

There are different privacy settings on Facebook, and I was thrilled to find one called “Restrictive” in which I don’t unfriend a person, but I can keep her from viewing my newsfeed.  I signed Snafura up for that right away.

Perfect!

When it comes to Facebook and this blog, I’d prefer having fewer friends/followers who scan my newsfeed & blog posts, who “like” my posts, and who make comments at least once in a while, than have 1000 friends who never take a look at my feed once they friend me.  (Forgive me for using all this Facebook-ese and for that gruesome run-on sentence! )

I call today’s post “The Commentologist” because  I’ve decided to make more of an effort to comment in response to posts by the wonderful bloggers I follow.  I read their posts on my Kindle each day, during the forty minutes I work out on my NordicTrack.  

At the very least, I “like” the posts so I can let the author know, “Yes, I was here.  I read your work.”  Then, if time and energy level allows, I write a comment ranging from a couple words to a paragraph.  It’s hard to comment when I’m on the elliptical – my carpal tunnel syndrome acts up in my right wrist.  It’s also not easy to type on a Kindle when you’re sweating buckets!  If I want to write a lengthier comment I make a mental note to do it after my workout.

I want to support the writers I’m networking with, and foster our virtual relationships.  It makes me happy when I see the WordPress orange notification symbol letting me know that someone “liked” my blog post.  A comment makes me VERY happy.  (Yep, I haven’t gotten any mean comments yet!) Because of that, I like the color orange even more than I did before WordPress entered my life.  I know that most of the people who follow my blog don’t read it, which is a bummer.  However, the bloggers who take some time out of their hectic days to respond to my writing are the reasons why I’m blogging instead of privately journaling.

I continue to encounter the super-famous blogs.  I belong to a network in which a blogger has shared how “viral” her posts are. (I’ve held myself back from making a snarky comment. 😉  The bottom line is that I become insecure and jealous of the mega-blogs. I need to stop wallowing in those feelings as soon as they hit me, and move on.  It doesn’t help one bit.  For all I know, these super-famous bloggers might have their own serious problems I know nothing about, right?  I have friends related to world-famous people, and I know it’s not all wine and roses in their world.  Still, when I spot that a blogger has 88 likes on a post, or 100 comments, my face turns green.  I hate that!

Speaking of green, I’ll move on to focusing upon greener pastures…

I’ll continue my study of commentology.  Perhaps I’ll even earn an honorary doctorate in the field!  If I’m following your blog, my hopes are that you will see my comments more often.  At the very least I’ll gladly take a moment to “like” your work to let you know I’ve stopped by and read about what matters to you.

Have a great weekend, you awesome bloggers!

Dyane

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12 thoughts on “The Commentologist

  1. Hmmm, I don’t get orange WordPress notifications. Now I’M green with envy. We must use different apps, devices, themes, etc. I spend an INORDINATE amount of time on social media, including commenting on WordPress blogs. You are even more (far more) prolific than I, so I can only imagine how much time you spend commenting. You must be an awesome speed reader and speed typist. Oh, well. I am only human.

    1. At the upper right-hand corner of my WordPress screen, next to “New Post” and my Gravatar image/name, there’s a little white “quote bubble” surrounded by orange. That’s so strange you don’t get that as well. I wonder what you see instead? I’ve totally decreased being prolific, w/blogs & writing which happened when we got Lucy puppy. My attention & time went to her, rightfully so! I’m bummed about it, but I’ll figure out a new schedule to get back on track – hopefully. I am a pretty fast typist from all my jobs as office manager, and a fairly fast reader, but I never took a speed reading course! I forgot to tell you that I’m not human! I’m an alien from far, far away. 😉 (Okay, I’m a feeble human who just had a strong cup of coffee that has made me obnoxious!) You are an awesome human, if I may say so! Very inspiring to boot! It’s official. :)))))))

      1. Okay, I have the little white quote bubble. Now I know that it lists my notifications. No orange, though. Maybe because I’m using WordPress.com rather than WordPress.org.

  2. I feel like Facebook has become mostly people posting fucking memes – it’s useless! I like to be in touch with REAL people who post REAL things going on in their lives – pictures, little snippets, give me some connection, people!! But if you’re just going to reshare some fucking saying? Give me a fucking break! It’s USELESS! I am just about ready to quit Facebook. It is the biggest time suck ever. I think it’s time for a break. I’d like to focus on writing. Writing something real and good and worthwhile. I’m having quite the writer’s block – creative block in general as well. But it doesn’t mean I can’t work on it, right? 😀

    1. I’m with you on the “keepin’ it real” approach with Freakbook! 😉 You are hilarious the way you put it….I totally support you in taking any break you need from FB to work on your writing. Writing is *so* good for you – it’s exercise for the brain, and better than Lumisoty or whatever that’s called. In my opinion!

      I hope your block vanishes in the wind – believe me, I know how that is; I’m going through it now. Hang in there, and please let me know when you have a writing breakthrough – I hope it’s SOON! xoxoxoxoxoxx

  3. Zephyr, you seriously write some of the best comments I’ve ever received because you read my posts so closely and thoughtfully. (If that makes any sense!) FB can be like real life, oh yes, and I think it allows us to be even sneakier! 😉

    I am incredibly grateful to have *you* as a reader. I know you have other readers too, like the talented bloggers Kitt O’Malley, Bipolar On Fire, A Bipolar Runner, Dr. Walker Karraa and more!

    If you are facing writer’s block check out L.E. Henderson’s book that I mention in this post “A Trail of Crumbs” – it’s under $10. She has bipolar disorder; she is a writer and the book is about how she unblocked herself after taking bipolar meds. I was so stoked to find this, but the self-saboteur in me has been affecting me in terms in reading it in its entirety. How messed-up is that? It’s totally interesting, but I’ve only reached chapter 2 because I think I’m jinxing myself *and* I’m so exhausted at the end of the day. My goal is to complete this book because I have the strong sense it will help me more than I realize.

    Annnnnyway, sending you heaps of love, positivity in the face of struggling, and “revived” writing so you can kiss that block goodbye! I know you can do it! xoxoxoxoxo

  4. I also quit Facebook for am while then just decided that I would have two separate accounts one where I could keep connected to family and old friends and the other which I do what I want on 😉 I totally get that green eyed monster, even though. Even though I write my blogs for myself 99% of that time I feel good when people are reading or commenting. Every follower is a little joy and likes make me smile. Plus it makes me feel wanted somehow. I really like this post 🙂

    1. Awww – you wrote exactly what I feel! as far as our followers are concerned – “every follower is a little joy and likes make me smile” – yes!

      I’m realizing if I simply enjoy and appreciate the very small amount of *active” readers I have, then I’ve won the prize. Having a blog gives me the incentive for writing practice, and that’s why I’m doing it. I also love love love the understanding of bp-related crap and general support I get from writers such as you! Thank you sooo much!

  5. The world of FB and blogs is a peculiar one. On the one hand, we as writers love feedback and kudos on our writing. On the other hand, we know that we have to write for ourselves; depending on others’ opinions is the “don’t pass GO, go straight to jail” sentence for us. I’ve enjoyed the blogging community immensely for the camaraderie and learning about other people, their interests, their photos, their puppies (!). The FB thing really gets me down. I’m still on it, but it’s becoming less and less important, especially as they keep changing the algorithms and I have no idea how the hell the feeds work anymore. Why do some people get a zillion hits and others get only two or three. To me, FB is the 21st century equivalent of “keeping up with the Jones’s”. Hang in there, keep writing, you’re very good and it’s your passion/dream. xoxo.

    1. What a great comment – you sum up the pitfalls so well about Facebook! I too have been perplexed about why some people get so many hits and some don’t. I’ve had posts published on the International Bipolar Foundation’s FB feed. In that feed I noticed some weird, inaccurate discrepancies that took the wind out of my writerly sails at first. I decided to not worry about how many hits I got and that helped me focus on other, more important, more pleasurable things, such as the gorgeously cute Lucy Puppy!

      I *love* how you note that FB is our century’s way to “keep up with the Jones’s”. It’s very addictive. I wonder if there’s some freaky thing built into the program that draws us in (Does that make me sound paranoid? Oh well!)

      Anyway, I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed blogging and I am so proud of the books you’ve published and the ones in the works. Thanks, as always, for your lovely encouragement! Much love!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxo

  6. I hear where you are coming from dear Dyane ! I believe FB is like real life, people will sit around and watch you. They will have nothing to say positive about you or your work until, they get super jealous and that is where all the negativity comes in.
    It is the mark of kindness when you decide you spend your time and effort to appreciate some one’s work. Look at me I just have you as a reader and that is all I need. My policy is have 1 good friends than millions who will just bring negativity.
    I am 100% with you on this, Wish you a great weekend.
    P.S: I have such a bad block I have no idea what to write

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