What’s the point.

I’m curious. Why do we do this?

Okay, when I was in high school English, I got scolded for ‘indefinite pronoun reference”. And I haven’t stopped committing that sin. However, I will clear up the question of what do I mean by “this”.

Why do we find conversation via comment so compelling?

It hasn’t happened much here. However, there have been several conversations over at Rick Dugan’s blog which he has used to shape how he preaches.

For example, one day he put up his beginning thoughts on a passage of scripture which he would be using in two days and asked for comments. There were a dozen comments from five people in three countries and two continents.

This has happened several times.

What I would like to know is, why? Why do you contribute to comment conversations? What do you get out of giving? What has happened to your own thinking as you have been involved in thoughtful commenting?

Understand, I’m not talking about the “Nice job” comments. I’m talking about the kind of conversation that would happen, or could happen, if we were all sitting in the same geography drinking coffee?

What is happening to us?

{And Rick, if you are interested in pointing your commenters here, that would be interesting.}

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5 responses to “What’s the point.

  1. Ok … I’ll bite.

    First, why do I do I enjoy the conversations? Well, they’re helpful. I really like the idea of sermons being ‘community projects.’ In addition to getting input from you and others, I get face-to-face input here in Nicosia as well. There are lots of blogs where people post their sermons after the fact. But I prefer to post my initial thoughts and some of the questions the topic or passage raises for me and get input. Unfortunately, most who help me out rarely get to hear the final product!

    I also do it to keep in touch with people. Living overseas, participating in such conversations allows my family and friends from all over the world to interact and participate in my life. And I get to participate in theirs.

    On other blogs, I tend to post most often when I disagree with something. Unfortunately, that may make me seem a bit confrontational at times. Maybe I need to be a bit more encouraging or add a contribution in a more positive way.

    Some people feel that it is easier to ‘hide’ in these types of conversations. I suppose that’s true to a point, and I would hope that this doesn’t become the extent of our conversations. It’s still good to talk over coffee! On the other hand, I think this type of conversation keeps us focused and may be more thoughtful at times.

    Anyway, I enjoy it. And I enjoy knowing what is going on in the lives of my friends.

    PS – Thanks for the book!

  2. For me Jon, it has sometimes been about sharing ideas and stretching my own thinking in the context of someone’s post.

    It all begins with an idea that sparks something for me. Although the absence of my comment does not necessarily mean that I am not interested in what people are saying. That is usually a function of time.

    To answer your questions though:

    Why are we doing this?

    Because I enjoy community no matter where it happens and the fact that I get to meet folks like you keeps me coming back.

    Why do we find conversation via comment so compelling?

    Again, because of community. I do think that comment allows for time and thoughtfulness in our response in a way that we may not always utilize in direct conversation.

    I also think that it says a lot that people are willing to take the time to comment. There are millions of blogs with people posting ideas everyday. Everyone is busy. What a wonderful thing that someone has taken the time to respond to a post.

    What is happening to us?

    I have noticed, through reading blogs and spending time engaged in the writing of others, that I am more interested in the stories that people have to tell me in person as well.

    I have become more interested in the gifts people have to share.

    On this occasion of Pentecost, I am more keenly aware of this. When we hear in I Corinthians, about our many gifts given us by the Holy Spirit and reflect on John’s Gospel about the individual flames from the Holy Spirit that alighted over each apostle, we are reminded that not only are we individually given special gifts, but that others are as well. So, as we engage in conversation via comment, we have the opportunity to share and learn more about the gifts of others.

    Thanks for asking.

  3. I know for me, one of the reasons is that I am desperate for any avenue that leads me deeper into the truth. And since the way our society is structured doesn’t provide me a way to have daily face to face conversations with you all, this will have to do.

    I also like the “go away and think about it and post later” aspect that you can’t have with FTF conversations. Because what I post then is more likely to be what I really mean.

    I also have an opinion and love to share it with anyone who will listen in any venue.

  4. Anna is becoming my voice in this crazy blog world! I would especially “ditto” her last two paragraphs of comment.

    Especially the “go away and think about it and post later” quality is what I like about electronic communcation forms–the chance to organize my thoughts and say what I really mean is why I will almost always choose email over phone calls (and also why my emails–and comments–tend to be longer than most people’s!) The danger in commenting on people’s blogs is that of commenting too quickly. I find that some of the best posts I read must be read a time or two to really absorb the “good stuff”–if I comment too quickly after a cursory reading, I likely will miss something in the post and muddy the waters of the train of conversation as well. So, Jon, your question creates a good caution for me.

  5. Thanks for the comments so far. So the rest of you know, both Rob and Rick commented almost immediately, and then both wrote to me diretly to let me know that their comments had disappeared.

    Here’s what is interesting. Both of them had taken the conversation seriously, as you can see by reading their notes. Both of them are talking about the spiritual component, about the community development, about the value of multiple perspectives on thinking. In their emails, both of them were disappaointed that their thinking had disappeared.

    And I was disappointed as well.

    And then, after just having told Rob that I wouldn’t be surprised that the enemy of our souls was involved in frustrating the development of relationship, I thought, “spam filter”.

    Sure enough, akismet had caught both of their comments. No particular reason. So I unspammed them and now you can read their contributions.

    If ever you write and it doesn’t show up, let me know and I know where to look.

    And thanks, you all, for the conversation so far.

    Jon