I wanted to write a wonderful theoretical post about conversation and community.
The train of thinking started with a post by Joanna Young, talking about responding to comments on blogs. It’s a great post, suggesting that if we are going to write, we have to listen to the comments and respond to them because we are the social in social media, because these are conversations that, when continued, grow into relationship.
I commented that I like to email rather than respond on my blog to the comments. Joanna suggested that the former is nice and helpful and friendly, but if we don’t do the latter, we don’t help people to understand that this is a friendly place to be, that the writer of this blog is a listener, a dialoguer, a conversationalist.
It was a very good caution, a very well written, caring reproof.
I am, by nature, a one-on-one person. My counsel is private most often. I don’t like to talk to one person in front of others. In fact, when Nancy and I go out to eat, we are the quiet table. We talk, quietly, but if there are other tables close to ours, our conversation is limited. This is in marked contrast to the tables around us who seem more than ready to share every detail of their lives.
As a result, when I come to social media, I am far more comfortable with the email interaction than with responding to comments. I can speak more directly to heart needs that I sense. I can relate at a different level.
And, as I said, I was going to have this much more closely reasoned.
And then I spent the evening in conversations, with a long-time friend, with family, in the emergency room with someone injured in an accident (not seriously). And I realized that I am built to encourage best in one-on-one conversations. If there are four of us in the room, I’ll defer to those who seem to know better what they are doing. If there are two of us, I’ll defer to the one who seems to know better what they are doing.
We each work best when we work in ways that fit with us best. And at times that will cost us reach, and breadth, and audience. However, when I am most likely to change a life, it happens with personal time where I don’t have to worry about others listening in. I can better ask obnoxious questions. I can more comfortably share my particular struggles.
So yes, Joanna, I will do my best to respond publicly to comments. And I love what you and Liz do with specific direct comments to everyone who comments on your blogs. But I’m thinking that I have to know how my voice best works, and put my energy into that way of speaking.
Or that’s what I think way too late at night.