Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Blog Talks Back

Holy Moly. Last time I checked there were 48 comments on yesterday's blog post, plus a bunch more on FaceBook. I learned some things.
  1. General concurrence that less blogging is happening and fewer comments are being left. Not just here. Throughout Blogdom.
  2. Reasons for not leaving comments include: using a blog reader makes it more difficult (or encourages me to be lazy) ; I don't feel qualified to offer an opinion; I read so many blogs I don't have time to comment; I used to leave comments, but you never responded to them; I now read blogs on my phone or tablet and typing on these is a pain; I have tried, but I am unable to leave a comment on your blog; and I just don't leave as many comments as I used to.
  3. Other bloggers share my feelings, are not blogging as often and miss the feedback from comments. Some think FaceBook is replacing blogging. Some feel they may be repeating themselves after years of blogging, or that they feel constrained to repeat the same kinds of topics they are known for.
  4. There is not a lot of interest in the digital drawings I have been posting.
Some thoughts:
All the reasons for not leaving comments are legitimate. It is not one thing, it is a combination of things.  I don't respond to most comments. Most don't seem to require a response, but it is a tricky thing. If a question is asked I try to answer it, either in an email to the asker, as a reply in the comment section, or in a subsequent blog post if it's a good, thought-provoking question that might be of interest to other people. Sometimes I can't respond by email because the commenter's email address does not come up for reply. I'm not sure of the etiquette here. I don't expect a response when I leave a comment and have supposed that most people don't. Could be wrong about that.

The thing about trying and being unable to leave a comment confounds me. And I know it happens. I have had the same experience trying to comment on some other blogs. I don't get what is at work there. I don't think I have control over that at my end. If there is something you know of that I can do to facilitate your comments, please let me know!

A couple people said they had commented and it disappeared. Maybe there is an explanation for that. I have set my blog to allow me to screen and approve comments before they appear in the post. I have done this because I get so many spam comments ("Dear One, what a most stunning blog you have created. Your mastery of many scintillating topics is superb.Click here to see hot Asian girls...") I approve all messages that are not spam. I do not filter out messages that I don't like! But I do have a confession. I get the comments by email and I can approve them within the email message. A couple of times, when checking email on my phone I have accidentally deleted comments when my fat finger accidentally hit the wrong choice. The choices are publish-delete-report as spam. The text is tiny and very close together. I don't like to do it from my phone. It is an awful feeling to see that comment whiz off into the ether, irretrievable. If you are on the East Coast and comment early in the morning, just know that your comment is not going to show up until I am awake and somewhat functional, at the earliest. It is an imperfect system, but the alternative is having you type those awful captcha words into the form and everybody hates those. (It usually takes me a couple tries to get it right.)

I use Facebook and like it, but I don't find it a good place to post lengthy, thoughtful posts, or share techniques, nor is it easy to search back through, so I don't see it replacing blogging for me.

June and I are enjoying our digital drawing challenge. Posting it on my blog keeps us accountable and there are several people playing along with us. I understand if it isn't of interest to you. Just hit delete and come back another day.

Now, here is me, happy.

 (photo by Claire Boschert)

Deborah Boschert, one of the Twelves, lives in Dallas, but she and her family are in the Northwest for Spring Break. They met Gerrie and me, the Portland Twelves, and our husbands for a fun dinner tonight at the Kennedy School. Have I told you that the greatest thing about my blogging experience is the friends I have made? Over dinner we marveled once again at the success and satisfaction of the Twelve by Twelve project and that we continue to stay in touch and visit when we can and love, love, love what we were able to do together. To the other Twelves—we wish you could have joined us and we were thinking of each of you!


  1. Dear Terry, I love your blog, it is one of the real quality ones! I've followed 'silently' for ages. You are a true quilt artist and your enthusiasm really comes over! Obviously, you're enjoying the digital drawing too and though it's of no interest to me, I won't stop following you because of that! I'm sure you're right, Facebook has accounted for a lot of blog folllowers decamping ( a sign of the 'soundbite society'?) I have also had the problem of blogs which won't allow me to comment (yours amongst them in the past!) Please don't give up!

  2. I share your concerns, Terry, and i am sorry about last weekend. We had fires here.
    I really can't see any alternative for me. Blogging is my only way to share my work as I am extremely isolated both geographically and artistically here. Although I do belong to groups on facebook, there is so much rubbish there that I avoid it most of the time.
    Lately, there seems to be a lot of problems with the internet. I thought it was just here, but I have also heard people all over the world are having problems. Google is just not what it once was. I have also noticed a steady move of artists to websites instead of blogs and am often asked why I don't have one, but honestly unless I have a means to get traffic to it, it is not really of much use to me.
    I suppose the winds of change are blowing and we will just have to wait it out!
    Looks like you had a great get together. I dream of one day meeting my challenge friends, but since they are all over there with you in the US it is not going to happen in the near future - unless I have a massive win on the lottery, lol.
    You can just delete this one if you wish. It was just for you, really.

    1. Vicki, I didn't delete your comment because you make some good points. A blog does create community and a partial cure for isolation, which web sites don't do. I should probably have a web site too, but I don't. I would rather use. My energy on the blog, which is more rewarding to me. I also love that you are participating in our digital drawing learning. So far you seem to be about the only follower enjoying that thread!

    2. I know that myriam at C-me is following and really has a lot of knowledge about digital work. As the others have said, there are those who blog regularly and those who don't, but at the moment, it is the only real internet community.

  3. Anonymous6:00 AM

    It truly is a remarkable project your 12x12 group accomplished; not only for the 12 of you, but for all of "us" out here to enjoy.

  4. Terry, let me give you my 2 cents. I think the internet is blog heavy. Even I, who has very little to say, started a blog, but I rarely update it. I must have over a hundred blogs on my favorites. But 2 remain at the top of the list, yours and Melody Johnson's. I check in everyday to just you two. The rest, when I have some time. I have been following you both for so long, you seem like good friends. I hope that doesn't sound creepy. And I especially feel like I have so much in common with you that I can relate to much of what you write. We're about the same age, art major in college, introverts (I read Quiet because of your recommendation), grown children, grandchildren. etc. When you write about past experiences (where you were when Kennedy was assassinated) it gets me thinking about my own past. So, yes, blogging has changed, as everything does and will, but I hope you remain.

  5. I appreciate the time you took to address this issue. I have tried to leave a comment on some of the blogs that I want to share my opinion with and it frustrates me that I can't post a comment. I simply back out and browse some more. Sometimes there is no comment to be made.

  6. I have been challenged by your drawings but even more by your quilts. I have also checked the drawing blog but it seems to have fallen into disuse. I have a blog also and get no comments although I hear from people that they read it. Even though I have tried to make it easy to comment, readers seem to have various problems, so I just keep posting to that void. Sometimes it gets really hard to do . Really hard.

  7. Thanks for explaining things about your blog. I was pleased to hear your opinions, especially about Facebook not replacing blogging. I don't use Facebook, for a variety of reasons, and I often wondered if I was just 'missing the boat' because of it. As far as posting about your digital drawings, if they make you happy and you want to post about them, I sincerely hope you continue to do so. It's really not that difficult to scroll past a post that doesn't interest me!

  8. Terry, sometimes I believe the comments we make may be lost because we just think we posted them when in fact, sometimes unless we sign in they do not post.

    I thoroughly enjoy the way your mind works and that is why I look forward to reading your blog. There are only a few I read regularly, mostly quilting blogs, but the ones that attract me are the ones that post something besides quilt pictures. I like words that speak to the fact that someone is thoughtful.


  9. this was an interesting discussion. I, too, think the 12 by 12 projects had a lot to do with building community--for the 12 of you, for me as a bystander playing along and for the readers. I think it's difficult to try and write a blog. And to keep posting when you wonder if anyone is reading. Especially when the author is writing about there art, family and interests. Makes me wonder, at times, if I would read me, if I weren't me. LOL

  10. Janet said everything I was thinking! Terry, your blog is one of the few I have listed on my blog sidebar and I do check in every day just to see what you are up to because I appreciate your creative approach. While it is much easier to have a more instantaneous "conversation" via Facebook, I like to think of blogdom as a place that ideas and events can be shared and archived. I frequently send people to my blog for more information as that is the place I tend to journal my current endeavors. It is much simpler to find stuff there than in the abyss of Facebook. And a website doesn't really lend itself as well to the informality of a blog. I love your unique perspective on your arty life and have been fascinated by your travels!!

  11. It was interesting to hear other's thoughts on blogging and commenting. I finally figured out Bloglovin, and I don't like it. It is like a ToDo list that arrives in my inbox. When I have time, I just click through my blog favorites list and see if anyone has posted. You lead my list because your writing is very good, and I enjoy your work. And it has been fun to meet IRL so I don't quite feel like such an i-stalker. LOL I find your drawing project interesting, but haven't commented much on that. I have never taken the time to learn to draw well with pencil and paper, have a sketchy (ha!) understanding of 'layers' as I've never messed about with graphics programs, and I don't even have a tablet so I can play too. (yet). So I don't know what to add to the conversation.

    Generally speaking, the blogs that I've been reading have moved toward only saying something really nice. Many of the blogs I read have the comments filled with some 1 sentence version of "Great job!" or "You're so talented" and nothing else. There isn't really any 'conversation'. It's all just a worship-fest. Even when what was presented is quite dodgy. While I would not want to encourage meanness, if that were my dress that I was showing the world for example, I'd sure like to know that there are two big daisies right over my chestal area in *exactly* the wrong place! Instead, everyone says how perfect the dress is.

    I like it that we can all tell you what we think you should do with some piece you've asked comments about and then you ignore us and make something really cool. I like it that you share your process too.

  12. Blogs are like a meeting of the book group (without, alas, the wine, although that could be supplied individually, I suppose). Or sometimes blogs are like a college bs session, really really full of exciting thoughts. Fb is like meeting on the street or the library. Websites are a bit like extended yellow pages, with pictures. Each very useful. And sometimes one spills over to the other.

    1. Never thought of it this way but I believe that you are correct. I guess that means that we should do a little of each. It is something to consider.

  13. Guilty as charged of all of the above. But I think the major contribution to my drop in commenting is using Bloglovin' . It just makes it that much more difficult to do. I write a blog too and have noticed the massive drop off in comments but an increase in people who are viewing.

    I have started listening to podcasts and find that they give me more of a sense of community than a lot of blogs, even if the podcaster is not making the same genre of quilts.

    In fact, last night I was listening to archives of Leslie Riley and an interview of four of the 'Twelve'. It occurred to me that I used to follow Nikki's blog but hadn't seen an update for ages so I went searching. She hasn't updated her blog or twitter for more than a year. I hope she is okay.

    And that shows up some of the good and bad things about blogging. If I had really cared, I should have noticed at the time and sent her a message. Blog reading can be about support and community, but also a little bit voyeuristic.

    Your blog always makes me think. To me you sound wise and like I could learn a whole heap from you. So please carry on, we are listening.

  14. Your blog is one of three I read regularly. I look forward to seeing new entries. By the way, I miss the 12's.

  15. Nancy Albright9:42 PM

    I have a blog. And I have a total of three readers, all family. For me it's a way to share my slice of daily life, all relative to photos I post. Right now my blog is hopelessly hundreds of photo behind. However, I use my blog to access a small handful of other blogs and read posts daily. Yours, Terry, is in the handful, as is Melody's, Diane Perin Hock's, and a few others.( I've got to limit myself or I'd have this computer in my lap all day long.) But I feel like I've chosen quality blogs to read which are entertaining, thought provoking, and artistically inspirational. There have been passages of time in which I've felt at a loss for friends, and those blogs have partially filled a need. As others have noted, so often your posts include a song or memory that is spot on for me. I hope you'll keep it up.

  16. I enjoy your blog thoroughly, but comment seldom... sorry! I don't get too many comments on my blog either and I do struggle about what to blog sometimes...

  17. I have never had much luck commenting on your blog, but I do read it regularly.

    I am now blogging for the MPS guild because that seems the best (and easiest) way to get information out for the guild members. It's also a good way to get information about the guild out to the world. But we still maintain our website because blogging isn't the best for everything.

    Thanks for bringing up the subject. Lots of good discussion to think about. I think I'll go back into the blog tools and fine tune the setting for comments to make it easier for those that want to leave a message on our blog.

    Dianne McDonnell

  18. Well, I did it again! My finger slipped and I rejected a lovely comment, instead of hitting "publish" . Fortunately I could copy it to share here.
    RGal 50 has left a new comment on your post "The Blog Talks Back":

    I applaud you for beginning the conversation about comments. And if you have a day when you feel like you're blogging into the void I think you should ask for a few shouts from the peanut gallery. Asking is good.
    I come to your blog for the warmth. I love the glimpses into your life, your home, your travels and your family. Art comes out of life. Your wonderful writing and excellent photos make every post a treat.
    And your work? I love the way you write about your process. It makes the finished work that much more enjoyable. I learn and am inspired to be thoughtful about my own work.
    I see the digital drawing as the artist's way of always pushing, experimenting, learning. You are modeling the expression "frustration is where learning takes place." I hope some of your readers think, "This looks hard. Let's try it."
    Please keep writing and inviting us into your world.

  19. Others have said it all for me, so I won't repeat but simply say "me too". I really enjoy reading your blog, related to all your Ecuador posts whilst we were there recently and like Rgal50, appreciate the privilege to have an insight into your life and work. I feel you are a friend and yet, if we passed each other in the street you wouldn't know me from Eve - yet of course, I'd recognise you ;-)
    As a result of your post the other day, I clicked through from my reader, to read your post as you intended it to be read and of course, to enable me to comment. It took me all of five minutes...
    I sincerely hope Facebook doesn't replace the blog - long may "and sew it goes" continue! (please)

  20. Caroline Crawford6:41 AM

    Hi Terry - it feels like I've known you, and two other bloggers for years. However when life sped up for me, I dropped reading about you, Melody and Deborah. I occasionally drop in for a visit, Melody has moved again, Claire has grown up and you have moved into electronic art. But it is one sided because I don't blog back. And if I did (and the hundreds who read your blogs did too) you would have to read all day. Exhausting! So for me, reading your blog is more like reading a magazine, entertaining, full of ideas. You three gave me hope at my darkest times and helped me move on, though you would never know it. You are writers like the classics: I'm fairly sure many writers of books feel they are sending their words into a void too. Thanks Terry for your humor, insights, inspiration. Keep on blogging until you don't like it anymore. Then do something different. Caroline

  21. I know I'm late to the conversation, but I figured you might like to know that I have a lot of the same feelings as you do about blogging right now. I'm guilty of not commenting, or blogging as much as I used to. I may or may not have mentioned this on FB or your other post, but I did realize that if I added up the comments and likes from FB, Instagram AND my blog, it did end up being about the same as just the blog back in the day. Personally, I tend to post little things on Facebook, and then they get erased from my head and I end up not telling the more detailed stories later on the blog. Also, I'm in a situation right now where I've got six projects going on and I'm not allowed to show much of anything on any of them. That makes it hard to blog about what I'm doing. I like the long form of blogging though, so I won;t get rid of mine, and Io do read everyone else's blogs because I like their more detailed stories too. I often read via Feedly or Facebook though, so I might not comment as much (too lazy to click through) or I'll comment on FB and not the blog, or like the photo on Instagram, but not bother to comment on FB. It's all more spread around now.
    BTW, I've been enjoying your digital explorations and would be happy to see more. I'm learning vicariously through you. :-)

  22. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Very nice
    I enjoy visiting here
    Have a wonderful day =)