I was an inconsistent Twitter user before Twitter’s shadow blacklisting problem came to light. Now I am looking for an alternative. Plus, I again ended up with dual social media accounts. It’s a long story that can be summed up by my succumbing to concern for stats rather than connections. (I usually avoid looking at stats the way most avoid looking at comments. See below. Aiming for stats takes the focus off the ideas.)
I have a FB writer page where I first post my articles. I tweet most often when I’m in housewife mode because catching a minute here and there to comment is easy to do. I write when I have blocks of time. When writing I try, but don’t always succeed, at staying off social media. Shorter: I disappear for random stretches.
I’ve also never gotten google alerts or ping backs or trackbacks to work, so I like to send trackback tweets when I link to other’s work. As for links to me, I rarely find out about those unless the author or one of my editors tells me. I love it when someone emails or tweets their piece to me.
The advice exchanged among professional writers is never to read the comments. I disagree. For one, I have enjoyed lovely commenters. I’ve made friends in comments. There are a handful that I not only enjoy but get exited when I see they’ve posted because I will likely learn something.
I owe my writing career to comments. My first editor, I gave him marital advice in his comments. My second editor, I sent him a comment about women writing fan fiction. Once I started writing beyond a blog, reading comments is like debriefing a jury. What ideas did the readers grab and what did they dismiss? Which ideas never broke though because I triggered the reader’s defenses?
Comment aversion partially explains the DC/NYC intelligentsia bubble, which seems to be as sound proof as it is opaque. Reading comments offers an easy way for bubble dwellers to at least move unknown unknowns to known unknowns. This US election cycle might have turned out differently if elites in the bubble had any inkling of the depth of frustration that didn’t surprise the thinkers in flyover country. (Ditto Brexit, as it appears that the elite bubble only correlates with location. It is actually a caste bubble full of globalists who know little history before the turn of the Millennium. Such thinkers simply congregate in DC, NYC, and London.)
All of that comment love aside, as I have gotten busier, I cannot participate in my comment threads as often as I’d like. I tend to check a few hours after an article goes up, and then again the next day. Unless the thread is very active, I don’t keep checking back. And since many authors avoid their comments, there isn’t a demand for a comment notice system. If any app writing people come across this post—I’m trying Disqus as an alternative to Twitter (see above) and I’d love an author category so that I could get comment notices on my own articles without having to be a tool and “recommend” them so they show up in my digest.
Feel free to email me if you want a response to a comment, lml dot ahlondon at gmail. As for comments here, I have no rules. (I keep moose themed spam because I think it is funny. (Really. There is moose themed spam. I discovered its existence when I did an article on how to annoy Canadians. And if that isn’t a testament to how ineffective ad algorithms are, I don’t know what is.) Say what you want to say. I prefer polite and reasoned comments, but I don’t police for them. I don’t require agreement. I write for the discussion. Accordingly, I do ignore straight ad hominem comments.