Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Confessions of a Nervous Commenter

I've always been shy. I don't mean that as a bad thing, just as a fact. Grass is green, the moon is visible only when the sun hides behind it, and I have always been shy. There seems to be this idea that sitting behind a screen cancels out shyness. That it's easy to talk when it seems like no one is listening. 

I disagree.

I don't think blogging cancels out shyness. 

Maybe it does for some people. Maybe it makes them feel more confident. For me though, it doesn't change the fact that there are people out there. Real people, with real thoughts and real feelings.

(But isn't blogging a social activity?)

Sure, but only as far as you make it one. The internet is a community centre and our blog posts are like posters pinned up on the noticeboards. There's no communication involved in actually putting them up, except with the server.

Blogging is social because we expand across multiple social media platforms, but it's up to us how we use them. The only account I really consider myself active enough to qualify as social on is my Goodreads one. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - I only do what I want.

Blogging is social because our main way of interacting with one another is commenting. I don't think having a screen between us makes it easier to have a conversation. There's no tone, no facial expression. It's so easy to come across badly online. Do I sound too short? Am I rambling? I could have searched that on Goodreads, why did I ask that? Will they realise that's sarcasm or will they just think I'm being mean? Once it's on the internet, it's there forever - will I regret this? Oh my God, why why why did I think messaging them was a good idea?

(...Probably because your judgement goes to sleep after midnight.)

That was rhetorical! 

I don't think it's bad to treat talking to people on the internet the same way as talking to them in real life. It keeps you accountable for what you say when you bear in mind that there's someone else on the other side of the screen

But it can also make an everyday aspect of blogging seem like an insurmountable obstacle.

Here are a few things to consider if you too are a nervous commenter.

People Like Comments

All bloggers like comments. A comment means that someone has read your thoughts and wants to offer their own, start a conversation. I have never read a comment I've received on my blog and thought badly of the person who left it. If you're not being blatantly, deliberately cruel it's probably not going to be read that way.

They're Probably Not Thinking About It As Much As You Are

I'm not going to lie. I know I'm an overthinker. Knowing it doesn't help me stop, but it does make me self-aware enough to realise that I'm probably fretting over nothing. Sometimes, you just have to hit the 'post' button and damn the consequences. 

Actual footage of you dodging your own doubts to get to the post button.
It's okay to start small. The first blogs I commented on were big ones that got hundreds of comments because I figured that, that way, even if I worded it badly it wouldn't matter. They'd quickly forget because of the sheer volume of responses they were reading. This is perhaps not an accurate assumption, but it gave me the confidence I needed to take a step into the wider blogosphere.

(When in doubt, lie to yourself.)

Edit Copiously  

I'm not saying to treat it like an essay, but read it back over. If it's one specific part making you nervous, delete that part. They'll never even know it was there.

(Providing the rest of the sentence makes sense without it.)

Yeah. You should definitely check that before you hit 'post'...

Forget About the Future

At a time when searching through somebody's social media history to find incriminating things they said ten years ago is the fashion, we're more aware than ever that what we say online stays online. But do you know what they're probably not going to find? Every blog comment you've ever written. Potential employers are definitely not going to wade through all of those, and anyone you know who has time to do that has way too much time on their hands and, quite frankly, no right to judge you. 

Besides, I once read somewhere that, when you're old, you'll be embarassed of what you did when you were young regardless. And you'll wish you'd done it more.  

Don't Comment When You're Tired

Eat a Snickers instead.

Seriously though, you're more likely to mispell words or misjudge tone when you're tired. Don't do it.

It's Okay to Close the Tab

Look, I know that in a perfect world we'd comment on every blog post we read, but if it's really making you that nervous, close the tab. We should all blog for ourselves and I think that attitude should extend to all the extra little things we do in the blogosphere. You should only do what you want to do. Some days, we second-guess ourselves like it's going out of fashion. If you don't feel comfortable posting that comment, then don't. Don't feel bad about it either, you can always go back to the post and leave one later if it's really that important to you to comment on that specific post.

Commenting should NOT be something you feel you have you to worry about. Just do what makes you feel comfortable in yourself. You've got this!

Are you a nervous commenter?

1 comment:

  1. I think I was shy at first too :) but then you get used to it. 100% true on the one where you shouldn't comment when you're tired though! It can really backfire xD and I also used to wonder, what will I think of my own comments from 2016... but then I started feeling like, who's going to care? Probably not me xD