Saturday, 10 March 2012

Random thoughts. Am I a lurker?

Be warned it is a long post Wink 

I love reading blogs but I don’t always leave a comment. I realize this also applies to many of my readers. I know you come from all over the world, I also know many come back. Past year I have on average about 500 people who visit my blog per week. I think that is pretty awesome. I’m glad you enjoy reading my quilting adventures, my journey on the path of life and my pondering on life issues. For those Dutch readers, I’m sorry that I don’t write in Dutch but when writing in English I’m home. I feel joy, happiness, as if I’m basking under the sun. Sometimes I get so homesick, that I have to go to place where they speak English. I then really feel ‘me’, I’m complete. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the Netherlands, I love the people here, I love the quilters I meet online as well as personally, but it always feels like I’m an outsider. I can accept I’m a little different, but do you accept me? This is not a reference to anyone special. Hopefully no one feels hurt, by my words. But there is a Dutch saying: “Wie zijn hoofd boven het maaiveld uitsteekt, die wordt zijn kop afgehakt.” A translation: if you don’t adhere to the rules of a group, you are pushed out. Actually it is pretty similar to the rules of the Ordnung of the Amish. Not conforming to group rules, standards & values means you will be excommunicated.

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It is strange that this value is so strong, for when ‘others’ talk about Dutch society, Dutch people are generally perceived as a very tolerant society. After living here for a long time, I can truthfully say we are not as tolerant as we might look. When you look a level deeper, you will get the gest: you are not allowed to be different. I’ve learned from experience that the customs in the Netherlands are really hard to understand. It is pretty hard to integrate. What they say is not what they do! I think it is even harder for people who come from other not-western orientated cultures.  

The customs of ‘blogging’ are just as varied as the customs around the world. What’s expected on one blog site is considered merely okay on another and gasp-worthy-forbidden on yet another. This also applies to blog etiquette.

So my problem is understanding which is which and when is where and why and so forth. I’m starting to sense that this also may apply to blog etiquette. In a previous post, I only wanted to say, you don’t always have to leave a comment. But if you’d rather, please do, I love receiving your e-mail or comment. 

However, I don’t like comments where I’m tempted to start a dialog. I don’t like starting a written discussion. When writing something down, the interpretation is to the reader. I don’t have any influence on that. When communicating verbally, this changes. I too, using all my senses, play a part in the conversation.  I can adapt, I can make nuances, etc.

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I try to write as neutral as possible, I don’t want to offend anyone. I just love blogging about my quilting adventures, about how I work through certain issues and my life’s journey.

The practice of lurking, which in itself seems sort of wrong – kind of like a peeping tom checking you out – is my preferred role when reading your blog.  I lurk at blogs to see what is said and how it is said. To read what is happening out there in quilters world. When I feel the urge to say something, I count to ten, if the temptation is still there, I might post a comment but I generally go on to the next blog. Using Google Reader takes away the temptation as I have to take many steps to get to the original blog to leave a comment.

I’m not a conformer. I don’t like belonging to just one group. I get restless, especially when I start feeling caged in. It bothers me, when I sense that the ‘others’ want me to conform to their values and rules. It gets especially tricky when the deeper message becomes louder, that they don’t like you participating in other groups.

So what do I do? Do as they do, and not what they say? Or, do what they say and not what they do? That is the question?

My answer, be a lurker if you like!

2 comments:

Sewing Junkie said...

Helen, you are not the only one to be a lurker. I do the same thing. This is the first I have come across your blog and yet I am leaving a comment. Your blog is a journal of your thoughts and desires. If no one leaves a comment I feel that they read your blog and had nothing better to say than what you placed in words. Keep blogging and keep reading, Lurking. Chris

karenfae said...

nice post - I too get a lot of readers but little in comments, I enjoy hearing from people and know where they are from but I use google reader also and hop around a lot looking and not commenting.
Karen