Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Challenge to Blog Visitors!

I don't believe it... I actually missed "MyStoryART's" first birthday! For some reason I thought I had started blogging in August 2008. Wrong. It was in July. The 11th to be exact. I was busy with the Storytellers Conference this year on that day and it slipped right by me. Me BAD! I'm sorry. Here's wishing a happy belated birthday to MyStoryART! I promise I'll make it up to you...

I don't know where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday that I wrote my first post. It certainly has been a lot of fun doing it over the past year. Some days I wondered what I would even say. I needn't have worried... something always came to me just before the post was due. Looking back over the previous posts this morning, I realized that I still have a ton of stuff I can post that didn't get written or photographed in the past year!

Thanks a Million

I want to thank all of you for your support and the many kind words that you have either left in the comment box on posts or sent to me privately in emails over the past year.

Since I started keeping track in August of last year, nearly 24,000 hits have been logged for the MyStoryArt blog. WOW! That amazes and thrills me to bits. It means that people are actually reading my posts! I just love reading the comments that people take the time to leave. It encourages me to keep on blogging. It tells me that I am not just posting into "never never land" or talking to myself (WHEW! That's even better news!)

I know that becoming a blogger myself made me realize just how important it is to leave a comment, however brief it may be, on blogs that I visit. It's my way of saying thank you for taking the time to write your post and share a part of you, whether it is your art, your ideas, your knowledge or your thoughts with me. That's pretty special in my books.

I feel that people deserve to be acknowledged and not taken for granted for giving something of themselves. I don't know about you but I know I sure hate it when what I do is taken for granted by anyone. Personally I believe that our world would be a kinder, gentler, more loving place if there was less "taking for granted" and more acknowledgement of others PERIOD.

Why Giving Acknowledgement and Feedback Is So Important

I recently visited a blog I really liked that announced that it was closing down. I was curious. Why would they be closing such an interesting (at least for me) blog? So I wrote the blog owner an email expressing my regret at the news but also to let this person know just how much I had enjoyed visiting. I was surprised by her candid reply.

She thanked me for visiting her blog and leaving comments in the past. She said she was closing it down because she put a lot of effort into the blog but didn't get very much feedback and without that she had concluded that it wasn't of value to very many visitors and wouldn't really be missed. Oh, how sad! My heart went out to her.

Getting It!

But AH! I could relate. I knew exactly how she felt. I immediately understood how much a "lack of feedback" in a previous "web" experience had played a part in why I had resisted and hesitated starting my own blog for such a long period of time. I had wondered about it. I finally got it when I read her email.

A number of years ago, I used to spend a lot of time researching and writing a mini "feel good" journaling prompt newsletter for a yahoo group I had started. I kept it up for nearly three years and had hundreds of subscribers. I enjoyed doing it but after some length of time I wondered if anyone even read it let alone did anything with it.

Although I asked people to share their thoughts or send me feedback I rarely ever received an email from a subscriber. I began to feel it was a waste of my time to write the newsletter. I decided to close the group.

When the announcement went out, I was deluged with emails from subscribers asking me not to! Go figure. Even though that SHOULD have made me feel better about it, it had just the opposite effect. I was really upset! It had taken an announcement of a "take away" to find out that indeed it was of value to many folks on that list after all. A giver by nature, I'd been doing a lot of giving and they'd been doing a lot of taking! It was rather ironic that a newsletter that encouraged folks to create "balance" in their lives was thrown "out of balance" itself by the lack of feedback from the very folks it was intended to help.

I thought it over carefully. I decided I would let it run for one more month before I closed it down for good. It had been taken for granted. The acknowledgement of its worth and value had come too infrequently... too little... too late. It was time to move on to a more rewarding use of my time and energy.

It Only Takes a Moment

Many bloggers put a lot of energy, time and caring into their blogs. Many moderators of the thousands of free groups we can all join do the same. They deserve to be acknowledged and thanked for it... loudly and often!

The challenge, as a blog visitor or group member is to remember to say thanks, in some way, to those folks who give us the gift of their time, knowledge or expertise on a consistent basis. A few minutes of your time is all that it takes to leave a comment or send an email to the blog or group owner.

My Challenge to You

The challenge I would like to throw out to you is to leave a comment on every blog you visit this week. Send a thank you email to the moderators of all the groups you belong to... whether or not you are an active participant or a just a part time "lurker" in the group. Let those folks know how much they are valued and appreciated... they deserve it!

Have a great week,