Why aren’t people sharing?

I have an administrative question: I’d like to know why more people aren’t sharing their thoughts—or challenging mine—on this blog. It is intended to be a conversation. With all the thoughtful and articulate friends that I have, I thought that this blog will quickly become an active conversation spot. I’ve seen other blogs that get a dozen or more comments from readers almost every single day, and a hundred or more on a single post. Why not this one? I’m starting to wonder if people are afraid to write something here. Is that true of you? Is there some other reason? I’ve tried to think of possible causes:

  • Are you concerned about posting your name on the web? The comment form does have a name field, but you may leave it blank, in which case your comment will be attributed to “Anonymous.” You could give your first name only, your initials, or an online handle, if you want. Even if I can tell who you are—such as by recognizing your e-mail address—I will not reveal your name unless you have already done so in that comment thread.
  • The comment form requires that you give your e-mail address when you post a comment. That is for my use in case I need to contact you about something in your comments. I will never post your e-mail address online. Nor will I use it to spam you. I will not give or sell your e-mail address to anyone else.
  • If you lack confidence in your writing or grammar skills, don’t worry about it. I’m sure I deal with worse grammar all the time. I won’t embarrass you about that.

If you have other concerns, please let me know. I want to do whatever I can to make this blog a friendly and safe place for meaningful conversation.

Feel free to contact me in whatever way you are comfortable: post a comment here, post one on Facebook, send me a private IM on Facebook, e-mail, phone call (if you have my number), whatever.

Thanks!

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10 responses to “Why aren’t people sharing?

  1. Hi Earl,

    I have read a number of your posts and I really appreciate the time you invest and the perspective you bring. I don’t think enough people are talking about the topics you write about, so I am glad you put forth the effort.

    Personally, I tend not to comment on things on the Internet for a number of reasons, both tangible and intangible.

    One tangible reason is time – I have an ever-growing list of things I need to do, so sharing my thoughts online never makes it to the top.

    One of the intangible ones is that I have sort of “been there, done that” when it comes to opining online and sadly, I am no longer motivated to add my voice to the chaos.

    Probably the most wacko reason I don’t post (anywhere) is to keep my online paper-trail as nondescript as possible; not to keep things from you, but to keep things from the folks with the ability to piece the nearly invisible crumbs together. The fewer deeply personal responses to highly thought-provoking and potentially controversial blog posts I put online, the less interesting I am to basically anyone and everyone. 🙂

    There are other reasons in both categories, but I think those represent where I’m at today.

    Thank you for taking the time to care about the things you write about! People can see that and without a doubt you are making a positive impact.

    Like

    • Thanks for the feedback and the compliments! It’s impossible to know, of course, if I am doing anything meaningful unless someone responds. I agree that the topics I am interested in don’t get brought up in casual conversation very often. They’re not the kinds of things my cubemates at work chat about or (sadly) even the folks at church.

      I certainly understand about time and priorities, and even the weariness of “been there, done that.” I find myself going through cycles where for a time I post lots of comments on things I see online, and then I get tired and back off for awhile.

      As for the digital breadcrumbs, I can’t fault you for that. Public and government intrusions on our private lives are clearly increasing–especially online–and I believe they will continue to. I’ve decided for myself that I can’t stop that. It’s going to happen, and it’s going to increase. But I am so shy and introverted, that I can’t interact meaningfully with most people in the real world, so the online world is my only option. If I locked myself into a digital closet, I’d have almost no interpersonal contact at all!

      The way I protect myself from those who might try exploit my digital breadcrumbs for hurtful purposes, is to pay very careful attention to what I post. Basically, I assume that everything I post online (with just a few carefully controlled exceptions) is available to everyone in the world to see. So if I start to post something, I just ask myself if I’m OK with that, and if the answer is “no,” then I either don’t post it, or I revise it until I’m comfortable with it. This also helps me keep my attitude in check, and forces me to make sure I’m not lashing out inappropriately at someone or something.

      I’m not saying that this is the only approach that everyone should use, but it works for me for the most part. The only issue is that it requires a willingness by others to connect digitally also.

      Again, thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

      • Regarding the guidelines for our online posts, we might take heed of Apostle Paul’s advice in First Corinthians, i.e., verses 6:12; 10:23; and ultimately, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (vv. 31-33).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, Earl. I almost was going to comment on your last topic, but my lame excuse is that I didn’t have time to look up any verses to support my view.

    Like

    • It’s never too late, Jomarie! Some bloggers close comments after a period of time, either after a set number of weeks or months, or after a given number of comments is made. I can understand that. If a blog is mature and active enough, it would be difficult to keep up with dozens of simultaneous threads. But that’s not a problem for me right now, so all of my topics are still open for discussion. I might decide to start closing comments someday if the volume becomes a problem.

      Thanks

      Like

  3. Sorry for not commenting, I am restarting my career as a writter, and quite honestly I have enjoyed your blog so much that I am much more likely to write myself a note to include thoughts in a book.

    Thans for your wonderful insite, blessings to you and all your serious readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see that you have ‘liked’ one of my posts over at ‘A Yearning for Publius.’ Thanks, I appreciate it.

    Your questions and wonderings about why people so seldom respond to your posts/thinking are very similar to my own, so I thought I would share my observations and experiences with you:

    I have been blogging for over 7 years with close to 500 posts thus far – and very few comments.

    I started blogging as a reaction to the often heated verbal arguments surrounding controversial topics such as religion and politics. My thinking was along the lines of – I will write my thoughts and let people read – in private – at their leisure (or not.) Has this been successful? Hard to know because of the paucity of comments and lack of much personal evidence that would indicate minds and hearts have been influenced.

    My blogging is actually a continuation of my work experience. I was a software developer for many years, and many — if not most of us – were strong willed ‘Type A’. Often times the loudest or most seemingly eloquent voice in the room dominated meetings even though there were other ideas on the table. I took on the tactic of not trying to out debate the smartest man in the room, but often retreated to study the issue and write a memo-for-record of my thoughts and ideas. I think overall this was the best approach, sometimes even successful.

    Over the years I have written on the order of 500 essays on a variety of topics – religion, politics, science, history, culture and personal stories.

    I have had readers/visitors from all 50 states and over 50 countries in all of the inhabited continents — but few comments from anywhere. I say readers/visitors because it is impossible without comments to know if an essay is actually read.

    I also have had periods where I write a lot as well as periods where I go dark for awhile – some because of busyness and circumstances, and some because of discouragement. But I seem to be constantly drawn back to the keyboard.

    I’ve recently come out of such a period of writing inactivity. And then I started to look at my blog statistics and noticed a somewhat consistent pattern of visitors from many different places – here in the US as well as overseas. I’ve also noticed that people were visiting some of my old essays, some quite old – again few comments.

    I’ve also ventured out to other blogs, and it’s there where I’ve had many comments to my thoughts. I’m talking about sites such as the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and Gerry Coyne’s site ‘Why Evolution is True’ I view NCSE as a very destructive influence on American education with their predominantly Atheistic/evolutionary advocacy, and my posts to them have been received in two ways; the NCSE article authors ignore contrary points of view, while the commenters are for the most part are for the most part insulting and belligerent while offering few if any counter arguments and evidence. I was banned from NCSE when I responded rather forcefully to one individual who consistently made vile, personal and nasty accusations.
    Coyne has a different tactic – he actively censors contrary points of view unless they suite his agenda in which case he will mock them.

    Lastly I have to remind myself of why I write. I do this by periodically revisiting some of my older essays and often re-blogging them with comments. I also revisit the menu item on my blog “Why I Write”

    I’ve read a few of your essays and like what I read. I hope you continue with sharing your thoughts and hope to read more in the future.

    Best Regards,
    Don Johnson

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you very much, Don, for your thoughtful comments! I really appreciate them, as I’m sure you understand, being in a similar situation.

    As I have thought more about the matter after writing this post, I have come to suspect that many people lack confidence in their ability to express and defend an idea. That is a shame. We are becoming a society of people who are afraid of saying anything that might offend someone, and who possibly don’t even know how to think of such an idea that is worth sharing.

    I consider myself blessed to have been trained by my family, churches, and college to respect intellectual rigor and integrity. Not that we all have to be scholars and theologians, but we should all recognize that truth is fundamentally important, and be willing to seek and share it. That is the purpose of my blog: to seek and share truth, and to encourage others to do so.

    Like

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