Why "Blog Delurking Week" will not be observed on this site during this week or any other time, ever

1. “Delurking” is not a real word. And as a fake word, it’s horrible. It sounds like acid reflux.

2. Okay, so why do we need this week again? Because people are too shy… to post a comment on a blog? Are we maybe overthinking this shit just a little? How socially stunted have we become if we have to devise quasi-official special occasions just to defreak ourselves out? Do we need that much reassurance that our brief, indirect little public interactions are perfectly acceptable and decreepy?

I’ll admit that maybe I just don’t understand, because I started writing online back when journals and weblogs didn’t have the feedback feature—you’d post your stuff and except for the emails that would trickle in from readers, there’d always be that silence, so I guess I never minded. Now that I have comments on the site, I deeply appreciate that practically everyone who posts here is funny and cool, and I don’t think I’ve ever even had a real troll, or a flamewar, or anything like that. But, like I’ve said, I’ve never been inspired to have fuzzy feelings about these Preordained High Holy Delurking Days, where people post apropos of nothing at all; nothing but “delurking.” And look, if you’ve never felt like saying anything before, I really don’t mind.

3. Here’s where I just wrote—and deleted—a long passage about something that happened a year ago, when I had to post an entry telling readers my mother was dying and that I was flying to New Mexico to be with her during her final days. And how so many of you responded with kind words, and gave your condolences, and said you were thinking of me and my family, which was such a comfort during the subsequent week. Some of you said you were posting for the first time ever, and even if you used that d-word, I definitely understood that you were breaking the silence to express your sympathies, and not because some stupid made-up internet holiday encouraged you to do so.

But then (and here’s where I’ll try not to go into it too much) last year someone actually thought that saying just, “it’s Delurking Week and I love this blog!” was an appropriate comment in response to the news about my mom. Which made me crazy, for reasons that I hope are obvious, because to go into detail otherwise would be really pointless and ugly and no doubt full of all kinds of displaced anger about my mom’s death. Just suffice it to say I have some stunningly awful associations with you-know-what-week. I felt compelled to explain just in case someone was planning on spreading delurking cheer around here anytime soon, and I hope this has spared us all some horrible awkwardness. Which, ironically, is probably what the spirit of Delurking Week was supposed to about in the first place.

4. But you know, if you’ve never commented before, please don’t let any of this stop you. I know, it’s weird, but it’s always weird one way or another, isn’t it? But I’m sure we’ll get past it somehow.

Comments

  1. says

    I see you-know-what-week as an event for people who are unfamiliar with the etiquette of blogs or don’t spend much time online. It’s for the same type of people who e-mail me to ask if it’s okay to link to my blog. There really are some people who don’t know if it’s okay to comment on a blog or are afraid of doing it wrong since they’ve never done it before. It’s like if I were go to some fancy schmancy restaurant and had to figure out how to use 8 pieces of silverware. I’d have no idea what I was doing and it’d be nice if someone were there to tell me how to do it or to say it’s okay if I screw it up a little.

  2. Wendy says

    Yeah, I can see that. I guess what gets me about that person (who was wishing me a happy you-know-what week apropos of nothing) was that she saw me more as just her “fave blog” than a person going through a rough time.

  3. Annie says

    Wendy, that may be part of our new “anonymous” internet culture – because you host a recognized website with amusing content, people fail to realize that you ARE a person and the content isn’t spontaneously generated. At least she didn’t type “first!!1!.”
    Speaking seriously, I read that post regarding your mom, and felt that as a reader who doesn’t know you personally, I would be “intruding” to post regarding something so personal. Know that there were probably other lurkers out there that felt like me, and are offering you our sympathies and condolences.

  4. Wendy says

    Thanks, Annie. And I definitely understand that just because not everyone feels comfortable writing things like that, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care.

    I guess for me it all comes down to the idea that people should post (or not post) for their own reasons, and not because they’re prodded into doing so by some made-up event.

  5. says

    I understand why you don’t want to observe it Wendy, that you think it’s unnecessary and brings back bad memories and you had an insensitive comment at that horrible time.

    BUT I think DW in general is fun and encourages a sense of community, and I know blog readers who wouldn’t have commented without it. Not everyone is so experienced with the internet as you are! I don’t see why it deserves criticism or even analysis really.

    It seems to have been created out of sincere, fun and kind intent and if people want to say hello on my blog out of that kind of reasoning (and they do so in a sensitive, rather than totally tacky) way, then I welcome it. It’s not high, it’s not holy, it’s not trying to be bossy. Only do, or do not.

  6. Wendy says

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have criticized it at all if I hadn’t had that shitty experience. Before last year I thought: well, I don’t quite get it, but whatever. Now my feeling is PLEASE NOBODY DO THIS HERE I HATE THIS.

  7. Jenn says

    I’m not actually sure if I have posted here or not. But I did want to thank you for sharing your life with those out here. Whether it is communicated clearly or not, you bring humor and honesty to some tough discussions (weight, death etc) and I know I appreciate it.

    For example, to re-energize myself on Weight Watchers – I actually looked up those WW cards from the 70s that you shared. So funny, and made me feel better. So thank you, and write on.

  8. says

    I guess by commenting I’m delurking but that isn’t the object of my comment…

    Yeah, I never really gave it much thought I suppose. I know that some of my fellow bloggers regularly implore their lurkers to delurk and I know by my stats that I have more readers than my comments would show I do. But I just think it’s cool that people read… they don’t have to comment if they don’t want to. I suppose this is only a hobby for me. If I wanted to make writing a living, I would want the feedback.

  9. Andy says

    Well, I for one dont really comment too much on peoples blogs ( confidentially, I really dont read many…) but I have been reading yours for a while and last year you had an experience that I had a few years back at the same time of the year even so all I can really say is that while you will never really be the same, you will continue to grow and even come to appreciate the crazy mixed up feelings of your loss. Its an experience almost all of us will go through and the alternative is way worse. Still, associations between things made when that stuff happens arent easily lost so I hope that you knowing how many people are thinking of you these days gives you some comfort.

    Andy

  10. says

    Diane – Just something that popped into my head, but what are blogs for if not for analysis and/or criticism of whatever strikes our fancy and bothers us or not? ;) I’d have to take mine down if it weren’t for those two time-consuming activities.

    And Wendy, you know I’ve commented here several times (and even met you in person, nyah nyah, Internet. ;)) but I rarely do on other sites. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say, although I may well have enjoyed or gotten something from the post, or someone else said it better than I thought I could at the time, or there’s a jerk who dominates the comments on this or that blog and I don’t care to engage with him or her. Or I type a comment and it sounds as suck-uppy or cranky as many of those I read online seem to be, and I don’t care to be part of the problem.

    On another point you brought up, it’s a very interesting thing to have a one-sided posting experience turn into a conversation. I got a little nervous when people started commenting on my site, you know, after I slapped up my innermost thoughts on a PRIVATE, totally accessible website and listed it in directories. ;) I still don’t have a lot, although I seem to have a lot more readers, and I’m okay with that. I think comments can be pretty interesting to read, but I do not like or understand those that do not in any way relate to what you’ve written. That’s just silly, and anyone who was all, “Luv your blog” during a devastating time just doesn’t get it. I could feel the hush that came along with your news, and desperately wanted to respect it and still offer a word or two. It’s even harder online than it is in person, I’ve found.

    Also, “First!” drives me crazy. And also also, happy 2008.

  11. says

    I understand why you’d feel so bad and why a comment like that would be a kick in the teeth, Wendy, but it seems unfair to pick on something you admit is benign for the reason that you had a family tragedy at the same time & some idiot didn’t respect that. I dunno.
    I have nothing invested in DW but I read the blogger who invented it and she’s so nice that your post made me feel bad. (Which obv isn’t your fault, but still).

    And of course you’re right Laurie, I do a lot of that too. Or I ramble on self-indulgently without any real critical ability at all. One of those…

  12. says

    Last thing! – I think I also felt bad because I’m the kind of goofball who thinks delurking weeks are fun and wants lots of people to read and comment, and feels insecure when stuff I like is criticised…

    But I understand your not wanting your commenters to mention that week to you anymore, and I *will* (let’s hope) shut up now…

  13. says

    I’m feeling compelled to comment! I love to read, but so rarely comment on a blog. As a photoblogger, the images each day come so naturally. Writing however is much more a challenge, even in a comment box. I just hate seeing my typos because I hit submit too quickly, or common phrasing for lack of something clever to say.

  14. says

    Huh. I never really was a big “de-lurking week” participant, but I always assumed that it was a thing about encouraging people to not be too shy to participate in discussions, not just to comment for the sake of commenting. It seems so bizarre. It’s like walking up to someone and being like “I am making conversation, because it is conversation-making week. … Okay then, good talk!”

  15. says

    I feel kind of bad for the Delurker in question. It’s one of those boneheaded things that people do, without really thinking about what they’re saying or how they’re saying it. My old roommate was like this. One time, someone in his father’s family lost a loved one. My roommate’s mom left a card on the kitchen counter with a note for whenever he stopped by: “[Roommate] – sign card and take the cooler out of the garage” or something like that.

    A few days later Roommate’s mom showed me the card and asked me if I could spot the problem. The outside of the card was your classic sympathy card – a bouquet of lilies and “Our deepest sympathy” in muted blues and purples. The inside? “Happy Birthday, buddy! :) [signed, Roommate].” Context, people!

  16. Wendy says

    If you knew how my subsequent email exchange with the Delurker went, you wouldn’t feel so bad. But, as I said, I won’t go into it.

    That said, that’s a hilarious story about your roommate.

  17. says

    I totally agree with you on this. I think it’s just irritating to be reading along and then get “Please comment!” begging crap for this week. (It makes me want to lurk MORE.) If you don’t have something to say, then don’t say it. I don’t care if you write “first” or “delurking,” big whoo. Delurk by making an intelligent comment about whatever got posted, mmkay? If you don’t have anything to say, don’t feel obligated to show up just to give me hits or crap like that.

    Thanks for your post. At least one other person won’t “celebrate” this week right along with you either.

  18. says

    Oh, and speaking of this week, what else did I find today? A guy threatening to quit his blog because he felt like he wasn’t getting enough attention (which apparently translated into “I didn’t get enough comments.”) The words “nobody cares about me” were uttered. At last count, he has 87 comments now.

    *faceplant*
    *headbang*

  19. stephanie says

    God, thank you for writing this. I LOATHE delurking week. It started out as a good idea, but it’s devolved into nothing more than a week where all your favorite blogs have hundreds of comments that say “just delurking” or “delurking to say I love your blog,” ad nauseum.

    Seriously, it’s not that hard to add something substantive to the conversation, instead of just posting that you are not going to “lurk” anymore. What is this, 1997? Can’t we move past this? It’s become sucha clicke at this point.

  20. julie says

    Hi all

    I post very rarely, but do tend to read comments most of the time. It’s amazing how out of context some are, I think most of them are ignorance and laziness, not necessarily maliciousness. I read some diet blogs, some fat acceptance blogs, and various others, and in any article speaking out how crash diets, drugs, etc. don’t work, or how hard it is to really lose weight, there’s always someone asking if grapefruit diet works, or how to lose 50 pounds in 3 months, or how simple it is to “loose” weight-eat less, exercise more. I don’t f*cking get how everyone thinks it’s so easy, if it was, nobody would have a problem. If my own mother can’t learn that, maybe nobody can. OK, enough ranting there.

    I also don’t like reading a dozen comments about how the commenter totally agrees, without saying anything useful. Anyway, you asked, I complained

  21. Dani says

    Wendy –

    I didn’t know you had a blog until today -so jazzed. I think your hilarious. I got the WW book for Christmas. It sits on my coffee table for all to enjoy. Total greatness.

    BTW…

    I didn’t know what “Delurking Week” was. Don’t I feel stupid. I had to Google it. I am new to the blog world – reading and posting. (Although I’m sure that was obvious right after the BTW.) Being a little dumb to all of this, I can see this going both ways–both meaning your point of view and PastaQueen’s– I did, however, read Julie’s comment and the dude crying about it? Eck. Does it mean the same if you had to beg for it?

  22. says

    For the record, this is not my blog commenting coming out party. In fact, I oftentimes ignore the comments posted on blogs–unless it’s my own. Cuz, let’s face it, it’s a nice ego boost. Of course, my blog gets like 1 comment a day, so maybe I’d benefit from celebrating this week.

    Seriously, whether it’s a day or a week, celebrating “delurking” is just odd, nonsensical and obviously an opportunity for Web geeks to get together, clap their hands and caress their own egos. No normal (ie: confident, self-aware) person–blogger or otherwise–probably even knows about this event.

    We may as well have “give a blogger a cupcake” day. Cupcakes made everything better in grade school.

  23. Linsee says

    okay i don’t feel as internet savvy now, since i only right at this moment discovered what delurking week is. I am a total internerd, but yet i don’t understand why people are so fond of it. then again, popularity contests were never my thing.

  24. Mnerva says

    Well I am a little late to be jumping on the bandwagon, but here goes. I had never heard of this week until now, Wendy. Don’t think that I was missing out on much though. I obviously have not been properly keeping up-to-date on your site (or any of the sites that I regularly read, as I was offline for over a year) because I also didn’t know about your mother. I am very sorry to hear about that. Even though I don’t post a comment very often (the last time I did was when you did the April Fool’s joke of “pulling down your site”) I definitely would have done so back then ,NOT because of some stupid week, but because I have an affection for you and your writing. Please keep up the great work.

  25. says

    I’ve never commented before…mainly because I didn’t know about you. I just picked up your book on a whim from Amazon, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it so far…but when I got to the middle part with the recipe cards I almost crapped myself laughing. I was doing that breathless-help-me-I’m-dying-kind of laughing where you can’t stop, and I’ve decided I must have the other book you wrote for my coffee table. Keep up the great writing!

  26. bjcecelia says

    I have to say that I don’t usually leave comments on most sites. I always feel that if I don’t have something to actually add to the ‘conversation or argument’ that I it’s stupid to say anything at all. But I do have to say that as one that is not big on leaving comments, the staging of a “delurking” event does not compel nor encourage me to leave one. Although I am leaving this one it’s not because I feel “more comfortable” leaving it because of this event – which of course is not even going to be observed here anyway. I am however leaving it because I think that I’m safe in saying that this event is much like some ‘holidays’ such as Sweetest Day – made up to benefit someone – such as candy makers and Hallmark Card shops. But in this case I guess it would be anyone who benefits from increased use of the internet.

  27. says

    amen, sister.

    i’m new to the whole blogging thing (wait – it’s still 2004, right??) and i find the whole delurking business infuriating. to me it sounds like a whiney eight-yr-old screaming for attention, “look at me! LOOK AT MEEEEEEEE!”

    perhaps i am too much of a neophyte to understand the nuances and importance of commenting but the delurking bit feels like a stranger telling me what i “should” do.

    f.u., delurking mandates!

  28. says

    I think if I had a blog that was getting comments like “FIRST!!11!1″ I would put a disclaimer on there saying “No you’re not – all FIRST!!11!1s will be deleted.”

    I second Julie about the diety-commenty-missing-the-pointy thing. I’ve been reading Zen Habits and it is starting to drive me ass-crazy. The author is very fond of explaining How To maintain new habits around this and that and diet and exercise and nutrition and other things, and he very deeply Does Not Get It that a list of tips or instructions like that doesn’t really help most people, because by and large if you haven’t been able to stick to whatever you are trying to change, you have to change the stuff *underneath* it – a NEW list of helpful instructions is not going to suddenly make you go “OHhhhhh, I’m supposed to take BABY STEPS!” And then everyone says so, and I post a comment about why the lists don’t work and what people do to shift the stuff underneath, and then seventy people post about how much weight they want to lose or this great book or diet or book about dieting that everyone should read. And then he posts another entry of Helpful Bullet Points. And then I start Overusing Capital Letters. Like So.

    Anyway – awesomely, I used to be too shy to post a comment on a blog. It’s, like, terminal codependency. I could comment on my friends’ blogs or on the blogs of total strangers, but not on the blogs of people whose work I admired.

    The way it worked in my head was that I put people on pedestals (especially people on damn hell ass kings!) and then I projected all my own shame/fear/embarrassment onto them. So instead of being like, hey look, I have all this inappropriate shame from childhood abuse, I could be like, hey, this person would think it was weird if I posted a comment because they don’t even know me and I would be all, hey person here are some words, and besides I WANT them to know me because I think they are cool, and either they will think it is creepy that I am posting or they will never even respond and why should they respond if they don’t even know me because my words aren’t interesting and it won’t tell me if someone replies to my comment anyway!!!

    And THAT is what crazy looks like. Thank god for fucking CoDA (See? Another acronym. Damn you, Scrabble!)