I was recently asked to fill out a form by a food vendor that I have an informal relationship with. The purpose of the form was to gather information about (and to assess) me and my blog. I suspect that some of the food allergy readers here (who are bloggers) may have received the same form.
As I was filling out the form it struck me that measurements can be deceiving—and they can incent the wrong behavior.
One of the questions asked was “How many comments do you receive per blog post?” I had to check the first box on the form, “0-5 comments.” After a fleeting moment of feeling like a failure, I realized that I don’t care.
That’s right, I don’t care if you leave a comment. Here’s why:
Every blog has a purpose (or at least it should). I am not trying to facilitate a community with this blog. When I want community I visit Kids with Food Allergies or Freedible, or read the #foodallergy twitter stream. There are so many people (many of them bloggers) trying to build new communities, and yet I don’t have unlimited time to engage. So I pick my communities and I have no interest in leading my own.
I love to visit your blogs as well, and I leave the occasional comment. When I do comment it’s usually to add additional information or to provide support (and a virtual hug).
My passion is in solving problems and helping those with multiple food allergies to find solutions. That’s why I write cookbooks. That’s why I speak at conferences. That’s why I sit on the board of Kids with Food Allergies. That’s why I write this blog. If someone visits here today and feels even a tiny bit better about how to manage their food allergies that makes me feel better than a dozen comments ever could. When I receive an e-mail from a reader (of my book or my blog) that thanks me for the information I shared, that makes me feel better than a hundred comments ever could.
I don’t pretend that my mission is any more noble or important than building a community – there is extreme value in our online communities and I am grateful for those who provide that service – it’s just not what I do.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when you leave a comment, and I treasure every single one of them. You are absolutely welcome to leave comments. You are also welcome to visit and not leave a comment. I am honored that you visit. I know that most of the 12000 of you who visit here each month haven’t commented and that’s entirely okay with me!
Feel free to leave a comment … or not.