Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 16, 2006

Pinging sends me to the hot seat

Filed under: blogging,wordpress gems — secretmojo @ 3:15 am

To my dismay, I cast myself as editor, with zero qualifications.

A couple weeks ago, I tossed up a post I called “WordPress Gem Collection,” not only as a personal challenge to concisely describe something, but to find diamonds in the rough—those moments when a typical blogger of 300,000 finds herself in the zone, rolling out a small piece that, if not soon snatched up and filed, may be lost forever.

My standards? Whim. Consciously, I limited myself to WordPress blogs so I could play with their new tags page. Subconsciously, I wanted blogs I hadn’t visited before, a post with a fresh angle I’d never considered. Spelling mistakes, writing snafus, and so on were less important to me than voyeuristically sneaking up on a genuine moment of inspiration and putting it in a jar.

I considered it activism, in my heroically charged moments of delusion. Empower the small guy, give him a chance to overcome the intimidating popularity of well-known sites. By pinging and linking these gem posts, I felt I was offering an anonymous pat on the back: “good stuff, man.” I had a chance to not just be a fan, but to legitimately strengthen a blogger who impressed me.

Yet. Dismay.

Honestly, I didn’t expect my pinging to bring the authors to my site to comment, and I sure didn’t expect anyone to blogroll me because of it. I just wanted more people to see a good post. I’m a softy for comments, and this served as a pleasant surprise.

But entering a more public arena always seems to complicate ethics. Here I am now, worrying that I’d left someone out, that I hadn’t judged quality properly, that I may be “going for the ping.” I feared I listed too many, that readers would think “holy crap, this guy can’t judge good stuff at all.”

Then I toiled over the sentences themselves: did one advertise a link better than the other? Will I offend the author? Did I get the tone right, the order right, or indeed the facts right?

I seriously considered not pinging the authors of my selected posts. Even though it would deprive me of the comments I love so much—and deprive the authors of a chance to respond—it would at least make the act more intrinsically generous. It would also relieve the awkward pressure to add a blog to my blogroll that I’d rather not. I never considered my blogroll as currency. Now, I’m not so sure.

All of a sudden, in my mind I became an editor, with all the suck of it included. Gems weren’t just a personal set of bookmarks, but a statement to the world. A statement on, er… something. The power of calling them gems, and the fact I did it more than once (yet not all the time), promoted me to a personally ordained hot seat.

Maybe the most genuine way to get the hell over my self-centered angst is to continue as I’ve been doing. Find stuff I like, and link to it. Simple idea, really. Done all around the networld.

But what if I link to someone who might freak out at my political posts, get me all wrong, or not want the attention to begin with? What if this, what if that…

I exaggerate my own importance all the time. Six billion people in the world and limitless stars in the sky, yet here I am, egomaniac, thinking I’m the duke of some section of the planet.

I’m not mighty; I’m mini. And in that comfort—if I can sustain it long enough—I shall continue to plow on, pinging away, like a child running through a minefield…

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3 Comments »

  1. If it’s any comfort, the people who are generally behaving well are most often the ones who’re worrying if they’re doing the right thing. From where I sit, it looks like you’re doing a NICE thing, not a bad thing. It’s lovely to tell people you liked something they said. And to send other people in their direction is a socially generous thing to do. And if someone’s uncomfortable with that, then let them say that to you (nicely).

    As for comments, hey, you’re a social guy, and you like to talk to people. Nothing wrong with that! I imagine in a crowded room, you’re the one who talks to the people who are new in town, makes them feel welcome, even hands them a drink and a sausage roll (or whatever tasty bite is currently circulating). I’m so glad you do.

    In the end, none of us has come here to earn a living. Really, the stakes are not that high for anything we write. I imagine most people want to express themselves, amuse themselves and others, and enjoy conversations with like-minded people. You’re making that easier, and more power to you. Keep it up Mr. SMJ!

    xxoo, BL

    Comment by bloglily — August 16, 2006 @ 6:06 am | Reply

  2. We all log with the hope of having readers. If that were not the case, we could easily keep a journal, or even a private blog. Some bloggers get so big and popular that they stop being curious about the people who visit their sites, but I think most of us will check out the sites of anyone who comments, and defintely investigate any incoming links.

    I think 99% of bloggers appreciate knowing someone enjoyed what they wrote, even if it was only once, wnd whether or not it is linked. So, I agree with your other poster that you are doing a nice thing. When I was pinged, I had my own struggle between feeling like I ought to say thanks, and feeling like to do so would be to detract from the spirit of what the post was… so I didn’t. But I will say it now… I appreciated your comments about my post. Not because you gave me some great exposure (I only had like one or two clicks come in off of that link), but because I appreciated knowing that something I wrote made enough of an impression on somebody else that they felt like saying something about it.

    And I did blogroll you. But, not because of your ping. It was because I read through your posts, and felt like this was a blog that I would probably come back to. As you can see, I have 🙂

    Comment by Jennifer — August 16, 2006 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  3. Bloglily,
    Thanks for your encouragment. Your kind words may be dangerous, though, because I respond to compliments like fire to lighter fluid. It’s nice to know that being a worry wort can be a good thing; maybe this will keep my recklessness in check.

    At parties, I’m more the “jab and retreat” guy, the one who listens faithfully, but keeps an ear out for the right moment to say something clever and pithy. This makes me seem smarter than I am, ensures those around will listen to at least 80% of my brilliance, and, my favorite part: keeps me from having to defend my own words.

    Jennifer,
    You brought up one of the interesting dichotomies of blogging. It’s got a social flair to it, yet, unlike a get-together, conversations will be on record (and can be well-thought-out). This changes the dynamics altogether, creating much more trepidation than is necessary. I’m trying to learn from Bloglily, and create a more welcoming atmosphere here because I love dialogue so. I’m glad you appreciated the link, and that you wrote such an interesting post on Adam Duritz in the first place. I’m also impressed that you honored your contractual obligations with the meme ;-).

    But I suppose that’s what silly memes and this kind of reckless blogging is all about: building a network of cool people. I get excited like a kid at a birthday party when I see both new and regular faces drop by. So, thanks, you two, for the good words. Beware my over-encouraged wrath! 🙂

    Comment by secretmojo — August 16, 2006 @ 10:57 pm | Reply


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