Tuesday, October 5, 2021

...on creating

I had a thought this evening, brought on most likely by a discussion I was having with some friends over text message and I thought I would like to discuss it...as much as a blog post can be considered "discussing it".

side note: have more and more of your friends left social media and gone to simple texting? I am finding more and more of my friends are doing this.

My friend was lamenting that he had been creating something and mailing it (yeah, that old fashioned thing involving putting sticky stamp on it) and almost no one was giving him feedback. He took the time to not only create something, but also print it, snail mail a physical object to people, and few could take the time to merely say "Thanks." I mulled over this most of the ten hour day today at work and as I took the dogs out for their evening walk, it hit me, "Fuck, I am that guy too."

As a creator that sort of affirmation is like air. I am guessing if you are a creator, I am preaching to the choir here, but for that do not, let me see if I can explain. Even if you charge for your work, or perhaps especially if you do not, the feedback is often worth more to creators. Simply knowing that you breathed something into existence and someone, even if only a few, found it worth or simply said a "Thank you" can mean success to creators. For non-creators I think this can be hard to understand.

I wonder if today's world where so very much is available at our fingertips has caused us to truly no longer appreciate the work others do. Perhaps we are too busy? Perhaps we are all assholes? I don't know but I can tell you that a regular post on my blog gets well over 200 to 300 hits on average after they are posted, then over the next typically end up around 600-700 unique hits. Guess how many comments I get? Typically around 2-3.

Now, back to where I said I was one of those assholes too. People post to their blogs, on social media, insta, twit, itch.io, and a host of other means, I read these, look at these, and rarely comment. Yes, I am exactly who I am describing as well. 

So, what am I going to do about it? I am going to take the remainder of October, and anything I download (damn I am addicted to itch.io), blog post I read, pdf I buy, any letter I receive in the mail, I am going to say "thank you", post a comment, or holy shit! write a letter back. 

side note: Damn it, getting something GOOD in the mail is such a rarity these days. I will stand in front of my mailbox, open a letter, and read it right there. That a person took the time to write something on that ancient artifact called paper, put a stamp on it, and dozens if not hundreds of people worked to bring it to me, is just mind blowing.

I challenge you to do the same.* If nothing else, just be human and converse, say "Hello", "Thank you", and all that other good stuff we used to do back before our politics began to split us asunder. 

* And I don't just me on my blog, stop by the ones you regularly read, make a comment or two. #BeHuman


  1. Thanks for posting this, and I mean this sincerely. Like you, I fell out of regularly commenting on people's blogs. The ones I read regularly I post comments on, but the ones I read occasionally I tend to just read and move on. I'll try to be a bit more mindful of this in the future. Thanks again, Matt!

  2. Great post and I very much agree!!

  3. Guess it'd be rude not this comment now ;)

    I still read your posts, but I don't comment much. I read all these via Feedly, on my phone, so it's extra effort to pop in and say hello. I'll try and comment more if I can, because we should. I do find I interact more via Discord, in the few I'm in, and sometimes on Twitter. They're easier to 'chat' in though. Anyway. Hello!

  4. This one hit home for me too! A lot has changed with blogger and the scene, and at times, I feel quite disconnected. I know that part of that is me not interacting with my surroundings (not to excuse it, but really about 90% of the people I interacted with online have stopped publishing on their blogs or do something else now). Anyway, thanks Matt. Nice reminder and very well put!

  5. I know a lot of people LOVED G+ but I did not. This is one of those reasons. It seemed like once G+ got going and lot of bloggers started using it, no one commented on blogs anymore. Look at the comment threads on old blogs. They were full of great discussion. Sometimes better than the original post.

    Thanks for writing this and I hope more people pick up the habit of commenting on blog posts they read.

    1. Great point Travis. I was one of those that shifted from blogging to doing more on G+ as well, then when G+ went belly up, blogging had changed. The older blog posts from "back in the day" definitely have some robust discussions.

  6. It's funny you mention this, because this is exactly what I've been thinking about on and off for the last year(s). For me, page views is nothing compared to a single comment, because that means someone 1) read, and 2) bother to hit "Comment". A thousand page views is completely anonymous. (I guess it's different if you use your blog to sell or promote stuff, but if you've ever been to my blog, you definitely know that's not the case...)

    The physical, snail mail thing is something I miss doing too. Back in the G+ days, I used to doodle postcards and ask if anyone would want one ("beats getting bills" as Christian W used to say), and people would DM me their address. It was fun for me to send something out into the world, and it's fun to receive something, even if it's just a silly doodle of a couple of monsters on vacation and not a 300 page adventure tome, professionally laid out and edited.
    I've been thinking about doing something similar now over at the blog, but asking strangers for their home address is a bit sensitive! :)

    I try to leave comments as often as I can, even if it's just a single "Cool!" or "Awesome", but one can always do better!

  7. Good post Matt! Smart idea about reviewing stuff you have grabbed. This reminds me that I've been that guy and not said thanks. I am going to do that this week. Another thing I've been doing is if I read a blog post I comment.

  8. I have a lot to say on this subject, but much of it would sound cranky. Suffice it to say, it feels like people are conditioned to rant and rave on twitter and engage in various forms of outrage posting instead of the quiet and thoughtful exchange of ideas.

  9. Yes since leaving the big social media, the people I stay in touch with either text or have moved to mewe.

    With the demise of igoogle following blogs became a lot more difficult, but wasn't a problem since as you mentioned most moved to G+. With the demise of G+ however it is unclear where everyone went. I haven't found where most went. And without a suitable way to see all blogs at once, even if I found them I probably wouldn't follow them closely.

  10. Yeah, I really need to be doing this. The blogosphere has some great people and content; and I'm beginning to think this is where it's truly at scene-wise. Thanks for the reminder...

  11. And when creators get big enough, they inevitably spawn haters. Yeah, it's sad to see so little engagement, so few comments, and so much discord (pun intended) in our current culture war. If our fellow creators can keep the fire burning bright, that might just be enough to sustain us.

  12. Wow, guys, thanks for the feedback. Never thought I would get so much feedback. I truly wish the old days would come back, I know many, many people have moved to Twit, Insta, or even Facebook (which I do haunt occasionally) but I am resisting Twit and Insta because there is so much negativity these days. When it is not negativity, it feels like people are just trying to sell things these days. If you have hung out around here or know me, you probably have heard me lament about our hobby going from "hobby to jobby" with the vast majority trying to make a buck instead of just sharing and enjoying the hobby. (and yes I say this knowing full well I am advertising a product on the top right of this page, I am a complicated man).

    Remember the days of old when we did those cool collaborative projects? Filling a hex map with neat places? A new magic item every day for a month? An NPC a day? What happened to those? Did we move on from those simple pleasures?

    Perhaps it is time for something like this again? What do you say?

  13. It is something that has also affected me in the past. I've created content for a small video game community, and while the initial support was overwhelming, gradually the flames die out and people seem to forget you, of course, until you do something wrong. I can say that just one caring, honest and well done comment can ignite my passion and make me feel very grateful. Sometimes a simple thank you is enough, but it's even better when someone comments on something with excellent feedback, creating a kind of dynamic passive discussion in which I get to feel the human act of positive socialization.

    I just discovered this blog, by the way, and I think I will follow it very closely now!