YOU NEVER CAN TELL

A couple of days ago, I got a comment (via Twitter) from a musician whose work I have admired for many years. It was a wonderful, joyous moment. I’ve previously gotten comments from actors, authors (usually after I reviewed their books), and other famous or sort of famous people who I admire and are my role models and heroes.

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Every time it happens, I’m thrilled, delighted, awestruck. I’m 10 years old again and star-struck.

You never know who is reading or following you.

A few years ago, I bumped into an ex-mayor of Boston … and he was following me. These are people that may never comment. If they do, they probably show up as anonymous. Sometimes, you recognize the website or pseudonym, but often you are just left wondering “Who was that masked man?”

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For all of you who think nobody reads you, nobody follows you because you aren’t getting a lot of comments? Most readers don’t comment, especially people whose names are known to the public. Many (most?) don’t even leave a “like.” It doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I would suggest as much as 90% of your audience is comprised of lurkers. You really don’t know who is reading your blog.

It’s a reason to be optimistic about what those statistics really mean … and cautious about things you say. A note to book reviewers: authors read reviews. Even reviews by relatively unknown bloggers. If you flame an author, he or she will not forget and will never forgive.

I won’t give you names because I think that celebrities in general prefer to keep a low profile when they are making unofficial contact with people. I’m just grateful whenever someone whose work I love lets me know they are reading my words and liking them. It means a huge amount to me. It’s a kind of validation. It’s like winning a prize. It makes the sun shine brighter even on a rainy day.

It can happen to you. If you are patient, it probably will.


NOTES: I thought I’d add a few notes about this. My most frequent contacts are authors, probably because I write about and review books. Typically, when I give a positive review (if I really hate the book, I usually don’t review it), I hear from the author. The first time it happened, I almost fell off my chair. Now, I am less surprised, but no less happy. Garry hears from children of stars he worked with and authors who want to use his encounters as reference material for books. Which is very cool, too.

If you love books and authors, writing good, smart, fair book reviews is an excellent path to meeting the authors. Book reviews don’t get the big numbers that other posts get, but reviews have a long shelf life. You may find you get hits on them for years after they are initially published. Republishing them is easy since they don’t go “out of date.”

Music and movie reviews, and anecdotes about personal encounters with celebrities may get someone you admire to contact you. It’s fun and comes with a bit of stardust. It can make blogging an adventure — in the best possible way.



Categories: Anecdote, Author, Celebrities, Humor

Tags: , , , , ,

29 replies

  1. I’ve had friends mention my blog out of the blue also. They never comment on line, so I assume no one is reading except for the few hits my blog gets every day.
    My friends are far from famous, but their kind words are a real shot of encouragement. I know that my mother-in-law reads my blog, so that keeps me on the strait and narrow for the most part!

    Like

  2. I was surprised to learn that my sister and my uncles on my dad’s side read my blog. They don’t comment or like ever, and I had no idea they were looking at it until one of them mentioned something I had written. I really think it’s true, you just never know who is following (or even just reading) you.

    Like

  3. I second this, just because nobody comments except a few, it doesn’t mean nobody reads the blog… I am often on the Reddit site because I can subscribe to topics I am interested in to stay tuned, and there people always call readers who never comment “lurkers”…. so, to take this term, I’d say 95% of my viewers are lurkers, but that is just fine. Of course, sometimes I’d be interested who all those people are who visit my blog 🙂 Anyway, we make good friendships here at the WP community, and I also learned about people outside of the community… as always I can just say, it’s worth to be a blogger, because it’s so much more than gettings comments.

    Like

    • I think a lot of the time we don’t really have anything to say except “nice post.” Clicking “like” is just fine for that. Unless I have something to say that everyone hasn’t already said, I don’t comment either. I try to comment when the subject is particularly interesting for me, but sometimes, I don’t have time to do more than just read. Some lurkers are serious readers … just not commenters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly how I do it. I am browsing tons of photos in the reader or blogs I subcribed to, at times I am so impressed that I ask the photographer about the gear or workflow, or if there is context, I add my thougths… but also I do only click like most of the time, it doesn’t mean that I appreciate the post less, it’s as you said, it means I like that post but I don’t want to annoy the blogger with a single word comment like “Wow!”, because this is the type of comment I do often even delete on my own blog.

        Quoted for truth, because well said: “Some lurkers are serious readers … just not commenters.” 🙂

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  4. Ziggy Marley (or his people) once read my blog. I know because they posted the link to it on Facebook. , It was the year he played Floydfest and I wrote about it.

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  5. Big brother is watching you online. A virtual 1984. Scary

    Like

  6. A few celebrities are worthy of their fame. Many not.
    I respect celebrities who try to do something useful with that privilege.
    But it is fun to hear from them.

    Like

  7. It sounds a bit spooky, but as long as they remain virtual.
    Leslie

    Like

  8. When the net first began to expand, I happened on a place called Excite, which at that time was brand new, and huge–a message board that presaged all message boards at that time. After rooting around in it for a few months I realized just how wide open it was, as to lurkers. Unless you went under a careful screen name, anyone could read you, anyone could find you and comment.
    Many people did.

    I would warn people who were ‘saucing off” that this was not a private venue; just imagine that we are in a well-lit amphitheater and if you look up into the darkness you can see thousands of eyes watching you. I’ve always held to that, and it’s probably saved my butt more than once online, by seeing all those anonymous eyes out there, looking down.

    Your friends will always find you, and so will your enemies, neighbors, and relatives. =)

    Like

    • I had a couple of ugly “message board” experiences and one bad one on Amazon before they started monitoring their traffic effectively.

      Anyone can find anyone who posts on the internet. It just takes a bit more savvy and determination on a platform like WordPress than on “open” boards. So I’m pretty cautious. I don’t flame anyone or anything and if I’m critical, I’m going to make sure I’ve got facts to back up my opinions. I’m careful because if someone really hates me, they can find me.

      I have noticed that most of the bloggers I followed who had highly controversial blogs that always stirred the pot have quit blogging. Vanished. Suddenly and none of them have come back. I’m betting there’s a reason. Staying safe and moderation is never a bad thing.

      You can get a lot of followers with controversy. Lots of views, tons of comments. Sometimes, I will be controversial if I feel really strongly about something, but usually I’d rather let this stuff play out on someone else’s site.

      There’s a lot of rage out there. I don’t want to be a target.

      Like

  9. Hello starstruck lady 🙂 I am so very glad to see you happy. This is a fabulous shot of an angel figurine.

    Like

  10. I often don’t have a clue where all these people come from. Many decide to join my site as disciples and others just remain in the background. Perhaps the Swiss government are following me. They wouldn’t say anything, just look up my bank account and taxes probably to see if anything was in it for them.

    Like

    • I am sure the government – mine and yours and for all I know, any other government who might be interested — all keep some kind of monitoring on all of us. Personally, I don’t have a lot of secrets. Nothing that anyone would bother to blackmail or torture me to get and absolutely nothing that would even remotely impact anybody’s security. Garry knows stuff. Probably a LOT of stuff, but he’s not talking. And a lot of what he knows is now old enough that it’s not so important anymore — but you never know. I’m sure all bloggers are on one or more government agency’s list. I’d rather not know the gory details, but I can’t imagine they aren’t keeping their oars in our waters.

      Like

  11. The Mayor was following you.., and this wasn’t stalking, right?

    Liked by 1 person

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