Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stuck I mentioned in an earlier post, my grandpa the molester died a few weeks ago. And this has dredged up all kinds of conflicting emotions and thoughts. It's kind of therapeutic for me to write about this stuff, and in my experience it's therapeutic to read other people's thoughts about their similar experiences, so I'm working on a post about it. But I've started it three or four times and keep getting stuck. Usually I bang these things out and post them without much delay, but this time is different.

I think part of the problem is the strange response these kinds of posts get. When I post on something like this (or an intensely personal post on my childbirth or breastfeeding experience) the hits that post gets jumps from the usual hundreds to thousands very quickly. But the comments don't always reflects that. If a post like this gets 80 comments it's often getting read about 8,000 times. One such post got over 23,000 hits and only 17 comments. So first of all it's weird that I'm talking about this really private intense stuff and there are all these people out there reading it silently. Some of them are linking it or posting it on Facebook, according to my stat counter. But I don't know who they are or what they're thinking about. What made them read it in the first place, and what response did they have? Why does such a small percentage of the readers for these posts comment compared to other posts? Does it feel more dangerous to comment, or do they not know what to say? When I read a really personal post I feel more inclined to comment, but maybe that's just me.

So anyway, I'm curious about this dynamic and what it means. Your thoughts?


  1. Anonymous9/11/2010

    I do this all the time. I read these posts and I'm so moved by them and I admire the courage of the writer, but I just have no idea what to say. It's the same feeling a lot of people get at a funeral or around acquiantances who have lost someone. You're so afraid of saying something insensitive or unhelpful that you freeze up and say nothing at all. That's my take on it anyway.

  2. Lizzay9/12/2010

    And sometimes you read a post that's so raw that it really hits you. Sometimes it takes a while to just process it, but you don't feel like you can comment at the time.

  3. happyfeminist9/12/2010

    Or it dredges up feelings in you based on a similar experience that it leaves you temporarily speechless.

  4. There's a certain bar for importance/meaningfulness that has to be crossed before I decide to post whatever I'm thinking. I think it's higher for very personal posts, whether that's right or not. Also, yeah, I feel like there's more danger of being accidentally hurtful.

    Not that I'm a really frequent commenter here anyway. But I love the blog! Thanks.

  5. Sometimes, a good post, written from the heart, says it all. I can read it and feel that it is the therapeutic essence of the writing that begs to be shared, as such honesty is rare in our world. Don't think about the numbers. Get it out, say what needs to be said, and know that it affected someone somewhere enough to pass it on. Thanks for sharing yourself.

  6. Anonymous9/12/2010

    And sometimes other people have already said exactly what you want to say. If I see that 5 other people have already said "this is awesome, thanks for sharing" then I'll usually move on. That post on natural childbirth? It was awesome. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  7. At the best of times, I am not very empathetic. Not b/c I don't care, but b/c I don't know what the appropriate reaction is...or if I even know what kind of comment would be appropriate on something very meaningful & emotional to someone. They just posted a heartfelt articulation...and my comment is "emotional High-five"! ??