Thursday, May 15, 2014

Scratch my back, please

As it often happens with me, I was in dire need of advice. There was this friend who was supposed to be wise in the ways of the world and I went to him.

"I have a problem, dude! This world of blogging is full of back-scratchers. More often than not, I get comments on my posts only when I go and comment on others' posts. How do I get genuine comments?'

"Be the change that you want to see."

Huh! And I thought I was done with proverbs! Now what the hell did that mean, anyway? I posed the question to him.

"Do you comment on other people's posts when they do not come back and comment on yours? Do that first."

What? Here I was asking him to help me get more comments on MY blog and he was suggesting ways to increase comments on other people's blogs. What nonsense. And I thought THIS chap was wise!

"That's fine, dude, but how will that improve comments on my blog?"

"See? YOU will not comment on other people's blogs unless they comment on yours and you complain about backscratching."

Was this guy for real? The idea of commenting on people's blogs without expecting return comments! If I ever got the reputation for doing it, that would spell THE END. I mean, once people knew I would comment even if they did not comment back, they could well decide that they could use the time, that they spent on my blog, somewhere else and gain one more comment. And THIS was this wise guy's advice to improve comments on my blog? Absolute drivel!

I put this point up.

"Come on! Don't you read some blogs because you enjoy what is written?"

Ye Gods! How did this nutcase ever survive for this long? Fine, so I read blogs that entertain me but why the hell would I waste time commenting on them? All the benefit is derived once I finish reading the blog, so where was my advantage in also thinking up and typing a comment?

I am afraid that I said this rather derisively.

"You idiot! How will the author ever know that you enjoyed his writing or that you even read it?"

Holy cow! There is certainly one lunatic asylum missing an inmate. Why should I bother myself with adding to some unknown author's store of knowledge? What the hell did it matter to me what tit-bits of information that chap knew or did not know?

I could understand that someone, not knowing blogging, could not answer some questions. But THIS one belonged in the general category, so to speak. After all, what I was asking about was getting praise AND whoever heard of anyone wanting to GIVE praise? Is it not ALWAYS about getting it?

So now, will someone PLEASE scratch my back. On and around the spine between the shoulder blades. Just where I cannot reach!

P.S: I assure you that THAT was a tongue-in-cheek parody! (Except for wanting my back scratched - metaphorically!)

70 comments:

  1. It's been less than a year since I started blogging, and I have been wondering whether some people comment on certain popular blogs only for the sake of getting the attention of the blogger and her/his readers and for getting 'return comments'.

    Quite a few comments look like cut-paste-slightly edit jobs that say only nice things about the post, and make me wonder whether the commenter has read the post properly or has merely speed-read it with the intention of posting a comment ASAP. Sometimes, the same person agrees heartily with diametrically opposite views on 2 different blogs!

    OK, now that I've scratched your back, I hope you'll scratch mine! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WE agree with people - not views :)

      Network on Indiblogger, laddie :) I am sort of tech-challenged and find it difficult using other means to keep in touch with blog updates :)

      Delete
  2. Hahaha CS! That was brilliant satire!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Medha! Good to know you still come around here :)

      Delete
  3. Absolutely hillarious. And I say this in all seriousness. You and your "wise" friend should write a book on back-scratching.
    O, and my back is just fine, no itching or anything :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beloo! I think I do know that your back ism itch-free :)

      Delete
  4. Your words my thoughts. After blogging for nearly four years, I don't care much about the number of comments. Since my blog is not monetized, no stress. And I read blogs that piqué my interest irrespective of the back scratching. Sometimes all the reading becomes overwhelming but nothing personal. Quoting a wise blogger, No offense but...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Alka, This wise blogger? Is he the unwise recipient of this comment? :)

      Delete
    2. All those who comment, seldom read. First few lines and the last few lines. But I understand. I mean there is a lot to be read other than blogposts.
      Those who read even though they are not bloggers, are special. Treasure them.

      Delete
    3. I do, Alka! Every one of them - they are indeed very special!

      Delete
  5. Scratch..scratch.. scratch...there..done it :) Now, your turn ! Considering I post once in a blue moon, all my back scratching goes to naught, when the time comes for other people to scratch mine :D.On an aside, I wonder how the term 'back-scratchers' came..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AND you post pics of paintings Ash! I am a dud at enjoying visual art as well as poetry. Prose id about all I can manage and your humor posts are a treat to read. :)

      Well - I suppose THAT is because there are portions of the back which, when they itch, cannot be conveniently scratched by yourself. SO, you need someone else's help AND that someone else may require the same service from you in her turn :)

      Delete
  6. heehehe I know what you mean. Ever since I got active on blogging I have wondered about this too ... but offlate I have given up.. And frankly gets overwhelming some times, the numbers of blogs you end up reading and commenting on..
    all this takes away the focus from what we actually do - write :)..

    Oh, there! I have scratched your back...err was it around the spine, between the shoulder blades?? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It felt like you clawed the scruff of my neck :) Anyway, full marks for trying :)

      Delete
  7. Hahaha, this was hilarious. In the world of social media and blogging, it is all about return on investment. I wrote about it here.

    http://soumya-hintofme.blogspot.com/2014/04/r-roi.html

    I am not mentioning this link for you to come there and comment. #just saying :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was having a conversation with a friend who said very wisely that it is the bloggers who comment because of course, they want it to be seen that they have been there. And of course, everyone expects a return visit. Anyone who says no is plain lying. What I find amusing is how if you skip reading a post or two because you may be busy or something, they immediately stop visiting despite all their praises of your sensible, scintillating writing.

    Yes, I read a few blogs where the bloggers don't necessarily reciprocate, but unless I interact with them at least somewhere, I lose interest. My non-blogger friends comment almost never. If they have to share a thought, they always message me. And some of them are pretty amused that some rather plain posts are praised to the skies :D.

    Don't expect me to scratch your back. Here, take this clothes brush :-P.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm - I prefer the wall :) And, yes, I have realized THAT comments come mainly from bloggers. Luckily for me, though, some do comment - though not on every post - without expecting returns and I am quite grateful to them. As for me, I actually restrict my blog reading ONLY to those I network with - my eyes are hardly able to keep up with that. Problem for me is only when someone seems to promise scratching back AND then refuses to keep the promise :P

      Delete
  9. Hmm now what do I saw...I get back scratched way less than the amount I rpovide. I blog like may be once a week and I comment and read blogs everyday. I comment of course because they have been good enough to be my reader and also because I liked what they wrote. Everybody likes appreciation. If you only wanted to pen down your thoughts, your personal diary would have bee enough? No?

    I might be guilty here but hey! I think I have every other blogger following though blatantly denying it :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm - Lemme tell you where I am coming from, Redhanded! The point of this post IS exactly what you say in your comment :)

      Delete
  10. That was some serious tongue-in-cheek humor right there Suresh, you were literally sticking out your tongue quite literally and figuratively at all those jokers who comment on your posts simply because they want you to comment on their posts !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! Jairam! You are one of the nice ones - who do spread around cheer and appreciation without regard to getting scratched back.

      The point of this post was more the fact that, considering that it is so prevalent and anyone who does get a lot of comments needs have participated in this process, it is sort of blind to complain about it now :)

      In a way I have been VERY lucky. I get people like you who comment genuinely. I get people who do it on a mutual basis but do it only after reading my post - a combo of mutuality and genuine appreciation. There are a few, of course, who have come with comments that blatantly show that they have not bothered to read the post at all BUT they do not come too often afterwards - since I scratch back very rarely these days. I read a lot of people, who have given me a leg-up in my days as a novice, that my eyes cannot take up any additional online reading.

      Delete
  11. I have wondered about this after I entered this space...and it's seriously true...and you got a knack of not rubbing the people wrong by your humour yet saying what's true..:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure hope so :) Truth hurts normally when the teller puts himself above. Me - I belong with everyone I talk about :)

      Delete
  12. Nice one sir :) I wish I could say that I scratch your back without expecting it in return, but that has not always been true. However I have sort of given up on you scratching my back in return these days (;)), and read your posts only because I find them very amusing. And I find this a problem with networking sites such as Indiblogger. A lot of people write for the sake of "increasing traffic" and getting a lot of comments, and they network for the same reason too. I mean, genuine feedback (with a little of masala, for it shouldn't be too genuine) is always good and it is what we all want, but needless comments for the sake of it is a little irritating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Adarsh! I have been where you are not too long back and I can understand. I really wish I could read all the blogs of lovely people like you. The problem is my age - always had problems spending too much time staring at the screen and with age my reading power is going up by leaps and bounds. I cannot abandon the people who stayed with me in my initial days NOR can I come to a blog and read a couple of lines and write a comment. THAT's what restricts me from doing what I would wish to do.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha :) I understand sir, I am more worried about people writing just for the sake of getting comments, and people commenting just for the sake of it.That sort of defeats the purpose of blogging.

      Delete
    3. That's why I am here often!

      Delete
  13. Oh, I am bad at commenting! I feel like an anti-social element in the blog world. Otherwise, it's not just the blogger that comments back, but the other readers also hop on your blog through that comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah! Wish you could change that - it is about the only legitimate feedback to the writer that he has been read :)

      Delete
  14. Hey! What happened to my comment? Last night I was the first, today I'm not there at all! There yesterday, Gone today..

    Oh well - There is an element of the scratch in every comment. However, I do believe that you should try and say something topical to the post. A simple 'Good post' can come across as so dismissive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some internet blackhole, I suppose :)

      This so-called 'back-scratching', I think, is inevitable. The two versions I have an aversion to are 1. This 'Good Post' thing which gets put in EVEN without reading the post and 2. Someone who lavishes praise in the hope of a return and, once he thinks that the other has become a regular at his blog, drops commenting. Like 'honor among thieves', I expect some 'honor among back-scratchers' as well :)

      Delete
    2. Yup! The ones who've clearly not read are the worst offenders. That goes for the serial likers as well.

      Honor? On the internet? This bloggin world is a cut-throat thing, I'm finding out. Like Rachna said - there are some who stop interacting if you miss a post or two.

      My take is: I'll come and read if there is something to read, something that makes me feel, think, happy or sad. If you write rubbish, you get no visit from me after the first one. Of course, we all have things to do other than simply read blogs, so sometimes we miss out or are late. I value all comments on my blog, especially the regulars ( all 3 of them) :)

      Delete
    3. We all have our illusions, too - and the existence of honor is mine. Internet or real world, I know it is rare to non-existent, but then I am SINGLE and RETIRED, and if I cannot pander to my illusions, who can?

      Delete
  15. Well well well.. very right blogging is all about this.. another thing you will find is that men mostly comment on blogs which belong to ladies. .

    Two years back I wrote a similar article and it is true.. Thank fully over the five years of blogging I have seen it all. People who read the first line and the last and comment..

    A good blogger congratulated me on the post i had written about my father who had passed away.. because the post started that way..

    One word comments good post.. nice post also quiet in demand. .

    I read a lot of posts as and when I get time.. i do put in my two cents worth of jibber jabber ..It does not bother me now if they don't come because today I am more bothered what the ones I respect and care for have to say to what I have written.

    Thankfully even after staying away for more than a year majority of those still remember me and have shown the same love and care..some have forgotten but then maybe they were the ones who were the good post.. nice post types and pressing the like button. .

    Although saying that I am not denying I don't want comments I do want. . I am greedy.. because that encourages me and also teaches me what is good and bad.. but just for the sake of it is not correct. .

    I love to have a conversation for sure..

    Oops this has turned out to be a article in itself..

    Have a good day sir and don't let this back scratching bother you much..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does not Bikram! And even lesser when I have people like you coming around. This piece has given me the opportunity to say how much I value people like you

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much sir, for that.

      Delete
  16. that i always wondered on the IB forum where people randomly "promote" ur posts.....without as much as bothering to read them! what's the fun, i never understood....!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, if enough people promote them back it may push the post to the most popular posts of the day :)

      Delete
  17. Ah! So old a topic, still you put freshness in it. Lovely satire, Suresh - as usual :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. See here i scratch your back again despite the fact that your fingers are yet to run over my spine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm - Good to know that not everyone wants his back scratched in return :)

      Delete
  19. Isn't the whole blogging business about back scratching? :) A thesis could be made on why, how, when and where people comment. Each has their own reasons. Some like to read you, some read but don't comment like you said. And any day, I bet you can make out from a comment if the reader has really read it or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most times, yes! Some make it real easy - like the chap who complimented me on my piece on 'Mahabalipuram' when I had mentioned it in the first para only to continue to say that this piece was NOT about it :)

      Delete
  20. Ha..ha..ha:):D Brilliant again:)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wonderful & so very true, Sureshji :)
    I feel guilty if I don't return comments/votes. Both need our time.
    I invest in both sincerely but don't know how long the party will last! I know that both Votes & Comments reduce without our active participation & investment :) Time is the most important!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Anita! Time and, in my case, eyesight :)

      Delete
    2. Suresh ji, I was inspired to further comment on Comments & wrote a whole Post- "Votes & Comments"
      I have quoted you & your Post :)
      http://anitaexplorer.blogspot.in/2014/05/votes-comments.html
      Do read & comment :)

      Delete
    3. I shall - and thanks for the quote

      Delete
  22. The ultimate truth of blogging - you stop commenting on others' blog and others will stop commenting on yours. But in the long run, we all become a close knit community, egging each other on with appreciation and critique :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! More appreciation than critique I would say :)

      Delete
  23. As usual ... the interesting mix of the truth and humour!

    ReplyDelete
  24. hard hitting .. I comment because I like what I have read .. I comment in those blogs which I love reading and almost all the authors do not comment back and I am not bothered ..

    ReplyDelete
  25. You are telling me! After I stopped blogging for a while due to my eyes I also stopped reading and commenting on too many blogs that I had subscribed to. But friends knew that I read them and would comment occasionally as I do on your blog too, Suresh! The fact is, when one comments, one wants to know what the author has replied to the comment and that becomes a vicious circle at great cost to the eyes. Many so called friends simply dropped me and my blog and I am ever grateful to them because they helped me get well grounded and come down to earth from my imaginary popularity :D :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! I do know, Zephyr! AND I have issues with eyes - though not a patch on what you face. They just tear up and feel like they are burning when I sit too long staring at the screen. So, I too have had a swift descent from those giddy heights of imagined popularity :)

      Delete
  26. Lol... a post I absolutely loved after a long time...and yes just had to leave behind a comment irrespective of wethwr my back will be scratched or not😉. Got my lesson though. May this be the beginning for me and I comment on all the posts that I sincerely love.

    ReplyDelete
  27. A command based on words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount : “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” The Mosaic law contains a parallel commandment: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.”

    Reciprocity is such a fine word and I guess it is human nature to expect others to respond in kind, but that is presupposing that all things are equal. The problem arises as in nature never can all things be equal--writers these days are a dime a dozen and the sad thing is while there are so many of them out there, good ones aren't all that many.

    I would hope that writers and readers have that fantastic thing called generosity of spirit that when they come across a post or article that resonates with them, they would putting all things aside comment on that article, congratulate the author and give him feedback. These days, perhaps that appreciation is the only thing the writer hopes for and gets. I am not sure that this is a plea in the dark, but I would want every honest writer to make it a point to respond to all blog posts they like and not expect reciprocity. It is my belief that the moment they themselves write something worthy of appreciation, they will be inundated with congratulatory messages.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Absolutely loved this post! I know I am not adding anything to your knowledge, but I have to let you know, I was smiling all through while reading this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kala! You did add to my knowledge - how else would I know that you enjoyed this post? :)

      Delete