This is a post on Jessica's blog which I found really interesting and worthwhile, so with her permission, I am posting it here. Go and have a look at her really interesting art and everyday life messages here:
"Giving Back . . .
Communication fascinates me and always has. I really think it makes the world go around. So, it has always interested me that only 1 or 2 percent of readers ever leave Comments on a blog post, or have anything to say in a Yahoo Group.
It interested me enough that I have been asking friends why that is. Yes, I have a lot of lurker friends to ask. The answers were really interesting because they went something like this: I’m shy, nothing I say would be interesting to anybody, I’m probably the only one who hasn’t already thought of this, I’m too busy.
Do you pick up a theme there? Pretty one-sided, right? But what if leaving comments wasn’t all about you?
I have an interesting lesson to share. I used to have a very hard time accepting compliments, and like many of us do, I would pretty much throw the compliment back in the complimentor’s face, thinking I was practicing modesty instead of insult. They would say “you’re so good” and I would say “no I’m not”. Those are paraphrases, but you know what I mean. “What a pretty dress!” “Oh, this old thing?”
So one day, my brother asked me if I realized that I was insulting the other person. Whether I realized the complimenting process wasn’t only about me, but rather, a social interaction. What? Something that’s not only about me? How could that be?
But he was right. By arguing with a compliment, I was telling the other person they were wrong, and maybe their opinion didn’t matter much to me.
That was a big lesson, and ever after, I just say “Thank you”
There are lots of things that aren’t just about us, and the amazing plethora of treasure that is internet content is one - a gift that didn’t just get stuck in your computer with the hard drive. It is created and given by hardworking and generous-to-a-fault people just like you (blogs, Yahoo Groups, online zines, tutorials, product reviews, etc. - all free).
If someone brought all this in a box to your door, would you say “Thank you”? Of course you would. If someone at a party told you an amazing thing you never heard of before, or told you about a wonderful new store or book, or restaurant, would you stand there and stare at them silently like you didn’t hear them? Of course you wouldn’t.
Well, the web is not different than the world we live in anymore. It is a social place, and we must all take some social responsibility. I get a kick out of articles that talk about “Netiquette” and Web Etiquette. They mention not flaming somebody into ash, and not TYPING IN ALL CAPS because it means you are yelling.
But they don’t say: speak up and add your voice and your energy to this fantastic exchange so it can keep on rolling and become even better. So the folks who are giving all this don’t run out of gas and stall altogether. They should say that.
And just in case you are thinking this is all about me (LOL), I think we do better here than most with Comments (especially when something free is being given away ;-), and I get so much gratitude in emails that it gives me lots of practice on my compliment Thank You’s! But it breaks my heart to see really good Yahoo Groups fade away because only three people are willing to keep talking, or wonderful blogs go away because the author feels she is hearing the sound of one hand clapping or worse, talking to herself in public.
I know lots of bloggers will say they are doing it “for themselves” and it doesn’t matter if anybody responds with a Comment, but a part of that is just bravado. If they were only doing it for themselves, they would do it in a closet - not on the internet.
So let these wonderful folks know you visited, and if you liked their tutorial, or if their technique gave you a valuable answer you’ve been searching for. Or just say “thanks for all you do,” like many of my wonderful readers do. It’s little but it goes a long way.
Give back - and it will only get better for everyone."