I need more reader interaction. Especially comments. Blogging is a lonely world. You don’t ever meet the people who have caught your interest. You don’t get to go hiking with them or visit for tea or meet up anywhere. There are all those incredible people you come to care about – but not a real love. More like the “love” one might have for an anime character.

I say I am madly in love with Hitagi Senjogahara (Monogatari Franchise) but I am really enamored with the concept, what she represents. A damaged woman fighting to become complete again. A hard person allowing herself to become vulnerable. Romance and happy sexuality finding a way to climb up through the rubble of sexual assault. Refusing to play the victim any more. Intelligence in harness with emotion, rather than in conflict. Since Araragi-kun was the catalyst for this change, I love him as well – even though the character starts out with serious moral shortcomings.

I would “hurt” if she bled. I would love her even more (if that were possible) if she bled for a good cause. If she died, I might cry but I would not be depressed. You are supposed to cry for a tragic story. You are not supposed to grieve as if a real friend had died.

Blogging and other social media have the advantage over an anime character in that you can interact. You post and get replies and likes and maybe even a troll artist to block. That moves it a step closer to reality. More of a connection to the other person. It isn’t “real” yet by any means but it is a lot closer.

I have managed to become real friends with one person thru social media and that is because I knew her 35 years ago when she was just a teenager and I was a 20-something.  Wife and I have gone with her and her husband to a protest march, a concert and an art exhibit and the two of us went to visit an old friend who was terminally ill. Social media is rarely useful for generating IRL friends.

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I’ve also met some good people through the Meetup.com site. I leaned about nude theater in Los Angeles through social media. (Might as well give it a shout-out here.) I got in touch with hiking groups, writing groups, and naturist groups. I met some fabulous people there. That’s the advantage of having a group focused on a narrow interest that meets in public places but still allows members to retain privacy. They are very low risk.

In the blogging world, it is sometimes difficult to know if your content is being noticed, let alone read and thought about. That is where likes and follows come in. However, even that is not any kind of good measure. When I wander though my likes and follows, I sometimes find commercial sites.

Then there are the people who like or follow me but I have no clue why. I visit their blog and we have nothing in common. Our values are different, our politics are different and our interests are different. I let these slide because just maybe they are looking for something different. In reality, they are probably broadcasting likes to everyone and following whoever just to get likes and follows in return. This is the shotgun approach to building traffic. When you see someone has liked 5 posts in a row without the clock ticking up even a minute, one has to wonder.

And of course we have the people who like a lot of your posts and also follow you. A little nagging insecurity in the back of your brain still asks if they really read the post and really liked it or just saw the posts in their followed sites list and liked it out of courtesy. That takes us to comments.

I have read every post that I have liked.  If I am following you, it is likely I have read some of your posts and then commented on some of those. That probably isn’t possible for people who have a thousand followers and a hundred people they follow.

Akismet does a good job of filtering out the spam.  I don’t get much but it is still obnoxious.

I am still disappointed when I see so few comments on my own posts. I’m really hoping to stimulate a conversation. I never know if my posts are uninteresting. Maybe the occasional nudity really bugs you. Maybe they are so well written there is nothing to comment on. Or so poorly written they aren’t worth commenting on. Or the photography is blah or great. Does nothing I have to say reward you, or pique your curiosity, or bring up any memories or emotions?

My activities aren’t always FB safe. On my blog, I add NSFW to the title if I haven’t edited out the parts the fundamentalists wouldn’t approve of. Sometimes I have two versions of the same post, one that is FB safe and one that has honest nudity. (I am hoping those who follow me don’t mind the real version.) Without comments, I can’t know if it bothers any given reader and that bugs me. My definition of NSFW might need to change in either direction.

Without comments I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or right. Or if anyone even read the post.

I’d probably continue writing even if nobody saw what I wrote because it serves other purposes in addition to communication of my experiences. Somewhat like a diary, it solidifies my thoughts and feelings at a certain point of time. It clarifies my thoughts on what has happened. It keeps my mind active and creative.

But please. If you read a post let me know what you think about the subject matter, the writing itself and the photography. Maybe even hint on how it could be improved.  Interaction makes everything better.