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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Feedback

When you blog for as long as I have, it is natural that you would get a variety of feedback. I have. There is, of course, the obligatory, "You're an idiot, a bigot, and a religious fool." When one takes a biblical view of the world, one must not expect everyone to be delighted. And, to be fair, the number of these kinds of responses have been relatively few. The larger majority are actually positive. And that's heartwarming.

There is one type of comment I've had in person and in email that has been by far the most dominant. It comes from family and friends, folk who are mostly believers and in agreement with my faith and even mostly in agreement with most of what I write. Not antagonists. Not antagonistic. The single most bit of feedback I get from a variety of people is, "You write well ... but I'm afraid I don't often understand what you're saying."

Now, I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. It would appear that the problem is not my writing. I write well, they tell me. And given the number of highly educated people that have told me this, it also isn't a matter of intelligence. I'm no super scholar (no actual scholar at all), and many of these people have more education than I do. So it's not that I'm a poor writer or that I'm just too smart for them. It's something else.

I work with computers a lot. It seems to come natural to me. It seems to be an aptitude. Many of the people I work with, however, don't seem to be able to grasp basics. Not that they're not smart enough. They're very bright, well-educated people with brilliant scientific minds. They're biologists and PhDs and the like. But I've had people with doctorates ask me, "How do I turn off my computer?" Really? So I've decided that it's not at all a matter of intelligence. It's a matter of aptitude. Some people are ... wired a certain way and others are not. Some are wired to be good at sports and others are not. Some are wired to be mathematically inclined and others are not. Driving seems to be a joy to some people and a curse to others. It's not intelligence; it's wiring.

I tell you all of that because I suspect it's the same sort of thing with my writing. I suspect that there are a group of people out there -- apparently a select few -- who are wired to get it, to understand. They're "tuned in" to what I'm saying. They don't see good writing as much as they simply grasp what's coming from my mind to my fingers to your screen. They're not smarter or less intelligent. They're not better readers or as dumb as I am. It's wiring. They're just ... tuned in.

Still, it makes me wonder at the end of the day. I have been doing this for more than 6 years. I average perhaps 600 hits a week on my blog. I have an entire 25 people that are classified as following my blog. These are not big numbers. I'm not some raving success in the blogosphere. Given that the largest perspective seems to be "I don't get it", I have to wonder if I ought to continue. Is there value in broadcasting my thoughts on this subject or that just because I can? Or perhaps I should try to change, to figure out how to make myself better understood. (I have to admit I can't imagine how to do that. I thought I was pretty simple as it was.) I'm not getting paid to do this and I'm pretty sure that no one's day will be ruined if it stopped. And those minority folk who are quite sure I'm an idiot for thinking the Bible is reliable and I can understand much of what it says would be delighted to see me stop. Hey, it might just make their day!

Anyway, I don't know. Just thinking out loud, so to speak. Should I stay or should I go? Don't know right now. I'm just wondering. You tell me.

17 comments:

Unknown said...

Stan -

I don't know you, but have been reading your blog regularly (via RSS feed, so don't know if you see those stats) for at least a year. Frankly, I'm a bit mystified by the "I don't understand" comments -- I find your writing both interested and very readable.

As for whether you should continue -- my selfish vote is Yes. :)

srp said...

I vote for stay. I enjoy your Blog. I find it thought provoking and it often encourages me to read more on whatever topic you have raised. By the way, I read your Blog via RSS feed so I am not sure if I count in that 600 number!

Stan said...

Odd thing. I read blogs via RSS feed myself. I didn't consider that in the "600" count. Odd that I missed that.

More importantly, I don't work much from numbers. I mean, they might be a helpful indicator, but not the real question. If I am understood and am providing some benefit to more than one or two readers, then I should probably continue regardless of the numbers.

Now, I have to say that I've received other feedback as well. My mom says, "Don't stop!" And another I talked to told me "too much homosexual stuff." I'll take all that into consideration as well.

Marshall Art said...

What do you mean? :)

Absolutely keep going. I likely have fewer visitors than you at my blog and I'm certainly not as good a writer. I post when I feel like it or have something to say, whether anyone wants to read it or not.

You have great insights, especially your stuff related to Scripture. I look forward to your posts every day. Indeed, I'm impressed and amazed that you and WK can come up with something every day that is filled with so much substance.

Don't worry so much about whether or not you are understood by everyone. I don't think it's even possible. In my case, I simply ask for clarifications. As you know, there is one point I'm still not quite getting, but that's more a matter of the subject being of a type where clarity is difficult. At the same time, it is compelling and thought provoking and the value of such is great.

Finally, don't think it's necessary to post every day if you don't feel like it.

Stan said...

Thanks for the input, Marshall Art. Just for the record, I've been posting once a day since June, 2006. If I started missing a day or two, I'd get an email or phone call from my mom. "Are you okay?" Don't want to scare my mom, you know. :)

David said...

I often find myself referring to your blog when talking on a range of subjects with people. You have a way with imagery and examples that I seem to not be able to do on my own, but can easily reference you. I have told several people that they should really check out your blog, though I've no way of knowing if they do. Your writing is compelling and thought provoking. Keep up your good work.

Cindy said...

Please stay!
I especially love it and are taught in a way that opens my understanding when you expand on scripture.
I happened upon "He stayed"( look it up everyone) on what turned out to be one of the most difficult days of my life, where I was rocked to my core. God had prepared me thru your unpacking the story of Lazarus, it encouraged me to believe God loved me when I felt abandoned. I don't have it listed anywhere26 weemsta that I follow you, but I faithfully read every night, there must be many more like me.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Stan,
You are an excellent writer and I really enjoy your blog. I'm one of those "followers" who reads it all, but only responds to some.

I have learned a lot from your blog; printed and saved many for future reference, linked to some on my "Random" posts, and have even posted a couple on FB.

I don't know how you find time for a daily post. I try to get at least one weekly and sometimes even that gets hard to fit on my calendar. And they said retirement was supposed to be easy!

Bryan said...

I just started reading your blog maybe 3 to 4 weeks ago. I think you have a good, readable style to your posts and I find them very thought provoking and encouraging. You (rightly so) rely on scripture and do not sugar coat the Word of God. I look forward to seeing what the post is every day, but by no means does that mean I would stop reading if your posting frequency went down. I tried to blog once, but I realized that having a wife and 4 kids in addition to everything else I do leaves little time for me to write. Plus I am a computer guy (like you) who is not very good at writing (unlike you). I personally think it is awesome you post daily. I think you should continue!

Stan said...

1. Readers rarely comment.

2. Many readers read via feed, not showing up on counters.

3. I have 7 (so far) readers who were serious enough to comment (several, in fact, that I've never met before) and tell me they are benefiting.

I guess it would be wise to continue then, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Stan's writing usually seems pretty clear to me. I have noted some things that seem to contradict what he wrote months or years earlier, but that doesn't count as a clarity issue.

I am a nonbeliever who is casting a 'yes' vote on Stan continuing with the blog. Let me add that few people in the world could consistently come up with a topic per day, while holding down a job.

I find I often agree with Stan on political matters, though obviously I will largely be in disagreement on theological matters.

But either way, I enjoy reading what Stan has to say on both topics.

--Lee

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Yep, continue. You never know who is lurking and benefiting.

starflyer said...

Stan I talked to your mom...she said you should continue. Just kidding...(about part of what I just said).

Stan said...

(Actually ... she emailed me that message ... not kidding.)

4simpsons said...

Stan, sorry I'm late with this. You are the kind of blogger I hope to be. You are articulate, accurate and productive. You speak the truth with love. Never stop writing! I always read but don't comment much.

Stan said...

Thanks. Quite encouraging coming from a fabled blogger like you.

cl said...

Yes! Continue. I just discovered this blog and I think it's very valuable.