The ironic thing is that if you’re reading this post, this rant is almost certainly not directed at you.
I’m reminded of a school band rehearsal when our teacher spent the first fifteen minutes lecturing us about the poor attendance. No-one had the nerve (or the stupidity, considering his mood) to point out that he would be better speaking to the people who weren’t there. Anyway I hope this post won’t turn out like that, but please bear with me while I get this off my chest.
I’ve been blogging for almost seven months now, and I have loved being part of the blogging community and connecting with so many great people. This isn’t something I expected when I felt drawn to start writing, but it has blessed me a lot.
However, there is one thing that has begun to increasingly annoy me: when people participate in link-ups which say that you should visit your neighbour’s post, and they don’t do it.
It has been a big surprise to me how common this is in the Christian blogging community. In the last week, I added posts to four link-ups which gave that instruction, and in only one of them did my link-up neighbour actually click on my post.
I don’t say that looking for pity. Other people read and commented on my posts. I know there are far bigger problems in the world, and in the grand scheme of things it is insignificant. I do think it’s something we could easily fix though, and there are reasons why I believe it is important that we do and that we bless our blogging neighbours by visiting their posts.
Firstly, it’s what Jesus would do… I’m pretty sure it is. I admit I’m speculating. Understandably the Bible doesn’t have a whole lot to say about blogging etiquette. It does have a lot to say though about loving your neighbour, and the command to “do to others what you would have them do to you”. (Matthew 7:12)
When we add our posts to a link-up, presumably we do this because we want other people to read our posts, therefore it makes sense that we should do the same for other people. It also shows respect, both to our neighbour and to the link-up host.
We’re called to encourage one another. It only takes a few minutes to read a post and write a short comment, but it can mean a lot to the author of the post. Especially if they are a new blogger it can give them a boost and encourage them to know that their post has been read. On the other hand it can be incredibly discouraging if they link up and no-one visits.
Being known as someone who links and runs is not a good reputation to develop. There is one blogger who has linked up after me on several occasions at different link-ups over the last few months and has not once clicked on my post. I have visited her blog and she seems like a lovely person with inspiring words that have blessed me, but unfortunately there is now a sense of disappointment when I see her post appear next to mine as I know not to expect a visit. That is definitely not how I want other people to think of me.
Visiting other people’s blogs and connecting with new people is fun. It really shouldn’t be viewed as a chore. I have learned so much through reading about different people’s perspectives and I have made some great connections with people I would now consider friends. I can only think of two blogging friends where the initial contact was through something other than a link-up.
To me it is not an obligation but a joy. I will always visit the person who linked before me, even if the link-up doesn’t instruct you to do that, and if I have time, I will usually visit two or three others that catch my eye.
Of course there are times when you end up next to someone whose post you don’t relate to at all, but you can still leave a quick hello and a word of encouragement to let them know they’ve been heard. Then there are those other beautiful times when God leads you to exactly the words you needed at that moment, or when you “meet” someone you feel you can really connect with and begin to develop a friendship.
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Surely visiting one another’s posts is a simple, but effective, way we can demonstrate that love.