This title is a bit of a come-on to encourage you to stay with me to the end of a post that is important to me, responds to concerns I’ve heard from some of you, and will, I hope, be of interest to even more of you. You may recognize that imperative from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End.
“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”
Although you’ll occasionally find some of the elements in that quotation in my posts, and I’m using literary license to suggest that my emphasis on finding common ground among us applies to the last sentence, this particular post focuses solely on the first two words, in their most literal sense. I want to make it easy for you to get in touch with me directly by sending a private message.
When I began what I call my “technojourney” less than a year ago, I had no idea how many ways this blog would enrich my life. Though I’ve been a writer throughout my professional life, I was never able to fuse the time, motivation, and ideas into a sustained, coherent body of work that was solely my own. Until now. The opportunity to follow my curiosity wherever it takes me—unfettered by the demands of an editor—and to write what I choose is wonderfully freeing.
The idea of a blog originated with my children. And based on the pleasure I’m getting, and a good deal of very gracious feedback and support from you, I think they were more attuned to their mother’s needs than I was. This isn’t the first time I’ve learned from my children, and I continue to be grateful for their caring and wisdom.
Here’s how I explained my motivation for this blog in “Backstage in My Blog World: An Explanation—and an Apology,” which I wrote early on, after my first technical snafu. Though the glitch seemed horrendous at the time, I had fun describing it shortly thereafter. I’ll give you a hint: the first line read: “The title of this post might also be ‘Blogging While Aging Ain’t for Sissies!’”
“So my venture into the blogosphere is taking some effort. I’m not whining here; nor am I suggesting the effort isn’t worthwhile. I’m committed to building a blogging community because a) I love to write; b) The New York Times doesn’t seem to think all the letters I send them are fit to print; c) there are so many issues that I want to learn more about, and this format allows me to delve into them and share what I’ve learned; and d) most importantly, I am deeply committed to the idea that dialogue undertaken with respect for opposing views is an essential component to our democratic process—and its rarity is one of the many serious problems we now face as a nation.”
What I didn’t anticipate was how vast—and at the same time tiny—the blogosphere is, or at least the portion of it in which my WordPress blog resides. It has been thrilling to connect with bloggers from nearly every continent: to learn from you and have you join me in dialogue right here.
Among my most recent “followers” (a word I dislike, but I guess we’re stuck with it) are individuals from India, South Africa, Poland, and Bosnia Herzegovina. I am abashed that so many of you live in a multilingual world and can artfully express your views in English, but I’m also grateful for the translating devices on your blogs that enable me to read your work when you choose to write in your native tongues.
And to those of you who haven’t received a personal welcome since joining me, please consider this my thank you for your vote of confidence. I value each and every one of you.
My emphasis from the beginning has been on dialogue: hence, “annieasksyou.” Once I’ve given you some information and/or my opinions on a topic, I relish exchanging ideas—albeit in a civil way. I am so very grateful when you take the time to provide your ideas, insights, and personal stories, as well as links you find to articles or videos that further enrich our discussions.
But I’m also deeply appreciative if you just come along for the ride. I have learned that many people whose opinions I would love to have on a particular post prefer not to express themselves publicly. When something strikes me as especially relevant, I occasionally include it attributed to “Anonymous,” but please reserve that option for rare occasions.
And please don’t hesitate if you’d just like to leave a comment that says you’ve enjoyed a post, rather than providing an in-depth response. Of course, if you haven’t liked something, and you want to let me know that, I hope you’ll explain why.
My main point in this post is to make sure you’re able to communicate with me in whatever way you choose. Most of the information that follows is more likely useful to those of you who aren’t experienced bloggers—and that applies to a good proportion of the folks reading this post.
A number of you have told me that you’ve had problems leaving comments or “likes” for a particular post, and some have even given up after wasting time trying and are discouraged from trying again. I’m not only very sorry for your inconvenience; with dialogue as my goal, I’m as frustrated as you are that I’m not benefiting from your insights. I also know how annoying that is because it’s happened to me on other blog sites.
I have spoken with the WordPress “Happiness Engineers” (I think of them as the HEs, a gender-neutral term) about this issue a number of times. On occasion, I have found your comments in my spam file; something triggered the guardians there, though to this day it isn’t clear what did it. If you sent a comment that I didn’t receive, and you let me know, I can check for it there.
Sometimes comments don’t go through because you’re not sure whether you’re an email follower or a WordPress follower. If the latter, you have to sign on to your email account, insert that password, then sign onto your WordPress account and insert that password. (Cumbersome, I know.) Once you’ve done that, you should have smooth sailing to enter your comment in the reply box, but that clearly doesn’t always happen. Temporary technical glitches do occur.
I can offer a few possible ways to address this problem. Although WordPress insists it doesn’t have a timing function on the reply box, several people have told me they now type their comments separately, then copy them and paste them into the reply box. This is particularly helpful if your responses are lengthy. It breaks my heart to be told: “I spent hours composing a response, but it disappeared.”
I’ve also found that a comment or “like” may not go through the first time. If you wait a few seconds (or minutes, or hours) and try again, it often will. You can tell if it does by watching for the blue line that moves across the top of the text (below “Done”) and seeing the comment appear outside the reply box, directly on my blog.
If any of the more experienced bloggers have encountered similar problems with comments/likes that haven’t gone through, I would greatly appreciate hearing how you resolved them.
Sometimes you don’t get the email informing you of a new post; I’ve received word that some people read my posts by stumbling on them on WordPress Reader, not having been notified. I am trying to publish a post once a week—on Sunday or Monday evenings—so if you don’t get an email announcement then, please let me know.
I also realize that the font is light when you enter your comment on your phone. That is apparently a function of the “theme” I’ve selected for my blog. Though I like it a lot, I’m considering choosing a new theme so that it’s easier for you to see your words as you type them.
All of the above leads me to the new Contact page you’ll find linked to my Home page (see above photo). If you want to get in touch with me about any issue at all—a communication problem, a suggestion for a topic you’d like me to explore (I’m happy to consider all ideas, though I can’t promise I’ll delve into each one), a comment you don’t want to make publicly for some reason—please click on Contact and enter your name, email address, and web site (if applicable). This information will not appear publicly. And do let me know if you’d be more likely to leave a comment if the text you enter is easier for you to read. Then write away. I’ll respond to you as soon as I can.
PS: If you’re viewing this post on your mobile phone, Contact is at the very bottom of the menu on my Home page.