Super Schmoozing me

Steadily my blogroll is growing and growing as I continue to click on other people's blogrolls or click on the blogger profiles of interesting commenters etc... Sometimes I keep on reading the blog, sometimes I visit a couple of times and then stay away and slowly forget the blog as it didn't really strike me. Nevertheless I regularly follow more and more blogs.

Whenever I see an in interesting post I am also tempted to comment. But I always hesitate on a new blog...I sometimes feel like an intruder, I wonder if my unsollicited comment will be appreciated, whether they'll wonder "who the hell is goofball?", ... But I usually go for it. Sometimes you get an answer, most of the time you don't. On blogs which I like and which I frequently read, I also become quickly a regular commentator.

Nevertheless I sometimes feel a bit like an outsider. On some blogs, you feel that the other bloggers make circles of interconnections, referrals to each other etc.... You can group blogs in communities, especially if you click from one blogroll to another one. Then you have a big chance to meet the same commentators on the new blogs etc... I seem to be reading the "bloggers from Ghent" community: a group of bloggers that also work for or live in the area of Ghent and often know each other. There's also a group of blogs of expats that I read, since I love to hear about different cultures, the foreigners view on Belgium or Europe, the difficulties of settling in a new environment etc. And thanks to Allie I started reading a lot of Canadian/American mommy/parenting blogs.

I am neither living around Ghent anymore though, I am neither an expat or a blogging mom.

I also notice that there are some unwritten structures that start ruling in those communities: Belgian bloggers (well, at least the ones I keep track off) often seem to have a passion for geeky internet stuff and follow the online communities hype (twitter this winter, the discovery of Facebook in June, Pounce is now being tested, ...) or they are renovating (hey...I said they were Belgians so that was obvious) or they seem to be pregnant. But other than a lot of common subjects that come back, they seem relatively unstructured.

English speaking blogs (both among the mommies as the expats) share a lot more structure: Wednesdays are preferably wordless, if you post a thirtheen item list on thursday, that's cool. On Saturday you are invited to go on photo hunts, etc... And meme's are thrown back and forth.
There are no obligations whatsoever but you see these patterns coming back regularly.

Another thing that you mostly see on English speaking blogs is the many awards that bloggers give to fellow bloggers. I must honestly say that I've frowned my eyes already in the past at the ease and frequency that this cyberlove got translated into a myriad of awards that pop out of nowhere. What's the value of them? They simply spread contageously (because people feel somehow obliged to spread them) and I looked at it with some envy. It made me think at the difference in European culture and Anglo-Saxon /American culture: in the latter one it is so much more common to praise each other and to give positive feedback. In Europe we seem to treasure much the economic idea that scarcity increases the value, so we don't hand out a lot of compliments.

(hmm I get a flashback : I was with a Belgian colleague on training in Chicago and my colleague got so irritated by this culture difference that he stated all of a sudden to me "if the teacher says once more "good job" during a stupid assignment, I'll kick her out of the window"...we are so not used to it that we get irritated by an abundance of compliments, that seem to become valueless to us).

Anyway, this was a very lenghty introduction just to say that I sometimes felt a bit an outsider in the blogosphere and that I had ambiguous feelings about blog awards...


yes, I wrote that in past tense. Today I was reading Jen in Holland's blog and much to my total shock and surprise, she gave me a power to schmooze award! Woooohoo I am so flattered! Someone I have never met, finds my blog and comments interesting enough to give me an award. I was seriously moved. I had never expected to get an award.

So gone are my ambigious feelings about bloggers giving each other awards: I feel simply proud. And happy that I do persist in leaving comments on lots of blogs and trying to connect and get communication going and being respectful and honest and positive encouraging (hey I did live in canada, so I do have a bit of the positive encouragement mentality in me as well :p). And maybe I am not always perceived as an outsider although I still don't fit in one blogging classification.

So here I proudly present my button:

Doesn't this rock? Here is the explanation of the button:

"Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship"

As this award is all about blogging community involvement, it is now my turn to compliment other blogges with this award.

1. Allie at Life at the Whittinghams: my dear Canadian friend that is always so honest, open, compassionate and shares all her joys, doubts,... with us. Her comments are always warm and encouraging.

2. Betsy at Blog Ness Monster: The sense of humor with which she embraces her daily challenges in parenthood and settling in a new environment are so contagious. Her posts and comments often make me smile. thanks to her I also discovered a lot of new blogs.

3. the entire team of volunteers at Gent Blogt. Not sure if the authors will ever read this, but they sure have managed to create a blogging community in Ghent and from that community they also have created a real life community in Ghent. They make people aware of activities and I am sure that they bring people together in some way. And all of this in a professional way.

4. Jenn at My life in a nutshell as she has a lot of positive energy in life and leaves sweet and nice and comments herself


Carol said…
I like Betsy's blog a lot too -- and now I need to go check the others you mentioned!

Congrats on the award! I got one recently too, albeit a very teeny one, but it sure made my day!

Oh, and I LOVE it when you (and others) comment on my blog!
Michel said…
Thanks for the award!

Not sure where we'll put it as of yet. Virtual mantelpiece perhaps?

Bart said…
Geeky internet? Renovating? Pregnant?

Noooo.... impossible.
Goofball said…
@Michel: waw zo snel al. En ik schrijf nog dat ik niet zeker wist of iemand van dit zou opmerken. Straf!

@Bart....nee gij voldoet zeker niet aan dat plaatje eh. absoluut niet ;)
Betsy said…
Thanks, Ellen! This made me feel great! I really enjoy blogging and the whole interactive component is what really makes it worthwhile!

I'll definitely check out the other links you've put up- have been looking for some fresh perspective lately!

Congrats on your award! :-)
Jenn in Holland said…
I love this post. I think I have thought or felt many of those same things in the last few bloggging months.
It's also so interesting to hear your perspective on the compliments thing. You are so dead on with that, and truly a complete difference from Americans to Europeans. It really does make a compliment feel SO BIG, when you rarely if ever hear one.
But anyway, I am happy to give you one. You really are a diligent blogging friend, really trying to make nice connections all over the blogging world, even if you don't fit in with any certain category.
I know I always appreciate the time you spend at my site and the comments you make there. It is always of value when you stop in to say something.
Congatulations, you Schmoozer!
Allie said…
Oh wow .... you have brought tears to my eyes Ellen.

But, I too am like you and I live in North America. While I don't hold a lot of merit in those blogging awards out there, I also don't judge people who are in to them either. I like the aspect of connecting to other moms out there and having that supportive sounding board out there. BUT, I have people such as YOU who also give me that perspective of the world outside of mommyhood.

Besides, who else is out there that gets your quirky sense of humour besides Jan and of course me.

I miss you Ellen. I truly do. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.
Jenn said…
Thanks Goofball! This is my first blogging award EVER!

I just have to figure out how to post it.


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