This post is my contribution to the UN Foundation’s Shot @ Life Blog Relay for #blogust. EVERY SINGLE COMMENT HERE raises $20 to help save the lives of children in need. I know you’re all awesome at commenting, so I hope you’ll read on!
UPDATE 8/8: now EVERY COMMENT ALL MONTH LONG will count towards $20. Even second comments, provided they’re fresh and new. Amazing!
Anyone who knows me knows I love blog comments. Above all, (and yeah, I’m biased) I love comments on this blog. More than Twitter conversations. More than Facebook threads, all of which will disappear somewhere forever one day.
But here, I adore our discussions with a fiery passion and I return to read them often. I mean, how many places on the internet can you find a breastfeeding/formula feeding discussion that never once gets nasty? (Pat yourselves on the back!)
Seeing the same names pop up over and over gives me as much of a thrill as those who admit to delurking for one reason or another. It makes me feel like we truly have a community here and I’m not just some crazy person shouting on a soapbox in the middle of Picadilly.
But I have to admit, there are few commenters I have extra special heart for. In fact, some of them have been here from the very beginning–for six (eep) plus years, offering support and guidance and dissent and tough love and of course, friendship. One of those women is Asha Dornfest.
I started following her popular site Parenthacks almost as soon as I found the online parenting community. We met at our first Blogher Conference in 2006 (sniff, it’s our anniversary right now) and meeting her for the first time was like reuniting with an old friend.
A few months ago, I gave a presentation at Mom 2.0 called “All Hail the Commenters.” It was a 7 minute quickie on any topic I wanted, and I discussed how important commenting remains on blogs, especially in an age of fleeting social media. I’m remiss in how late I am posting the presentation here–I’ll do that soon–but in it, I described the archetypes of awesome commenters, from the Crazy but Harmless, to the Thoughtful Dissenter, to the Class Clown, to the Authentic Cheerleader.
Asha fell into that latter category.
Any time I see a comment from her appear here, my heart sings. I see her beautiful face in my head. I imagine her sitting at her computer, reading a post–maybe twice–and formulating her thoughts.
To be clear, I so appreciate any person who takes time away from kids and work and writing and Bravo marathons and other essential responsibilities to leave a comment on a blog and create discussion and meaning for the community. But knowing Asha personally, her husband and children and the details of her own busy life, just knowing that she’s been here, reading, thinking, and throwing a thought into the pool, brings me a special joy.
Most of all, because she herself has built an entire community that couldn’t thrive without comments–click over and you’ll find an entire database of tricks and tips culled from the wisdom of parents that write to her.
Comments and participation quite literally create her community. She has no blog without them.
It’s no surprise that this is her blog model. She’s one of the most giving, generous, open people you’ll ever meet. She’s among the first bloggers that I joined forces with years ago in an informal advisory board structure. We got on the phone once a month or so to offer advice, resources tips on opportunities, and general support. We all put one another’s ads on our blogs, too. Just because it seemed like a good thing to do. And at the time, her blog was the biggest and most popular of all.
That never seemed to matter to her. Asha is always there for those who need it. I channel her more days than she’ll ever know when I make decisions in my own life, and think about how to engage with people.
Read her column The Accidental Expert and you’ll see this is a woman who lives to give back. To me, that attitude is exactly what keeps this entire blogosphere thriving.
I feel fortunate to be among her many recipients.
Now here’s something really cool:
As it turns out, my Mom 2.0 presentation in some way inspired the thinking behind this Shot @ Life Relay–and that kind of blows me away. So I feel an extra obligation to make this effort successful.
Please leave a comment: tell me about one person online who inspires you, or one commenter who always makes you happy–on your blog or elsewhere. Because every person who comments means a $20 donation, which will immunize a child in need with 4 life-saving vaccines. Also, every person you acknowledge will feel super-special and happy and man, don’t we need more of that in the world these days?
You can leave a comment on the other posts as well. Check out yesterday’s wonderful post by C.C. Chapman, whose portrait of Clarence Smith Jr. is fascinating. And tomorrow, I’m passing the baton to Amy Graff of Babycenter. Stop by. Leave a $20 comment. You can do it all month long. You will literally give a kid a shot at life.
Edited to add: thank you so so SO much for each and every comment here. For the ones that raised more than $4000 (!!!) yesterday, but even for the ones that don’t. Today you can head to Babycenter and leave a comment on Amy’s post for it to count towards fundraising; and you’re always welcome back here just to say hi or honor someone who inspires you.