In this day and age, the ability to work from home is a perk enjoyed by many tech-sector employees. VPN, remote desktop, and reliable internet connections leave little that can’t be done from the comfort of the home office. If you are sick or suffering a case of the stinky-farts, and you have the ability to work from home, please do! I don’t deny the convenience and flexibility the permission to work from home has afforded me, nor would I want to give up the option to do so when it’s necessary. There’s the crux of it: when necessary.
I believe that reputations, not to mention friendships, are built upon communication. Communication works best when it is in person, especially if you are part of a team working towards a group goal. If you aren’t in the office, you can’t make those random, human connections that come with seeing someone in all sorts of weather and throughout the gamut of emotions. You can’t get to know the moods of your coworkers, that one sings when he’s happy and another gets mean if she’s hungry. Consider this: what do you remember from the job you had five years ago? The details of a technical report or the way you laughed and argued with the people you met?
It’s much, much harder to make a memorable, positive impression when you are not meeting in person. How often have you visited a newbie’s blog and found them wondering about, begging for, or otherwise lamenting the lack of comments/visitors/page hits? If the blogger is saying something of value, I’ll respond. Not because I want them to reach some magical hit count, but because I view a blog post as an invitation by the blogger to engage in a conversation. I have a limited amount of time to spend engaged in authentic, enriching communication and I won’t keep going back to a blog that complains about a lack of popularity, but never says word one in response to my comments. I understand the blogger is busy; trust me, I get that. It takes diligence, time, and effort to respond to commenters, but if you open a dialog with the world and someone responds, reply to them! Okay, if you have hundreds of commenters, perhaps you can’t physically manage that load. Pick a few, though, let us know you still care. If you’re the wondering beggar, do yourself a favor and take the two minutes to reply to your commenters. Not doing so is equivalent to being a new hire in an office and refusing to speak to the people who come by to welcome you. Imagine how often they’re going to come back, how quickly they’ll tell their team-mates to chat you up!
I’ve recently been invited to join a Triberr guild of speculative fiction writers, The Emissaries of Strange. I am fairly certain that if I had never responded to comments or visited and left comments on other writer’s posts, I would not have gotten to know the person who invited me. If it weren’t for the very human act of communication, I would not have the online support group of writers that I have now. Newbie bloggers: I’m proof that you can build a supportive network of like-minded people in under six months. My page views have gone up, but I have something better: communication with outstanding writers who also happen to be fascinating people.
Don’t just take my word for it! Visit them, leave a comment. They’ll respond!
Marie Loughin– “I wanna be …”
Jonathan Allen – Shaggin’ the Muse
Paul Dail – A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog.
Jaye Manus – Writer + Readers = Value
Margo Lerwill – Unsafe Haven
Penelope Crowe – As the Crowe Flies