Sometime last year, I started to notice a phrase in the comments of some of the blogs I read. It was odd, I thought, that this one phrase popped up with such regularity, but only on the weekends. At the end of a given comment would be, “Michele sent me,” or words to that effect. Through a little bit of back tracking through the blogs of the comment writers, I was able to find the source of the line in their links. They all originated from micheleagnew.com and her “Weekend Meet N’ Greet” game. In fact, I discovered her blog in much the same way I discovered the others I frequent.
It started slowly enough; way back in December 2005 I started this blog to occupy some of the abundance of free time the semester break at Sacramento State had cursed me with. I was just looking for an outlet for some pent-up creative energy. I didn’t know where it would take me (a theme in life I have since embraced wholeheartedly), but it served its purpose - it kept my writing fresh during the five weeks of winter break. I would hit the “next blog” button on the Blogger header to browse some random blogs, but never found much that was particularly compelling. Even when I did, I never commented or bothered to return… It was as if I was peering over the fence not wanting to be noticed while at the same time longing to play.
Eventually, someone found my blog and commented. I was ecstatic. In time, I learned a little bit of the ins and outs of commenting, visiting the blogs of those who had commented and, because a comment was left for me, I felt entirely welcome to leave one in return. After my comment was posted, I would read the comments of others and visit some of those blogs via linking through their profiles. Now that my comment-phobia was somewhat attenuated, I started to leave thoughtful comments on those blogs and, in turn, their authors - some of them - would visit my blog and leave a comment. And so on…
Some of those earliest blog-friends are still actively blogging and they still visit occasionally, as do I, but times change and horizons expand. I was finding myself loyally visiting and commenting on too many blogs… I was not energized as I was early on and my time was in much greater demand as well. I was beginning to stagnate; it was becoming ritualistic; there was no spontaneity; it was starting to be not fun; it was turning into an obligation. I wasn’t commenting as often and visitors to my blog were dropping off as a direct result. Blogging at this level is about having a conversation - it doesn’t work without participation.
When I finally found the source of “Michele sent me,” I was simply amazed that a post could have 300, 400 or even 600 comments. I remembered remarking the first or second time I played by adding my own comment that it must be some kind of record. And indeed it might be. The rules are simple: leave a comment on Michele’s blog and then visit the person who commented before. Leave a comment on their blog and include the words, “Michele sent me.” Of course, the person following me would then be compelled to visit me, and so on. Wait for five or more to play next, and then repeat.
It was perfect! The game starts on Thursday evening and runs until Sunday night. Because she has a blogroll numbering in the hundreds and many are frequent participants, new visitors were directed to my blog on a regular basis. Although it’s true that anyone can play, she tends to attract primarily intelligent, thoughtful and genuine bloggers to her site. In addition to getting new and informed visitors, it also directed me to a host of new sites that offered a veritable smorgasbord of topics and perspectives. As the weeks passed I found myself looking forward to Thursday night and beginning another weekend of Meet N’ Greet. It has been more than six months now since fate directed me to micheleagnew.com.
In addition to her weekend game, she has a variety of interactive commenting games during the week. They get bloggers to interact and are interesting, funny, compelling and profound - often at the same time. Oddly enough, until recently, Michele didn’t get involved in her games. Much to the delight of her fans (myself included) she has begun to participate in not only her own games, but also started to comment on the sites of those participating. Though just as mysterious as ever, Michele now has a more frequent personal presence and I can say with certainty that the blogosphere is a better place as a result.
Her most recent feature, “The Post of the Week,” has an added incentive for those commenting and visiting the chosen post - a guaranteed visit from Michele herself! I am both honored and flattered that she chose my last post as her first post of the week. The number and the nature of the comments left have been overwhelming. Here’s a little insight into the influence Michele has: I average 10 to 20 comments per post, often fewer. This post has so far generated no less than 45 comments. If it’s not a record number for me, it is very close to it. Next week there will be another post chosen as the recipient of this honor by Michele and I’ll be among the many visitors who will include the appropriate recognition - Michele sent me…