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Do Drop Me A Line
October 17, 2007 - 12:49am


My friend Chip wants to be my life coach. He said those words. When I asked what he meant, he said he has the objectivity to help me make important decisions—mostly writing- and career-related—that will “get you where you want to be.”

I rarely put good advice to use, let alone that of a guy who orders three entrees when he goes to IHOP so he can be sure he’s not missing out on something.

Today he wanted to discuss why, if half-a-million unique visitors came to my blog last month as I claimed, few readers left comments. I repeated some things that a couple of big-time bloggers told me about their readers, such as how nobody left comments unless they were asked to talk about their own lives. I said my own feeling was that, because my blog is the Sunday magazine of Inside Higher Ed—human-interest stories, kittens playing with string, first-prize pumpkins—readers don’t need or want interactive, and that’s fine.

But Chip realized I don’t have an e-mail address listed and went nuts. “Are you a moron?” he cried. “How could you do that in this day and age?”

“What?” I said. “If someone wants to talk to me, they can leave a comment. Or write the editors. Besides, lots of people write me…. My e-mail is up at McSweeney’s, and I’ve put it in several blog posts. And I have a MySpace page, which I wrote about in my blog, like, six months ago. Or so.” I was starting to feel uncertain.

“People don’t want to leave you comments in some public space. They want to feel like they have a personal connection with you. And they’re not going to dig through your archives looking for the address. Oh my god; I’ve never heard of such a thing!” He began to sob.

If he’s correct, I apologize. It hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll put my e-mail address at the end of this post for now, and we’ll try to get it up more prominently soon. I’d love to hear more from you. Write me to say Chip was right or wrong; write me to say hi. Write me and tell me about your life, if you want, and I'll tell you about my hopes, dreams, desires, and the extra head that seems to be growing out of my spine.

If you tell me Chip was right, I might have to consider him for the life coach position, and he knows it. He’s been telling me to visit some big-cat rescue farm he heard about—no doubt hoping I’ll be mauled in usefully comical ways—and to write an article about it, and your support is just the thing he needs to press his case. It’s for my own good.

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