Friday, August 10, 2012

A Friday Questionairre From A Student

I received, last night, a survey being done by a young student who is researching bloggers. He had some interesting questions and I asked him if I could answer them here on my blog. I felt the grin in his email, when he wrote, "given the topic, I'd think that would be appropriate." Anyways, here's a selection of the questions I was sent to answer:

What do you want people to take away from your blog?

I began this blog to chronicle my life as a newly disabled man who works with others who have disabilities. I'd, not long before starting, become a wheelchair user. It seemed that I was being required to think differently about myself in relationship to the world and that had quickly begun to rethink what I thought I knew about those I provided service to and their relationship to their world. I hope the blog gives people pause to think, or ponder, some of the ideas that come out of here. The blog has evolved from there, of course, and become something different. I'd have to let my readers tell you what they take away from Rolling Around ...

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you started? Is that the readership you now have?

I didn't know if anyone would read my blog in the beginning. I thought that my main readers would be the same people who came to my lecturers. Mostly professionals who work with people who have intellectual disabilities. In the end I have a much more diverse readership than I ever thought I'd have. People with disabilities themselves, parents and grandparents of people with disabilities, service professionals from throughout the hierarchy, college professors and their students, and some people who dropped by by accident, with no disability connection, and who have stayed to read.

Do you censor your thoughts or are there personal aspects of your life that you do not write about?

Yes. and. Yes. I think that boundaries are important. Joe knows what's written here about him, he knows I won't violate his privacy, if he doesn't want something involve him written about, I don't write it. Ever. I never ask twice. There are aspects of our relationship that's not for public view, there are aspects of my emotional life that's not for full public view only glances area allowed there. What I write about, regarding my reactions to things are authentic, there is risk involved in this, but, so far the risk is worth taking.

When you write a blog do you worry about how you are presenting yourself?

No. I do worry that readers think that that one story represents all of me. It's just one moment. It's just one reaction. It's not my whole day nor is it representative of all of me either. It's just a moment. We have thousands of them in a day - I tend to choose one that I think will fit in with the theme of my blog, that I have something to say about, and from which I think can make a larger point. But my day is bigger than any incident I write about. For example, a negative interchange in a parking lot, is just that. Though I write about it, the rest of my day isn't defined by it, I can still have a kick ass great day - and some readers will think my whole day was ruined ... but it was just a 'bloggable moment' in an otherwise typical day.

Have you ever been hurt by a comment, have you considered deleting a comment that you thought was unfair?

Well, I have a policy that I don't delete comments, except ones that bully others. I don't delete those that bully me. I have been devastated by comments made, but I don't remove them. There needs to be room for discussion and debate. If I'm going to write something to make people think, some of them are going to think unkind thoughts about me. It comes with the territory, I guess. I've got great readers, who often come to my defense. But I notice in recent months there has been an increase in comments that seemed directly targeted at hurting me. I'm not sure why.

Most blogs don't last as long as Rolling Around In My Head, what keeps you going?

It's a conversation yet unfinished.

Is Rolling Around in My Head your only blog?

No. I have a blog, where I publish irregularly. My name is not attached to that blog. And, no, I'm not sharing it. It's my own little tiny private part of the blogosphere.

What advice would you give to bloggers?

Pay attention to your day and you'll have things to write about.


joanne said...

thank you Dave, for your ongoing honesty and sense of humour...that's what keeps me coming back...and none the less, your ongoing advocacy for people with disabilities.

Anonymous said...

'But I notice in recent months there has been an increase in comments that seemed directly targeted at hurting me'. yes I have noticed this too. I wonder whether there are trolls dropping in. From wikipedia:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]

Anonymous said...

What great questions and very interesting that you have addressed similar through your blog over this year. No doubt that is why you have a following.

I too have notice a change of comments - but I guess I don't look at them as attacks. I see your blog reaching a broader audience. The comments have grown from the "right on", smiley faces and pity parties to challenging thoughts. I perceive growth. Your description of yourself has changed; you adopted a policy to deter bullies; you've attracted more fellow workers. Of course, when you put out a bigger net, you are bound to pick up a few "old boots" and comments from minds that are so small that they "need to be thrown back".

Great questions and great answers. Also glad to hear you have another outlet for your talents as well.

Keep the discussions going!! I for one have been educated and encouraged, provoked and persuaded.

CL said...

I'm one of those who found this blog by accident, without a particular connection to disability. I'm a woman and a feminist, and I read feminist blogs, and through those blogs I started reading Feminists With Disabilities (which no longer updates) -- and one day I found your blog on their blogroll. I added it to Google Reader and haven't missed a post since. I'm very glad I found you -- you have given me a great deal to think about.

I think it would be okay to delete all comments that are bullying -- including those directed at yourself. You deserve the same respect that you're showing your readers by not allowing comments that are cruel or degrading toward them. And some readers might share characteristics with you, causing them to feel bullied when someone attacks you.

Purpletta said...

Hi Dave, I agree with CL that it would be okay to delete posts aimed at hurting or attacking anyone, including yourself. People deserve respect. That applies to each and every one of us. And without question that includes you. The sad thing to me is that you'd need to read such posts initially anyway, as you have devoted so much time and talent to the service you provide to all of us through your blog. You often reach topics that are thought-provoking and thought-provoking around life topics often leads to deep emotional responses. Sometimes those can be misdirected and from reading some comments I do wonder aloud whether that is a component. It doesn't make it acceptable though even if that is the case. Thank you for the work you do & the gift you share through your blog.