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…
You have a knack for writing tributes; seems to me you've nicely described the Essence Of Michele. :)
Do you still hit the "next blog" button on occasion, or semi-randomly visit links in someone's blogroll? Just wondering...
I am so excited to have found Michele. I enjoy the comment games and have read great blogs because of her site. I've also had wonderful visiters because of her, including you :)
"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." I say yippee to that! I found Michele in much the same way that you did (next blog click) and it immediately struck me as the best blog I had ever seen. I still think that, and she has provided me with additional readership and countless well-written blogs (such as yours) to peruse daily!
No, I never hit the "next blog" button anymore. I have way too many blogs that i owe a visit at any given moment and new ones (such as yours) are being brought to my attention on a regular basis. There are not enough hours in the day...
I love Michele!!
Your post covers what most of us think of Michele. I have got to know some bloggers via her blog. I started interacting only a month ago or so.
BTW, Michele sent me...:D
One of the reasons I started my blog was to be able to play the M&G game. Superb description of the essence of her unique blog, themes and games!
Great job summarizing the magic that is Michele Agnew and her blog. It's wonderful to be a part of such a community of readers/writers.
Yeah, the weekend M&G is a great way to discover new intelligent adn interesting blogs. I have found many that way including yours :)
In answer to your question, I have indeed been on a motorbike or two. In fact as a Uni student I was a member of the bike club there!
Well, I don't have comments, so you can visit me without worrying about what to say!
Thanks for explaining Michele. I would certainly like to start participating in the Meet & Greet sessions if time permits.
In my current pursuit of happiness, I am thinking seriously of going back to school (online/full-time) to obtain an MBA.
It would be prudent to say, that I was indeed motivated by your story and your current successful pursuit of your own journalistic degree.
i am so happy to have found michele, too. I love the atmosphere that she has created for everyone who participates on her blog. It was through her I found your blog, which I love reading and find continual inspiration.
Very cool. I may have to check this out.
btw...I came here from a link through Tori's blog!
Nice profile!...professional student...I like it.
I have always said if I won the lottery, I would just attend school for the rest of my life!
Well, Michele didn't exactly send me THIS time, although I got here from her place.
I've been a playa (teehee) in the Meet & Greets for a long time, and that is how I met many of my FAVORITE favorite bloggers.
Dare I mention that you are on that list now? :)
I've only been visting Michele for a few months now, but I've already discovered so many great blogs (your is absolutely included in that list!), it's hard to keep track of them all.
It's so refreshing to be able to visit bloggers who have something to say and know how to say it! And I always get a kick out of participating in Michele's games.
See you in the M&G!
I've been around since before there WERE blogs (when I started we had "journals"). Over the years I have delighted in reading the writing of others, which usually sparks some ideas of my own. This is a strange and wonderful medium. I have blogs and journals that I have been following for 8 years now, people I will never meet but who feel like friends, since I've been peeking in on their lives for so long.
Michele has added another dimension to the whole thing and I have thoroughly enjoyed playing her games and visiting the sites of other participants.
All right, Mike, this does it. I hope your feed is on 'cause I'm going to add it to my reader.
You are simply brilliant and I love reading your posts. Open invitation to West of Mars -- but that's not new.
I've been playing Michele's games for a long while, and I enjoy every minute of it! Great post :-)
I have to say I have certainly enjoyed reading the few posts that I have here on your blog! And, I would not have found your blog except for the fact that "Michele sent me"! Plus, her blog inspires and gives me a chance to "play" with some of comment games - and to Meet & Greet some really interesting bloggers!!
Have a good day!!!
There are many days and even more moments that I seriously consider ending my blog. The reason I have not this is because I truly like, respect, and admire many of the people who visit my blog on a regular basis. You are correct that I do tend to attract "primarily intelligent, thoughtful and genuine bloggers," and for this I am grateful.
Of course, I am also grateful that you found my blog, many of my blog friends enjoy your comments and admire your well thought out posts. You are one of those genuine bloggers that you spoke of.
Thank you for this post Mr. Althouse, it did capture the essence of Michele the blog.
oh GOD!!! finally it's been explained.
cool game. i like games. upwords, most of all...i wonder if they have an online version somewhere....
hmmm. i better go eat. low blood sugar makes me blabber.
p.s.. hi, sam.
I was finding myself in the same situation; I had stopped commenting for a bit and totally saw a drop in my visitors. That's when it hit me, that it's all about participation and if I don't comment, no one will come to mine.
You express things so eloquently, all I can say is "ditto"!
I love going to Michele's. When she left a comment on my blog I was completely giddy, as if a celebrity had stopped by (she is like a celeb, isn't she?)
What a great description of what's going on at Michele's and where it can lead the participants!
I love Michele's too.
I read to the end of this entry to discover why it was that you seemed familiar.
The Woodchopper Guy!
Michele sent me to you a while back.
Nice to see you again..
Here from Micheles, twice, I read this via the link she left & then came back to comment via site of the day. Very well put & eloquently presented.
i can only hope i find my own online hottie via an innocent link a link a link.
Yeah, I've been burned out, and quit for almost a year. Then came back. Then left blogger entirely to write with some friends at the current site.
If you're not into it, don't do it, is what I thought. I'm glad it worked out like it did for me. As for your blog, it's still a good read. Hoping you keep going. You're very honest about the world around you and others appreciate that.
I am also here from Michele's again...
NO, you can not get rid of me by just wishing Mr. Althouse. Please say you are not wishing!
I am just here to say that mckay makes me laugh (and she has done so a few times today). You also have great blog-friends. Perhaps I should simply follow some of your links. Or I could just sit here at your blog. I have done that before.
Shh, don't tell anyone....
Hi! I'm not here from Michele's but you came by to visit me earlier because I'd visited her so I think that makes this a.. no wait.. I lost the thread. Damn!
OK - all kidding aside, I think what Michele does is encourage us to say hi and find a reason to connect with the next person, no matter who they are.
And that makes the world so much cozier, don't you think?
I get this weird vibe, Mike, that you might have been instrumental in getting Michele to participate more in her blog. Weird vibe...
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