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Comments count. They can even save lives.


in big gay liberal post,blogging about blogging

blog comments

This post is my contribution to the UN Foundation’s Shot @ Life Blog Relay for #blogust.  EVERY SINGLE COMMENT HERE raises $20 to help save the lives of children in need. I know you’re all awesome at commenting, so I hope you’ll read on!

UPDATE 8/8: now EVERY COMMENT ALL MONTH LONG will count towards $20. Even second comments, provided they’re fresh and new. Amazing!


Anyone who knows me knows I love blog comments. Above all, (and yeah, I’m biased) I love comments on this blog. More than Twitter conversations. More than Facebook threads, all of which will disappear somewhere forever one day.

But here, I adore our discussions with a fiery passion and I return to read them often. I mean, how many places on the internet can you find a breastfeeding/formula feeding discussion that never once gets nasty? (Pat yourselves on the back!)

Seeing the same names pop up over and over gives me as much of a thrill as those who admit to delurking for one reason or another. It makes me feel like we truly have a community here and I’m not just some crazy person shouting on a soapbox in the middle of Picadilly.

But I have to admit, there are few commenters I have extra special heart for. In fact, some of them have been here from the very beginning–for six (eep) plus years, offering support and guidance and dissent and tough love and of course, friendship. One of those women is Asha Dornfest.

asha dornfest

I started following her popular site Parenthacks almost as soon as I found the online parenting community. We met at our first Blogher Conference in 2006 (sniff, it’s our anniversary right now) and meeting her for the first time was like reuniting with an old friend.

A few months ago, I gave a presentation at Mom 2.0 called “All Hail the Commenters.” It was a 7 minute quickie on any topic I wanted, and I discussed how important commenting remains on blogs, especially in an age of fleeting social media. I’m remiss in how late I am posting the presentation here–I’ll do that soon–but in it, I described the archetypes of awesome commenters, from the Crazy but Harmless, to the Thoughtful Dissenter, to the Class Clown, to the Authentic Cheerleader.

Asha fell into that latter category.

Any time I see a comment from her appear here, my heart sings. I see her beautiful face in my head. I imagine her sitting at her computer, reading a post–maybe twice–and formulating her thoughts.

To be clear, I so appreciate any person who takes time away from kids and work and writing and Bravo marathons and other essential responsibilities to leave a comment on a blog and create discussion and meaning for the community. But knowing Asha personally, her husband and children and the details of her own busy life, just knowing that she’s been here, reading, thinking, and throwing a thought into the pool, brings me a special joy.

Most of all, because she herself has built an entire community that couldn’t thrive without comments–click over and you’ll find an entire database of tricks and tips culled from the wisdom of parents that write to her.

Comments and participation quite literally create her community. She has no blog without them.

It’s no surprise that this is her blog model. She’s one of the most giving, generous, open people you’ll ever meet. She’s among the first bloggers that I joined forces with years ago in an informal advisory board structure. We got on the phone once a month or so to offer advice, resources tips on opportunities, and general support. We all put one another’s ads on our blogs, too. Just because it seemed like a good thing to do. And at the time, her blog was the biggest and most popular of all.

That never seemed to matter to her. Asha is always there for those who need it. I channel her more days than she’ll ever know when I make decisions in my own life, and think about how to engage with people.

Read her column The Accidental Expert and you’ll see this is a woman who lives to give back. To me, that attitude is exactly what keeps this entire blogosphere thriving.

I feel fortunate to be among her many recipients.


Now here’s something really cool:

As it turns out, my Mom 2.0 presentation in some way inspired the thinking behind this Shot @ Life Relay–and that kind of blows me away. So I feel an extra obligation to make this effort successful.

a shot @ life

Please leave a comment: tell me about one person online who inspires you, or one commenter who always makes you happy–on your blog or elsewhere.  Because every person who comments means a $20 donation, which will immunize a child in need with 4 life-saving vaccines. Also, every person you acknowledge will feel super-special and happy and man, don’t we need more of that in the world these days?

You can leave a comment on the other posts as well. Check out yesterday’s wonderful post by  C.C. Chapman, whose portrait of Clarence Smith Jr. is fascinating. And tomorrow, I’m passing the baton to Amy Graff of Babycenter. Stop by. Leave a $20 comment. You can do it all month long. You will literally give a kid a shot at life.

Edited to add: thank you so so SO much for each and every comment here. For the ones that raised more than $4000 (!!!) yesterday, but even for the ones that don’t. Today you can head to Babycenter and leave a comment on Amy’s post for it to count towards fundraising; and you’re always welcome back here just to say hi or honor someone who inspires you.

411 shards of brilliance… read them below or add one

Catherina August 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Cannot believe I am the first commenter :)

My inspirational person of the day is 13 year old G, whose first wish, after extremely painful surgery and treatment for an acute complication, was “let’s get those nurses some pizza”. What a lovely, unselfish young man, who does his mama proud! (and no, he is not mine ;) )


Sarah August 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

All the snarky funny smart commentators on Jezebel!


My Kids Mom August 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

It was Asha who introduced me to blogs too, and eventually inspired me to begin adding to my own, tiny corner of the blogosphere.


ats August 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

I am always inspired by Karen Walrond + Kyran Pittman + so many others- often you my love! xoxox


Bruce August 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

Thanks for participating in and having a hand in creating idea for Shot@Life. Sorry not a mother or parent. Richard Bryne -Free Technology for Teachers- is a person who inspires me with his sharing about tools for teachers.


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 8:51 am

You don’t need to be a mother or a parent Bruce – just a human. It seems you qualify in spades. Thanks so much for participating.


DelilahSDawson August 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

I have a constant commenter, beta reader, and Facebook friend named Kathy Epling who always brightens my day. We’ve never met in real life but bonded over BPAL perfumes back in 2004 or so. In addition to always offering support and encouragement, Kathy runs her own bookstore, Tiger Lily Books in Garberville, CA, where she provides outreach and free books to the local homeless community. It’s amazing, the people you meet online who always make you smile.


Mir August 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

I feel like a mother trying to decide between her children, picking just one commenter, but I have to say that Megan from Doing It Wrong has been inspiring me for years, and I always feel happy when I see she’s left me a comment. She’s one of those authentic cheerleaders like Asha, and her words have held me up more than once.
Mir recently posted..A little perspective goes a long wayMy Profile


Motherhood Uncensored August 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

Asha totally wins as most thoughtful commenter. Or really, most thoughtful person interacting on the Internet. Though you’re up pretty high too, lady.


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

Thanks mama :)


Birdman August 3, 2012 at 8:52 am

I love comments as well, but I think that having a humour blog that is not nearly as funny as the Bloggess, means that I don’t get as many as I’d like. I’m getting around 10 spam per real comment, and I respond to every one. I think that Youngman Brown (youngmanbrown.com) is my favourite commenter, only because I know that he doesn’t comment unless he means it, and he never sugar coats. If he doesn’t agree with my opinion, he makes sure that I know it. I guess it’s because he’s a stand up guy, and speaks out about how he feels, and what he believes in. I understand that my style of humour is crass, vile, and sometimes even rude(Notice I didn’t put “funny” in there?), and that some people don’t want to associate themselves with it, but he doesn’t mind, even though it’s not the style in which he writes. I guess I just admire the guy. Oh yeah, I ramble a lot.
Birdman recently posted..Therapy ThursdayMy Profile


Elissa Moses August 3, 2012 at 8:52 am

Very impressed with your work!


Shelly Kramer August 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

Well hello there,

As I sit and read your post, so many faces came swimming through my brain. I write mostly about business and contribute to a variety of different business blogs, so my community, collectively, is different than yours, but still very much a part of my daily life, Liz. And, as you’ve experienced, a huge reason for my success. But as a result, I write about much less personal things than you or others tackle.

Which led me to my conclusion: you, my friend, inspire me. From the moment we were lucky enough to both be speakers at Mom2.0, to getting to know you, discovering our mutual love of food and laughing about the life of a woman in advertising, especially when she’s managing to raise young children at the same time, how fun it’s been. I’ve enjoyed you offline and on, and reading your blog and the topics you tackle has been such a pleasure. So, there you have it. Your answer. Today, my friend, it’s you!

And thank you, for all the inspiring moments. I’m sure there will be many more.

Shelly Kramer recently posted..Social Business Intelligence: Key to Integrated MarketingMy Profile


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

Shelly, you’re making me cry. Thank you. Fortunately I didn’t put on any mascara yet.


JK August 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

B, from ‘stfu, parents’. Because sometimes we need perspective and laughs!


Myrdin Thompson August 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

Sadly no one ever comments on my blog..,I probably needed to attend blogher this week to figure out how to change that! However I do have lively conversations on Facebook, but agree that they get lost in the vortex of “timeline.” thanks for helping bring attention to the power of public (polite) discourse and for supporting Shot@Life. Comments do count! And in this case they have the power to save a life! That’s pretty cool, it’s Friday and we just changed the world!


Sarahviz August 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

Your words, Liz, are always, to me, the voice of reason in this here chaotic blogosphere.
Sarahviz recently posted..Everything I Need to Know I Learned on VacationMy Profile


Karen E. August 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help save a child’s life. Today, that makes you my blog-hero of the day.
Karen E. recently posted..Moms Who Vax: Nicholas’s MomMy Profile


rowgirl August 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

You Liz…but I’ll branch out too….

Emilie at http://www.onemominmaine.com From her efforts towards running or triathlon goals to her great food and pictures of her gorgeous part of Maine. Being a girl from the coast, they inspire on so many levels. Thanks Emilie! She’s got a great collaborative project at Sparrow Mag too!


candace alper August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

Liz, I loved your 7 minutes about comments at Mom 2.0 and it left me ready to go home do it more. To be sure, I still read more than I comment, but I try to comment more often. I hope that you’re having a fab weekend at BlogHer!


Amanda August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

I’m new to blogher stuff, but love it already. So far I love mochamomma.


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

You have good taste, Amanda.


Joanna August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

I just love it when @TheNextMartha (http://twitter.com/theNextMartha/) comments on blog. I adore her and I love that she reads and engages with me.


Kathie August 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

Thank you for writing a blog and for recognizing and inspiring others! :)


Janet August 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

I don’t live in the world of blogs and can’t say I have one particular commenter that inspires me. What I can say is that I love the idea of the Shot @ Life Relay. And I will make a general comment about my daily visits to facebook: everyday there is some fact or news article from which I learn something; and everyday I am brought a bit of humor and entertainment; and today’s visit allowed me to help provide shots to kids. Pretty cool, I think!


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

Perfect Janet, nice to see you here!


Wendy Schimel August 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

I am with Janet. Not a blogger or follower. I do follow your blog Liz out of ancient loyalty, and luckily great amusement. But any way I can help kids in need and not put on pants is aces with me! Go gettem bloggers!


Ashley August 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

Anytime anyone makes a comment on my blog, I feel special. I especially liked when a friend or acquaintance can somehow relate to me on a new level because of something I shared or something I wrote…which is often much easier in the blogosphere. Here’s to saving lives!


Beth Blecherman August 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

Liz Gumbinner a.k.a Mom101 was one of the first blogs I read , and had such an honest and inspiring voice( Integrity). Not a coincidence that I read this great post on the blog today :+)
Beth Blecherman recently posted..Social Curation Tool: Pearltrees Now Has iPhone AppMy Profile


Lynn Bozof August 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

I respect my son, Ryan, and my husband, Alan, for giving me the strength and supporting me when I began my mission several years ago to educate about bacterial meningitis, after my older son died from a vaccine-preventable disease. The fruit of that support is the National Meningitis Association, http://www.nmaus.org.


Christina Fedolfi August 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

My inspiration is a bloggermom named Christy Shake, who blogs at http://www.calvinsstory.com. She has a son, named Calvin, who has severe epilepsy. She writes about her life raising Calvin with her husband Michael. She writes to raise awareness and money for epilepsy, a disease that kills over 150,000 people a year. Her writing gives me a new perspective, even if for a few moments. I return to her writing often – at least daily as she posts daily- and I am always taken aback by how her writing affects me. Powerful stuff.


Christy Shake August 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

dear christina,
i am truly flattered by your kind sentiments and i had no idea that my blog could affect someone i’d never met, so profoundly. you have made my day a better day, which is something i always hope for. i look forward to meeting you.
much love,
calvin’s mom
Christy Shake recently posted..on god and good teethMy Profile


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

I love this.


Korinthia Klein August 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

What a marvelous bonus to have my comment do financial good for a cause!

One commenter moment that pops to mind is when I wrote a post back on my original Babble blog about one of my kids being sick with something the doctor couldn’t figure out. I got lots of useful responses, but also a phone call from a reader in Ohio who started to type a comment and it got long, so she looked up the number of my violin store and just called me there to chat about how similar my daughter’s symptoms were to something her son had had.

She wrote me afterward that it didn’t occur to her until later that from my point of view the phone call might have seemed stalker-ish. But in her mind it had seemed natural since she’d been reading my blog for years and felt she knew me. She forgot I didn’t know her. But that’s the beauty of a blog and comments. We do get to know each other. And I love that she felt like she could reach out when I needed help.

(Also, while trying to avoid sounding like a sycophant, when you left comments on my new blog after I left Babble it gave me hope that my words might still reach people, and that I could survive out here without the massive platform I was used to. Thank you for that.)
Korinthia Klein recently posted..Looking for opinions on part of my first novelMy Profile


Tina August 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hi Liz, I’m de-lurking to let you know YOU inspire me with your honesty and humour. When I first landed on your blog, I knew by your tagline (*I don’t know what I’m doing either*) that you were my kind of people :) And I was right.

I also admire The Bloggess – Jenny Lawson – not just for her gut-bursting hilariousness, but her bravery and honesty when discussing depression is beautiful. It allows other sufferers to feel they’re not alone – and to those who *don’t* suffer depression, she gives a much better understanding of it. She is all kinds of goodness.


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

Thanks and welcome Tina! Isn’t delurking great?


Dawn August 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

There are so many great blogs and though I don’t host my own, I found a kinship here that I desperately needed when my daughter was born. Amalah inspires me to try my damnest for my kid, but to still laugh when I am a complete nutball and to forgive myself when I mess up.


ajibola raheem August 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

We have a foundation that caters for people with special needs such as hearing impaired,mentally retarded, and physically challenged. The name this school is iseyin school for the special needs,oremoje iseyin,oyo state Nigeria west africa. We have sixty two disabled students in both primary and secondry,we needs your support to build our beffiting school structure with special facilities needed for these special students. We count most on your support to actualize this dream. May God help you.


Jennyh247 August 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

I don’t want to call out any one person but as a whole I find my Twitter community to be very supportive and inspiring.


IlinaP August 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

My heart sings every time I hear from @morningsidemom (Caroline) and @corinafiore (Corina). I know they always have my back.


ToriOreo August 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

My grandfather is a huge inspiration to me. He showed me that as long as you’re passionate and work hard, any goal is attainable. When he died we got thousands of letters from former students, coworkers, loads of folks, telling us what a difference he made in their lives. I hope to leave a legacy he has!!


tobe berkovitz August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

I am happy to see my former BU students thriving online and in life.


Cloud August 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

Oh, that’s too hard! I have some really great commenters on my blog! I love them all, even when they are disagreeing with something I’ve written. Maybe especially then, because that means I’m probably going to learn something, and learning about other ways of living and parenting maybe my favorite thing about being online. I feel like blogging and reading other people’s blogs has expanded my horizons and made me a more understanding, less judgmental person.

Anyway- one person who inspired me… I guess I’ll go with Magda of AskMoxie, because her blog was the first one that made me feel like I wasn’t a complete failure as a mom just because I had this intense little baby who seemed to despise the idea of sleep. She built such a wonderful, supportive community- again, so much of the value is the comments!
Cloud recently posted..Recommended Reading: SoundingsMy Profile


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

Cloud, you were in my presentation too. Damn, I really need to get that up.


Jenna August 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

De-lurking for this post. I hope this reply to a comment counts. I wanted to put it here as Cloud is my blog inspiration, who I came across through Ask Moxie when up in the night with my first baby. I still have both blogs on my reader and have also added Mom101, Amalah and The Blogess as favourites. Having blogs to read has helped me alot in the first years as a parent and given me insights I probably wouldn’t have come across with out you all. So thank you.


Wendy August 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

The comments I get from Amy Z. always make me laugh just when I need it. But I love all my commenters, of course!
Wendy recently posted..Call me nostalgic. I don’t mind.My Profile


Magpie August 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

I love comments, and I try hard to comment often, because I know how important it is to me. And I love the. Things you do, Liz – your astute posts here are terrific and the useful Cool Mom sites you’ve set up are great.
Magpie recently posted..Red White BlueMy Profile


abbeyviolet August 3, 2012 at 9:17 am

Honestly, you do. But to recognize someone else too- I find Ali Edwards’ art and stories such an I spiraling to create and to tell my story too.


sashalyn August 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

What an amazing opportunity, Liz. Thank you for allowing all of us to help!
There are so many amazing folks out there, writing, sharing their lives, but right now I think that @mommywantsvodka (Becky Harks) wins at most inspirational in my world. Right now she is up to her eyeballs in stress & transition & she is still writing & supporting the community she built at @bandbacktogether . I am amazed by her efforts each & every day.


LaurieA August 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

One of my favorite bloggers is Arlene Goldbard. She is a friend in ‘real life’, and she is every bit as wonderful as her blog would indicate.

the subtitle of her blog is “Here to get your hopes up”. Arlene is one of the smartest people I know, and one of the most creative in how she looks at the world.


Kelly Damian August 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

Those people who inspire us are so important. Where would we be without them? I scrolled through the calendar and that gave me a lot of other blogs to check out.


Alison C August 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

I don’t have a blog but the blogs I read who inspire me most are @Mir from WouldaShoulda and Kim from Miss Zoot (@Zoot).

Both are great mums who are doing the best for their kids while working hard to be better people and encouraging us all to do the same.


Liza August 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

What a totally brilliant and cool thing to do.
Liza recently posted..Professional DevelopmentMy Profile


Meg August 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

The opportunity to help provide immunizations to children is reason enough to finally bring me out of lurkerdom, where I’ve been hiding on your blog for years, Liz. I love the community you’ve built here and I love reading your words that bring about such thought provoking conversations. You inspire me to be a more thoughtful thinker and a better parent.

My little used blog doesn’t get many comments, but someone who I can count on as a cheerleader in other areas online is my friend Erika. We met on a message board about fashion & beauty about 10 years ago. She always has a sunny outlook, kind words and sage advice, whether on that same message board turned close knit group of friends, or Facebook, or Twitter. It has been an inspiration to follow her recent life changes at her blog- http://erikaislosingit.blogspot.com . And thanks to you, Liz, for reminding me that it’s important to show my support to my friend by leaving comments on her posts.
Meg recently posted..Nora-ismsMy Profile


Darla Browning August 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

I love the Simple Dollar website.


sarah August 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

what an awesome opportunity here :) i find that the discussions in the comments of this very blog are the ones that most often cause me to *ahem* lose track of time and procrastinate on other responsibilities. kudos to you for creating such a wonderful community. i’ve also always been a huge fan of allie brosh of hyperbole and a half. i’ve been missing her updates lately (although she has plenty of good reasons for taking a break currently), but that doesn’t stop me from re-reading old favorites of hers and laughing until i cry.


heather r morgan August 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

My son inspires me every day to be a better person.


Cindy Levin August 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

Myrdin Thompson, one of the original 2012 Shot@Life champions, never fails to make me happy with her status updates and incredible passion for advocating for kids that comes out in her blog. And her pictures of hats and cats. And Benedict Cumberbatch. But mostly saving kids lives. I wonder if she’ll read this. Did I beat her to the relay this AM?

Hey, thank you Mom-101 for inspiring the Blogust idea. I’d never heard of a blog relay and definitely not one that saves so many chidren’s lives!!


Lena - @elenka29 August 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

This actually gave some sense of direction – I have been finding new topic of conversation from my commentaries lately
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Cari August 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

I’m more of a blog stalker than a commenter, but I love reading all different types of blogs – from “mom” blogs (even though I don’t have kids yet!), to entertainment blogs, to decorating blogs, etc. I appreciate the perspectives from all different walks of life and I know I learn so much more from all of you than I would if I didn’t take the time to branch out. Thank you for your wise, witty words!


Grown and Flown August 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

I took my family to work in an AIDS program in S Africa 5 years ago. We became great friends with one of the guys who ran the program. Shortly after we returned he died of chicken pox. Chicken pox! A disease for which there has been am immunization for years. You are doing a great thing.
Grown and Flown recently posted..Why are Mommy Bloggers so Young, Clever and Inexperienced?My Profile


Mom101 August 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

What a sad, and perfect example of why this is important. I’m sorry to hear about your friend.


Stephanie Troup August 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

I love your blog for your thoughtful, balanced, beautifully written posts, and I never miss Rebecca Wolfe’s gorgeous photos and honest, touching posts at Girl’s Gone Child. Also a shout out to Mastin Kipp at The Daily Love for his wisdom and inspiration.


Kelley August 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm

What Stephanie said.

Love your blog, feel like you hung the blog-moon, seriously, love Rebecca’s blog too.

Also, is it weird that I love seeing your mom and dad comment on your blog? Because I do. It’s that whole full circle thing. They’re thoughtful and supportive and insightful, just like you.

Folks read my blog, but my mom always comments. And I love that.

Thanks for the opportunity to do something good today!
Kelley recently posted..Free Shipping and Tax Free Weekend and New Products and…My Profile


Kelley August 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

What Stephanie said.

Love your blog, feel like you hung the blog-moon, seriously, love Rebecca’s blog too.

Also, is it weird that I love seeing your mom and dad comment on your blog? Because I do. It’s that whole full circle thing. They’re thoughtful and supportive and insightful, just like you.

Folks read my blog, but my mom always comments. And I love that.

Thanks for the opportunity to do something good today!!
Kelley recently posted..Free Shipping and Tax Free Weekend and New Products and…My Profile


Mom101 August 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

Aw thanks Kelley, I love seeing them too! I so love that you mentioned that. I’d write about them here, but you know. They get enough pen here.


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