Blogosphere

Top commenters each year as Down the Road turns 14

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of this blog’s first post: my blogiversary. I had dreams of Internet fame on that day in 2007, dreams that if they aren’t realized by now probably never will be!

Have you been reading long enough to remember when my masthead looked like this?

What happened instead is I met all of you, through your comments. It’s been deeply rewarding. You have taught me things, made me laugh, and told me both when I’ve moved you and when I’ve missed the mark. Interacting with you here has enriched my life!

I’ve been curious for years who has commented the most often here. Because I upgraded to the WordPress.com Business plan some time ago, I have access to this blog’s database. A little querying gave me the answers! Here are the most frequent commenters each year.

2007: Michael. One of my oldest and best friends, Michael and I met in college. We used to stay up until all hours of the morning talking about life. He and I have seen each other through some stuff.

2008: Dani. A friend and colleague, Dani and I we work in the same industry here in central Indiana. Our kids are the same age, and when they were small we used to let them play together.

2009 and 2010: Lone Primate. I’m pretty sure Lone Primate found my blog while searching for old and abandoned roads, an interest we share. He doesn’t update his blog very much anymore, but if you dig through the archives you’ll find lots of interesting old-road scenes around Toronto. He still pops up in the comments here from time to time.

2011 and 2012: Irene/ryoko861. I’m not sure how Irene found my blog or why she found it appealing, but she sure commented a lot for a few years! But then she fell away and finally disappeared. I hope she’s well, wherever she is and whatever she’s doing.

2013 and 2015: Ted Kappes/pesoto74. Ted shares my interest in vintage cameras, and blogged about his collection for several years. Ted doesn’t comment anymore, but every once in a while I’ll get an email from him about something I’ve written. (This option is open to you, too; just fill out my contact form on my About page.)

2014: bodegabayf2. We both enjoy vintage cameras; he blogs about his photograpy as well. He’s been incredibly generous to me, donating some wonderful equipment and helping me grow as a photographer through sharing his experience.

2016: Sam. Another committed photographer and blogger, Sam is unfailingly encouraging when he drops by. So many film photographers are anti-digital — Sam and I agree that this is silly, and that there’s a time for film and a time for digital.

2017, 2018, and 2019: Dan James. Yet another committed photographer and blogger, Dan didn’t know he was working his way out of film photography during these years. Yet that’s exactly what happened. He continues his photography with a cache of simple but good older digital cameras.

2020: brandib1977. A fellow traveler and adventurer, brandib1977’s blog is all about what’s around that next curve in the road. As you know, I’m always showing what I see around that bend, so perhaps that’s why she has become such a frequent commenter.

A whole bunch of other people have been frequent commenters here: Bill Bussell, ambaker49, Nancy Stewart, Brandon Campbell/bwc1976, Dan Cluley, Derek/dehk, Denny Gibson, DougD, eppar, George Denzinger, Gerald, Heide, urbanhafner, Jason Shafer, jacullman, Joshua Fast, The Trailhead, Jon Campo, Joe shoots resurrected cameras, J P Cavanaugh, Steve Miller, Bernie Kasper, Photobooth Journal, Kurt Garner, Kurt Ingham, versa kay, Photography Journal Blog, Marcus Peddle, M. B. Henry, Michael McNeill, Mike Connealy, Christopher May, tbm3fan, Moni, nobbyknipst, Neil, SilverFox, N. S. Palmer, Bob Dungan, Reinhold Graf, Richard Kraneis, Roy Karlsvik, Christopher Smith, kiwiskan/Maureen Sudlow, Jennifer S, Todd Pack, Tori Nelson, traveller858, Andy Umbo, davidvanilla, Ward Fogelsanger, and zorgor.

Even if you didn’t make that list, I value your comments no less and am always glad when you write!

As I looked back through commenters’ names, I noticed many who don’t comment anymore. Sometimes people naturally move on. I can think of a few blogs where I used to be a frequent commenter myself. Sometimes you have to change where you give your time. Sometimes you move on from a blog’s subject matter. Sometimes a blog’s subject matter moves on from you. This is how it goes. But I miss the people who don’t comment anymore.

I’ve been trying to think of a metaphor for a good comments section and the closest I can come up with is a neighborhood tavern. When you walk in the door, you feel like everybody knows you and you know everybody. You get into some deep conversations with some, and with others you always keep it light. Everyone sees only the side of you that you bring to the room, but there’s still a feeling of friendship and camaraderie.

This is hard to come by in this modern age. Thank you for giving it to me here.

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33 thoughts on “Top commenters each year as Down the Road turns 14

  1. It is so true that comments make blogging so much more enjoyable. I like the tavern analogy, and it also fits the way many others come in, drink their one beer and leave without interacting.

    Congratulations on 14 years!

  2. Greg Clawson says:

    Jim, Down the Road is the only blog I read on a daily basis. I’m sorry if I don’t comment very often, it’s not that your blog doesn’t touch me, it’s just that other’s have often written the thoughts that I have, but more eloquently.

    I appreciate your transparency, I have found we both share some of the same struggles and trials, and your blog let’s me know that I am not the only one with doubts and fears. Keep up the good work, if your blog was to end it would be missed.

    Congratulations on your 14th Anniversary

    • Greg, never fear, commenting is never required! But I’m always happy when you do.

      None of us is alone; we all suffer what is common to man. I’m happy that my posts are helpful to you.

  3. DougD says:

    Hey I made the list, that makes me one degree removed from internet fame! Or something like that…
    I never saw Lone Primate’s blog before, he’s got some posts on my home town!

    • Yes, he’s traveled around a decent radius of Toronto documenting the built environment and looking for old photos of how things used to look. Fascinating stuff!

  4. Andy Umbo says:

    I end up reading a lot of your blog entries, especially what I consider to be under the category of “urban archeology” i.e. following defunct roads, looking at old buildings, etc. without comment, but I find them delightful and enjoy reading them. As a guy that used to spend a lot of spare time, especially when I was younger, driving around and looking at stuff in the cities I lived in, and out in the rural towns, I really enjoy this aspect of your blog! But a lot of times, I read but don’t comment, and it’s good to know that!

    I found your blog when I lived in Zionsville, but it weirdly comprises two things I like: vintage cameras, and vintage roads and buildings, which you have to admit, are two strange bedfellows to mash together in one blog!

  5. Jim, I have enjoyed/enjoy your blog immensely. It is usually a nice break from the other stuff I read. Your love of photography, old cameras, and older roads is nice. I hope you continue this for another 14 years. And maybe I will finally get the inspiration to be more consistent with my blog. Cheers to 14 years!

  6. Hi, Jim. I read your blog every morning, sometimes as the first thing I read. I love what you write, and about what you write. I do comment when something really hits me, but generally, I just like to go Down The Road! Please stay with it.

  7. Michael says:

    I’m shocked I made the list since I don’t comment much, but that was probably because there was so little competition the first year. :)

    Oh, and regarding your flexible house, at least you’ll survive the earthquake. ;) Skyscrapers are designed to flex as well.

    • Yeah, frequently in that first year you were the only one to comment on a post! And I worry that in this earthquake parts of this house would simply fall off!

  8. Wow! I feel so special making the list! I lurked here for a lot of years before ever commenting but have long enjoyed your perspective. You are correct – I am always looking for something around the next bend!

    The truly lovely thing about your storytelling is that you focus on things that most people don’t even notice. In a world full of people embracing the same popular culture and retelling the same tired news stories over and again, it is a relief to find someone quietly sharing stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.

    Also, I like the tavern analogy! It’s quite fitting for the atmosphere you foster.

  9. peggy says:

    Happy blogiversary, Jim. As a regular reader and very rare commenter, I appreciate the intelligence and compassion you offer in your posts (and from the commenters as well). Whatever the future holds for your blog, I will enjoy the read. May your publishing future be bright.

  10. Nancy Stewart says:

    Wow … I really feel honored to make that list … Your blog is the only one that I check out every day. I enjoy the old roads, bridges and buildings and of course anything pertaining to the old neighborhood. And I like the recommended ones that you give us at the end of the week and usually check them out. Keep up the good work !!

  11. Kelly S. Jones says:

    I don’t comment often but definitely enjoy seeing all the photos and reading up. Its a refeeshing break from all the crap in the news.

  12. Victor Villaseñor says:

    Happy 14th birthday Down the Road! Keep at it Jim, this is yours, wherever you want to take it, I surely enjoy the “odd” juxtaposition. That’s a great metaphor for the comments online, just never go into the youtube tavern, some nasties hang there.

  13. Congrats on 14 years! I don’t remember how I found your blog, but very glad I did. It’s amazing that you can post six times per week. I don’t see how you find the time. Here’s to many more years!

    • I didn’t start at six a week, I built up to it over time. I’ve learned how to be efficient with my writing and use the little bits of time I have here and there to create this blog. I can’t imagine not doing this!

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