Commenting on blogs

Comments. As bloggers, are there any of you who don’t like receiving them? They confirm that we are being heard by someone, and reinforce our ability to reach out to people because not only are we being heard, we are being connected to and communicated with. Comments mean a lot to me.

I think at first, most personal bloggers just want a place to record parts of their life story so they can look back and see how far they’ve come. I’d guess that at the beginning, comments aren’t as important as the satisfaction gleaned from putting something “out there”. But then you hit milestones such as the first comment received (even if you begged a friend to go to your site, read your entry and leave a comment), the first unsolicited comment received (which to me is the first comment that really counts), then a second and third comment, then comments on your next entry, and the one after that and the one after that and all of a sudden a little part of you feels very committed to writing things in a way that will encourage a response.

If you want to receive more comments on your blog entries, you need to leave comments on other people’s blogs. Most people will at least visit the blog of someone who leaves a comment on their blog and once they’re on your blog, they may feel compelled to leave a comment (because they connected with your entry/with you). One exception to this general rule is one of the more famous bloggers that I’ve mentioned before, dooce, who I don’t believe comments often (if at all) on the blogs of others but she herself receives thousands of comments on her blog entries. Because she is a blog celebrity, she gets some really nasty comments at times and I suspect the work involved in moderating her comments is part of the reason she doesn’t open all of her entries to comments.

Even more important than commenting on other people’s blogs is writing compelling entries. If you write valuable content, and people connect to it, they will read your entries and comment, even if you never comment on their own writing, and even if the entry is long. “Valuable” can be defined as anything from making you laugh (entertaining) to giving you information on getting through medical school. Your entry doesn’t have to be the next self-help blog for someone to consider it valuable. The entry doesn’t have to be long; it doesn’t have to be grammatically perfect; it doesn’t have to only use “proper” English. Sharing your life story or experiences can influence the lives of others in ways you didn’t even consider. Many people will take your story, which differs somewhat from their own story, and apply elements of it to their own life. The key to me is to just be real: no matter your topic, be it shoes or makeup or your life, try to be genuine. People can tell which bloggers are being genuine and which are trying to make their lives seem more exciting than it actually is, or more tragic than it is.

Asking questions is another way to get comments. Some do this really well, in a way that shows that the reader’s opinion is welcome, but some just tack on a random question to an entry that’s on a different topic entirely and sometimes that can come across as a comment-seeking ploy.

For those of you who enjoy leaving comments, here are the some things that I try to pay attention to when commenting.

Read the entry you’re about to comment on to the end. Sounds obvious but sometimes it’s clear the commenter only read the first part of your entry where you say you’re sad because their comment is “I hope you feel better soon”. If they had read the entry to the end they would discover that due to what happened in the middle of your entry, you are already better.

Try to stay on topic. Leave a comment that relates to the entry; not the entry before, not a private conversation you’re having elsewhere. This is especially important for blogs that want to encourage dialogue, not only in response to the entry but in response to the comments of others. If a new person comes to a blog that seems to have comments that are mostly inside jokes, it may make it hard for the new visitor to feel like they can connect. That doesn’t mean that I sometimes won’t ask the person a question unrelated to the entry, but I try to keep at least part of my comment on topic.

Try to be nice, but not at the cost of lying. I love comments that agree with my viewpoint, or seem to appreciate my entry, but the entries that affect me most are those that correct me or provide clarifications. My instinct is always to try and clear up apparent misunderstandings, and sometimes if an entry I write is taken in the opposite way that I intended, I’ll go into “crisis management” mode out of shock. But in the end, these comments are often the ones that allow me to open my mind and grow. I also really appreciate the comments that show me love when I really need it.

26 thoughts on “Commenting on blogs

  1. lol…this was a really nice breakdown.when i started my blog,i used to really wait for comments but now, i write for me.

  2. This is wonderful..

    Well i've been a blogger for a month now, and I can honestly say that I leave comments for all the blogs that I follow.

    But this is a nice breakdown lol..

    Wait there's another blogsville celebrity? please can u post a list of blogsville celebrities so that we can know..

    Some of us unknowinly "offend" some of them through what we write on our blogs.. Please kindly touch on this miss GNG

  3. As a writer, I do need comments but I don't obsess about them. I do like leaving comments on blogs and sometimes check back for replies especially if I asked a question. That means I reply the comments on my blog too. Funny is that I was complaining on another blog about word verification and it turns out I had one too and didn't know. I have removed it now as I do think it affects my leaving comments sometimes.

    Nice post.

  4. I have noticed that people comment when topic is sexual in nature or s'one's private gist , which bloggers are beginning to fabricate now just to get attention

  5. Great stuff .I can personally relate to all you said but I have also observed other things which has continued to be a source of worry to me and that which is the way and manner some bloggers post comments that sometimes border on personal attacks which makes me wonder .

    One too many times, I have seen comments that to say the least are very distasteful .I mean it seems to me like some have thrown every sense of decorum to the dogs with the way they come off as so insensitive and rude with the comments they leave on posts. My question is ,do you really have to leave a comment and if you must leave one, are you that really thick skinned not to think of the effect your words have on people?..

    I have several examples but the point here is that we all want to be appreciated and respected despite the fact that most of us know nothing about each other from Adams but still we want some form of approval and if we aren’t gonna get it then please keep it respectful or keep it pushing OR at least if you must disagree with my post or any others’ then you should PLEASE employ a lil civility in putting out your thoughts so it don’t seem like you have an axe to grind with the blogger

  6. Very good points from the celebrity blogger herself, GNG.lol I love commenting on blogs I feel a connection to, if I don't connect with a post, I leave no comments. I think it's just who we are in real life, you don't answer a question you don't know. So if I love what am reading, seeing and understand the person behind the post. I leave my comment. Sometimes I might have faced a situation that a blogger just posted and truly give my sincere opinion on the post.

    I love your blog by the way, you rock.

  7. Some blogs are so falsified especially sexual blogs, I don't even bother myself with such blogs for real. I hate blogs where I can see the lies coming straight out of the bloggers keypad.lol

    I love bloggers that keep it real and up to point, I hate when a blogger is faking to be what they are not behind the screen.lol

  8. I Totally understand were you are coming from. I personally leave comments on posts that I feel I have something to contribute to. If I do not, I wont leave a comment. There are certain blogs though, that I always have a connection with and I seem to comment on those often.

    P.s You should totally come to Rhema!!!! It would be wonderful to have you there

  9. I am sure everyone welcomes comments. I don't know that there are certain topics that induce more commenting than usual. I think it's more of the blogger. Some bloggers are established and have had people following their stories/lives for a while that even if they wrote one letter they'd still generate a lot of comments.

    Personally, I comment on anything that reaches out to me ie I learned something, made me laugh etc.

  10. I only comment if I have something to contribute, if not it's just empty waffling. What I don't like is when people abuse people on their blogs but put it under 'anonymous'. Reeks of cowardice.

    I wrote for over a year before I got a comment from someone I didn't know, it was a judge from Europe and he was actually criticising me, but I was so happy to have a stranger on my blog that I didn't care LOL!

    PS Shout out to the people who leave solid comments on my blog ;)

  11. correct post!

    there are certain topics that leave everyone wanting to comment and others that are just kindof too serious for someone to know what to leave as a comment. and also about commenting on other blogs. It isn't always about an established blogger cuz some bloggers have been here since 05 and still have like 2 comments for everypost

  12. seth godin doesn't have comments on his blog. one of his arguments is that comments often take the discussion off tangent, taking the focus away from the point he is trying to make.. given that he is often trying to put marketing ideas out there, it makes sense for him….

  13. Preach it sister, preach it. Personally, If I read a blog entry and I like it or feel connected to it then I will comment. What I dislike is when I write an entry and someone does not like it, do not comment, if you dont like my writing style 'do not comment'. I hate when people leave rude and nasty comment. Just hit the "x" botton if you dont like my blog.

  14. Wen I read a post I like, I comment, but sometimes, I'm in such a hurry that even though I really like the post, I simply can't spare the time to comment…also, if the writer is one of my favs, I almost always leave a comment…I don't obsess over comments (they r always welcome n appreciated) but wen u notice a regular commenter no longer does so, u tend to wonder why?…as for leaving distasteful comments, well, I guess that's the person's level of understanding (low) so I wouldn't be too bothered…I'd rather not comment than say something derogatory…I do give constructive criticism once in a while, if it's a blogger I'm quite familiar with…

  15. â–ºleggy

    Having the disclipline to write for yourself first and foremost is very important. Even on my other blog where that is the goal I find myself wondering if people will think all I do is complain.

    â–ºRene

    Thank you!

    â–ºControversy

    What's your blog address? I'd love to check it out.

    Oh wait: this dooce person isn't a blogville celebrity (well if by blogville celebrity you mean a Naija blogger); she's more widely known.

    Hmm, that's an interesting point you make about unknowingly offend some bloggers by what you write on your blog. I'll email you for more info on this before I figure out how to address it.

    â–ºMyne Whitman

    I think it's great to reply to commenters. It's sort of like sending thank you cards – it's time consuming but if you're going to accept the gift, you should be willing to accept the added work.

    That's funny about the word verification thing! Maybe others have it on unknowingly too. Blog spam is a pain (well I'm assuming that's why people are using word verification).

    â–ºttlolla

    There's nothing more irritating to me than fabrications that aren't labeled fiction. You're right that posts that are sexual in nature get a lot of comments.

    â–ºTrybes

    Thanks for your comment!

    Regarding comments that border on personal attacks, I haven't seen many of this but I know they are out there. I think some people like to stir trouble, and others feel like they aren't going to bite their tongue simply because what they have to say won't be liked by everyone.

    When someone blogs something that I have a contrary opinion on, I try to respond in a way that is respectful yet gets my point across. If after reading my comment over I think the recipient will find it rude and unkind, I won't post it.

    I think it's important for dissenting opinions to be heard if commenters have them, but they can be expressed respectfully, just as you have indicated.

    â–ºYNC

    Thanks but I am not a celebrity blogger by any means but you know what? I think I will list who I think are the celeb bloggers in blogville one day.

    lol at your point about blogs that are falsified. I don't mind as long as they indicate it's fiction but if they are trying to pass off a lie as real life, that bothers me. I don't have the stomach for that!

    I happen to think that you rock too! You're my style/fashion role model…I love that you try to look and be your best every day.

    â–ºMs. O

    Yeah, I feel you: it can be hard to leave a comment when you don't feeling like you're adding anything to the dialogue.

    well, I think I will give Rhema a visit one of these days. I got down the directions.

  16. I sometimes liken comments to starting and keeping a conversation going. I try as much as I can to express my views respectfully, especially on contentious issues. I also try as much as I can to leave comments on the blogs I visit to let the blogger know that I was there…

    I tend to skip posts that may come across as untrue because I don't beleive in polishing the truth to suit the eyes of readers..: D..

  17. â–ºtaynement

    I definitely agree that some bloggers are so well established that they can write anything and still get comments on it. I do think some topics encourage more comments than others though…

    â–ºCaramel Delight

    Oh! That's a great topic you brought up: the use of the Anonymous moniker to say things they are too scared to sign their name to.

    lol I know the feeling (regarding getting a comment from a stranger).

    Yes o! Shout out to all those who take the time to leave a thought provoking or "solid" comment! :)

    â–ºHyaw

    Thanks dia.

    Ah, I have definitely had the experience where I don't know how to comment on a post so I just leave it there and don't comment. Your last point is true: I guess what makes someone an established blogger can also be debated.

    â–ºakaBagucci

    Yes, I can see what Godin means. He's accepted as an expert in his field too (I believe) so his blog is less about receiving feedback and more about disseminating information. I guess if he does feel the need for feedback he can use polls or send out surveys.

    â–ºSeptember

    Thanks girl!

    Do you mind if someone leaves a comment that respectfully disagrees with your posts, or offers you suggestions or alternatives, or would you rather they only do that if you indicate that you're looking for other points of view or for suggestions or alternatives?

    â–ºAnodaPhase

    I like your philosophy regarding commenting. I am often hesitant to leave something that could be taken as negative because people don't blog to receive comments chastising them or putting them down.

    â–ºRose

    I know what you mean by "to let the blogger know I was there": sometimes I don't have a lot of contribute but if I feel like they'd like to know they were read and heard, I'll leave a comment.

    I like that expression: "polishing the truth to suit the eyes of readers".

  18. I like the way you have written this.

    Blogging and leaving comments on blogs is like having conversations. Not everyone has something meaningful to say all the time.

  19. Telling it like it is. I try to do my blog rounds at least once a week…usually on Friday afternoons when the boss is really busy about finishing up things before the weekend. Plus all the typing makes me look busy. ha ha.

  20. Nice post… :)

    Before i use to comment because i wanted comments on my blog but now I usually only comment if I have something to say or the post made me laugh. I am not so hang up over comments anymore maybe thats because I have been slacking with my posts!!! :D

    I have also realised i sometimes get to know more about how a blogger thinks via their comments on other people's blogs as opposed to what they write about on their own blogs…know what i mean?

  21. Lol@ people faking stories just to get comments…is it that serious??

    I comment when i feel like i have something to say. Sometimes what i want to say has been said and i don't bother. Other times i know my comment will be a long one and don't bother/cant at the time.

    People that are funny and good story tellers get a lot of responses because of their content. Some are just really likeable and will get comments regardless. For the 'less' popular bloggers, it's topic based.

    I think people also comment on blogs where the owners faithfully comment on theirs…sort of like a 'i appreciate you coming to my spot and here is how i show it' thing

    Nice breakdown!

  22. I usually comment when I have something to say with regards to a post etc…but sometimes, my comment may sound like an echo so I just take a chill pill on the commenting thingy…

    E.g Giving an opinion on "Talk To The Easier Crew"…someone or more like loads of people may have said what I really wanted to say…but if I feel the need to reiterate, then I echo!!!

    I also comment on my favourite blogs a lot!!!

    And sometimes, some posts are so ….highly opinionated I just feel it's a bleeding waste of my precious time trying to comment or change the blogger's mind…but then sometimes, the blogger may be trying to play the "devil's advocate!!!:-)

  23. Lol @ reading the whole entry first…I have had people comment on my blog asking questions that were answered in the second paragraph!!!

  24. "I have also realised i sometimes get to know more about how a blogger thinks via their comments on other people’s blogs as opposed to what they write about on their own blogs…know what i mean?"

    @ aloted, this is so true.

  25. â–ºShe

    Thanks for the compliment, and you do make a good point that one doesn't always have a comment to make after reading something. They might just take it as food for thought or something.

    â–ºRosie

    lol! Hey, whatever technique works for you, right? Does that mean you don't tend to do much blog-related stuff when you're at home?

    â–ºaloted

    Thanks darlin'! I hope you're doing ok.

    Oh, I sure know what you mean: you can really learn a lot about who they are and what their values are really like if you follow their comments across blogville.

    â–ºRepressedOne

    I know right! Help me ask the fakers o.

    lol your example of the long comment made me laugh because I was reading a blog and wrote this extremely long comment, long enough to be a separate post sef. So I copied it somewhere else and left a shorter comment. But then I said "oh, what the heck!" and posted my epistle too.

    I enjoyed your analysis of this commenting phenomenon.

    â–ºNoLimit

    Hmm, good point about how timing might make a difference. If you feel your point has already been shared by previous commenters, you might be less likely to comment yourself.

    Hope my comment on your last post helped!

    â–ºAfrobabe

    Ugh! Don't you hate that? Commenting is not by force so if you can't even read the whole entry do not bother commenting.

    â–ºMyne Whitman

    I agree!

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