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That Post about Comments

comments-motivation-post

By Shar

Hi Virtually Readers! Recently, Heather wrote about post about commenting back. You should go and read it here. It made me have some of my own ideas (and I’d also been thinking about this for a while). Specifically, what I want to talk about is the reason why we comment.

As Heather kind of acknowledged, things like the Bloggers Commenting Back movement helped commenters by giving them more traffic. Essentially, it’s a promise that if you read and comment on someone else’s post, they’ll read and comment on yours. Widgets like Commentluv encourage the same thing: comment readers, especially the author of the post, are given an easy way to go and read your last post. (This gets complicated with coblogging: often a post Shanti wrote is linked in my comment, or vice versa. It doesn’t really matter and this is off topic). Because most bloggers like people reading their posts, these kind of things help people to comment more: there’s something in it for them.

On one hand, this suits everyone. More comments on everybody’s blog=more happy bloggers. I definitely like getting comments, and I definitely get more when I comment on other people’s blogs. It also helps you meet new friends. I would say I found most blogs I regularly read through comments.

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BUT. While I like the idea of commenting back, I’ve never done it formally for some reasons:

  1. I’ve had comments which are like ‘great post now go read mine’ or the like. To be honest, if someone is only commenting on my post because they want me to read theirs, then I don’t really want their comment. It’s not particularly rewarding to get empty comments.
  2. Generally, self-advertising just doesn’t work for me. I guess I said this in the above reason, but I feel like comments should be about the post/post writer, rather than the comment writer.
  3. I’ve had lots blog comments from blogs that are entirely different from mine. I don’t believe in giving empty comments about content that I quite frankly am not interested in. In general, I think it’s a good policy to only comment on things where you have something worthwhile to say.
  4. I’m a busy person. So are most bloggers. Β Saying two random lines just to promote your blog isn’t worth your time, nor is it really worth the post writer’s time.
  5. I like to think I (at least partially) blog for myself. Obviously I like comments because it makes me feel somewhat famous (hahaha) but I don’t want to only get comments because someone else feels like they have to, just because I commented.

If commenting back is about acknowledging the comment writer, then replying to somebody’s comment (which I attempt to do, although it often takes me too long) is, in my opinion, enough. I want to read (and comment, and acknowledge) posts that I enjoy, not the ones that I have to plough through because of some self-inflicted obligation. Basically, I want the reason I get(or give) comments to be that people like what I write, not that people want me to like what they write.

Β Am I excessively harsh?Do you comment back? Do you think it’s worth it? What are the pros? Is it self advertising or common courtesy?Β 

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19 thoughts on “That Post about Comments

  1. Lol, I came across your blog because it was in my related reading and I’m must say we seem to be rather similar.
    On the commenting thing, I generally only comment on posts that interest me. I see blogging as basically conversations with people online. You wouldn’t start a conversation with someone you have nothing in common or no interest in so why bother commenting? I try to avoid “Wow. Great post.” comments because if I’m going to say something, it might as well be something worth saying.
    I like comments that offer more to the post, whether it’s a differing view point or an agreement. There’s nothing wrong with self promoting (You have to be your own cheerleader) but that shouldn’t be your main focus.
    I’ve discovered that the more insightful, the better your following. And it’s better to have 10 invested followers than 100 numbers.
    And with that said, great post.
    All the best

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  2. Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t get to this post sooner! Thank you for linking to mine, I appreciate it. πŸ™‚ I would not accuse you of being too harsh. You make very good points in your list, especially about leaving empty comments. I feel like sometimes I can’t write good comments on people’s blogs I DO follow even regularly because they’ll recognize that I’m being insincere. It’s a difficult line to walk. :/ Thanks for participating in this conversation!

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    1. I guess this is why I don’t always comment on people who I really like’s posts? I usually can think of something to say, and I guess it doesn’t have to be important to be sincere. Generally, we can agree that commenting is complicated.

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  3. The way Jeff Goins talks about it: a blog is like a party. You wouldn’t go to someone else’s party and say “great party, now come to mine.” No. You would talk to them, be friendly, and kindly invite them at an appropriate time. You also wouldn’t go to a biker rally in search of people for book club (though people can do both, of course). I really like that analogy and I think it fits pretty well into the whole “comments aren’t currency” idea you’ve got here.

    Blogs are a form of social media, are supposed to be social, and therefore have social rules. Just be polite, that’s what I try to do. But no, I don’t think you’re being harsh. I always try to comment back, but like you said, people are busy and they’re not going to have time or be necessarily interested. That’s just the way it is! πŸ™‚

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    1. I love this analogy so much I can’t even say. Comments aren’t currency, exactly. And a blog=party just makes so so much sense=yes. I’ve never really thought of blogs as social media, but now that I do, I agree. (btw- who is Jeff Goins?) Anyway, commenting back is a tricky business that you’ve perfectly captured. (Side note: I am now super intrigued by your blog but for some reason my internet has blocked it. I will try to do something about this because this one comment was so on point I feel a great desire to stalk you πŸ˜€ )

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      1. Yes, my explanation made sense! Love it when that happens. πŸ˜‰ Thank you kindly. πŸ™‚ (I recently changed my site hosting service to Bluehost and my laptop’s Norton security program really hated that for some reason. I don’t know if it could be the same? Sorry you’ve been having trouble with it!)

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  4. I definitely try to comment back! I mean, there are times when I don’t…like you said: when the comment is just genuinely self-promo-spammy stuff. Like, no. I don’t want or care about that kind of traffic! But I will attempt to comment on blogs that are out of my niche…I mean, I LOVE COMMENTS. So I figure most other bloggers do too and it kind of makes my day when a post gets a lot of comments and I want to return that! I do think replying means a lot too. But because I want to make friends, I think that’s a two-way street and one needs to be visiting other blogs and reaching out. You give out and you get it back. Right? Sow what you reap and all that? πŸ˜‚ And I comment on soooo many blogs that I just don’t have time (or memory!) to go back and check for replies, so unless the blog is set up to email replies, it kind of makes no difference to me. *sighs* COMMENTING CAN BE COMPLICATED, RIGHT?!πŸ˜‚ But blogging for yourself is an excellent thing and not running yourself ragged is also important. *nods*

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    1. This, my friend, is probably why you get so many comments. Your crazy blogging work ethic is like an inspiration, and I wish I could do it but I can’t. Anyway, comments are like the part where blogging becomes a community of listeners, not ‘shouters into the void’. (also, replying to this comment even if it doesn’t email notify you oh well). I guess there are other niches, such as lifestyle blogging, that I have commented on some, but somehow it never worked out. Since I wrote this, I kind of realised another reason I don’t comment back is that some comments are back-ones already, so I’ve commented on that bloggers post already. Also, I follow a lot of people who comment on Virtually Read and would and would read/comment on their posts anyway. Hmmm. I totally agree that commenting is complicated, and I guess everyone has a different approach. 8nods back*

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  5. I love this post, and you perfectly summed up how I feel about commenting back. I love to meet other bloggers and start a conversation with them thanks to comments, and I have made so many incredible friends thanks to this. But I do agree that it takes so much time, and sometimes I have nothing to say. Or I don’t comment back when people just write something meaningless as well, such as just, “great post, check out mine”, this annoys me so much. I love seeing that people genuinly enjoyed my blog post and what I write, as well. πŸ™‚

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    1. Yes! Seeing people enjoyed your post is what comments are all about. And comments are like the basis of the blogging community, rather than someone just writing words into a void. At the same time, commenting back rather than focusing on blogs whose contents you actually enjoy feels kind of pointless. *hi fives*

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    1. It sounds like we have the same policy. Maybe another reason I don’t comment back is that either a) the comments I get are because of commenting back or b) I regularly read/follow the blogs of most people who comment (like you) and I would normally read and comment on their posts anyway.

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  6. I like to comment back simply because I’m used to doing that? Especially since my Wattpad days…

    You are definitely not being harsh at all. It definitely would suck to get comments where people just want out to check out their blog (I don’t mind if they leave their blog link but if it was just so I can check out their blog, I would get annoyed, yes).

    I’ve never heard of the bloggers commenting back movement… hm.

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    1. Yeah, I actually like when people give their blog link so I can read their blog if they want, but not if that is the only point of the comment. And i think the Bloggers Commenting Back movement is not as popular as it used to be? I never formally signed up for it, but I did try to do it for a while until I got to busy *cries* Is it normal on Wattpad to read other peoples stuff if they read yours?

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      1. Well, it depends. If they ask you nicely, maybe you’d feel moved to check it out. But sometimes… the stories aren’t that great in terms of spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc

        But I’m a push over too! xD

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  7. I’m with you Shar- I reckon it is all about conent. A worthwhile comment is a genuine engagement with the content of the post and, perhaps, the start of a worthwhile discussion. Empty courtesy is not really polite.
    Now I expect that’s worthy of a comment from you on my latest blog.

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