The Art of Commenting (Discussion Post)

I think most bloggers would agree that the role of comments in our community is an extremely important one. We want to know that we are being heard. We want to connect. We want to feel validated after spending (sometimes way too long) on a particular blog post. In this new world of social media, which I’m especially sensitive to since I’m teaching a modern media class this semester, we want to see that our picture has been “liked” and know that our opinion matters.

I love comments. I do. Especially on reviews, which take so much more time to write than throwing together a Waiting on Wednesday or Stacking the Shelves post. A good review takes work. You have to find a way to be interesting and entertaining while explaining your thoughts on somebody else’s work. The book blogging community has exploded and people can go anywhere to read a review. That’s what makes it so amazing when somebody reads yours AND takes the time to comment about it. I will never take that for granted.

I feel so lucky to have made some wonderful blogger friends. There are a few people who take the time to comment on almost, if not all, of the blog posts I put up. These people are awesome and I love them. Because these people are awesome, I make a point to return the favor, like any good friend would. No matter how busy I get, I always try to make my way over to the blogs of those who’ve taken the time to comment on mine. Not out of obligation, but because I want to know what my friends are up to. What did they just finish reading? What are they thinking about today? That’s the community I want to be a part of, but it isn’t always the one that exists.

Sorry, but it is going to get a bit rant-y from here on out…

First, there are few things I hate more than disingenuous comments. Comments that bloggers leave for the sole purpose of getting you to come to their blog and follow. Case in point, this was left on a review of a book that I didn’t like very much. At all. Where I went in to great detail the issues I had with it:

          This looks really intriguing, gonna have to read this for sure! Anyways I just wanted to say that your blog is so cute! I have been reading your reviews and now have like 5 book in my TBR shelve on goodreads so thank you for that! Im a new blogger and would love for you to check out my blog @ ____________
I would really appreciate the followers!




Ok, so she obviously didn’t read the review, which isn’t a horrible crime (although, seriously, read the review if you’re going to comment–don’t be a dick), but I’ve seen this comment from said blogger on NO LIE at least 50 blogs. You probably know exactly who I’m talking about because she probably left this exact comment on your blog. I’m sure she is a lovely person, but it’s the most disingenuous thing ever. 
I like to see my follower numbers go up as much as the next blogger, but that isn’t why I’m a blogger. I started this blog because I like writing reviews and connecting with other awesome readers, NOT to gain as many followers as possible like some deranged cult leader. That isn’t to say I haven’t left messages, especially when I first started out, saying: hey, I followed your blog and I’d love it if you’d follow back, because I have. What I’ve never done and will never do is leave some mass comment that I copy and paste on every blog I visit. I don’t want to “connect” with bloggers who are only concerned about their numbers. I don’t care. 
On the flip-side, I can’t help but sometimes feel completely shafted when I bloggers don’t respond to my comments. If a blogger doesn’t respond to any comments, it doesn’t bother me, but there have been a couple of incidents where I’ve swung back by a blog after leaving a real comment only to see that the blogger has responded to other comments, but not mine.

For example, I left a comment on a blog where the author is a teacher. She had posted pictures of her room and was talking about gearing up for the first day of school. I left a comment about how cute her decorations were and how about I was about to embark on my student teaching semester, blah, blah, blah. I went back a couple of days later to see if that had started a conversation and she had commented on the one other comment about her decorations, but hadn’t responded to my comment. Seriously, WTF is that?! It gave me flashbacks to 6th grade when I wasn’t “cool enough” for the mean girls to talk to.

It’s the reason my favorite blogs are some of the (relatively) smaller ones. I understand that it is hard to visit every person who visits you when you have a million followers and get 50 comments for every post. I do. And I understand that you may respond to people differently. Some of the people who comment are going to be people you really like and are truly friends with while others are just random people who drop by in an attempt to get you to come over to their blog, but I do think that people will stop following you or reading your posts if you don’t ever respond to what they have to say and/or you don’t ever come over to see what they are writing about.

If I comment on any comments of a post, I comment on them all (the exception to this is WoW posts–because really what is there to say? I’m glad you’re excited to read this, too. Thanks for saying I’ve picked a great book). It’s just rude not to.  That is why I tend not to comment on meme posts: it can be tedious, especially when the comments are super bland, but I want my little space to be a friendly one. Because I’m a friendly girl. I can’t even imagine wanting to hurt another blogger’s feelings–and I’m sure it’s not even about wanting to hurt feelings, but again, it’s just common courtesy.

Alright, rant over. I want to hear what you think! Do you respond to comments? Do you ever just respond to select comments or do you respond to all of them? Do you go back and look to see if a blogger has responded to your comment?
I promise to respond if you leave a comment. 🙂

70 thoughts on “The Art of Commenting (Discussion Post)

Add yours

  1. Yup! And it is super easy to turn off in your dashboard settings. If you need any help, just tweet me and I will guide you.

    I was pretty sure you didn't have me in mind, but I know I have a habit of responding to comments the way you wrote about, so I did want to give you a perspective of why it might not be personal at all if you happens to you. I completely value your comment and every comment I receive (except the meaningless ones) even if I get swamped and delete it all from frustration sometimes. LOL.

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  2. I feel your pain, sometimes I wish you couldn't even comment on blogs, because then I might care a little less if people are reading my blog or not.

    I agree it is very frustrating when people don't respond to your comment, but have others, I try and respond to each one I get. Granted I don't get a lot, but I feel awful if I realise I've left out a response to someone, especially if they've put time into writing a relevant comment.

    Got to admit I've not had anyone write a comment like 'please check out my blog', but I think it would cause me to actively avoid their blog.

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  3. I've never been a fan of the whole, you comment/follow me and I'll do the same for you. I comment when I have something to say, and follow the blogs with content I enjoy. When I do comment, I would like to receive a reply acknowledging that, but that's just me. I try to do the same on my own blog. I think it comes down to the whole “people putting time and effort into blogging” thing.

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  4. “deranged cult leader” *giggles* Curses, you've found out my plan! But anyway, I definitely try to respond to all comments on my posts, even the ones that are pretty generic, the one exception being for the two giveaways I'm currently running, since I give an entry for answering a question in the comments, there are so many comments and I just can't take responding to them all D:

    I'm really bad at visiting back and commenting since if I don't see something that grabs my interest on the first page, I don't want to leave a generic comment back just have commented back ya know? D:

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  5. I'm actually the opposite when it comes to if the blogger responds to comments. I would rather see them replying to some comments, even if mine isn't one of them, than none. If they never reply to comments, it makes me feel like they aren't acknowledging their readers at all. So, while it does sting a bit to put thought into a comment that doesn't get a reply when others do, it's not going to put me off the blog as much as if they aren't interacting at all.

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  6. Wowowowow! Can I just say that I'm really impressed by your post? The one thing that went through my head after reading this was: brutally honest.
    And really, brutally. We don't get that much honesty a lot around the blogosphere, but it's an interesting topic to talk about.
    I will admit, comments have lost a lot of my initial attention for them. When I first started blogging, I got SO excited about every single comment I got. This time around, I get very excited about two kinds of comments:
    1) the deep and long ones
    2) comments from people I “know”
    I think one of the things you mentioned is really true: those comments on WoW or even TTT posts – no matter how hard you try, they usually tend to be pretty shallow. I don't mind – i love that people take the time and comment on a list of books I created or that one sequel I am dying to read.
    But the kinds of comments that make me think and that usually bring a smile to my face are the ones where people really care about the topic I wrote about, or the book I reviewed, and then just type ahead. All their opinions and thoughts on it in one comment. Those are the ones I want to reply to. That's what I want to discuss on Twitter. That's what makes me want to be friends with those people.
    Oh, yeah, and then there are the comments from people I know – and you are one of those people,actually. Because you comment on my blog so often and I found especially your last comment on my Miley post really nice and interesting!
    I do understand what you mean by your rant-y post here. I used to care about why people leave comments on my blog. Now, I just honestly don't really care about the follow me-commenters. I do publish their comments, because they're not really spam and I usually reply, too.
    Okay,this comment is SO all over the place! What is wrong with me???
    I think what I wanted to say was this: I generally don't mind follow-me commenters. I just get very overly excited about any of the comments that I talked about earlier. Those are what really makes me happy – and the rest doesn't really matter.
    I will just stop typing now.
    And sort my brain out.
    I clearly lost my line of thought here…

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  7. I totally see how annoying this can be. Like on my Stacking The Shelves posts, I'll clearly say, I've already read all these books. Then I read the comments, and they're all “Omg, I hope you like them!” Like come on, all you have to do is read the first sentence and you'll see that I already have. But either way, I can understand why new bloggers would feel like this is the only way to get their blog around. 🙂

    Laura @ Music Plus Books

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  8. I think I ran into the stock commenter once or twice, and yeah, it's pretty frustrating, especially when it's OBVIOUS they haven't read the books. I'm not against leaving links, heck, they make my life easier, but asking me to give you a follow is just.. pretentious. Following shouldn't be asked for. If I like your blog, I'll follow you.

    I should also add that long comments look more thoughtful, and are more appreciated (obviously), but I can't ask every follower to do that. It's not my place, and frankly, I'm thankful for any comments I get. Although if you're a new blogger who wants to get noticed, the more thoughtful and friendly you are, the better 😀

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  9. Ha! That's a good point. We could all live in blissful ignorance that hundreds of people are hanging on our every word.

    Yeah, it just feels kind of malicious to me…which I know is overly sensitive. I just can't imagine picking and choosing which comments to respond. I'd feel like a total jerk if I did that.

    Again, it really isn't the: come check out my blog aspect of this that bothered me. It was the whole copy and paste thing. If you're going to beg for followers you should be gracious enough to tailor the request to me, personally.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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  10. It can get a bit old, but I do understand that newbies need to find a way to get their blogs noticed. It's just the way some people go about it.

    Seriously, blogs take way more effort than I could ever have imagined. I'm currently student teaching high school English and working part-time and am just insanely busy. Because of this, my blog has seriously suffered. I used to post 5-6 times a week and now I'm posting 3 times–if I'm lucky. Just a couple of days ago my husband asked why I was still trying to keep up with my comments, posts, etc and the answer is simply: because I like it. But it does take work to keep up on comments and visiting.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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  11. Thanks. Doesn't it seem that way sometimes? Yeah, there is no way you can respond to giveaway comments. That would be insane!

    I do know. People have different tastes and it's sometimes hard to find something you want to comment on. I have to admit that I usually give it the ole college try regardless.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing! I've always admired your adorable blog!

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  12. You make a great point. It can be nice to see just a couple of responses just to know the blogger does acknowledge readers, but I have to say I'm still of the mind that if you respond to one, you should should respond to them all.

    Thanks for sharing! I love to hearing others' opinions!

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  13. Well, thank you! I was a little skeptical about how my opinion was going to be received and am so happy that it's been pretty positive. I did lose a couple of followers, but what do you do? This is my little corner and I'm going to say what I want here.

    Agreed. It's always so nice to get both meaningful comments and ones from your friends. I've been able to forge some pretty fun friendships through my blog and those are the people I'm always happy to “see.”

    I'm happy just to see meme comments, too; I'm just not going to bother replying to them.

    Thanks! I thought your Miley post was really interesting. Again, because I'm so much older *sob*, she was never a role model to me, but it is so interesting to hear from younger girls who looked up to her during her Hannah days.

    I've followed you the whole way. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to leave a meaningful comment. I'm glad we've connected through our blogs!

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  14. Me, too. I understand it and I did it when I was brand-new. My problem is what you just said. Do not leave me a comment asking me to come to your blog to follow if you are not even going to bother reading the post that you are commenting on! Just read it! It's so rude not, too. Ugh!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Exactly! It's about being genuine. Why would I chose to follow somebody who hasn't even made an effort to read what I've written? What I'm looking for in the bloggers I connect with is common ground and respect. The bloggers who I've forged friendships with are all so funny and awesome. They understand that sometimes my real life is going to get in the way and that I'm not always going to make it over to their blogs. But they do know that I'm going to make it there eventually and when I do I'm going to actually read what they've written, not just post a quick comment of: I was here, now come back and see me!

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  16. Lately, I've been sharing your dislike of comments that seem to be made with the intent of just getting you back to the commentor's blog. Since I've started putting in the effort to visit the blog of everyone who comments, it really bothers me to feel like the commentor put no thought into their comment. So far, I generally comment back anyway, but I will put in more effort to find a post I can leave a meaningful comment on if the person I'm responding too said more than just “great post! Here's my related post”.

    In terms of responding to comments, I do reply to all of mine, since I get few enough that it's manageable. Unlike you, I'm actually more bothered by a blogger who doesn't answer comments at all than one who answers selectively. If a blogger only responds to a few, maybe they don't have the time to respond to all of their comments and are only replying where they have something meaningful to say. I can understand that. If a blogger doesn't respond to any of their comments, I wonder why they're even blogging if they can't be bothered to interact with the people who were considerate enough to comment on their blog.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion!

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  17. I really, really try to always respond because I appreciate when someone A) takes the time to read my book reviews/rants/thoughts/etc and B) because it feels a bit like not saying hello back in any other physical (non-internet) scenario in my life. Sometimes it takes be awhile, but I really do value my online interactions with fellow book-nerd people and I want them to know that. And I do notice the people that stop by often and comment sincerely and I a little bit love them all.

    And it does make me feel eye-rolly as well when I can tell someone didn't read a word of the post they are commenting on and are merely fishing for a visit/follow. The insincerity actually turns me off visiting/following when ordinarily I automatically check out anyone who leaves me a link in their signature. I think there is a lot of pressure to have 'numbers' but it really is so much more enjoyable for those 'numbers' to be fun connections with like-minded people. And I so appreciate our interactions!

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  18. Thanks, Dewey. Sorry for the late response! I agree that I'll definitely take more time commenting on someone's blog if they took the time to leave something truly thoughtful on mine.

    You are not the first one to say that a blogger who doesn't respond to any comments bothers you more than one who responds selectively and I completely understand your point. It is kind of weird when a blogger doesn't ever respond to their readers. I can definitely understand not replying to all comments if you don't necessarily have anything to say.

    Thanks for stopping by!!

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  19. Agreed. It is like walking right by somebody who has said hello to you without acknowledging them. Great analogy! I'm so freaking swamped right now that it is taking me so much longer than I'd like to make it to everyone's blog who has stopped by mine, but I definitely have my favorites that I go to more often than those I've never interacted with before.

    I just really don't care about my numbers. I love getting new followers, but I'm not trying to get a ton of physical ARCS, so it's really not a big motivator for me. I would much rather have 50 people who I sincerely enjoy talking to than 500 people I don't interact with at all. My favorite aspect of blogging is definitely the connections I've made with like-minded readers. I love our interactions, too. You're awesome!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. Every time I receive a comment, I always inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) squeal in joy! I think it's really wonderful that someone actually took the time to read something I wrote and to want to talk to me about it. It's a great feeling and I always reply to all comments dropped on my blog 😀

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