Receiving & leaving comments: it’s important.

Commenting: it’s important.

Jul
14

26 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

After reading several bloggers’ posts regarding commenting, it got me thinking about my own commenting practices. This post is merely a reflection on these other posts.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my soon-to-be two years of blogging and running a website, it’s that not every blogger/website owner can be bothered to either leave comments on others’ posts or reply to comments on their own posts. Of course, sometimes this is simply a result of time constraints, especially for those that receive a large number of comments. But in my own experience and opinion, it’s still disappointing.

A blog/website in this particular community is not, to me, a one-sided medium or conversation. It’s a collaboration of content and feedback (as many other forms of websites and blogs also are). I don’t think any of us would remain blogging if we didn’t receive any feedback. And by feedback, I don’t mean criticisms or compliments. By feedback I mean discussion, conversation, comments. Comments let us know that we’re doing something right, that we’re providing content people want to read, see, react to, and talk about. Comments form and build connections from one blogger and/or commenter to another.

If you didn’t receive any comments, how would you feel? Upset? Ignored? I know I would (and have). Of course, this isn’t to say that aiming for 10,000 comments on your posts is the way to go. I don’t believe it’s about the number of comments, but the quality – you know, getting more than a “Hey I like your blog” kind of comment.

How would you feel if you didn’t receive any replies to your comments? Upset? Ignored? I know I would (and have). You see, this is a two-way street. Replying to comments that others have taken the time to leave for you is just as important as leaving comments for others (or so I think). In my own experience, the only times I receive replies to my comments are when I’m commenting on a blogger friend’s site. More often than not, if I comment on someone’s blog who I’m not Twitter-friendly with, or have known for a while, I won’t receive a reply to my comment – no matter how thoughtful or long it is. And to me that means my comment either isn’t appreciated, or the blogger simply doesn’t care. And you know what that means? I’m probably not going to visit your blog/site again, not when there are others who put effort into establishing a presence, conversation and relationship on their own blog/site.

I’ve seen others agree and disagree with this. Some say they value returning comments, others don’t. And that’s okay. You can’t tell people how to blog, or how to manage their blogs/sites. But it does hurt to be told that no one cares about getting replies to their comments, because that’s not true. I care. I’m willing to bet some of you care, too. If people don’t want to reply to mine or anyone’s comments, that’s perfectly fine. But I wish people wouldn’t use the reason that no one cares about their replies.

I take pride in replying to all of the comments I receive on this site, but I do realize that this is my own decision – one that I plan to continue carrying out. So I’d like to thank all of you that have taken the time to comment any of my posts (even if this is your first time visiting). I appreciate all of your comments and the replies you supply to my own.

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26 Responses to “Commenting: it’s important.”

  1. elena says:

    Uh oh! I don’t really reply back to comments anymore but I do try to always return the visit on posts. I might reply back if I have something to say but I often don’t or maybe I try to let them know through Twitter. I’d hate for anyone to think that I don’t appreciate the comments on my post though because I really do and I try my best to comment on other’s posts. I prefer people visiting my blog in return rather than replying back.

    • Alissa says:

      Yea, that’s another factor to this. I know plenty of bloggers that don’t reply to comments on their sites, but make return visits. That, to me, can even it out. Especially if they make repeat visits. There will always be those that return the visit though and say nothing more than “Thanks for stopping by!” It’s a complicated, touchy subject and really a matter of opinion.

      • elena says:

        Yeah, it is! I didn’t even really realise the whole reply thing because I used reply back to comments AND visit blogs but that took too much time. I thought people would prefer the latter? So I don’t know anymore, hm. I mean, obviously I don’t expect people to always comment back on my posts because life + time etc. but if they never do, it’s kind of disheartening. Anna from Literary Exploration has a rule where if she comments 3 times on their blog and they don’t return her visit, she’s going to stop commenting. I think that’s a nice rule of thumb for certain cases.

  2. I think… it depends. If someone asks me a question I will always try to respond. But if it’s a more general comment that I don’t have a specific reply to, then I’m more likely to respond by visiting the commenter’s blog rather than by email.

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, those “Great post!” types of comments are difficult to respond to. But when someone puts more thought into their comment, I do my best to respond with just as much thought and appreciation.

  3. I completely agree with this post! I love leaving comments for other people, whether or not they choose to respond. But on my own site, I prefer to reply to comments most of the time, just to show I appreciate my readers and genuinely want to hear what they have to say.

    • Alissa says:

      I like commenting, too – sometimes even if I won’t get a response, because I understand how difficult it would be to reply to 50+ comments on some popular posts. And it’s at those times that I don’t mind just leaving a comment to let them know I liked their content.

  4. Like I said on the debate post on Ruby’s blog, if I don’t get a reply to my comment, how do I know my comment is appreciated? I don’t. While going to comment on my blog is one way of showing this, it isn’t necessarily my desired outcome. Do I like comments on my blog? Yes. But I comment on someone else’s post because I want to interact with that specific content, not because I want a comment on my blog.

    As I’ve gotten busy with teaching, I’ve gotten TERRIBLE about visiting other people’s blogs to comment, but I really do try to respond to every comment on my blog. Part of creating a community is making sure that every member feels that they are a valued part of that community. And for me, responding to comments helps to establish that.

    • Alissa says:

      That’s how I feel about it. I know that just because someone doesn’t reply to one of my comments, it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it. But, like you said, I have no way of knowing otherwise. And you make a good point, too. While I always appreciate return visits when I comment on someone’s site, I do comment on specific content and wish it wouldn’t fall by the wayside.

      But I’m all about the conversation, so I couldn’t imagine not returning comments on my own site. Heck, I’ll even reply a second, third, fourth time on a comment I leave on someone’s site if they take the time to respond to my original comment. And I love that.

      • And I think it’s important to note that I don’t think poorly about anyone who chooses not to reply to comments on their blog. That’s their choice, and I respect that. But when I’m pressed for time and the choice is between a blog where I know my comment will receive a response and one where I know it probably won’t, I’ll choose the blog that responds to comments (about 90% of the time, anyway).

        • Alissa says:

          I understand. It’s one of those situations where people will never agree 100% with each other. I just didn’t like the posts going around saying no one cares if you get replies to comments.

  5. I love responding to comments on my blog. I’ve had some of the best comment threads that still make me laugh out loud months later. As an aside, I’m weirdly neurotic about commenting on other people’s blogs (don’t ask, I almost get anxiety about it if it’s someone I don’t really know) and I feel like my blog is my home. I want to make people feel welcome and comfortable there. Hence I make sure to reply to comments!

    • Alissa says:

      Yes! I think I mentioned that in another comment here… about how I love when conversations happen within the comments. That’s one of the best parts about commenting, to me.

  6. Liz. R says:

    I’m guilty of not replying to comments. During term time, I really feel like I just don’t have the time. I barely have time to blog, so replying to comments is not really a priority (though I do really appreciate every single comment I get). Now that school’s over, I probably should be replying more but I never really got into the habit. If someone has asked a question in the comment, I usually try to answer by twitter or something. But I don’t think I could reply to every comment I receive, especially since some comments are a few words long – I wouldn’t even know what to say in the reply! Yet it wouldn’t be fair to leave those ones out while replying to others. It’s really complicated I guess. I do try to return the favour by commenting on the other person’s blog, but I don’t know if that has the same effect as replying. To be honest, I didn’t realise that people would feel unappreciated if their comment wasn’t replied to – now I’m definitely looking at things differently! This is a really interesting post actually, thanks for raising the issue.

    • Alissa says:

      I agree that it’s complicated. I mean, there are so many factors to apply to the situation! Like for instance, it doesn’t bother me that you don’t reply to my comments on your blog because we get to talk so much on Twitter (and sometimes it’s about our posts!) and you’re continually visiting my blog, too. So my feelings regarding comments between us is different than my general feelings.

      It’s a sticky issue, for sure.

      • Liz. R says:

        That’s true, I guess it depends on the relationship you have with the blogger. I’ll definitely be thinking more about this though! I like that you always have these discussion posts, they’re great.

  7. […] Commenting: it’s important — Why I think leaving and replying to comments is a vital part of blogging. […]

  8. [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    I also reply to every comment I get. I realize that many (probably most) commenters won’t come back to see if I made a reply, but I do it anyway because, to my mind, it gives me a stronger presence on my own blog and possibly invites conversation, which is what I’m all about. While I don’t take it personally if a blog admin doesn’t respond to a comment I’ve made, I’m definitely far more likely to speak out and come back to a blog where I know my opinion was heard.

    By the same extension, I completely understand bloggers who don’t respond to comments. 1) it’s time consuming, 2) how do you know if the person will even check back?

    In any case, I’m definitely pro-comment-replies. I’d rather be an involved blogger than a potentially faceless one.

  9. Cialina says:

    OH man, this makes me want to hang my head in shame. I’ve been so bad with commenting and replying in general lately. I need to learn how to get back into the swing of things.

  10. We Heart YA says:

    We totally agree! Basically we follow blogs that we think are great, for whatever reason. But we UN-follow blogs that can’t be bothered to create some sort of connection with us. Whether that’s replying to our comments, or coming over to our blog to comment, or hooking up with us on Twitter or FB, or dropping an email every now and then. Any one of those things (or maybe some other action we haven’t thought of) is enough for us to feel like we’re not just talking into the darkness. But not doing any of those things makes us feel like that person doesn’t care about us. And if they don’t care about us — our opinions, our connection — then why should be bother continuing it?

    (Exception: If you are JK Rowling or John Green or something, we get that you’re way busier than the average bear.)

    (But actually, JG does a pretty good job of interacting with individual fans. Not US yet, but maybe someday!)

    • Alissa says:

      I get that. It can be awkward and frustrating to continually try to connect to another blogger and their blog, only to be continually overlooked or seemingly ignored. And I don’t want to have to feel awkward or frustrated. There are plenty of other bloggers out there.

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