Do you struggle with comments? As in answering or even leaving them? Do you respond to all the comments on your blog? (If you have one obviously) Do you comment on other people’s?
I try to respond to every comment left on my blog and I think I generally succeed, but it’s sometimes surprisingly challenging. I just don’t know what to say. Sometimes I wrote the post a while ago and need to get back into the same mindset to properly answer. Sometimes I find myself answering very similar things to different comments and I feel boring.
It sort of comes into play when I read posts as well. I might have the perfect comment to make, just to realize someone’s already written more or less the same thing and they might even have made the idea better. I’m not that original… And I figure that the blogger doesn’t want to have to repeat themselves to near identical comments.
The thing is, I personally don’t mind getting repeat comments. On the contrary, I find it pretty encouraging. It’s also interesting to see if a thought is popular enough to have occurred to more than one person. It can spark ideas for a future and post I also don’t mind struggling with answering it. Just because something’s challenging doesn’t mean it’s not fun, on the contrary.
So I seem to be going by two completely different rationales here. And I’m curious which is closer to the truth. Do people prefer to get comments even if they re repetitive or not that deep? Or is it a hassle and they would rather not have to deal with internet small talk?
I honestly don’t know.
On the one hand a lot of bloggers care about their stats and comment number is a stat. Then again people rarely mention it so it may not be one they care about that much. Although this particular bit of minicontroversy has died down, I used to see bloggers complaining that they didn’t think everyone that liked their posts were reading them thoroughly. To be honest, I didn’t follow that particular debate all that closely so I’m still fuzzy on the details. From what I gathered, it was just a feeling that likes are disingenuous and meaningless if people leave them mindlessly. For the record I don’t see a problem encouraging a blogger with a like even if it isn’t their best post of something. Personally, I even think it’s very sweet if you bother to like one of my posts even if you don’t have time to read it, so I clearly just view those things differently.
In any case, I figure someone with that view would also be a little upset if comments didn’t seem pertinent to the post and sounded a bit thoughtless. Sadly this is often where I fall. I tend to water down my personality a lot to make it a bit more palatable and I feel like I end up rather bland sometimes. Like everyone else, I still struggle to find my particular voice and I find that struggle more difficult on someone else’s site and answering someone else’s posts.
I know I have written, rewritten and finally given up on comments because no matter how I tried to phrase them they came off a little shallow or didn’t add anything of value to the subject because the author had already written it all. Just writing “great post” is a bit like leaving a star and if I liked the post, I already did that. There’s also the stigma that all those bots that leave spam comments to promote sketchy sites often leave that exact comment. You know:
I do understand where people come from though. A lot of bloggers take their writing to heart and put a lot of effort into it. They want real feedback. So I now make sure to only leave likes after reading the post not before and try to only comment if I have something of substance to add. I also remember talking to Raistlin a few times (who managed to read and comment on an absolutely mind boggling amount of posts every day. Also we miss you Raist.) and he told me that commenting takes a pretty big toll on a person. I can understand why. Imagine having 100 conversations every single day with 100 different people and giving them each your full attention while actively straining your mind to also contribute. That’s an actual skill that very few people have.
Don’t get me wrong reading posts is a lot of fun, just as talking with my fellow bloggers is. If I had unlimited time, I would do a lot more of it. I think that applies for a lot of us in fact. But no one can be full present all the time. That’s normal.
So I would like to do a small informal study today. If you are a blogger (even if you’re not, you can just roleplay as one for today if you’d like! Boy that is the least sexy roleplay I can think of.) Are you like me, thrilled by every like and comment because you find it encouraging that someone made that little effort -or- do you prefer that people only engage with your posts if they consider them particularly meaningful because you get more satisfaction that way? Is acknowledgement enough or do you crave feedback?
And on the flip side, do you like posts even when you don’t necessarily agree with them or even if you think the author has written better because you still did enjoy some part of it? Do you comment just to encourage people even if you don’t really have anything to add?
In case you’re wondering, I think there really is no right answer here. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a matter of personal preference. I’m curious to know how my fellow bloggers feel about this as it’s an aspect that I’ve really only seen come up on social media and then only when someone was unhappy about the interaction they were getting, so it’s not exactly representative of general opinion. In fact, it may not even be representative of that particular person’s opinion so I shouldn’t base my perception on that.
One last question. Are you curious about the answers? Should I do a quick follow up post if I get enough responses to let you know what I found?
Ok so this turned out to be more of a questionnaire than an actual post. In case I haven’t said it enough recently, you guys rock. Thanks to anyone that takes the time to answer any of these questions!