Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comments are Important!

My ventures into the blog-o-sphere have taught me some important lessons about maintaining an online presence. One of the more important lessons has been about commenting on other peoples' blogs.

I read anywhere between 20 and 30 blogs a day, sometimes more than that. It's hard to balance it between writing the novel and working the Clark Kent job full time. I try to look at blogging as part of my job as a writer. I write almost every day, therefore I blog almost every day. I use the "office" part of my brainspace for this, and think of it as a task I must complete, to bolster my writing platform. I give myself weekends off from reading and writing blogs (trying not to burn myself out). On every blog I read, I do my best to leave a comment on the latest entry. Even if it's just a "I liked this post because" comment.

And here's my reasoning behind this practice: first, I know how delighted I feel when people take the time to comment on my blog. Whether it's one comment or twelve, they never fail to make my day. Somebody out there's reading me, I say to myself. And they keep coming back for more! It's a great feeling. I want to pass that on to other writers who are working hard on their blogs.

Even more importantly, if you don't comment, a blogger won't know you've visited! Unless of course they have some fancy tracking stalkery type technology (and come on, people, we're taking blogspot here), blog owners can't know you've been reading their words unless you SAY something about it. It's a form of appreciation, in my opinion. Thanks, I'm saying to the blog writer, I recognize your dedication and your vision. Thank you for continuing to put it out there. Keep it up! We're a community of writers, for the most part, and we all know how fragile our universes are. Commenting is my way of encouraging the writers around me to keep writing.

I find comments are often reciprocal - I'll go to someone's blog and comment, and they come find me and comment on my entry. I love this kind of exchange. Not only does it show me who's reading my comments (and entries), but it helps me make new friends and connections in the blog-o-sphere. And don't worry if there are thirty, or fifty, or even a hundred comments. I bet the blog owner reads every single one. Each comment from their visitors is important, whether it's the first or the thousandth. And don't forget - people who leave comments often read the comments before theirs. You might find a new friend or a follower by commenting! One you didn't even expect.

My new blogging friend Elana Johnson posted on this topic last week and had some really insightful things to say in this post. It's an interesting read and has a few more things to say on the importance of commenting on fellow writers' blogs. Check it out, if you like.

How often do you comment on other peoples' blogs? Do you make a point to leave your mark on an entry?

And BTW, I'd like to say THANKS to everyone who reads and comments on my blog. I want you to know, every time you say something, it makes me feel good. You're spreading the love and I love you for it. :D

37 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

It so does make you feel good. It certainly does me. And thanks again for dropping by my blog today, B.

Even if it's a couple of words to make one's mark - it's awesome. I'm new in this blog world and I've come accross so many talented writers with amazing visions. It's so great to be a part of this community, don't you think? It's like a huge network of emotional support for what we love to do.

Jen said...

I must say had you not commented on my blog I wouldn't have made it to yours, because I've come to realize that I wasn't following you, however that has changed!

I love comments, they keep you into blogging, it's nice knowing certain bloggers hang on your every word, think you're funny and love your stories. It's important to have an online presence and it's nice knowing it's all worth while!

I manage my blog and my writing really nicely having only been at the game about 2 months, I follow several blogs and those who comment get my love first. I appreciate them as they appreciate me!

arlee bird said...

You are so right on this point. This is my philosophy to a tee and I too have been proselytizing this message for months now.

The polite little notes are fine -- they show at least somebody looked in and had the courtesy to say hello. But it's really nice when someone leaves a comment that says "hey, I actually read what you had to say and here's what I think" --- like, yes, conversation, dialogue, learning experience.

And it's the best way to get followers -- I know this for sure cause I've proven it by doing it.

Great post and hopefully more people will start listening to this message if they keep seeing it.

Oh, and thank you for the comments you leave on my blog. Also, I like the interaction I've been seeing due to the A to Z challenge -- I think we've all gained some new followers from it so far.

Lee

Tamika: said...

I read Elana's post and I agree completely.

Commenting is a vital aspect of creating online relationships. It says alot that someone takes the time to leave a thought or suggestion on one of my posts.

Talli Roland said...

Great point and so, SO true. If you want to build a presence, you need to put in energy and effort. And it's fun! :) I love reading comments on my own blog, and others.

KarenG said...

Wonderful Post, B. This is where I'm at with blogging as well-- having fun with it but also thinking of it as part of my job as writer. I've discovered many fantastic new blogs through comments on others. Someone makes an insightful or clever comment, I click on to their blog because I want to know more about them and bingo, I find another great new blogger friend. And you're so right about the zillions of comments-- the more the merrier!! Same with followers!! We are all helping each other.

Piedmont Writer said...

Are you sure you don't have that blog-o-tech-thing-a-ma-bob to get into my drafts because I had a post all ready to go on this exact same subject...great minds and all.

I read a lot of blogs and try to comment on each one. I also try to respond to each person who has commented on my blog. It's like our own little private communication. I think it's what makes us "friends" instead of just "other like-minded people" on the internet.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're welcome and I appreciate the comments you leave on my blog! I agree - blogging forces us to keep writing and coming up with fresh ideas and topics.

Helen Ginger said...

Great post. And thanks for coming to my blog and commenting.

I visit every blogger who comes to my blog. And when there's time in my day, I click on people I don't know and go visit and comment on their blog. It's fun to meet new people.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Watery Tart said...

It's SO TRUE, isn't it! And you've been so good, and I've been so bad! I need to get you in my side bar, because when I am busy, that is where I determine who needs visiting, and it seems I'm ALWAYS busy...

This was a valueable reminder on that front that I need to get my blog house in order!

hampshireflyer said...

Comments are always exciting.... though at the moment I think I actually spend more time commenting on other people's blogs than I do blogging at my own place! :) That's probably better than the other way round, though...

sarahjayne smythe said...

I try to comment on all the blogs I read, except the agent ones or the ones that have huge followings with hundreds of comments. I try to make my comments relevent because I've been embraced by this corner of the blogosphere and people have been very generous with their words. It only seems right that I keep up my end of the relationship. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I comment on anywhere from 20 - 50 blogs a day - depends on how rushed I am with my day.
But I like comments as well - just some feedback. Let me know my post was visible!

Elana Johnson said...

I, like you, comment on every blog I read. Sometimes that's 30, or sometimes (like today) it's 60. Or sometimes it's 100. Yes, I read a lot of blogs. I comment on a lot of blogs.

For me, the only investment is time, and right now it's where I'm spending my hourly money.

I have a job too, and a family and I write every day. That's why I can't get to as many blogs some days as I can others. But I make an effort to do it every day.

I love your thoughts about finding new friends in the comment section of someone's blog. I've done that!

Palindrome said...

I was here.

Palindrome said...

Kidding, I agree with all that you said. I try and comment on everything I read but I also don't read as much as I would like to. I do a lot of my reading on the go or at work and certain comment formats make it impossible to comment and then I say I'll comment when I get home but I have a million things on my agenda when I get home.

So I urge everyone to use a pop up comment box!! Please! For the love of all that's good and holy!!

;P That is all.

Benjamin said...

Thank you for writing the blog for me to comment on. I love getting on here and reading what you have to say about things, especially since I've agreed with pretty much everything you've said, and found wisdom in the things I hadn't thought about.

whitneyhenderson said...

I try to comment b/c as you say, the writer will know there was a visit thanks to sitemeter or whatever, but you don't know someone actually READS unless they comment.

I admit, I don't do it as much on blogs that have eleventy thousand comments already...

Jason Black said...

> I bet the blog owner reads every single one. Each comment from their visitors is important, whether it's the first or the thousandth.

Heh. I should be so lucky to have a thousandth comment on any of my blog posts. But yes, yes I do read every comment I get from my visitors.

And I treasure them. As you say, some are simple kudos and encouragement. But others are thoughtful and insightful. Sometimes, one will be the trigger for the next article I write.

Joan Swan said...

Well said!

I often repost good blog posts on my twitter, and on a Monday Mosaic I do on my own blog, but the author never knows unless they follow me (NOT) or they google themselves and find my mention of them on my blog.

I will definitely comment now!

Thanks for the reminder!

Joan

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great points here! Building relationships is what blogging is all about. I'm tweeting this...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Sugar said...

That is so true. I rarely get comments, mostly because I rarely have anything relevant to say..BUT I do love each one of them. And I don't know how to work that stalker tracker thingy..so comments are my only way of knowing someone read what I dribbled about. :) It is fun to see new comments!

Caledonia Lass said...

I think I have it down to a science...
I try to comment on every blog I read. But there are times I can't possibly do that. So I do comment as often as I can.
If there are tons of comments, chances are what I have to say has already been said, so I don't read every single comment. I scroll to the bottom to leave mine.
If there are only a couple, then yes I will read them and sometimes say I agree with so and so.
I've read Elana's blog and finding that commenting and responding to comments is actually helping me a lot!
So hi there! Drop by my blog if you so choose. I'd love to hear from you too. :D

Lola Sharp said...

I do my very best to read and comment on all the blogs I follow, but it is hard to get around to everyone, every day.

You are awesome about leaving wonderful comments. Thank you.

Love,
Lola

Mason Canyon said...

I totally agree with your post. It is important to comment to let the blogger now you were there and you read what they wrote. Very insightful.

B. Miller said...

Oh man! I can't even tell you how happy I was when I got home to my inbox and saw so many comments on this post! WOW!! You guys make me smile so much. I'm literally grinning as I type this. I mean... it's kind of sickening, guys. I'm a horror writer... remember?! ;)

Seriously though, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I've already found some new blogs just from the comments today! YAY! What a great experience.

Hope to keep hearing from you guys - I know you'll be hearing from me!! :D

Dana said...

a-duh... I can't believe I didn't leave a comment here before... but I did retweet the blog and now I'm back. I agree with everything you said. Comments are so important. They keep me motivated to post. After all, blogging is best when there's an exchange; otherwise, why do it?
Thanks for a great post that made me feel less neurotic in my need for comments. See you on twitter!

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

I always try to answer everyone who comments also I try to read as many blogs of the people I follow.
It's important to keep in touch and a lovely way to make friends from different parts of the world.

Take care.
Yvonne,

Summer said...

When I first forayed into the Blogger world, I found that the quickest way to network was by putting myself out there on other people's blogs. The adage "you have to be a friend to have a friend" holds true on the 'net, too!

I recently cut back the number of blogs that I follow, mainly "industry" blogs so that I could dedicate more time to people like me who are still getting started, or early on in the game. I like establishing relationships with people and getting something personal out of a blog, and not only do I find reciprocity, but I find those blogs touch me in a much more meaningful way than Agent XYZ's millionth blog post about trends in publishing.

Anyway, I found you through Lola and was intrigued by her description of a writer of dark things in the South. I'm a Southerner myself, and I do like dark things.

Great post!

Rae said...

I found your link on "tossing it out" and agree with everything you said.
I've been blogging for almost two years and still only have a handful of followers. But even that small number of readers makes me feel obligated to treat them to a daily dose of whatever comes to my mind. I would love to have comments up into the double digits, but whether it ever happens or not, writing is in my bones and I have to let it out.
I'm looking forward to reading your past posts. Keep up the good work!

Sugar said...

Just popping in to say HI..I am new to your blog and now following. Can't wait to find time to read more.

Beth said...

Hi! New follower from Blogging A to Z. I've been blogging for a few years but only recently opened myself up to the wider world of blogging through memes, etc. It amazes me how quickly and thoroughly I have become addicted to followers and comments! Add one or two and I'm overjoyed! Take one away and I fret over what I've done or said wrong. Kind of amazing! Looking forward to reading more of your work as we make our way through the challenge. :)

Donna said...

You're right - it's nice to get comments. But it isn't always easy to write them. I try to leave them only when I find the post particularly interesting, or if I truly feel I have something to add to the conversation. Maybe I should be doing it more often, though, just so the writer knows I was there.

Creative Chronicler said...

I'm terrible about commenting, but I'm trying to do better. You are truly a superwoman to post comments on all the blogs you do with your schedule. I know you are one of my loyal comments and it does mean the world to me! I promise to try to get by more often with comments, because I love your posts.

Theresa Milstein said...

If I bother to read a post, I like to comment. I just found this post through Jane Friedman's blog. Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time checking out blogs and commenting. If someone comments on my blog, I always reciprocate. And I try to comment on my followers blogs, but that's getting harder as my readership grows. I'm unclear about following etiquette. It's hard to know if I should follow every blogger who follows me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Good post! I always comment on the posts I visit - I think it's important to make that connection with the blogger. Otherwise, what's the point really? Great tips :)

Nancy said...

I hadn't thought of comments this way; Thanks for the tip!