May 10, 2014

Think-Piece: What Happened to Comment Love?

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I've been blogging for nineteen months by now. Not long, but enough to be able to spot an increasing trend in our community...the slow, but steady sinking into oblivion of the comment-back unwritten rule.
 When my blog was only a few months old, I joined my very first meme - Book Blogger Confessions (hosted by Karen @ For What It's Worth and Pam @ Midnyte Reader). I don't know, maybe I was just lucky and fell in with the right crowd, or maybe it's just that we were a relatively small bunch, or that it was a fortnightly meme...but I was regularly getting a fair amount of comments - and, lo and behold, follows - even before I was able to visit the other participants' blogs myself. Also, if I commented first, the person whose blog I visited always commented back. Finally, more often than not, the comments were meaningful. For those reasons (and more), I was sad to say goodbye to BBC when it got shut down last July.
Now, I'm not a big meme supporter. I only engage in one at a time, and stick with those that aren't overwhelmed by participants. And I only join blog-hopping activities if they really appeal to me. These things are time consuming...particularly so if one doesn't want to skim through posts, leave random comments and basically limit oneself to pimping one's blog. Also, I know it's not possible for every single person who takes part to visit all the blogs involved. I'm not capable to do that myself. On the other hand, I try and comment at least on those that provide me with more input, so to speak. And it's entirely possible that, when and if the owner of the blog in question comes to me in turn, they can't get the same input from my latest post. And they don't have the time or will to browse around in order to find something else to comment on. And even if they did, they wouldn't think I'd care for a comment on an old post. Because, alas, most bloggers treat their old posts like ancient history, and in case they get a comment, it goes unreplied - and maybe even unnoticed. Anyhow, it happens more and more often to me - I take part in a blog-hopping activity, leave a (hopefully meaningful, or at least heartfelt) comment...and get nothing in return. Or almost nothing, compared to the number of people involved.
Of course, my blog isn't popular. On the other hand, this doesn't necessarily mean I have an endless supply of time to devote to blog-hopping - because of, you know, real life issues. But when I get a comment, I both reply and visit back. Which isn't the easiest thing when using Blogger's native comment system - I have to click on the commenter' name, go to their profile, see if they have a blog or site listed...and more than often go out of my way and google them if they haven't. Also, I try not to limit myself to saying things like "great post!" or "happy reading!", which usually are the clearest sign that the commenter hasn't gone past the post title. I'm aware that well-established bloggers can't possibly reply and/or comment back on every single blog...but you know what? I've seen a few doing just that. Just like I've seen more than a few bloggers who aren't overwhelmed by comments not even bothering to acknowledge the ones they get - not to mention giving some comment love back.

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Sometimes people do comment, but it's only out of formality. Here's a little story for you - something that happened to me weeks ago. I commented on a blog I was following, and only a few minutes later, I saw I had a new comment from the blog's owner under my latest review, awaiting moderation. Wow, I thought, this is quick. What a fast reader. Now, since I'm not using real names, let's say the review in question was of a book by the fictitious author Mark Doe - and the rating there was one of my lowest. Well, the commenter said something like "I've been reading many posts about Mike Doe lately [note: another fictitious name for a real author]...maybe I need to try one of his books. Great review!". I was like, sorry? did you actually bother to read the darn review's title at least? Needless to say, I never approved that comment. And I unsubscribed from the commenter's blog right away...Because, really. You don't need to comment back every single time. I don't expect you do - I'm not that unreasonable (or greedy). But when you do comment, at least skim through the post in question, and have your names and facts (or ratings) right...

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Aside from the above incident...for a while now, I've been wondering if the number of comments you get is related to the quality of the contents you provide, or more to the number of friends you have. (Especially if you're very active on Twitter, since it looks like the place to be when you have a book related blog. And I chose not to). It seems that having friends is probably the key to getting comments. Unless you're a really popular blogger...and in that case, your followers would eagerly and steadily comment on your every post regardless of your giving comment love back. This is the way of the (blogging) world...or is it?
What do you think?

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18 comments:

  1. Heh... I comment on a lot of blogs without posting my link, with nice comments/feedback, and often get no response. I've never had anyone comment on my blog EVER, but with it being less than a month old, I really don't expect any. I assume people can click on my Google+ link from the comment and get to my blog, but maybe I'm wrong.
    Anyway, with your blog having comments before and not now is odd. I suppose if you just keep posting, and if you're still gaining followers, I bet you'll be getting more soon from people like me. ;) Here's my blog:
    http://victoriansoulcritiques.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi - nice to meet you!
      You got me thinking. I don't usually post my link either, assuming - just like you - that people will click on my profile...and actually posting a link seems like forcing them to comment back. On the other hand, it's the lack of response from people who participate in memes that strucks me as odd. Especially because they often use a comment system like CommentLuv or the likes, so that, if I leave a comment, the link to my latest post automatically shows up...
      Thanks for commenting yourself - and I'm off to visit your blog! :)

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  2. I am relatively new to the blogging world - just started my blog a few months ago. It took me awhile to even get any views. My first comment was so exciting! I think it's a good practice to recognize comments on your blog.

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    1. I always reply - and comment back - though I'm sure only a small number of commenters come back to see if I actually acknowledged what they said LOL.

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  3. I'm participating in a blog challenge right now, 20 posts in 31 days, comment twice on other people's blogs before putting your latest post on the community to advertise it. First day, bunch of views, a half-dozen comments. Second and third days, a few views, one comment each. After that (we're on day 11) nada. And yes, I am checking out every other blog post and commenting when I see an opening.

    That's a really fast fall-off.

    I have done better with views (but not comments) from commenting on active non-blogging communities when one of my reviews is pertinent to their interests. (For example, reviews of Dick Tracy related material in the comments thread for Dick Tracy strips.)

    I do notice that blogs that have comments from regulars tend to accumulate more comments per post--I think some people are just shy about being the first, or hate standing out.

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    1. About challenges and the likes, I have noticed in the past that the number of comments you get tends to decrease with each passing day. Maybe some of the commenters think they did their part leaving a comment on the first day...maybe they honestly don't have enough time (but why joining a challenge in the first place? It's not just about showing off - it's also a way of meeting other bloggers. Right?).

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    2. I think possibly, also, my blog is a poor fit. Most of the other bloggers participating are "lifestyle"/self-help" types, while my blog, SKJAM! Reviews http://www.skjam.com is more of a pop culture center. They may be afraid to even read the reviews on something that doesn't have an English title.

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    3. I know what you mean. Memes and challenge can be effective to a point, but in my experience, you have to pick: 1) a smaller one, where your voice has got more chances to be heard (and it's easier for you to visit/get to know the other participants of course!); and 2) one pertaining to your niche. People don't usually feel inclined to branch out that much...also, we're always in a hurry these days. There seems to be no time for discovering new things or delving on them :(.
      Good luck with your future blog-hopping activities!

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  4. Just found your blog through Armchair BEA: I tend to comment when I have something constructive to say, t where I fail utterly is in clicking the "notify me" box, so if people respond in their own comments, I never know it! I love comments as well, but I don't think they are based on the quality of content. I get themost comments on posts wi cute pictures of my dog or other random things. I try to keep blogging and doing a good job at reviews even if I don't get feedback. Blogging is just like real life that way- good work doesn't always get kudos!

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    1. Good point...reviews and stuff like that don't usually get many comments, but a cute doggie pic never fails to draw attention. Maybe we need to spice up every one of our posts with cute doggie pics! ;) Your analogy makes a lot of sense too. Of course, you can't help feeling a bit sad when you poured your heart out in a post (or did your best IRL) and hardly anyone acknowledges it. But I'll try to keep the same stance as yours!

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  5. I spend over an hour each day leaving comments on the blogs I follow. However, I follow almost 300 blogs, and I do skim-especially if the topic is one that I'm not really interested in (cover reveals, new book release hops, author interviews etc). So, when I come across a post that is about something I'm not really interested in, I will do the generic 'great post!' to let the blogger know I at least stopped by. I figure that's better than not leaving a comment at all....I do spend more time writing out bigger comments for posts that catch my attention though-like this one :D

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    1. LOL - thanks!
      I understand of course...it's difficult to keep up with everything. Personally, I'm not sure if I prefer a non-committal comment or no comment at all. Like you said, the first option lets people know that they did have a visitor...but makes them also aware that their post didn't make an impression. No comment makes them think no one actually visited their blog...I try to say something appropriate every time I comment, but I have to admit it takes an awful lot of time...

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  6. I've talked to a few of my blogger friends last year that were complaining about lack of comments and I asked if they're reading and commenting on other blogs and they said no which I thought was weird. This doesn't apply to your circumstances because you are visiting and commenting but it's odd that people expect visits and comments but don't take the time to reciprocate.

    I know my commenting has gone down some just because I was struggling with blogging in general for awhile. These days I have limited time so I can't get to as many blogs as often as I would like.

    It doesn't bother me if people don't leave a thoughtful comment. I figure they took the time to visit and quite a few people have told me that they just feel awkward and don't know what to say.

    As for a blog link, I just learned how to do it lol & I find a lot of new blogs via comments w/links on other people's blogs - I find it easier to use the link rather than clicking on profiles then their blog etc.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. That is sad - and yes, weird O_O. Of course, one doesn't always have the time to reciprocate...it's understandable. Or one may not know what to say on occasion. But when people expect comments and don't give any comment love back as a rule, there's no excuse for that in my book.
      As for you, no need to feel guilty :). It's clear that you do try to keep up with the other blogs. I'm proof of that myself - and I do appreciate your visiting from time to time. On the other hand, it's the lack of comments in the memes department that I don't get...
      I do encourage links :) - but sometimes I'm not sure if leaving mine is a good move!

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    2. I only participate in memes if I have something to say. I don't think they encourage followers/interaction.or comments anymore. At least not like they used to.

      I don't like forcing myself to come up with a WoW pick for example just to encourage hits. Because it's just that - someone pops in quick - says "nice pick" and leaves lol

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    3. You've been around more than me, so I guess you have a point here. In my relatively short time as a blogger, I've seen changes in the meme department too...There are so many of them around, most of which end up encouraging the "hit and run" behaviour you were talking about. Honestly, I don't care for hits...and such a route feels kind of pointless...

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  7. Here, here! I'm with you Roberta, I try to be good about commenting and stopping by as many blogs as I can, but with everything else that usually goes on in my life, I barely have time to devote to writing those reviews. :( So, yeah... I also agree that it certainly helps to have friends who follow you or perhaps you are one of those super human reader/blogger hybrids that manages to put out 2-3 solid reviews a day -- what!?!? How do people do that? Seriously? Do they visit the real world? Have a job? Not to be mean, I'm totally in awe of those people but it's like superpowers to me, and I'm only human *cry, cry*.
    Anyhow! I still try to connect with other bloggers and support those I've developed friendships with by stopping by and commenting as often as I can, but I don't do it religiously anymore.

    Thank you for this post!

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    1. LOL. I've wondered about those super human entities myself. As for commenting religiously, it's hardly doable...At this point, I am indeed able to comment back on every visitor's blog, but only because I don't get a ton of comments. Also, I take advantage of downtimes at work (shh, don't tell anyone!)...But if you are an averagely popular blogger, I guess the best you can do is stopping by now and then and saying something meaningful - or friendly/funny/nice at least - as opposed to doing a blog tour and scribbling "great post!" everywhere ;). That being said, I'm done with memes, at least for a while. Like Karen said, they don't seem to encourage real interaction anymore.

      ...Funny how I wrote a post about the lack of comment love, and it is getting so much of it ;D.

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