I’ve had reason of late to contemplate blog comments, both my own approach to them and that of others. When I first started blogging, I didn’t really understand the concept of comments, in large part because I had no friends on my list in the beginning. But also because I wasn’t sure what to do with the comments once they were there or how I should comment on others’ blogs. So I dipped my toe in here and there and commented on this and that, and I quickly discovered that my favorite blogs to visit were those that gave me some feedback on my feedback or acknowledged me in some way on my own page. That give and take is addictive, I think.
And I became a bit of a comment junkie. I commented here there and everywhere, and then I’d check again and again to see if my comments were being acknowledged. I obsessively commented on the comments that began sprouting up on my own page (and this was back before we had a handy list of them, back when you had to troll through your whole blog to find a stray comment!). There is just something about comments that I love, and I love them all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Okay, not the ugly. I’m not very forgiving of ugly comments (though I am forgiving of the commenter). But other than those, it’s all good.
But then bad things happened in my brain, and I started thinking the only good friends to have were those who commented. And that was just wrong. Recently, Nancy and another friend (I’d like to link you, so if that’s okay, let me know) had negative experiences with comments and/or the blog page owner, and these really made me confront my own issues with comments. I realized that there are a whole laundry list of reasons that people may not comment, and that few of those reasons had to do with me or with their being or not being a good 360 friend.
Now I do know that some people on my friends list just never visit my page, and that’s okay because I probably don’t visit theirs, either. But my hit counter keeps climbing, so someone must be coming in, and it can’t be the same fifteen people who comment regularly. Um, it can’t be can it? Are you guys just clicking my page again and again, awaiting some new pearly goodness to drip from my fingertips? Doubt it. So people are coming in, but they aren’t saying anything. They may not like what I’ve said or how I said it. That’s one thing. But they may feel bullied by my strong stance on an issue (and let’s face it, I have strong opinions about most things I blog–or I wouldn’t bother with the blogging of it), or they may feel bullied by the other commenters, or they may think one thing reading my blog and then another thing reading everyone’s comments and then feel they are “wrong” or didn’t “get it.” Or whatever. The reasons for not commenting, I’m beginning to realize, are as many and varied as the people themselves. And yay! That’s okay, I love the many and variedness of all of us here.
I know there are pages that I visit that I don’t read the comments until after I’ve said what I have to say, and that works for me because I really do prefer to respond directly to the blogger in those cases and not to the commenters. I do this in part because I want to say what I have to say and not be influenced by what others have understood or seen in the post. Now sometimes after I’ve commented, I’ll go back and read the other comments and maybe comment again in response to that. Or not. There are other times I don’t read the comments on other people’s blogs because I don’t know the commenters or I’ve seen them around and don’t particularly understand them or (can I be mean?) don’t care what they have to say. Then there are just time constraints, life stuff that makes it impossible to read blogs plus comments on every page, every day. That’s my m.o. with those long and thought-provoking blogs. I behave differently on fun blogs and as Nancy has recently said enjoy the banter that can occur in comments.
When I first began blogging and getting comments, I would occasionally get upset when someone didn’t understand what I was saying or if they talked about some (to my mind) insignificant element of the post. But I’ve seen other people get snippish about that, and I realized that I don’t want to be like that, that I want people to say whatever they want and to respond to whatever is interesting to them. Heck, I know that when reading a blog, I may hone in on one aspect of it and run with that (I did that to poor Ceres recently), but that’s just how my mind works sometimes. And I see that others do the same thing. That change of mindset has been a blessing for me because it makes blogging fun again; instead of stressing me out that I’m not being clear or someone’s not “getting” it, I try to just roll with it now, make a joke sometimes, whatever.
Ultimately, what I’m beginning to realize is that it’s okay when people don’t comment, that it doesn’t mean they don’t like me or that they don’t stop by. It could be anything or nothing; sometimes, people just aren’t in the mood to comment. Or sometimes a long post will be read at different times and a comment may come later. And better later than never, even now with my whole new outlook developing, I do love it when I get comments on older blogs. I get a message that I have new comments, so I go and see what’s up. And ooooh, when it’s an older post someone’s found through a tag, my archive, or just paging through . . . it’s like Christmas, and we all know how much I love Christmas. Now, some people don’t like to read back and comment because they won’t be part of the current discussion, and that’s okay, too. But I like to read back and comment because I know the blogger will read it (and often respond! Woohoo!), and I like it when people do that on mine, too.
So despite all my warm and fuzzy understanding of people’s reluctance to comment, I guess I still prefer to comment back and forth with people, or at least to get a front page quick comment so that I know someone’s been here.
Anyway, once again, I’ve gone on and on, but I’d love to know what you think about comments and commenting on blogs. What’s your style? What’s your reasoning or thinking about that style? Has it changed? Is it in the process of change? Do you comment in response to commenters? And if not, why not? And if you do comment, do you go back and read the blogger’s response to your comment? I know I always do, if someone responds to blog comments, I always revisit that page/blog. If not or if they only sometimes do, I don’t go back at all. What’s the point if there’ll be nothing new to read?
That cartoon guy with his cockamamie theories and insane opinions is so me. Well, minus the his being a man (and a cartoon) thing.