Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wildcard: Why Commenting Is Important

Most of us follow tons of blogs. Often hundreds, sometimes over a thousand. But how many do you actually, truly follow? Maybe not as many as you thought. The truth is that Blogger lies to you each and every day - not all of your followers are actually following you; not all of my followers are actually following me. And you aren't actually following all the blogs you've subscribed to, and nor am I.

To actually follow someone's blog means more than just to click the "follow" button. It means to actively participate in what they're doing. To give your opinion, support, feedback, express your interest in what they have to say. And the best way to do this on any blog is through these magic things called ...
... comments.

Of course, there are only 24 hours in each day, and there's never enough time to follow everyone we'd like to. There's never enough time to be an active part of everyone's blogs. Heck, there's hardly enough time to be an active part of anyone's blog.

So, this is where comments come in. Comments are great because they don't have to be long at all, and they only take a minute to write. And it could be simply something like: "Neat post!" But this doesn't matter. because the real meaning of a comment is in the subtext: "Hey. I'm actually following you. I'm interested in what you're saying. I enjoy your opinion and your voice. Plus, I exist. See your 57th follower? That's not a robot from Antarctica. That's me."

This is why comments are important. They're an easy way to show a blogger that you're listening. And I'll admit that this is something I need to work on, but these are simply my thoughts on the matter.

*     *     *     *     *

While we're on the topic of comments, I have an award to give out! David Powers King decided to be awesome by giving me the Great Comments Award, and so now I'm passing it on to my top commenters (wait a sec - is commenters even a word?):

Thank you all for sharing your voice on this blog. I appreciate it!


  1. Yep, I "follow" over a thousand blogs. There is no chance for me to visit them everyday, but I give my support where I can and prioritise to those who comment on my blog.

    Congrats on your cool award.

  2. I follow a lot too, including yours, naturally, and it is impossible to comment on every one of them. I tried one day and it took me 10 hours to read the posts of fifty blogs and comment with something meaningful.

    Congrats on the award! It looks super cool!

  3. I read most of the blogs I follow. The ones I don't are because I didn't 'unfollow' on the blog when I took them off my reader. I don't comment on every single post I read. I used to, but it got insane. Now, I just do what I can :-)

    Congratulations on your award and thank you for thinking of me.

  4. I follow a lot of blogs and read them but I don't comment as much, especially if they have the captcha thingy that wastes time. If I have to decipher annoying codes then I'm off.

    I do often forget about the blogs I follow though!

    Congrats on your award!

  5. I try to comment as much as I can, unless I don't really have anything to say. I love getting comments on my blog, and assume that others do as well. Great post.

  6. This is something I really need to work on! I always feel like I have to write this big long comment so I usually don't comment at all, but your right it's more about letting them know your there and you're listening rather than the length of the response. Great post!

  7. I follow very few blogs actually, though I read many more. There's only a couple of blogs I follow that I don't often read. Mostly I only follow a blog if I know that I like reading every post. Otherwise I take a feed and read what I like.

    Commenting is one area of blogging that I'm working on. I used to write next to no comments. But, after thinking about it, I'm making a concerted effort to try hard in that direction. Some days it's hard to think of something meaningful to say, but I always try.

  8. You know, I don't think I've ever seen anyone do a blog post on commenting. Bravo! I love it!

    And hey, thanks for commenting on my blog - I loved your comment - and for following!

    I'm so happy to meet you. I traveled to Australia years ago to meet my Navy fiancee, but I never made it to New Zealand. I wish I could visit there - it sounds incredible!

  9. And I love your blog header! Fantastic!

  10. Lynda: Wow, yes, that's quite a few. I'm glad you have a good system in place :)

    T.D.: 10 hours? I applaud you! I've never tried to get around to every blog I follow. Generally I pick out the top ten or fifteen most recent posts that come up on my reader. It's a bit of a lucky dip in that way :P

    Sarah: Writing long and meaningful comments can get a bit insane. I normally try to do this when I write comments, but if I can't then I don't mind just saying "Cool post" or something to let the writer know that I read it. No worries :)

    Kamille: Ah yes. I usually comment whatever the format, but I do prefer the embedded and non-captcha-thingy one.

    Tasha: I assume the same thing! Thanks :)

    Amanda: Yea. Although it is nice to get thoughtful comments, letting the writer know you're listening is more important, I think :) Thanks :)

    Imogen: I follow quite a few, and usually just read the ten or fifteen most recent that come up in my reader. There are a few blogs that I go looking for through my feed, but just a few. I'm working on commenting more, too, whether a short "I'm here" comment or a meaningful one.

    Brenda: Thank you! And thanks for the follow :) I'm glad to meet you to! New Zealand is an awesome place, probably the most beautiful country on the planet :P And thank you, I quite like the banner too :D

  11. I'm beyond terrible at keeping up with blogs these days. It was much easier when I worked at a computer for most of the day. Now, I spend most of the day with no technology access, and when I get home, I'm too wiped to catch up with everyone. One day, I hope that all changes.

    Congrats on the award, pal. Thanks for thinking of me!

  12. To prelude: Congratulations on your award, bro, you do give some fresh comments even if you never commented on my blog HAHA. Still, again, congratulations.

    Now, I too need to work on commenting. Honestly, I'm purely horrible at it, well, consecutively commenting, anyway. I focus on my blog so often that I forget other people have blogs, not to mention those I follow; you included. I tend to not care though, you know, Nick, about having comments, because I'll constantly post, expecting them, and that will kill my motivation if no one thinks of me on that day.

    True post, bro, it prompt enough thought for me to question my reasons for blogging; thank you.

    ALSO, thank you, again, for labeling me one of your top commenters. I swear I didn't expect that good word in from you.

  13. You're right Nick.

    I try to comment to show that I do care. I go around and comment on all of the blogs I follow at least once a week or more.

    I'm glad that you're so young and brave, and know what you are doing. Way to go.

  14. Hey Nick,

    Thanks for your comment. It's nice to meet you! It's great to find out about fellow Christian teen writers. I have followed you, too!
    One weird thing: You don't show up with the rest of my followers so I'm wondering if Google messed up and deleted you or something :)? I hope not.

    In response to your post, I need to work on my commenting as well. It's so nice to receive comments because, like you said, it means someone is actually reading the stuff you post :).


  15. I'm so with you. There are people who actually COME to my blog. People who come once in a while, and people who clicked a button.

    Blogging is a funny sort of lifeforce all its own.

  16. Paul: No technology? Yikes. I'm glad you can fit in time for my blog. Thanks :)

    Ty-shaun: Haha, I know I haven't! As I said, I'm still working on the whole comments thing myself. I tend to spend a lot of time blogging, even on days when I'm not posting (or especially on days I'm not posting?). So I figure I must get round to a few different blogs. Thinking about your reasons for blogging is a really good thing to do - I did it at the start of this year, and it's helping to steer my blog in a very purposeful direction.

    Melanie: Haha, I don't really know what I'm doing, I'm just getting better at pretending I do :P Thanks!

    Alyssa: I was so surprised at the amount of Christians participating on the Go Teen Writers blog! Awesome! Good to meet you :) Oh, and sometimes I comment saying I'm new follower before I actually click follow - so this time I probably forgot to follow you after I commented. I'm following you now though :) Yeah, it's nice to know someone is actually reading your posts.

    Jolene: I agree. Plus, commenting is a great way to get noticed. I recognise the names of people who comment on my blog over those who simply follow but don't comment.

  17. Hello Nick!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. :-) And yes, I agree, comments don't mean *everything*, but they are the thing that keeps me wanting to write. Good thoughts.

    Good luck with writing. It is a beautiful gift to enjoy from God. :-)

  18. Hey, thanks for commenting :) Good luck to you, too. Writing sure is a gift from God :)

  19. Hahaha . . . Not a robot from Antarctica. That reminds my of a joke I played on a friend of mine. I changed all my Facebook information to "Antarctica," and he actually believed me for a couple of weeks, even when I told him my dad was having a midlife crisis and going to try his hand at bighorn sheep hunting. IN Antarctica. He also thought it was awesome when I told him we great internet UP here. It was hilarious!

  20. Haha! That's so funny! I always used to pull pranks on my friends when I got their cell phone number for the first time from someone else. I'd text them pretending to be someone else. That was fun :P

  21. Yeah, I've always wanted to try prank calling someone, but I guess I'm too much of a good girl *rolls eyes*. Anyway, I never got around to it, so I just write about it. :D

  22. Haha, being "good" isn't all bad. (Ok, sorry, that was a horrible pun.)

  23. Haha . . . Yes, it was a terrible pun. And I'm "good" depending on who you ask. If you ask adults and kids around me, they'd say I'm "good." If you ask my family, though, the story would be way different. On the other hand, I'd probably say the same thing about several members of my family. :D

  24. Haha, of course. Family is like that :)

  25. They are, but some families are . . . crueler than others. Some families just think the other members are messed up. Others are merciless.

  26. Hello! I am giving you another blog award (two actually, but you have already received the Versatile Blogger award). If you would like it (them) please stop by my blog, and see what nice things I had to say about you!

  27. See? You write a post about comments and get a good many! As a rare blood courier, I drove 2000 miles this past week, so visiting and commenting was way down for me. I hate it, but I have to pay the rent! Yours is an engaging, fun blog, Roland

  28. Lara: Thanks so much! You did indeed have nice things to say about me :) I'd be happy to receive them; just have to find a time when I can pass them on!

    Roland: This is true :) Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging and writing, which is necessary when you need to pay rent. Thanks for taking the time to visit Writing Fire :)

  29. Thanks!!! I get peeved when people don't comment on my blog. :) I do try to *actually* follow and comment fairly consistently on the blogs in my blogroll. I don't have anywhere near a thousand blogs to follow, or even a hundred. I keep it down just so I can pay more attention to them. Ironically, one of my New Year's resolutions was to try and accrue more blog followers...I keep thinking the problem is with my content + the amount of time in the day. :P

    You were smart -- your blog appears at the top of the blogroll b/c it doesn't start with a letter. :) Another important reason to comment is that if people like your comment/are curious about you, they can follow the link back to your own blog.

  30. You're welcome! I used to be like that, trying to focus on just a small number of blogs. But then I read Elana Johnson's advice on how to grow your blog: "Follow other blogs like there's no tomorrow." I think it's good to follow a lot of blogs, and it's hard to get around to all of them, but commenting on those you do visit is a great idea.

    And, yeah, I put dashes in my title solely for that reason. Otherwise it would be right down the bottom at "W" :) And you're right, commenting can lead people back to your blog. Kinda handy in that regard :)

  31. I read most of the blogs I follow, but I only comment, maybe 1 out of 20 times. Usually 'cause most blogs have word verification (including yours) which is... nightmarishly difficult if you're dyslexic. After failing 4x in a row to *prove* I'm human? Yeah, that gets old pretty fast. It also gives me a migraine.

    So, blogs with word verification... I rarely comment 'cause of that.

  32. Ah. I suspected I had that, but I never really knew because it doesn't come up for me (probably because it's my blog). I'll work on fixing that, if I can! :)

  33. Neat post.

    ^^ I agree with, Laura. I only follow about forty blogs, BUT I have read every single post they're ever written (including you once I finish January and February) and I comment as often as I have something to say (you may have noticed that I've left you like ten comments in the span of 24 hours). I'm not going to follow a bunch of people and just be a face because I want them to follow me back. I also don't want to lose the people I'm actually invested in amongst all the others.

    I am slowly building up the blogs I follow, however.

    Also, you do have your word verification still on. It's simple to turn off really. Here's a link:

  34. Thanks, Brooke :) I like the commitment you show towards following people, it's rather admirable :) (And, yep, I noticed a number of comments from you!)

    I've been trying to turn word verification off for ages, but I can't find the checkbox that that post you linked to describes. ... Oh, actually. I think I just turned it off. I had to go back to the old interface to do it, but it should be okay now. Try that :)


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