Blogging without commenting in other blogs is like winking at a girl in the dark. Only you know what you are doing.
Comments and commenting behavior on blogs is really interesting. Some people love commenting, some hate it, some just want to flame and some just want to link to their own web site. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Naturally, when I write something I want as many comments as possible. It makes me happy, it shows to me that the post is actually being read and it opens up for interesting discussions and different points of view.
I don’t mind getting the “Nice Article” or “This Rocks!” comment either. I like to know that what I’ve posted was received well. Also, when I leave a comment on someone’s blog, I become part of a conversation. It’s not the soapbox of a blog. I add a little, you add a little, everybody adds a little, and the post along with those comments is just a little bit more than it was before. I allow comments on my site because I want to have a conversation. I think comments are really what makes the blogosphere come alive.
For me comments are a great way to talk to people right here on the blog. A great post is not a conversation, a great post starts a conversation. And they tend to flow very naturally when you’re commenting. Sometimes one post leads to another one. You might be influenced by one post and want to write another one. I do think there’s a knack to writing posts that invite commentary. I comment to let the author know I appreciated what they wrote or to add to the discussion.
Sometimes, some people comment very annoyingly. I have seen this mainly in News channels or on certain delecate topics like language, sports and religion. And also when it comes to movies and actors! The annoying “Comment preview” thing would stop many from commenting on your blog. Annoying comments slows down the process and scares users from posting comments. When leaving comments on someone’s blog, it’s not really a good idea to be rude or call the author derogatory names. That’s an ill thought out way to build bridges within the community.
Sometimes a post will inflame you, but suppress your urge to lash out. Behave like you have some respect for the blogger or the person commenting (even if you don’t) and yourself. There is a way to disagree or correct someone without seeming like a raving lunatic. Acknowledge that you’ve read the blogger’s entire entry. State the points you disagree with and why. If you spot any errors, point out those errors without being sarcastic or rude. Under no circumstances should you call the blogger or others leaving comments anything derogatory. This should be common sense, but you’d be amazed at how often I see comments left on many blogs that reflect poorly on the person leaving the comment.
If you want to find the conversation in comments, you’ll have to wade through all the comments that are simply providing feedback without contributing to the conversation e.g. “Great post!”. So, while the advantage of comments is that they serve a dual purpose (conversation and feedback), the disadvantage is the very same: they serve a dual purpose (conversation and feedback).
One of the most powerful ways that you can interact with a blog, without having your own blog, is to comment. Which was what I did for a long time before I too started a blog. Even after starting one, I love to read blogs, find topics that interest me and comment on them.
Do you make comments when you read a blog that makes you think, giggle, growl, etc.? What if you don’t know the person at all — you just happened upon their blog by clicking from someone else’s blog or doing a search on some unrelated topic… And what if it’s not a “Domino-blog” or even a technology/ professional-related blog?
I find that I have no problem commenting on blogs where I know the blogger (or think that the person probably knows me). I have also occasionally commented on blogs where I don’t know the blogger but it was a technical blog or a “professional” topic where I thought I had something to add to the discussion. Where I seem to have drawn my own line at the moment is on blogs that are more personal — they’re not by someone I know or related to a business/ professional topic. It’s hard at that point to know if everyone commenting knows the person or is just… commenting. I get comments so far only from people I know or at least know by association.
My blog reading has certainly led to a lot of reflection on my part that as with real people, treating all bloggers with respect is very important. Simply because they are people too! Also, seek first to understand what is being said. Celebrate another’s accomplishments. And use appropriate language.
If you expect the community to take notice of your blog, then get involved. Start reading and commenting on blogs that are similar to yours. When you leave comments make sure you leave a link back to your blog. What I have learnt is that not to comment for the sake of leaving your blog url, but add value and people will naturally come over to your blog. One of the great features of blogging is something called trackback. This is the ability to remotely leave comments on someone’s blog. You write your answer or response to a given blog entry on your own blog and then trackback to the blog in question. This will leave a small link to your blog on their site inviting people to come and visit your blog. Trackbacks are popular and only some blogging hosts support this feature. Keep an eye out for it, it is a wonderful way to build traffic.
A blog is like a telephone. If you have a telephone that never rings, then don’t blame the telephone, blame the fact you never told anyone the number. Make sure your blog url is included in your email signature. Any posts you make to mailing lists, make sure your blog url is included there. Don’t be ashamed to advertise your blog where ever and when ever you can.
Finally, keep writing. Write simple and often. A blog that is updated frequently is one that will be popping up in the aggregators. A few entries a week is acceptable for the average blog. If you have a lot of entries to write, then think about staggering them over a few days as opposed to dumping them all on the blog site at once. Don’t expect overnight success; traffic takes time.
[Why this post? Because I read a few ‘annoying comments’ today in a friend’s blog whom I have blogrolled].