To my fellow bloggers
(Yes, of course this is exactly how I look sitting in front of my computer. Heels and all. And I always type with one hand, while the other thoughtfully taps my chin. Really.)
The other day, when I ranted about readership and comments on blogs in general being down and how, many times, our attempts at initiating a discussion are largely ignored, Ronnie brought up a very important point in her comment: It’s equally as discouraging and frustrating when readers do comment, and then the bloggers don’t acknowledge them.
When I first started blogging years ago, I read the tips that our wonderful Bonnie had put out, and I clearly recall that one of them was along the lines of “Always comment back to your commenters, each and every one. People like to be acknowledged.” I took that to heart, and I have done so. Not just to the comments I like best, not just when I feel like it, but every single comment, even if it’s just a “thank you.”
If you have a photoblog, then of course, comments aren’t pertinent, just likes and reblogs. But if you invest the time in actually writing something, then you are writing to be read. And your readers want to know that you appreciate the time they took to read you.
Comments are not a given. People are busy. They have limited time to spend on blogs and other online stuff. So if someone purposefully signs in and shares their thoughts/opinions with you, and is then ignored, chances are they won’t bother doing it again. Just like blogging without comments is like talking to yourself, commenting without acknowledgement is also like talking to yourself. Newbies and lurkers, in particular, take a risk in speaking up, and if their efforts seem to fall on blind eyes, they will most likely slip back into the shadows.
You don’t have to write a book in return, for heaven’s sake. A quick comment back is like a smile, an eye contact. It validates the poster. You don’t even have to agree with them; just respect them and move on to the next.
(Of course, if the comment is insulting or inflammatory, then all bets are off. But I’m writing this with the assumption that the comments are polite and respectful.)
Also, for those who moderate comments: I get it. You don’t want spam. You don’t want flamers. You don’t want your topic hijacked by cross-talkers. But with all due respect to people’s time — if you’re going to use that function, then you have a responsibility to actually moderate the damn thing. Stay on top of your comments and approve them in a timely fashion. Don’t let everyone’s comments sit in moderation limbo for days, while the readers wonder whether or not they went through. It’s like leaving your texts, voice messages and emails unchecked for days… which a lot of people do, I guess. But then why bother blogging?
To the bloggers who have been around a while and are already cognizant of all this, please know I’m not talking to you. And I know this tip has been stated before, many times. But in the onrush of so many newer blogs in recent times, I think some of the tips have fallen by the wayside. And it never hurts to restate them for the newbies, or newer-bies.
Love and acknowledge your commenters, kids. They’ll love you back.
Have a great weekend, y’all. Happy Mother’s Day.