We’ve all got our own way of approaching blog comments, both the ones we give and the ones we receive. Various people have written about this, and even more have written about it since I scheduled this post, but I thought I’d go ahead and toss out my own perspective.
I remember a year or so ago a blogger that I followed posted a complaint about other bloggers, and in particular people that liked but didn’t comment on her posts. I thought this seemed a bit over the top, and if she didn’t want me liking that’s fine, I didn’t have to follow her blog.
For me there are a couple different factors that go into whether or not I comment on a post I’ve read. One is a matter of time. I read a LOT of blogs, and if I increased my commenting time that would decrease my available reading time. There’s also the issue that commenting requires spontaneous thought in most cases. I don’t do well with spontaneous thought. Sometimes I’ll want to comment on a post, but the internal gears are turning slowly and it can take up to half an hour to formulate a response. Literally. Whether it’s a lack of creativity or a lack of other internal resources, commenting can feel like hard work. It’s not so much that I don’t actually want to comment or that I feel pressured to; I do want to interact but sometimes it’s just not happening. I want to comment, but I have to budget my mental energy.
This is why I’m a fan of the like button. I want to have some means of expressing my interest in someone’s post even if nothing is popping into my mind as a comment. On sites that don’t have a like button, I actually feel less engaged as a reader. Maybe that’s weird, but it’s a pattern I’ve noticed for myself for quite a while. I know likes aren’t necessarily meaningful all of the time, but I guess it means something to me to be able to give them.
The odd time there will be someone I’ve never seen before will drop by and sprinkle 20 likes that I get notifications for over the space of 2 seconds. It seems very obvious that those are meaningless, and the person is trying to put themself (and their blog link) in front of my face. But to me that’s a very different creature from an actual reader, and I consider the rapid-fire types to be very similar to the types that drop their link in your comments. It’s annoying, but it is what it is and it shouldn’t be assumed that they represent the average reader. Usually it seems pretty easy to distinguish between spammy likers and genuine readers.
When it comes to comments I get on my own blog, I try to respond to everyone’s comments. I never used emojis before I started blogging, but they’re handy when I can’t necessarily think up good words in response. Legit comments that go into my spam folder can take a few days for me to notice, but I’ll respond to those eventually. I usually check my spam a couple of times a week.
I don’t get too many spam comments making it through the spam filter to get posted on my blog. When they do, they’re usually pretty easy to notice, but not always. “Great post” can be either legit or spam, depending on who has left it.
If I’m reading a blog post that I don’t agree with, the majority of the time I will move along without leaving a comment. I figure if someone wants to have a particular conversation on their blog, that’s their choice, and there’s no reason for me to get involved when I’m not a part of that same conversation. I apply a similar philosophy when random unknown people leave inflammatory comments on my blog. If they’re not getting involved in the same conversation, there’s no reason for me to allow their comments to show up on my blog.
I also choose not to require comments to be moderated before appearing on my blog. I spend a lot of time on WordPress, so I’m likely to catch any unpleasant comments pretty quickly. I’m also fairly certain that I’d fail to notice some unmoderated comments that would end up getting sucked into the WordPress black hole never to be seen from again.
And to wrap up, personally I have no greater appreciation for people who interact with my blog in one way rather than another. Whether readers wander over and read, like, comment, or hang out for a while, I appreciate it all.
How do you approach commenting?
The Mental Health @ Home Store has a how-to guide on building a WordPress.com blog from the ground up. It’s got lots of useful tips whether you’re just getting started or wanting to take advantage of more of WordPress’s features.