32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joy
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 12:40:00

    What a very helpful post, Stu! Thanks for this. And I agree that it’s a tough balancing act so we do need to prioritize. Maybe I need to implement a system as you had suggested—certain days for connecting and then certain set days for writing. I NEED a system pronto! hahaha! I’m glad our philosophies on commenting and connecting are somewhat similar (that it’s not a ‘you comment/visit-i do the same’ kind of thing). Thanks again for the tips :-))

    Reply

  2. Dangerous Linda
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 12:41:44

    Very interesting dialogue. I will be incubating these ideas — thanks!

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 12, 2011 @ 12:43:02

      Well, let me know what pops out after the incubation period, Danger. 🙂

      Reply

      • Dangerous Linda
        Sep 12, 2011 @ 13:19:51

        The piece I find most intriguing is about comment reciprocity. Before I started blogging I didn’t even conceive of this aspect of the process. Now, I understand it to be crucial.

        Someone recently asked me what is my favorite medium for creative expression. After a few moments of thought I answered, “Conversation.”

        Although, I don’t subscribe to “keeping score” and visiting/commenting on others’ blogs on a strict one-to-one ratio, I do believe there is a conversational element to the blogging process which cannot be denied. When I comment on someone’s blog I want them to respond to my comment and I do the same on my blog.

        When I read and comment on someone’s blog I expect them to sometimes read and comment on my blog. If they never or rarely reciprocate then I think they would have to present some pretty amazing stuff on their site to keep me coming back, since they’ve basically sent me the message that they are not interested in anything I have to say.

      • bornstoryteller
        Sep 12, 2011 @ 13:38:26

        Danger, as I said, I will always try to answer someone on my blog with at least an acknowledgement, a thank you. Sometimes, I have have nothing more to say then that.

        As to commenting on someone else’s blog JUST to comment: not every post resonates. Just dropping a “nice post” to me is usually the same as looking for the reciprocation.

        I agree with you that conversation is what this ultimately should be about, creating some form of dialogue. It is tough in this masked medium what someone is really thinking, or what prevents them from writing a comment.

        I have many more readers than commentators. Does that mean they have no interest in what I say? I don’t believe that.

        We all like the comments. We can’t see someone nodding their head, being an attentive listener on this. When I perform, I know when I’ve engaged the audience and who I haven’t. It’s obvious and instantaneous communications without a word being said.

        Writing on a blog like this: how many heads are nodding, or exclaiming something, or whatever reaction comes naturally, but the words don’t come? I have no idea. I also have to let that go. I have to read what I like, comment when I feel I have something to add, and be an attentive “listener” to that communication.

  3. Bongo
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 14:50:17

    well since my blog is a wee bit dark ..i don’t expect everyone to read it nor comment..but when they do I alwaays make sure to comment back and make an effort to visit their blog and leave a little love for them..for me blogging is about relationship for me…I hold those relationships that are building close to me ..i cherish them…my blog is to help me.. and to somehow touch another life just to let them know they are not alone…sometimes i visit a blog and have no idea what to say..but I do make sure to tell them I was there..sometimes that’s all that matters is that their words were read..ok did i babble enough ?OLOL..As always…XOXOXOXO

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 12, 2011 @ 14:53:32

      Bonnie, I never consider what you write as babble. Heartfelt? Yes, all the time.

      I understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes, words just don’t do justice. It’s a different mind set.

      Thank you for coming by. I DO appreciate it.

      Reply

  4. Li
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 17:22:52

    I’ll add my two cents here on commenting. I agree that reciprocation and communication are necessary to maintain strong connections between readers and writers. That being said, some of us are under more time constraints than others. I often work 8 or 9 hour days. I write short stories for publication. I write on my blog. I try and answer comments on my blog. I follow/read close to 90 blogs. I comment on those. Do the math – there is not time to accomplish all of that AND have a life. When I have to prioritize, I place reading other people’s blogs first: I assume that a blogger would rather have me read their post, which they have put a LOT of effort into, than NOT read their post and simply answer their comment on my blog instead.

    Second, I try and leave well-thought out comments that are meaningful. I’m sorry to have to say this, but I won’t just write “gee nice job” for the sake of writing something. Nor will I criticize a post simply because it is not to my taste. My long-time followers know me pretty well; they know that I am reading them even if I don’t comment every time, and they know that if I leave a comment that I have read their post closely and haven’t just “skimmed” it. And, to be honest, if someone already has 20 or 30 comments, I can’t see re-hashing them. If I have no fresh insights to offer, then I won’t comment. If I did, I would be wasting my time and the blogger’s time (especially if they feel they have to respond to every comment).

    Third, I don’t auto-follow and I don’t play the numbers game; I’ve mentioned this on my blog. Again, that may upset some people who want to follow me ONLY because they want to add me to their “score” . (So far, I haven’t run into anyone like that to my knowledge; I have the best followers around, and I love ’em). Conversely, people I do follow can be assured that I am following them because I have found something intriguing about them.

    There are at least 3 blogs which I follow where the author neither responds to comments nor comments on my blog. I read them because I like the content. Period. Unfollowing them would be simply cutting off my nose to spite my face, and I think it would be supremely arrogant of me to expect or “demand” that they respond to me.

    Sorry Stu, I have hi-jacked your blog. And more than 2 cents…..I figure I owe you what, about a dollar? How does PayPal suit? Or would you prefer my first born son (take him, please). 🙂

    Reply

  5. akweelife
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 17:38:58

    First, thank you, Stuart, so much for taking the time to write this. Yes, it does help. I’ve already read it and it’s comments twice, and I probably will again several more times, Instapaper it, and refer back when I feel new and insecure again. Thank you. Dangerous Linda and Bongo really expressed how I feel about connecting, commenting and replying. Over the past few days I have been cleaning out who I follow/like, etc. But it’s not a keeping score kind of thing. I just feel like, if we are not connecting, then I need to move on. As you say, I can’t see if someone is reading and nodding agreement or not. All I have to go by are the comments, tweets, and messages to know I’m not just holding a one-sided conversation. If they enjoy just reading what I write and not commenting, fine, great. But they don’t need me to follow them and keep trying to connect with them with no response to do that. I see it kind of like ringing a door bell. If I ring your bell and you never come to the door, at some point, I’m moving on. And just to say, I find no value in the “hey follow me/I’ll follow you” let’s get big counts of followers/friends stuff. I don’t want numbers, I want connections and exchanges of thought, opinion, and creations – like writings.

    Thank you, Stuart, you are a gem.
    xoxoxoxoxo

    Reply

  6. akweelife
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 18:01:45

    Yes! What Li said! And, I hope she does not mind, I’ll use her as an example. She got it right. It’s not about numbers. And, yes, she is my perfect example of someone who does a lot of reading and writing, and a life too. And she does not have to leave a comment to everything, to connect with, share, and communicate. I don’t need a comment from her on everything I write, or a tweet on every message, to know we have a meeting of the minds, a creative exchange established.

    I go back to it not being about the numbers, a casual, tossed out “good job” just to leave a comment is no more meaningful than the “follow me/I’ll follow you” mentality or mindset. A high comment count that are just drops in the bucket are just that, a high count. I’d rather have one genuine comment than 5,000 empty “good jobs.”

    Thank you, Li. And I guess I owe you a dollar too now, Stuart. I need to keep my first born son. He’s the one with a car.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 12, 2011 @ 21:30:22

      I guess the biggest thing is: I don’t expect it, and I can’t force anyone to write a comment. They do, or they don’t. What I read has no bearing on commentary, from or to me.

      Kwee, I’m glad you got a lot out of this discussion.

      Reply

  7. Damyanti
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 21:59:19

    Everything Li said. She’s already said it so well, I don’t think I have much to add. I do lurk a lot, and not comment…I’l tweet the post instead sometimes.

    Some days, like today, I want to focus on my writing…and everything else takes a backseat. I’m amazed how prolific you are Stuart, in your blogging, commenting and your writing!

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 12, 2011 @ 22:05:47

      Thanks Damyanti… some people will argue about my commenting, but…I posted my views. I do do a lot of sharing/likes in lieu of commenting: sometimes it’s the best I can do and offer.

      Reply

  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 22:22:15

    I can answer the iPad question, because I just tried to comment on it. (Watching the football game.) Can’t. Had to come get on my computer. With the iPad, I have to flip and slide things just to get to the blog, read it, and then read comments… Can’t access the comment box though. Not the first WordPress blog I’ve not been able to comment on though.
    Blogger is my focus. I’m on a couple other sites, but if I want time to write or do anything else, I can only focus on one. Besides, this is where my favorite buddies hang out!

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 12, 2011 @ 22:26:14

      Alex: thank you. Folks, you want a man who has a S**T load of readers and comments and manages to answer them AND read and post comments on other blogs: this is your guy, I’ve only really come across his blog and am so impressed.

      Thanks for the iPad answer. I was hoping someone would step up.

      Reply

  9. akweelife
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 22:54:53

    Thank you, Alex. I can just grab my laptop more often. It won’t kill me 🙂 I am glad to know another iPad user has encountered the same problems.

    Stuart, if I had a place to set it down here, I’d leave you an iced coffee. Yes, I have gotten a lot out of this and so much appreciate all the discussion and input. Thank you.

    Reply

  10. Adriene (Sweepy Jean)
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 07:04:46

    Hi, Stu. Interesting discussion. I think people may concentrate on one aspect to comment on because of time. So, I’m just going to hit on a couple of points here! ;p I consider my blog posts to be my say and the comments belong to site visitors. So I may prompt a discussion but the comments have as much or maybe more to do with them as they do to anything I’ve said.

    Like you, I don’t look for tit for tat with commenting, mostly because I don’t have time for that myself, but I do try to engage with people who engage with me as much as I can. Also, I seek out blogs I like regardless of whether they have been to visit me lately and I hope people understand when I can’t comment every time they post.

    But like others have said in so many words, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little reciprocity. There are so many blogs competing for attention and generally speaking, if someone has absolutely no interest in me frankly, I forget about them as well. If it’s not a comment, then maybe a tweet, a FB like, any kind of acknowledgement. If someone wants to say “Nice post” I take it at face value. Maybe they actually liked the post, have nothing more to add, and just wanted to let me know they are there! I don’t see it as they are trying to get me to visit their blog. There are plenty of bloggers who are not shy about getting up in your face to say READ MY POST. My pet peeve: People who DM or message me on Twitter with a link to their latest post. Just tweet it normally and I’ll click it if I see it and it grabs my attention!

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 07:25:31

      Thank you Adriene. As I mentioned, I do a number of the things you say (the like on FB, re-twitting, etc, esp when I don’t have anything to add. With twitter, anyone who has the “follow me and I’ll follow you” thing I just don’t. Agree with you on all counts.

      Not trying to be a curmudgeon about this. I do subscribe to a LOT of blogs (I never counted). I can’t wean out by who comments or not: I subscribed for a reason, like a magazine: I like the magazine overall. Not every issue’s contents or every article will resonate with me. Yes, blogging is more personal. I get that. There is a chance of real communication/connection happening. Sigh. I’m shutting up now.

      Reply

  11. Adriene (Sweepy Jean)
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 09:48:35

    Don’t shut up, Stu. Then we wouldn’t recognize you!

    Reply

  12. mumuGB (@JSJ2020)
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 12:19:06

    Thanks for the tips Stu. I have to admit that I am struggling to find the time to answer the comments and comment back. I hope that it gets better with experience!

    Reply

  13. Larry Lewis
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 12:20:23

    Strangely i had a conversation with my business partner about comments. In his book the purpose behind it is to get links, and for these links to be of value you need to be commenting on blogs higher ranked than your own. He said i spend way to much time commenting on blogs that don’t fall into this criteria.

    To me comments are my way of showing support to my online friends. Many of the blogs i read and comment on are written by people who have helped me in one way or another, and have touched my soul. I enjoy reading their words, and will continue to do so. Reading and commenting on their blogs is my way of keeping in touch with them because i now spend far less time in face book which is where i used to spek to them.

    There should be no set rules for commenting. I also believe that sometimes a negative comment is a good thing. It gives the opportunity of building communication. And on our own blogs, we are the editors in chief so we can always make sure we get the last word.

    Really enjoyed this article.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 14:54:44

      Larry, thank you. Yes, any comment can be useful. I, too, have cut back on the time I used to spend on FB, and it shows. It’s a hard balancing act. My agent (well, kinda sorta) says I must have a strong internet presence as a new writer. This then becomes a whole new thing.

      I also don’t believe there should be a rule. Like I’ve said; I read and comment on what moves me, one way or the other. I try to never be a jerk with my comments to other; things get so easily misunderstood with just flat words. No body language, no vocal tones or inflections.

      Again, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply

  14. Arthur Tassinello
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 18:12:49

    Well Stuart,
    You said a mouthful as usual and it’s a good thing. I was considering responding, but frankly I would not have done as good of a job as you did. I also agree with most of what you said. Actually I may agree with all of it, but there was so much content I’m not sure. Anyway I like your writing, just don’t have the time to read everything you write or comment on it. Keep up the good work. And no you don’t have to read or comment on my stuff!
    Arthur

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 18:45:34

      Thanks Arthur. I understand: i push out a number of blogs a week, and I can’t expect everyone to read it all. I am thankful when you and others do.

      thank you for letting me know you like my writing. That is always music to my ears.

      Phew..someone absolves me of reading and commenting. THANK YOU> 😉

      Reply

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  16. Anna Tan
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 12:07:46

    “It used to bother me when a large group of people stopped commenting/reading my work when I had to cut back on my commenting. I will still read their work when the subject suits me, and comment as I can, but…to stop following someone for not commenting all the time?”

    Just a note about this – it may not really be intentional. I do save blogs I like on google reader (or the follow button thing) but having the time to read all of them would take a miracle or an extended holiday, so most times I tend to visit blogs based on who has commented on mine, especially if I’m going through an exceptionally busy time. It’s kind of a “thank you for visiting me, I’ll drop by in return” thing. I suppose it’s a rather hit-and-run method…

    Agree with most of what’s been said – it’s a hard time juggling time and I tend to be more of a lurker. Working on that though – I posted several comments on several blogs today! Progress! =)

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:39:34

      Thank you Anna. Yes, time is hard to come by, to do everything we want. I was super busy this weekend, so LOT got pushed to the side.

      Glad you got to stop by and comment.

      Reply

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