|Comment is free . . . (Photo credit: Shakespearesmonkey)|
Comments A to Z
The comments are what keep a good many of us going with our blogging activity and the comments are what establishes the connections between us. When we give and receive comments we are building a community or network. This ongoing practice solidifies our relationships and provides mutual feedback about our ideas and writing abilities. Bloggers should strive for good comment interactivity.
In this post I will be touching upon not only what makes a good comment, but what a comment essentially is. I will also express my thoughts on how you should comment and why.
What a Comment Isn't
I can still recall feeling flattered in my earliest days of blogging when I would receive a comment telling me how brilliant my content was, how great my blog looked, or some other positive sounding review about what I was doing. This was often accompanied by a commercial or ambiguous sounding link. Usually the sender was anonymous. Before too long it became easy for me to recognize what we know as "spam".
Spam is not a comment and I wish all those spammers would go away.
Similar to spam is the invitation, "You are invited to follow my blog" with an accompanying URL or link. They might throw in a shallow "Nice blog" but other than that there is no indication that they ever read anything you have written nor do they intend to. But in their own egotistical thinking they somehow seem to believe what they have to say is so important that hordes of us will flock to their blogs to be entranced by every word they have to offer. More than once when I've been hit in a mood I have gone over to their blog comment sections to reprimand them on their lack of blog etiquette, but mostly I ignore them as they should be ignored.
Egoistic invitations are not comments and they are rather rude.
What a Comment Is
A sometimes borderline comment can be in the "Nice blog" vein. I'll concede that sometimes, especially when it seems like there's already a gazillion comments to which you can add nothing new, a brief acknowledgement that you were there might be sufficient. Even if the comment thread is long, if you've read the blog post then I encourage you to leave some kind of acknowledgement that you were there. In my opinion that is better than just leaving without saying anything.
A trite few words can be a comment.
Also, I don't see anything wrong at all with the invite to visit your blog as long as you've said something pertaining to the blog post. If you are trying to network and lure visitors, then you need to show a mutual interest with an element of sincerity. Try to find something to say that is meaningful to their conversation and then drop the invite bomb. I wouldn't make this your sole commenting policy, but if the blog you are visiting is new to you or if their post relates to something you've also written, then by all means it might be appropriate to do a bit of relationship building with an invitation.
An invitation accompanied by actual personalized communication is a comment.
Criticism of a blogger may not win you friends, but if you are being honest then I think this is another legitimate commenting tactic. I wouldn't encourage doing it unless you have felt strongly about what was said or were deeply offended. Personally I will tend to aim for humor or sarcasm in cases like these so as to show that I'm still open to a potential blogging relationship. It's been fairly rare for me to visit a site and be left without words to say. If I can tap into something positive I'll take that approach, but even harsh criticism is a comment in my opinion. As for my blog, it would take something truly offensive for me to censor a comment with deletion and I welcome any dissension if presented with tact and intelligence.
Appropriately delivered criticism is a comment.
The very best comments are those that address specifics about the blog post that has been commented upon. If you are telling the blogger they have a nice blog, then say why and perhaps give some examples. Respond to what has been said in the text or the questions that have been posed by the blogger. A good comment might also draw upon what others have said, thus engaging in a conversation if all parties are monitoring the comment thread. The best comments provide interesting information, add to the comment conversation, and elicit further response.
Anything that adds intelligently to the discussion or expands on what has been said is a comment.
A Final Thought
I have been fortunate to have many outstanding bloggers leave comments of substance on many of my blog posts. These bloggers often not only leave great comments, but they will subscribe to the comments and come back to the conversation if they have something to add. It is time consuming, but I think it can be more productive and provide a greater mental exercise for the participants.
Speeding through blog posts and amassing followers is not something I will condemn. I have been a big advocate for accumulating as many followers as you can and I encourage you to follow as many blogs as you can in order to get reciprocal following. I have defended this in the past and continue to do so.
However--please--if you visit a blog and actually read the post (or at least most of it or even merely skim through to get the gist of it), then leave some kind of a comment to let the blogger know you were there. Even if you feel like you have nothing to say, be creative and think of something reasonable to say. With practice you'll start getting good at it.
Do you try to comment on every blog you visit? What causes you to avoid leaving a comment? Do you try to engage in comment conversations? When commenting do you strive most for speed or quality?
Some other thoughts:
Comments are great of course! but it's not everything. There are so many reasons people might not comment - too long, too serious or brain fade. I'll rarely comment if everything worth saying has been said, it seems pointless.
Sue at http://traverselife.blogspot.com/