If you ask people -- especially bloggers -- what it means to "blog," it's likely you'll get half of the answer: You write things on your blog, they might say. You share your thoughts with people in your own space, you might hear. People read what you have to say on a platform you've built, some may respond.
And they'd be half right.
The other half of blogging, the part that complements content creation -- the yin to the yang and the cream to the coffee -- involves content commentary on others' blogs. In the form of the mighty comment.
"Sometimes the comments are what make the post memorable," says Rajean of RajeanBlomquist. "I love the dialog that goes with blogging and appreciate every genuine comment my posts generate."
It's that dialog that puts the "inter" in Internet, as in interaction. To many a blogger, comments are the currency we trade in, the love language we speak, the way we become interconnected. But all comments and commenters are not created equally.
What kind of commenter are you?
- Generous. You love equally the giving and the receiving of comments. When you say you are "blogging," you could very well mean that you are leaving comments on other people's blogs. You feel good about spending your coveted blogging time doing so.
- Well-intentioned but ultimately a bit of a slacker. You read a lot of blogs. You think about the comments you'd leave if you weren't on your mobile device, in a rush, in a meeting sneaking a quick peek, just too scattered. Commenting is just so, so, inconvenient sometimes.
- Comments -- I'm supposed to leave comments? YES! Leave your calling card to show you were there. It's a courtesy, like what realtors do when they visit a property with a potential buyer. It's an act of appreciation, like dropping a fiver in the guitar case of the street musician. It's a conversation advancer that gives the post's originator a certain satisfaction for launching a dialog.
Commenting is a practice of gift-giving that you can cultivate all year round. You never know when a comment you leave will be the one that really makes a difference to someone.
Image: Computer Present via ShutterstockMake Giving the Gift of Comments a Resolution for 2014
Why not become a conscientious commenter? Why not vow to offer commentary as well as content to the blogosphere? Here are some ideas to help you keep such a resolution:
- Make a goal for yourself. Vow to leave 5 (or 10 or more if you're an overachiever) comments on other blogs for every post you make on your own. Experiment for a month or so and see if your own comment section gets noticeably more attention.
- Set aside 15 or 30 minutes a day to respond from your desktop or laptop, tools that are more conducive than small screens are to synching our thinking and typing speeds. If you're reading blogs throughout the day, bookmark them or keep a running list of URLs to return to later when you're ready to comment.
- Don't feel limited by the idea that comments only belong on blogs. Comment on Facebook, respond to tweets, and pin other people's pins. This is about letting someone know they've been heard and their words have been appreciated.
- Subscribe to comments. You probably already know that you can subscribe to a blog and get notification each time that blogger posts. But did you know that you can also subscribe to a post's comments and be notified when new comments are added? This option is usually just below the comment box, near the fields in which you enter your name, email, URL and comment. You can then find out if anything you've said sparked discussion from someone else.
Even if you don't get more comments on your own blog and even if your comments don't draw others into discussion, it's satisfying to know that you made your corner of the blogosphere a richer place by simply being interactive in it. When you consider commenting part of blogging, you are a well-rounded blogger.
What do you recommend for yourself or others to become a more prolific commenter in the coming year?
Lori Holden creates comments and commentary from Denver, CO. She posts regularly at LavenderLuz.com and is the author of The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption. She has been known to leave comments when she should have been cooking dinner instead.
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